What You Need to Know About Auto Insurance

Young woman making phone call after accident. Wade Insurance AgencyYour car or truck is an investment that needs to be protected.

In the event of an accident or loss, your auto insurance policy is meant to cover everything from damage to your vehicle and/or property, as well as insure the wellbeing of you and any passengers involved.

An auto policy covers your private passenger automobiles, pickups, vans, SUVs and more. Coverage includes but is not limited to:

• Liability
Expenses from damaging a vehicle to injuring a person in an accident.
• Personal injury
Costs from medical bills and lost wages as a result of an accident.
• Collision
Damage to your car after an accident involving another vehicle or object
• Towing and labor
Reimbursement for a tow and the labor costs to get your car up and running again.
• Medical payments
Medical costs related to an accident regardless of who is at fault.
• Comprehensive
Damage to your car from vandalism, weather and accidents involving animals.
• Uninsured/underinsured motorist
Protects you and your vehicle from uninsured drivers, hit-and-run drivers and those who do not have enough auto insurance to cover the costs of an accident.

Ask Us about Discounts on Your Premium

A number of auto insurance discounts that can make a real difference in your  premium may be available. Ask one of our independent insurance agents about discounts for:

  • Anti-theft devices
  • Bundling with your other insurance policies
  • Driver training
  • Electronic fund transfer (EFT)
  • Empty nester
  • Excellent driving record
  • Good student
  • Long-time customer
  • Married professional

Learn More About Auto Insurance >>

How to Find the Best Auto Insurance for Seniors

senior-auto-insurance-rate-infographicOne of the advantages of being a mature driver is that insurance companies recognize your experience, and that experience can bring you better pricing in the form of safe driver and senior discounts. Let’s talk about how you can be rewarded for your longevity and wisdom through lower rates and discounts on your auto insurance policy.

Top Reasons to Find a New Mature Driver Auto Policy:

  • You recently turned 50 or hit another “milestone” birthday
  • You have taken a safe driving course, and your current policy does not offer a discount
  • You have been “claim free” for two years or more but your rates remain high
  • You do not have a local agent who regularly reviews your insurance needs
  • You have had a recent life change such as getting married or losing a spouse

Factors that Affect Senior Auto Insurance Rates

There are a number of important factors that can affect your rates, and even how much insurance you need to buy, according to our partners at Trusted Choice. One factor that will make a difference in your policy and rates is the type of vehicle you drive. For example, if you switch from driving a high-end car such as a Lincoln MKS to a standard family car like a Ford Focus, your rates will likely decrease.

How often you drive is a factor in determining your insurance rates, too. If you are paying the same rate you were when you were commuting daily to work now that you are retired, you are most likely paying too much. A daily work commute brings with it certain risks that are vastly reduced if you are driving less frequently.

Your driving record is a key factor in determining your auto insurance premium. Seniors tend to be safe and cautious drivers, though they may have lost confidence or have diminished vision, which can lead to mistakes. Many mature drivers have not refreshed their driving skills since they initially learned to drive many decades ago. Taking a driving course specifically for mature drivers can enhance your driving skills, which can help you remain safe on the road, and maintain your good driving record. It can also result in a discount, just for taking the course.

Finally, an important and often overlooked factor is whether you are paying for coverage you don’t need. One example is loss-of-use coverage and the damage to non-owned automobiles. The loss of use endorsement is used when you have been involved in an accident and need a car to drive to work while your vehicle is being repaired. The liability for damage to a non-owned vehicle is the coverage you would use if you wanted to rent a vehicle for the weekend.

If you and your spouse are both retired, and are listed on each other’s auto policy, you may not need this additional coverage. That being said, if you travel, you may want to call your agent and add the coverage onto one of the vehicles so you will have coverage abroad.

Learn More about Insurance for Senior Citizens >>

Who Needs Commercial Vehicle Insurance?

