Utica National, one of our insurance providers, has provided us with some safety tips to share with you on how to prepare your vehicles for the winter. We hope you take these tips seriously and put them to use before the winter hits us. Your safety is our concern, especially when operating a motor vehicle. So please take the time to read the preparation steps below and get yourself ready for the hazardous roads that come with the cold weather.
I’m adding my newly licensed son as a driver to my auto policy; I know this change is going to be expensive. What can I do to offset the increased premium?
Mom in Panic
Dear Mom in Panic,
First, take some deep breaths, meditate, and if that doesn’t work out, hit the liquor cabinet! But honestly, there are plenty of things you can do to offset the premium increase, such as:
- Have all drivers on your policy complete a Defensive Driving Class
- Apply for Good Student Credits
- Having a College Degree
- Garage your Vehicles at night
- Pleasure use versus driving to/from work (use public transportation for your commute)
- Higher deductibles on physical damage coverage
- Mature Driver/Retiree Discount
- Multi-Car Discount
- Multi Policy Discount
- Driver’s Education Courses
By the way, now is a great time to make sure you have high bodily injury limits and purchase an umbrella policy. Call your agent today for more detailed information on these items.
Seniors are referred to as drivers over the age of 65—some of whom are still very active and many of whom are continuing members of the work force. Decreases in vision, hearing, slower motor responses, and changes in cognition have been said to challenge this demographic as they grow older.
Did you ever think that with more of the population aging, they might be doing a better job of acknowledging their limitations? Some seniors I spoke with tell me that they no longer drive at night because it is harder to see and they are not as sharp as they are during the morning hours. Others tell me that they stay out of rush hour and start their days later and end them earlier so that they can avoid heavily traveled roads, especially in inclement weather. Still others advise that they stay off major thoroughfares, and instead drive on side streets and roadways they have driven on all their lives. With the baby boomers fast approaching their 70’s what can we expect? Will their auto insurance rates go up or down? Is it possible that seniors can be said to be driving more cautiously with fewer accidents? Could it be safer roads, reduced speeds, traffic conditions, safer vehicles, the use of seatbelts, daytime running lights, or even the lengthening of daylight savings time in some areas of the country? The fact is that over the past decade it is reported that fatality rates for senior drivers have come down more dramatically than for any other age group. For this reason, auto rates for the age group of 65-75 have decreased in many states with many carriers simply due to the claim statistics.
Most of all, it is reported that older drivers actually drive fewer miles per year than their younger counterparts. Some insurance carriers also take this into consideration when calculating rates for the senior demographics. Of course, we haven’t yet gotten to the point where the “baby boomers” are over 75 years of age. That will take a few more years and it should be interesting to watch the results in insurance rates for this demographic.
It is important that seniors realize their driving ability can change as they age even though they may have been driving their entire life with an excellent safety record. In order to continue to drive safely, it is crucial for seniors to recognize that changes can happen and to regularly assess their driving skills.
By Karen Skolar, CPCU
During a recent rain storm in New York, some portions of Suffolk County received up to 13 inches in a very short time when a weather system stalled. The results: road closures, sink holes, flooded businesses, basements and cars.
How can insurance policies be expected to respond to such damages?
Comprehensively, a physical damage coverage can provide some relief if your vehicle is damaged by flood. However, there are limitations depending on the type of coverage purchased, the proximate cause of a loss, and the steps you take to safeguard the vehicle afterwards.
Usually for property and business owners flood coverage is not provided under Homeowner’s, Businessowner’s or Package policies. Should Flood coverage be included, it is usually for limited amounts or in the form of a Water Back Up Endorsement.
FLOOD INSURANCE-Your best form of protection:
Flood insurance is the best safeguard against damages and destruction caused by:
- overflow of navigable waters
- mud slides
- unusual and rapid accumulation of surface water
- runoff water
- collapse and subsidence caused by erosion
- Super Storms such as “Sandy”
As with any exposure to loss, we strongly urge you to discuss your concerns with your agent or broker before something happens and find out the best way to protect your assets and your family.
By: Karen Skoler, CPCU
I was recently very surprised to learn that today’s thieves have stolen far more smaller family vehicles than the more traditional sporty cars such as Camaros, Corvettes, Jaguars, Aston Martins, Mustangs, Porsches and the like. Such statistics garnered by the National Crime Information Center for the period 2009-2012 further indicate that the Toyota Corolla is a huge favorite with thieves and far surpasses the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Nissan Sentra. Even subcompacts such as the Toyota Yaris and the Nissan Versa are targeted favorites. Do you suppose the recession is hitting the thieves as hard as the consumer? Is it that the cost of gas is forcing them to be more economical when stealing a vehicle?
