SR-22 Filings – What Does That Mean?






If you have been charged with a DUI, reckless driving, or driving without insurance, you have likely heard a police officer mention SR-22 filings. This legal requirement can have a substantial impact on your driving record and insurance costs. The guide below explains what SR-22 is and how it affects you.

What Is SR-22?

SR-22, otherwise known as State Requirement 22 or a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, is a form proving that you are carrying at least the state-legislated amount of liability coverage. The purpose of the filing to is guarantee to the state that you have the financial capacity to pay for (through insurance) any future damages or injuries your driving behavior may cause.

Common reasons for needing an SR-22 include the following: failure to show proof of insurance, driving or causing an accident without insurance, serious moving violations, too many violations and/or points during a certain time period, DUI or DWI arrests, and license reinstatement after a DUI suspension.

The states of Florida and Virginia use FR-44, which is similar to the SR-22 form but typically requires higher insurance coverage. Seven states do not legislate SR-22 filings but may require new residents to continue filings in their previous state: Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

How Do I Get a Financial Responsibility Form?

When you are ordered by a court or mandated by law to provide an SR-22, you must contact your insurance company, which will then mail, fax, or electronically submit the required documentation to the state department of motor vehicles. If you do not provide form SR-22 by the time it is due, you risk a license suspension or other penalties.

In Colorado and several other states, an individual can obtain an SR-22 form directly from the agent at the time liability insurance is purchased. The insured person can take the physical form to the state department of motor vehicles in order to fulfill the SR-22 requirement instantly. The insurance company then takes over handling any future filings.

For online auto insurance purchases, very few insurers give drivers an actual form to carry around with them. Instead, the insurance company communicates directly with the state agency, and the status of whether or not an SR-22 form has been filed shows on a individual’s motor vehicles record. Law enforcement personnel can access the record during traffic stops.

Insurance companies such as GEICO, Progressive, and Safeco allow new customers to purchase SR-22 insurance by selecting an option during the free online quote. Existing customers can call the customer service phone number and request assistance with a filing. Most insurance companies not only take care of the initial SR-22 paperwork but also file the request to remove an SR-22 status when the probationary period is over. Filing fees vary by state and by insurance company. For instance, Viking Insurance does not charge an extra fee for an SR-22 filing, whereas 21st Century charges $10. Average fees range from $15 to $25.

What Happens After I File an SR-22?

After an insurance company is notified of the need for an SR-22 form, the company may raise rates due to riskier driving behavior, choose not to renew a policy, or maintain premium levels because you have purchased specific SR-22 coverage.

For example, premium drivers who get a DUI with State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. may be moved to the State Farm Fire & Casualty subsidiary for standard and high-risk drivers. Companies like The General specialize in high risk drivers, so premiums usually remain stable before and after an SR-22 filing.

Depending on state laws, your insurance company may have to file an SR-22 for up to three years. When the SR-22 filing period ends, the motor vehicles status is removed but the risky driving behavior may keep insurance premiums high for several more years.




Compare Kemper vs All State Car Insurance Costs






Not all insurance companies are large, national chains with television commercials and a huge share of the market. Some are smaller companies that are slowly expanding and offer excellent services. One such company that is worth considering is Kemper Auto Insurance. Here is how they stack up the nationally recognized company, Allstate.

Longevity

Both companies have stood the test of time. Kemper is actually a little older than Allstate. It was founded in 1926 and Allstate did not hit the scene until 1931. Both companies started with strong backing and have continued to grow and expand over the 20th century and into the 21st century.

Market Share

Allstate currently enjoys more than 10% of the market share and has billions of dollars in liability and property premiums. Kemper has less than 1% of the market share, but continues to grow and expand at a steady pace.

Ratings for Customer Satisfaction

Kemper consistently receives high marks from its customers and has a high customer satisfaction level. Allstate has overall customer satisfaction ratings of 78%.

