Personal Insurance

Risk and Reward: Understand What “Risk” Means to Auto Insurers — and Which Behaviors They Reward

Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

Risk and Reward: Understand What “Risk” Means to Auto Insurers — and Which Behaviors They Reward

Just as there are many types of vehicles on the roadways, there also are a variety of drivers behind wheels. And how insurers perceive drivers plays a major role in determining what those drivers pay for auto insurance. What does an auto insurer consider when determining drivers’ policies and rates? In a nutshell, risk. Insurance carriers put drivers into one of three categories — preferred, standard, or high risk — based on their risk assessments. Preferred-risk drivers get the best rates, high-risk drivers pay the highest rates, and standard-risk drivers fall somewhere in the middle. While definitions for each category and the formulas used to classify drivers vary by state and insurance company, some common factors considered for classification include: Age — The preferred-risk category is generally reserved for drivers older than 25. Drivers ages 16 to 25 are often considered high-risk. Driving record — Preferred-risk drivers have squeaky-clean driving records with no tickets and minimal not-at-fault claims. Standard-risk drivers have only one or two minor traffic violations and no more than one at-fault accident. High-risk drivers include those with major traffic violations or a combination of at-fault accidents and traffic tickets. Prior insurance coverage — Insurance companies care about drivers’ industry histories. Preferred-risk drivers have not only had insurance history for the past six months but their liability limits on prior policies were 100,000/300,000 or higher. This means if a driver causes an accident, liability insurance pays up to $100,000 per person but not more than $300,000 per accident. Standard-risk drivers also have six months of prior coverage but may have minimal liability coverage, which insurance companies view more negatively. Those with no insurance coverage for the six months prior are considered high-risk. Credit score — Many insurance companies evaluate drivers’ credit scores and tie them to their driver risk assessments. Why? Insurers see a correlation between credit scores and the likelihood drivers will file auto insurance claims. Higher credit scores are generally associated with standard- and preferred-risk drivers while poor credit scores can signal “high risk” to insurers. What exactly matters on a driver’s record? Since “good driver” is a very subjective term, insurance companies often use Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) to more closely analyze drivers’ histories. MVRs are snapshots of drivers’ traffic violation histories, including traffic citations, accident reports, vehicular crimes, driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, and record of points in states that use points systems. They also include information about drivers’ license statuses, like suspensions and revocations, as well as any special endorsements or restrictions. Generally speaking, insurers look at the most recent five years of activity on MVRs, but this varies by state and insurance company. Also, infractions like DUIs may stay on MVRs longer. It’s a good idea to obtain a copy of your MVR before shopping for insurance. This lets you know what potential carriers will see on your record and gives you a chance to correct any inaccuracies before obtaining insurance quotes. Are there specific things drivers can for better auto insurance rates? There are a few ways drivers can boost their “good driver” images in hopes of lowering their auto insurance rates. For younger drivers, typically those under 21, driver education courses can translate to insurance discounts with many providers. For more experienced drivers, a “defensive driving discount” may be available for successfully completing a defensive driving course that often covers traffic laws, driving in adverse weather, drug and alcohol awareness, and specific defensive-driving techniques. Discounts vary by state and insurance company. And in some cases, just being a consistently good driver over time without accidents or violations can garner a “safe driver discount”...

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Protect Yourself: Renter’s Insurance Could Save You from Potential Disaster

