In An Auto Accident? Do This

Car accidents happen to new and old drivers alike. Knowing the steps to take following an accident can ease the insurance process and protect drivers from liability. The correct immediate actions can save insurance and personal worries later. These are the steps to take following an auto accident:

1. Be Safe

Before anything, secure the scene. Safety is the top priority. Exiting vehicles, placing flares or cones, or moving off the roadway may be necessary. Exercise judgment. Remain on the shoulder and away from traffic.

2. Assess for Injuries

Following an auto accident, people may be in shock, unaware of injuries. Check the persons involved. Persons with suspected back injuries should remain in place. For those comfortable doing so, apply first aid where necessary. Any medical staff present may be able to assist.

3. Call 911

As soon as possible, call 911. If performing first aid, direct another person to call emergency services. This is also true for car accidents without any injury, as police records may be important. If alone, call 911 quickly.

4. Gather Information

After completing the preliminary steps, gather information for later insurance purposes later. Collect driver information including insurance carriers. Take photos of the scene, vehicles involved, and license plates. Any information regarding first responders may help. These experiences are harrowing; important details may be lost to memory. Write all information down.

5. Cooperate

Accidents may trigger intense emotional responses. Working together with first responders and other drivers helps accomplish more. Medical personnel train for this.

6: Remain Neutral

Discussing the accident, the time period leading up to it, or personal involvement would be a poor decision. The moments immediately following may be the worst time for discussion. Inform police a statement will be available at a later time. For drivers concerned about involvement, a lawyer may be helpful.

7. Stay Silent on Social Media

The urge for talking about a car accident on social media may be strong, yet this is strongly inadvisable. Detectives and lawyers count on this, scouring social media accounts for incriminating information.

Once things settle, contact an insurance agent. The unexpected happens. Prepare with a plan and comprehensive auto insurance. Always a source for great information about auto insurance and other insurance-related topics, contact an agent for insurance questions.


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Does my Auto Policy Protect Me in a Rental Car?

Drive it like a rental, right? Only if you have insurance coverage! Renting a car the question comes always up: buy extra insurance with a rental car or pass? Adding insurance to rental cars adds up – up to over $200.00 a week on top of other costs.

Rental car companies are charging for rental damages and repairs using complex agreements. The good news is: you may already have rental car insurance coverage. Before renting a car, check insurance coverage using these three steps:

1. Read Insurance Policy Documents

Owned insurance coverage is the first place to start. Auto insurance policies may include basic coverage for rental car damage. Even without one, short-term policies are available.

When reading an existing auto policy, ask the following questions:

  • Is there rental car coverage? The first thing to know before moving on.
  • What is my deductible? Often the same as your personal vehicle, but good check.
  • Does my policy cover accidents, fire, theft, and vandalism? Agencies typically require this coverage.
  • Does my policy include rental cars for business travel? If you’re at work or on vacation matters – make sure you’re covered. Your company policy may cover you in event of business travel.
  • Does my auto policy cover extra fees and charges by the rental agency? Towing costs, mileage, decreased value and others add up!
  • Does my car insurance plan pay for the actual value of a rental car? There’s coverage and there’s adequate coverage. Make sure you aren’t going to be left holding a bill.

After reviewing your policy you may find you’re covered, or you might still have gaps to fill. Oftentimes, credit card companies include rental coverage with cardholder benefits. The next place to check for rental car coverage is a credit card issuer.

2. Check Your Credit Card Benefits

Major credit card issuers cover rental car insurance costs within benefits programs. Coverage varies depending on the issuing agency. Some cover varies expenses and fees issued by the rental car company.

Before checking this box, confirm with the credit card company. The largest issuing companies are available using the following toll-free numbers:

  • American Express: 800-338-1670
  • Discover: 800-347-2683;
  • MasterCard: 800-622-7747
  • Visa: 800-847-2911

Rental car insurance coverage through a credit card agency works along with auto insurance coverage, covering the leftovers. The credit card must be used to pay for the rental, for benefits to be available. The cardholder must be the person driving the rental. Credit card companies do not cover all losses, and exotic or luxury rental cars are usually excluded.