JDPower, S&P, and A.M. Best

JDPower, S&P and A.M. Best rate most insurance companies and will assign them different scores in a range of areas. In the area of overall policy offerings, both companies were rated a 3 by JDPower. S&P rated the overall strength of both companies and gave slightly different scores. Kemper rated slightly lower with an A- while Allstate enjoy a higher score of AA-. Finally, A.M.Best rating for financial strength reflected similar results. Kemper received a score of A- while Allstate received an A+.

What these ratings mean to the consumer is that both companies are financially solid and likely to still be in business many years from now. There is not a concern currently that they might fold and leave their customers without insurance coverage.

Insurance Offerings

Both companies offer multiple options for insurance. In addition to insuring your car, you can also insure your boat, jewelry, home, and collectibles with either insurance company. Gap coverage is available on new cars to cover the difference between the appraised value and what is owed should there be an accident.

Online Access

Both companies have a strong Internet presence, allowing customers to manage their insurance policies online. However, JD Power ranked Kemper slightly higher than Allstate in how easy they are to contact. Kemper received a 4 for being easy to reach while Allstate only received a 3.

Available Discounts

Both companies believe in rewarding good customers with money saving discounts. Safety features such as airbags and anti-lock brakes will earn a discount, as will anti-theft devices. Taking safe driver classes will help you save money and the company’s both offer discounts for teenagers who are attending school more than 100 miles away from home. You can also enjoy discounts with either company for having multiple cars or more than one policy with the company.

State Licensure

The one big difference between the two companies would be the states they are licensed in. Allstate is currently licensed to do business and provide insurance coverage in all fifty states plus the Virgin Islands. Kemper, however, has not yet reached this point. They are currently licensed in only 38 states. They are not able to provide auto insurance coverage in the following states: Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Premiums

The cost of premiums is typically lower with Allstate. In the state of California, an average driver with a safe record will probably pay more for insurance with Kemper than with Allstate. The average cost of insurance for a young, male driver with Kemper is $1336 compared to only $1062 for Allstate. This is a savings of nearly $300 for Allstate drivers. Before rushing to switch to Allstate, however, you should be aware that the cost for married couples is actually lower with Kemper. The married couple would pay only $1330 with Kemper but nearly $1375 with Allstate.

Shopping Around

This serves to highlight the importance of shopping around for insurance companies. Rates can vary greatly and there are many factors that will impact the premiums you are quoted. From your credit report to the city you live in and what you drive, there are many items that are taken into account by the companies.

Allstate and Kemper are both solid companies with a strong history and excellent ratings. They are both secure financially and known for providing superior customer service. If you live in a state that they are both licensed in, it is definitely worth your time to receive quotes from each company before making a final decision.




Average Price of Car Insurance in Utah






Drivers in Utah aren’t facing huge traffic levels or a state that’s particularly dangerous to drive in. The average cost of insurance in Utah is actually lower than it is for most of the country. The national average for insurance premiums is about $1441, but drivers in Utah enjoy rates that average out at about $1230. Here is some information you should keep in mind when getting quotes for auto insurance in Utah.

Minimum Requirements

Utah does require all drivers to have insurance. The minimum coverage levels include $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $65,000 per accident for bodily injury. The minimum coverage level for property damage is $15,000 and personal injury protection is $3,000.

No-Fault State

Utah is one of many no-fault states. Under this system each driver is covered under his own insurance, along with any passengers, regardless of who is at fault. Damage to property is paid for by the person who caused the accident. These systems are designed to reduce the number of lawsuits moving through the courts and so they greatly limit your ability to sue after an accident.

Choose Higher Coverage

Insurance is designed to protect you and your assets. It is vital that your insurance coverage levels be high enough to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit. If you carry the minimum coverage of $15,000 for property damage and total out someone’s brand new Lexus, you will be responsible for paying the difference between that $15,000 and the $45,000 value of the Lexus. You could be sued and forced to liquidate assets to cover the costs. If you really don’t have any assets, you could find yourself having your wages garnished to pay for the damages. Choose property damage coverage of at least $150,000 and choose an even higher level if that is necessary to shield all of your assets.