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

Protect Yourself: Renter’s Insurance Could Save You from Potential Disaster

Imagine the horror of coming home to find your belongings destroyed or stolen. Then you find out your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your losses. Most people know the legal requirements relating to car, health, and homeowner’s insurance but often do not consider optional coverage, such as renter’s insurance. Did you know 95% of homeowners insure their dwellings, but only 41% of renters carry similar coverage? Renters may assume their landlords’ insurance covers their belongings, might not know renter’s coverage is available, or think the odds of something happening to them are low. Renter’s insurance works a lot like homeowner’s insurance except it’s typically less expensive to purchase. While carrying rental insurance is not required by law, many property owners, landlords, and property management companies require renters to purchase liability coverage. “It’ll never happen to me.” People often tend to think catastrophes won’t happen to them, but this mindset can lead to potentially devastating effects. While landlords are responsible for maintaining buildings, they aren’t responsible for tenants’ possessions. For instance, if a fire, storm, theft, or vandalism were to occur, your landlord would be accountable for any damage or loss to your building — but you wouldn’t be reimbursed for your possessions. Renter’s insurance protects you While some can get by only owning a futon and a microwave, most people possess electronics, clothing, furniture, and other valuables that are expensive to replace. Even if you don’t own much, renter’s insurance can protect you if: Your dwelling is declared uninhabitable due to damage and you need help covering living expenses. Someone is injured in your home due to your negligence. Your dog bites an invited or uninvited visitor. You accidentally leave the water in your bathtub running and flood surrounding apartments. Keep in mind, aside from actual replacement costs, you could also be responsible for medical bills or be named as a defendant in a lawsuit should the worst happen in your rental property. What to look for in a policy Even on top of rent, utilities, and other necessities, most people find renter’s insurance to be affordable. On average, renter’s coverage costs about $12-$30 a month. When shopping for insurance, you’ll want to: Compare lower premiums with higher deductibles to higher premiums with lower deductibles. Understand the actual cash value (ACV) of your belongings versus their replacement cost value (RCV). Look at any additional property you might want to cover in your policy, such as jewelry, furs, or fine art. Consider adding coverage not included in standard policies, such as flood or earthquake insurance. Bundle your renter’s insurance with your car, franchise, or other insurance policies as many agencies offer multi-policy discounts. When considering whether renter’s insurance is right for you, the big question you’ll want to ask yourself is, “Can I afford big losses or legal expenses?” Most people can’t. Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to learn more about renter’s insurance and see how you can find the coverage you need at a price you can...

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My Premium Is Increasing Again? Understand Rising Auto Insurance Rates

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

My Premium Is Increasing Again? Understand Rising Auto Insurance Rates

If you own a vehicle and insure it, you know auto insurance rates are rising. Even if you have a clean driving record, you’ve likely seen your rates inch higher over the past few years. The average premium has risen by 16% since 2011. The reasons for this are manifold. One cause of rising rates is the expanding economy. More drivers on the road — commuting to work or heading off on vacation — means more accidents are likely to occur. Additionally, health care costs are only increasing with time, which means higher claims for insurance companies. Between 2005 and 2013, insurance companies faced a 32% increase in the average cost per bodily injury. Another cause of rising claims is the fact that cars are now costlier to repair. Replacing a bumper alone can cost an insurance company almost $1,000. If there is damage to a car’s frame, that cost could rise to $10,000. Technology is also adding to the number of distracted driving incidents. More drivers driving with more distractions in more expensive cars mean higher claims for insurance companies. Higher claims for insurance companies mean higher premiums for drivers. Vehicle owners: Lower your insurance premiums Vehicle owners don’t have to blindly accept increasing premiums as a fact of life. There are steps drivers can take to help keep premiums from increasing unnecessarily. Review before you renew. Before agreeing to renew an existing policy, check it closely for any issues or errors. Ask your insurance agent if he or she has applied all possible deductions. Ask why. If your rate has increased, simply asking why this has occurred can help illuminate the problem. It’s possible your credit report has errors that triggered the rate increase. Bundle up. Bundling your car insurance and homeowner’s or renter’s policy under one insurer may help reduce your overall rate. Restaurant owners can bundle their auto, home, and franchise insurance for additional savings. Change your payment option. Most insurance companies allow monthly payments or bi-annual payment plans that offer discounts for amounts paid in full. Changing your payment plan can be as easy as setting up autopay. Shop around. It is likely that if rates have increased with your current insurer, they have also increased with other companies as rate increases tend to be industry shifts. That being said, it never hurts to check. Before renewing, shop around with other insurance providers to see if you can find a better rate. Adjust your premium and deductibles. If, after all of the above, your rate is still too high, you may want to consider adjusting your premium and deductibles. This is a risky move, however, and you should proceed with caution. Any time you reduce your coverage to save on your premium, you put yourself at risk of having to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. Dangers of reducing coverage to lower insurance rates As you consider ways to lower your premium, keep in mind the importance of adequate coverage. Auto insurance is there to protect not just you, your vehicle, and your passengers but also all the other vehicles, drivers, and passengers on the road around you. You may be driving safely, but that doesn’t mean the person in the car behind you is doing the same. Reducing your coverage means reducing your protection. Remember that health care and repair costs are only increasing with time. It is up to you to pay for any costs your insurance policy doesn’t cover. If you are dissatisfied with your current auto insurance premium, the best place to start is by...