Photo of delivery trucksThe risks you face as a business owner vary widely from liability concerns to workers compensation issues to the possibility that one of your workers could be responsible for an accident.

If you have staff members who get behind the wheel, your commercial vehicle insurance will protect your business financially in the event of incident on the road.

What Businesses Need Commercial Vehicle Insurance?

  • Freight companies and other businesses that use commercial trucks
  • Independent contractors who drive during the course of doing business
  • Any business that makes deliveries or transports goods
  • Limo services, taxi services, bus companies and other transportation services
  • If you or your staff members use a vehicle for commercial purposes, you need a commercial auto policy, as your standard personal auto policy will typically not cover you for business use of that vehicle.

The risks associated with commercial use of a vehicle, whether it is personally owned or company owned, often call for higher policy limits and different policy provisions, according to our partners at Trusted Choice.

Do You Need Commercial Vehicle Insurance?

In some cases, it is obvious that you need a commercial vehicle policy. For example, if you have a delivery service, limousine service, or a restaurant that delivers food, you know for certain that your business takes on risk each time you or a staff member drives one of your vehicles.

But there are many confusing scenarios where business car insurance is concerned. What if you use your personal vehicle to drive your kids around and to deliver cakes from your home bakery service? What if you attach a plow to the front of your truck each winter and offer snow plowing services?

It is typically a question of primary use, but you may have a unique situation to address. If you use any vehicle for business purposes, it definitely pays to talk with an agent who understands both personal and commercial vehicle insurance so you can make sure you have the right protection to meet your needs.

What Does Commercial Vehicle Insurance Cover?

Commercial vehicle policies, like personal auto policies, are primarily designed to cover your liability risks and provide compensation for damage to your vehicle. But instead of just covering your personal use of the vehicle, the policy covers you and any other person who drives the vehicle. If you have employees who use their own vehicles for work related to your business, you need to make sure your commercial auto policy covers those employees and their vehicles.

A typical policy will include:

  • Liability: Covers expenses resulting from an accident you or an employee causes, including:
  • Bodily injury to another person
  • Property damage to another person’s property
  • Legal fees
  • Medical payments: Covers hospitalization and other medical expenses for you or your employees, and any passengers in your vehicle
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Covers bodily injury and property damage you or your employees and passengers incur if an uninsured or underinsured motorist caused the accident.
  • Collision coverage: Covers your vehicle when another object or vehicle causes damage.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Covers “other than collision” perils such as weather damage, theft and vandalism.

If you are not sure whether you need commercial vehicle insurance, or what kind and how much you need, your best bet is to work with one of our knowledgeable independent agents who specialize in business auto insurance. We can advise you on the right coverage for your specific business needs.

Learn More About Commercial Vehicle Insurance >>

Should You Buy That Extended Warranty?

Photo of Car mechanicBuying a car is stressful enough without the added frustration and perhaps confusion about car insurance and warranties.

Imagine this scenario:

You’ve had your car for a few years, and it now has 50,000 miles on the odometer. You’re cruising down the highway one warm summer afternoon with the air conditioning going full blast, keeping the car nice and cool. Halfway to your destination, you start to feel a little warm.

You soon realize that your air conditioner has quit working, and you pull into the first auto repair shop you can find.

The diagnosis is a broken air conditioning compressor, a costly repair that is no longer covered under the original factory warranty that came with your car.

What Went Wrong?

If you’re like most car owners, you are kicking yourself at this point for not signing up for extended warranty coverage when you had the chance. Unfortunately, situations such as this happen quite frequently.

For many people, it probably seems like a waste of money to fork over your hard-earned cash for extended warranty coverage when you’re already making car payments. After all, most people don’t expect to need expensive repairs for quite a long time.

Car Warranties

Paul Martin, CPCU, CAP State Association Liaison, emphasizes the importance of having a good warranty. He explains that every car comes with a factory warranty, which is the manufacturer’s warranty. It is a legal warranty that covers your car for a certain period, such as three years or 36,000 miles. Once this initial warranty coverage is up, you may have limited coverage for a bit longer, or no additional coverage.