While your own insurance company will cover your medical expenses in the event of an accident, they will only cover up to your personal limit. Your personal health insurance may refuse to cover any part of it because it happened in an accident. Medical bills can easily exceed $25,000 and then you will be left paying for the difference out of your own pocket. $65,000 for a per accident total can leave you extremely short for money to pay medical bills if you have a large family. Don’t take chances with the health and well being of your family. Increase your bodily injury coverage. It’s also a good idea to carry more than $3,000 in personal injury protection.

Discounts

Drivers in the state can take advantage of fantastic discounts to lower car insurance premiums. Here are just some of the discounts you can ask for when applying for your insurance.

• Multiple cars on one policy
• More than one insurance policy with a carrier
• Retirees
• Good students
• Air bags, anti-lock brakes and other safety features
• Being accident-free and violation-free for several years
• Driving a hybrid car
• Having a student of driving age that is away at school and not living in the home
• Prepayment discounts are available if you pay for your entire policy upfront.

Programs

There are also many programs that you can take advantage of. They are not offered by all companies, but here are some of the programs you can watch for when getting quotes.
• Accident forgiveness – Go more than a few years without any accidents or violations and you can take advantage of this program. When you do have an accident for the first time in ages you won’t have to face an automatic rate hike.
• Deductible Reductions – Many companies are now offering deductibles that automatically lower for every year you don’t file a claim or cause an accident.
• New Car Replacement – Some companies also offer programs that will replace your car with one that is slightly newer should it be totaled in an accident.

Providers

There are several companies that are licensed to offer insurance in the state of Utah. Here are some of the nationally recognized companies that are licensed to provide services in the state. All providers listed here have storefronts on the Internet where you can get accurate quotes in just a few minutes.

Farmers
Esurance
Travelers
Geico
State Farm
21st Century
USAA

In addition to the discounts offered through many of these companies, you can also save money by choosing a higher deductible. You do not want to scrimp on the coverage levels in order to enjoy lower premiums as this can leave you unprotected in a lawsuit or unable to pay medical bills.




Best Car Insurance Companies – What to Look For






When comparing car insurance, most people look at the cost. While this is an important aspect, there are other things to consider. Do your research before buying a policy.

The phrase “you get what you pay for” can often be applied to car insurance. The first step in finding a company is knowing the rate and what is included. When you get a quote from an agent, it should show specifically what your policy will cover. Does it include comprehensive insurance along with collision and at what limits? Does it pay for a rental car in the event of an accident? How much is the deductible?

Knowing this will help you be able to compare prices among companies to know who has the best deal. If you just ask for the cheapest quote or the minimum coverage required by the state, you may not be comparing identical policies.

Convenience fees and discounts are two other things to look at with car insurance companies. Many companies charge a fee for breaking your bill into monthly payments. It can vary up to three or four dollars per month, depending on the company. They may waive the fee if you set up automatic payments, but ask to know for sure.

Also ask if there’s a discount for paying the entire bill at once. Find out if there are other discounts such as multiple car discounts or a discount for having homeowner’s or renters insurance with the same company. You can save quite a bit of money if you get several discounts.

Most insurance companies will give you a mileage discount for driving your car less than a certain number of miles per year. It varies between companies but it’s worth asking about. Safety features such as air bags can also lower your insurance premium. Most insurance companies know that offering more discounts will attract a greater number of customers because everyone like to save money.

Ask if the company takes your credit rating into consideration. While this can be a problem if you have less than perfect credit, it can be a bonus if your credit rating is high. You’ll end up paying less for your insurance than most other people and be rewarded for having excellent credit.

Customer service is another important area to research in car insurance companies. Know how to get in touch with your agent. Find out if they have a direct line or if you’ll have to call the main number and possibly be put on hold. Find out if they have email that may be a more convenient way for you to reach them during working hours. You’ll want to be able to ask a question and get an answer within a reasonable amount of time.