As you would expect, the incidence of recovery after a theft is just the opposite: sports cars are not easily recovered, while the compact and subcompact cars tend to be recovered more often than not. So, what we as insurance consultants must be diligent about is recommending the need for comprehensive coverage for our clients, especially those whose vehicles are most likely to be the target of a theft. Furthermore, the highest theft rates for the compact and subcompact vehicles seems to be in California, Texas and Florida, but that doesn’t mean that we in the tri-state area are immune from this crime.
Now more than ever, we need stress the need for physical damage coverage. For sure, this is not an area to look at when trying to cut premium costs.
By Karen Skoler, CPCU
Two drivers get into an accident and one is at fault. The problem is that the one who is at fault may not have insurance. If that is the case than that operator now becomes an uninsured motorist. What if that operator is YOU? So how can you get compensated for your loss? That is where Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Coverage (a/k/a UM/UIM) from your automobile policy becomes very important. Uninsured Motorist can provide you with coverage for any bodily injuries you suffer in this accident.
Now let’s say that the other driver has some insurance; however, they only carry minimum liability limits. In this case, your UM/UIM coverage can provide the difference between your actual injury expenses and the other driver’s coverage up to the limits provided under YOUR own policy. Of course, this is only if you are carrying higher UM/UIM limits that the other driver. Keep in mind that the minimum UM/IUM liability limits vary from state to state and in NYS those limits are only $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence no matter how many people are injured in an accident.
What is most important to understand about UM/IUM coverages is that it only applies when you are involved in an accident and, the person causing the accident, doesn’t have any insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your bodily injuries. The coverage also applies when you are the victim of a hit and run accident, a pedestrian knock down or a bicycle knock down accident. In such cases, you can file an “uninsured motorist” claim with your own auto insurance carrier, under your own coverage.
Do you know what your limits are? Have you reviewed these limits with your insurance agent?
You may believe that such occurrences are not common; however, insurance information sources indicate that up to one (1) out of every seven (7) drivers is uninsured and of those who are insured, many carry only minimum limits. In some states these limits might be as low as $10,000 for each person injured, and $20,000 regardless of how many are injured in one accident. This is not all that surprising given our current economic climate where many people are trying to reduce costs whenever and wherever possible. Even radio and television advertisements seem to be more interested in the cost of insurance rather than in the actual product(s) or coverages being provided. As the economy struggles toward recovery, we urge you not to sacrifice necessary and important coverage for reduced premiums. It could mean your hard earn assets could be wiped out if your limits are not enough to cover your injuries and the necessary expenses related to your recovery.
If you have any doubts about what coverages you should have in place, do not hesitate to contact your insurance agent today.
Are you aware that your Umbrella Policy may or may not offer some additional UM/IUM protection for you and your family? This is what your insurance agent is there for—-to educate and consult with you, as the consumer, so that you can make good choices on what assets and property you want to protect.
By Karen Skoler, CPCU
Q: How Can I Lower by Auto and Homeowners Premiums?
Does your insurance company offer the following Discounts?
• Increasing your Deductibles
• Pay In Full Discounts
• Applying Alarm Discounts
• Being Retired
• Having a College or Masters Degree
• Good Grades if you are in school
• Defensive Driving Discounts
• Driver Education Discounts
Do you have your insurance with the same company?
Packaging your policies together with one company can offer you the highest savings.
Q: If I should receive a seat belt or cell phone violation while driving could this affect my insurance?
A: Yes, most insurance companies consider these minor moving violations and can affect your insurance rates.
So be sure to click it
And zip it
Call your agent today for additional information.
We use our cars for the dreaded carpool, family vacations, to drive mommy dearest to her Doctor’s appointments, as well as to move your son back home for the second time. Lastly, you have just paid his tuition fees for the Fall Semester and this seems to be good time to scale back on expenses. You know you’re a safe driver! And you no longer are required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage, so why not drop it?
In the meantime your vehicle is damaged beyond repair. The other driver is at fault but doesn’t have adequate insurance or any insurance at all to replace your vehicle or the other two parked cars he/she has hit. You will now incur the costs of purchasing a new car.
For example: If at the time of loss, coverage was still in place, your 2010 vehicle valued at $11,000 was subject to a $1,000 deductible; and you and the carrier agree on a settlement of $9,000. A check for $8,000 would surely come in handy.
The average cost for a moderately priced sedan is between $25,000-$30,000. Finance agreements typically last for 4 years. A general rule of thumb would be to drop the coverage for average vehicles after 10 years. Antique or Classic automobiles would be an exception as their value often appreciates.
You can reference http://www.nadaguides.com for estimates of all types of vehicles. This type of information will help you make an informed decision as to whether or not you should keep Comprehensive and Collision coverage in place.
– Lavette Wright
Q: If I hit a deer on the way home from a camping trip, what part of my auto policy pays the claim, Comprehensive or Collision?
A: Comprehensive Coverage. Most people think that colliding with something, be it an animal or inanimate object, must be covered under the Collision provision of the policy. However, accidents with animals are actually covered under the Comprehensive Coverage of your automobile policy