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Weather the Summer with the Right Insurance

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

Weather the Summer with the Right Insurance

It’s hard to imagine anything could be as damaging to your home as winter storms, but the truth is spring and summer — with their inclement weather and sudden, severe storms — can be even more dangerous than winter. Once a storm hits, there isn’t much you can do but weather it. Therefore, it’s important to prepare yourself and your home in advance. But those aren’t the only things you need to protect. Homeowners and drivers can take steps to prepare their property against weather damage in the months ahead. Prepare your home for severe, unpredictable weather Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where you keep your most prized possessions. In addition to insuring your home, if you’ve saved for years for a vacation home, you’ve got to protect that investment as well. Here are the most important steps you can take to protect your properties: Document everything. Document the state of your home before weather turns extreme. Start by taking an inventory of all your belongings, then create video or photographic documentation of your property, including the interior and exterior of your home. This will help serve as evidence if you need to file an insurance claim later. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy coverage and deductibles. Even if you think you know exactly what your policy covers, review it again. It’s important to ensure your policy and deductibles are still appropriate for your area and needs.For instance, floods aren’t covered in most homeowner’s insurance policies. Does your policy include a provision for “loss of use” coverage in the event you need temporary housing after a storm or fire? What is the maximum you can expect to pay out of pocket? Considering these factors and more in advance can help you set appropriate deductibles while ensuring proper coverage. Maintain an emergency supply kit in the safest part of your home. Every member of your family should know where to head during a storm. This could be the basement or an outdoor shelter. Ensure your safe room is stocked with enough emergency supplies to last at least five days. Your emergency kit should include non-perishable food and water as well as first-aid supplies, blankets, medications, extra clothes, battery- or generator-powered lights, and hand tools. Protect your vehicle during summer Summer months can be the worst for driving, and the reasons are manifold: Summer means busier roads as well as teenagers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and vacationers coming out in droves. The drier weather also allows road construction and maintenance crews to make much-needed repairs after winter storms. Here are a few ways to protect your car — and yourself — during the hazardous summer months ahead: Regularly check your tire pressure and tread. High heat causes the air inside your tires to expand, which increases the chance of a blowout. Tires that are wearing thin are particularly prone to blowouts. To prevent this from happening, ensure your tire pressure meets your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Drive cautiously. This is probably the easiest and yet most overlooked means of preventing road accidents. Being aware and cautious is a driver’s best protection. Keep an eye out for motorcyclists and bicyclists who may try to weave in and out of summer traffic. If you notice a driver swerving or not paying attention, stay back and notify authorities when appropriate. Also, stay alert and watch for children playing in and near streets this time of year. Review your auto insurance policy. As with your homeowner’s policy, check that your auto insurance policy is up to date and adequate to meet your needs. Confirm the...

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Summer Fun and Safety Go Hand in Hand