Asking for a quote isn’t a direct indicator because most agents will respond to those first and other questions from current customers may take longer to get a reply. The easiest way to know the answer is to call and ask a question about their fees or discounts or some other area to see how long it takes to get a response.

Claims assistance is another area to look at in a company. Find out how to contact them if you are involved in an accident and what to expect. You want to know how fast they will act on your behalf and what kind of support you’ll get. Do they have certain repair shops they deal with or will you be expected to get estimates? If so, how many? Will they send out an adjuster?

If you know the process, you will have an idea how long you’ll be without a vehicle if you’re in an accident. If you can take your vehicle to an approved repair station immediately so they can begin repairs, you’ll get your car back sooner than if you have to wait for an adjuster or get several estimates and wait for approval.

You can also go to your state’s Department of Insurance and get a complaint history on the insurance company you’re researching. This will tell you if they have had a lot of complaints filed against them or if the majority of their customers are satisfied.

The financial stability of a company is also an area of consideration. You don’t want to find a company you like and then have them go bankrupt before they can pay for a claim if you’re in accident. Independent agencies give ratings to insurance companies based on their financial strength.

Researching a car insurance company will enable you to find a company that will give you the service and satisfaction you’re looking for.




Four Signs of the Times Seen in Car Insurance Trends






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.




Celebrity Auto Accidents – What are the Top 5?






A serious auto accident is a nightmare scenario. Looking at some tragic celebrity car accidents reinforces the value of auto insurance and provides a lesson in the need for safety behind the wheel. Here is a rundown of five infamous celebrity auto accidents through the years:

Death of Jayne Mansfield

One of Hollywood’s most beautiful starlets, Jane Mansfield was only 34 at the time of her death. On the night of June 28, 1967, Jane left Biloxi, Mississippi following a show at the Gus Stevens Supper Club, with attorney Sam Brody, three children and driver Ronnie Harrison, and headed toward New Orleans for an appearance the following day.

Around 2:25AM on a stretch of US 90, Mansfield’s 1966 Buick Electra plowed into an insecticide truck, killing Harrison, Brody and Mansfield. The children all survived. The top of the Electra was sheared off by the impact, causing Mansfield’s death by cranium and brain avulsion. Whether driver fatigue played a role in the crash is uncertain; but the Mansfield tragedy illustrates the importance of safe driving at night.

The Chappaquiddick Incident

An accident the night of July 18, 1969 ended the life of Mary Jo Kopechne and the presidential hopes of Sen. Edward Kennedy. That night around 11:15PM, Kennedy left a party on Chappaquiddick Island to take Kopechne home. The next morning, his car was found in a tidal channel with Kopechne’s body inside.

After pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing injury and serving a suspended sentence, Kennedy decided not to run for president in 1972. His explanation for the accident indicated lack of familiarity with the driving route, which he said led him to inadvertently drive the car off a bridge. The “Chappaquiddick Incident” permanently tarnished Kennedy’s reputation and demonstrated the far-ranging impact an accident can have beyond property damage, injury or death.

Black Sunday at Daytona

Dale Earnhardt, seven-time NASCAR champion and one of the sport’s greatest drivers, was known as “The Intimidator” because of his aggressive, often ruthless racing methods. Near the end of the 2001 Daytona 500, Earnhardt was running third, with teammate Michael Waltrip leading and son Dale Jr. second. Earnhardt worked in the final laps to block Sterling Marlin and others from passing and threatening to take away Waltrip’s impending victory.

A crash in the third turn of the last lap caused the number 3 Chevy to spin out of control, killing Earnhardt. He suffered numerous injuries including a basilar skull fracture that proved fatal. Earnhardt’s death led NASCAR to implement many new safety standards, leading to the development of the “Car of Tomorrow”. The day became known as “Black Sunday” by race fans and proved the need for even the most skilled drivers to always focus on safety.