For some people, not having additional coverage isn’t much of an issue. As Martin explains, someone who purchases a Jaguar may consider an extended warranty, as it is a high-performance car that requires expensive repairs. On the other hand, extended warranties may end up being more costly for owners of more basic cars in the long run, as there may be less that is likely to go wrong with a basic car or truck.

At this point, you may be wondering what you could get out of an extended warranty, and whether it’s the right choice for you. Even if you don’t have a Jaguar, you may benefit from this type of warranty, Martin explains. He says that if you are wondering whether it’s a good idea to get an extended warranty, ask yourself, “Is the peace of mind of knowing that I have this extended coverage worth it?”

The answer will depend on a few factors. Martin explains.

“If it sounds like a good idea and it is in your price range, then yes, extended warranty coverage may be worth it.” However, he notes, “If you are generally lucky with cars, and you have a trusted mechanic, then you might not want to spend the money.”

According to Martin, young people with limited resources or those who simply don’t want to pay the extra money may find a deal where the price of the warranty is rolled into the overall cost of the car.

If you do decide to purchase an extended car warranty, according to Martin, you may want to explore your options on where to buy it. There are insurance agents that sell extended warranties. You don’t have to buy from the agent at the dealership. Talk to an independent agent to see if they can help get you a better price.

Other Insurance Policies

The dealership may also try and sell you car insurance, gap insurance or credit life insurance. Those policies are also better purchased from an independent insurance agent, who also “… has the knowledge and experience to customize the customer’s policy to fit their protection needs,” according to Martin. He also mentions that an independent agent like ours will be there to help the customer with a claim, unlike a dealership representative.

If you are seriously considering buying an extended warranty for your car, one of our Trusted Choice® independent agents can help guide you through the process and ultimately shop around for the best price and policy.

More Auto Insurance Options >>

 

How to File Car Accident Insurance Claims

Car accident wreckage photoIf you are wondering whether your car accident claims process will be more difficult to bear than the accident itself, the good news is that filing a claim is usually fairly simple.

By following a systematic approach and carefully recording what has happened, you can gather all of the information you need.

The following guidelines from our friends at Trusted Choice will help you ensure the process goes smoothly.

Check the Accident Scene and Get Emergency Help

Before you and the other driver contact your insurance providers to file automobile insurance claims, get your vehicle to a safe place and make sure everyone is okay.

If anyone is injured, call 911. The most important thing to do is ensure that any medical emergencies are taken care of immediately.

Next, contact the police to report the accident. They will be able to file a report and take down necessary information for your insurance agent.

Document Everything

There are many factors that go into a collision, some of which may not have been avoidable. Never admit you caused an accident. Do not blame the other driver either. Often it takes a police officer and/or an insurance adjuster to determine what happened and who is at fault.

The best approach is to document the accident. If possible:

  • Take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved.
  • Photograph the accident scene and any property damage.
  • Take photos of identifiers, such as intersections and addresses.
  • Gather accurate information from other people involved.
  • Take clear pictures of insurance cards, license plates and other identifying information.
  • By documenting the accident, you will be able to help prevent false claims from the other driver or others involved.

Accident report photoContact Your Agent

When an accident or theft occurs, it is important to file an auto insurance claim as soon as possible. Have your vehicle information ready, as well as details about what happened.

When you file an accident insurance claim, your agent will ask some basic questions that will ultimately pertain to your auto accident insurance settlement. For example:

  • Was anyone injured?
  • Where is your vehicle?
  • Does it need to be towed?
  • What happened?
  • Describe what happened as clearly as possible. Provide the police report numbers and insurance information you gathered from anyone else involved. If your car has been taken in for repairs, include the contact information for the repair shop.

How Do Auto Insurance Claims Work? >>