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

Summer Fun and Safety Go Hand in Hand

With summer nearly here, it’s time to whip out the barbecue and pull the boat out of the shed. However, be sure to keep in mind summer is also “trauma season” for hospitals. Children are more likely to be injured in summer. Follow summer safety tips and insure yourself and your family to keep accidents — and related costs — from derailing your summer and to keep everyone happy and healthy all season long. Avoid accidents Whatever you do this summer, do it with care. This sounds obvious, but simply being careful cannot be stressed enough. Whether you’re grilling outdoors, taking the family to the pool, or pushing through the last hours of work on a Friday, proceed with caution. This means making sure you turn the grill and its gas supply off on when you’re done grilling, avoid excess sun exposure, and don’t cut corners at the office or on your commute home. Check your outdoor areas. Your yard is about to get a lot more traffic and attention in the months to come. Set yourself and others up for safe fun by ensuring there are no hazards on your porches or decks such as popped nails, loose boards, or wobbly railings. Then check your yard for debris such as sharp rocks, branches, and nails. Show your car or RV some TLC. Before you set out on a summer road trip, make sure your car or RV is running smoothly. Have the fluids, tire pressure, brake pads, air filter, and battery checked before leaving home to avoid lost time — or an accident — while on the road. Give your boat a checkup. While you’re having your car checked out, make sure your boat is in good working order, too. Before taking your boat back out on the water, make sure all components are functioning properly. Ensure all necessary safety equipment is on board before leaving shore. Double-check your insurance coverage. No matter how careful you are, accidents still happen. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. If you fear you may have gaps in your coverage or you’re leaving an asset uninsured, call your insurance agent for the insurance you need to give you peace of mind. Items everyone should insure Your residences — Homeowners or renters’ insurance is necessary to protect your possessions. Whatever type of residence you primarily occupy, have a policy to protect it and everything inside it. If you own vacation homes or rental properties, have additional policies drawn up to protect these as well. Your vehicles — Your vehicles are valuable assets. You should insure every vehicle you own. If you get into an accident and don’t have auto insurance, you’ll be responsible for replacing your vehicle out of pocket. If you have auto insurance, your insurance company will help defray that cost. Likewise, your provider will also likely cover a portion of medical bills in the event that someone was injured in the accident. Your toys — Thought you couldn’t insure your toys? Think again. As with all motor vehicles, you should always insure boats and other recreational vehicles. The same goes for jewelry, golf equipment, and computers. If you own items of great value, insure them to protect yourself against loss — especially if you’re planning to take them on vacation. Your family and yourself — The three most important methods individuals should use to insure themselves are life insurance, health insurance, and long-term disability insurance. It’s also important to ensure your health insurance covers you when you’re on holiday across borders, whether it’s a vacation...

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4 Tips to Prevent Teen Distracted Driving

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

4 Tips to Prevent Teen Distracted Driving

There has been a dramatic increase in distracted driving related accidents in the United States because of phone and other electronic device usage — particularly among teenage drivers. This epidemic has drastically increased automobile accident rates and, unfortunately, the number of vehicular injuries and deaths. Distracted driving is an important issue we all have a stake in. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nhtsa.gov, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.” Activities that contribute to distracted driving include phone use: texting talking using any application eating drinking adjusting car or radio settings anything else that could impair a driver’s focus Distracted drivers kill more than eight people and injure 1,161 every day. Teen drivers are particularly at risk for driving while distracted. According to CDC research, “31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.” In the same study, 69% of those surveyed admitted to talking on the phone while driving. Educating teens and helping them understand these potentially deadly distracted driving risks is crucial for their safety and the safety of those around them. These tips can help prevent teen distracted driving: Education —Use resources such as nhtsa.gov and others to educate teens about dangers through real-life stories that detail the damage distracted drivers can do. Agree to avoid distracted driving by signing the Distracted Driving Pledge with the teen drivers in your life. Educate them about your state’s distracted driving laws and remind them that heavier restrictions are likely in many places. Anti-distraction rules — Utilize anti-distraction rules including turning off cell phones and other electronic devices before starting the ignition, not allowing friends to ride in your teen’s car, and other driving mandates that can help instill good driving habits. Encourage your teen to pull over and stop the car if he or she must answer a call. Model good behavior — Adults can be just as guilty of driving distracted. Model good behavior and avoid distracted driving yourself. Pull over if you must talk on the phone or answer a question. Abide by your own distracted driving rules alongside your teen. App solutions — If your teen continues to have trouble avoiding these distractions, consider downloading an application to block calls and text messages while driving. Some apps can even send parents or guardians notifications regarding unsafe driving. These apps can help keep teens from using their phones while driving, thus keeping them focused on driving. DMV.org offers safe driving app comparisons to help you decide which is best for your family. Because of the prevalence of distracted driving in the United States, it’s crucial to carry proper insurance in case of an accident. Carrying adequate and affordable auto insurance can help you replace vehicles if an accident occurs as well as act as a supplemental health insurance plan if necessary. Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today for more information about auto insurance; we’ll work hard to determine the best coverage for you and your family — including your teenage...

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