Princess vs. Paparazzi

Perhaps no one in England’s royal family ever caught the attention of the paparazzi quite like Princess Diana. Even after her divorce from Prince Charles, Di’s every move was still international news. On August 31, 1997, Diana and companion Dodi Fayed were in Paris riding in a Mercedes-Benz W140 limo driven by chauffer Henri Paul, who was driving at high speeds to evade paparazzi when he lost control of the car and crashed, killing all three passengers.

Paul was found to have been legally drunk at the time of the accident. The Royal Courts of London concluded that Paul and the paparazzi shared responsibility for the crash. Significantly, the victims were not wearing seat belts, and the vehicle was traveling over twice the legal limit when it crashed. Di’s death underscores the importance of safe driving behaviors, from avoiding drunk driving to keeping speeds down and wearing seat belts.

James Dean Dies Young

At age 24 in 1955, James Dean was already a Hollywood star, thanks to the successful release of his debut movie, East of Eden and two more films on the way, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. Dean loved fast cars, and by spring 1955 had gotten into road racing.

In September 1955, he replaced his old Porsche 356 with a silver Porsche 550 Spyder. The car had numbers painted on the sides and back, along with his nickname, “Little Bastard”. On September 30, Dean was on his way to a race in Salinas, California along with his mechanic Rolf Wuetherich. The Spyder was pulled over around 3:30PM for speeding; and a few hours later while traveling west on Highway 466, it collided with a Ford Tutor traveling eastward trying to complete a left turn onto Highway 41.

The driver of the Tutor suffered minor injuries; Wuetherich was thrown from the Spyder and sustained serious injuries but survived; and Dean was killed. A promising career and a life were cut short because James Dean chose to drive recklessly.

These and other shocking celebrity auto accidents remind drivers everywhere of the importance of safety. Avoiding accidents saves money as well as preventing property loss and injury. Major insurers like Progressive, Farmers and State Farm incentivize safe driving by offering lower rates, discounts and deductible rebates. Save on auto insurance by focusing on safety.




Should You Raise Your Car Insurance Deductible?






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.




Military Car Insurance – Are Special Discounts Available?






As a way of thanking troops for their services, many car insurance companies offer discounts to military personnel that are not available to the public. Servicemen are considered special cases because, without discounts, they would be penalized with higher insurance rates due to deployment and continually moving around the country.

Obtaining Discounts on Insurance

All members of the armed forces should consider taking advantage of generous military discounts, some as high as 15 percent off the normal rate. While some insurance companies that routinely work with the military do not offer discounts because their rate are already lower than other companies, some insurers like USAA offer the lowest rates around military bases.

USAA

USAA allows military personnel to save on auto insurance by offering safe driver, driver training and defensive driving discounts for individuals who maintain a good driving record and successfully complete basic training courses. For children of military personnel, there is a “good student” discount to reward high academic achievement. To enroll with USAA’s program, you must be an active duty officer or enrolled in the National Guard and Reserves. Those who are enlisted in programs like the Academ, OTS and OCS, and ROTC contract are also eligible, as are the spouse and children of a current USAA member.

GEICO

The other major play in auto insurance for military personnel is GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company). Discounts of up to 15 percent of your total insurance premium are awarded to various personnel including those who are both on active duty and retired veterans, as well as members of the National Guard or Reserves. If you are assigned to serve in a designated imminent danger pay area, GEICO has an emergency deployment discount.

If your orders direct you to one of the dangerous Department of Defense areas or if your vehicle is currently stored under GEICO’s approved storage-protection plans, you are also eligible for the discount. Certain other military organizations offer discounts to their members. However, do your research because there are some geographic limitations and some military operations are not included with the discount.

GEICO has an overseas policy when coverage is needed while the individual is out of the country. The 12-month policy is a competitive rate and GEICO will provide you with all of the documents you need to register your vehicle overseas. However, cars that are used strictly for business cannot be covered under this policy and the only way a rental car will be covered is if your personal vehicle is undergoing repairs. You cannot insurance someone else’s car either, just your own.

Armed Forces Insurance

Armed Forces Insurance provides car insurance in only 10 states but they partner with Progressive to provide insurance in an additional 28 states. While not all states are covered, they do offer insurance across most of the country. You are required to show paperwork as evidence of your service in the armed forces, or if you were honorably discharged, you need to have proof of that as well. Widows, children and spouses of current Armed Forces Insurance members are also eligible for discounts.

Look for Military-Oriented Companies

Since many insurance companies do not fully understand the lifestyle of military personnel, it will be to your benefit if you can locate one who knows the impact that deployments and temporary duty assignments can have on a family.

Keep Your Insurance

If you know you will be deployed, it is imperative that you do not cancel your car insurance. Some service members mistakenly think that because they will not be using their vehicle and put it in storage that they do not need their policy any longer. This is not recommended because if something happens to your vehicle while it is in storage, there is no coverage to pay for damages.

If the car insurance lapses for an extended period of time, you may have a harder time getting another policy when you return. Insurance companies that regularly work with the military can offer you a storage-only policy that will cover your vehicle if damages are incurred while you are away. For example, United States Automobile Association (USAA) offers an 80 percent discount to those who store their vehicles under their policy.

Cover Your Family

While you are deployed, it is important to make sure the policy will continue to cover your spouse and your children in your absence. Just because you are not in this country does not mean that your family should not be protected and eligible for your military discount. Make sure your discount continues for you and your family after you return to the states. You are entitled to a deployment waiver that allows you to keep your discount, even if the coverage had the potential to lapse while you were overseas. Most car insurance companies provide this option.




Towing Coverage and Your Car Insurance Policy






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.




Remote Car Control Smart Phone Apps – Convenient, but Maybe Not Safe






Mobile smartphones have made our lives incredibly convenient in a number of ways. One of the latest trends in app stores involves apps that will unlock your car and even start it from your phone. The convenience of pushing a button from inside the house to warm up your car before you are ready to leave is undeniable, but the wireless network that makes it possible is not as safe as it could be. The truth is, if you can access your car through a wireless connection, someone else with the right hacking skills can do it too.

Free Apps Will Unlock and Start Your Car Remotely

One of the most popular remote apps is available for drivers who have the OnStar system. Other companies are beginning to enter the remote app market, however. Car Link Remote Start is a free app for iPhone users that can be used to lock, unlock, start, or find your car with your iPhone or iPod. Unlike the OnStar app, Car Link Remote Start users do not have to purchase a subscription to a service in order to take advantage of the remote operations offered through the app. All you need is a digital car alarm, an iPhone, and an iTunes membership to download the app.

High Tech Thieves can Access Apps through Laptops

The potential problem with the new apps is that they use wireless networks to communicate between the car and the smartphone. Research has already shown that hackers with laptops can cruise neighborhoods to tap into unprotected wireless signals from residences. The same technology can be used to tap into wireless signals from cars that are being controlled through remote apps. Once a hacker taps into the signal, they can control the vehicle the same way you are controlling it with your phone. It is a neat, tidy way to steal a car without having to physically break into it.

Tech Research Firm has Already Hacked Popular Apps

As part of their efforts to protect consumers from digital theft, a research company named iSec has focused a study on the feasibility of hacking into remote car control apps. They found that they could successfully gain access to a vehicle in a little over two hours once they found a signal. The company has produced a video that shows how easy it was for them to crack the system and start a car using a normal laptop. They plan to use their information to help app developers create safer systems and warn consumers of the potential dangers involved in using remote car control apps.

Mobile App Security Not Always Considered First

The rush to create the newest and most popular apps has outpaced the ability for security systems to be put in place to protect consumers from the dangers of transmitting sensitive information through wireless smartphone networks. Mobile networking has been added to hundreds of devices in the past few years without much regard to the potential safety risks. Watchdog groups like iSec are working to close those open doors and help improve security, but they warn that most devices should still be seen as open to hackers now.