After reviewing options through credit card agencies the process is near complete. Before accepting or declining the rental agency insurance, the last step is to read the fine print.

3. Review the Car Rental Agreement

Rental car companies train their staff to make their auto insurance coverage feel mandatory. When reviewing your agreement, take the time to review the fine print. The agreement will state your liability, and where the company takes responsibility. States require rental agencies to provide coverage of differing levels. If using a credit card to rent your vehicle you may already have adequate coverage.

If planning on taking a rental across any state or international borders, be sure to check coverage. State requirements mean coverage changes when crossing over. Personal coverage is not valid in Mexico or other countries (except Canada, usually).

All this considered coverage may leave gaps. Unlicensed drivers, driving on unpaved roads or off-road, racing, DUI and more can all complicate car rental insurance coverage. Vacation is supposed to be fun. Take the worry away with affordable insurance coverage. Contact an agent today about car rental insurance for the next road trip!

Always on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that may impact health and wallet! For any insurance-related questions be sure to call.


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Building a Home or Remodeling Get Builders Risk!

 

Nearly every homeowner insures their home against fire, burglary, and the usual risks. The catch? Often, their insurance only covers completed structures. Home construction and remodels aren’t typically covered under standard home insurance policies. If you’re planning to build or renovate on your property, consider builders risk insurance.

What is builders risk insurance

Builders risk insurance policies extend property insurance coverage to include renovations and new builds. Builders risk policies are available for both commercial and residential insurance customers. Your new build faces many of the same risks as your home or business. Insuring against physical loss protects your investment.

What it covers

Builders risk plan coverage ranges depending on the business or home. Typical plans include protection against weather damage, vandalism, and theft. Plans general include all protections but can be tailored to provide specific types of coverage. Faulty workmanship by a licensed contractor may be an example of extra insurance coverage desired.

Why you need it

If you’re planning to build on your property you may need builders risk insurance. Oftentimes city and county codes require you obtain coverage prior to construction. Contractors will not always foot the bill. Homeowners can suffer delays if contractors do not carry builders risk. In many cases, construction cannot begin until the project is insured. Homeowners may wish to carry their own policy regardless to exercise more control over any potential claims.

What you need to know

In some situations, builders insurance may be your only protection. In Texas, for example, builders are not forced to back their work financially – but insurance will. In areas prone to flooding, earthquakes, or other natural disasters ensure contractors are familiar local FEMA regulations.

Protect your property

Construction authorization is required in most Texas cities. The Texas floodplain includes areas unfit for construction. It is imperative contractors check FEMA maps before construction permits are sought. It is recommended homeowners and business owners check maps as well. The best guarantee is always seeking the services of a reputable contractor. No agreement is strong enough to fix poor work.

Contact an agent

Discover whether your construction project has insurance coverage. Plans can be created for to cover many aspects of your build – including loan payback. Talk to your insurance provider today to learn more.

We love information on insurance topics and ideas with a bearing on your health and finances. Please share any topics you find interesting. Contact us for all matters related to general, personal, business and home insurance. We will be more than happy to assist you.


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Watch Out For This Before Renting Your Home

Many homeowners are making extra income renting their homes out short-term. Most don’t know the increased insurance risks this carries – until it’s too late. If you’re planning to rent out your home, make sure you know you don’t risk a lawsuit.

More than 60% of homeowners do not know if their insurance covers renters. This is the claim made by Assurant, surveying over 1000 New York homeowners on their home insurance coverage. This survey also found a whopping 40% of homeowners were not sure if they would liable should a visitor injure themselves on their property.

Homeowners, this may come as a shock: You are likely liable if someone hurts themselves on your property. Most home insurance policies exclude claims made by guests on your property. Vice President of Technology at Assurant, Kunal Malhotra, said minor problems (like breaking a television) and large problems (such as falling off a deck) are very different from an insurance standpoint.

Limited Coverage for Rentals

Before you decide to rent your home short-term, make sure you’re actually allowed to. Many properties and home-owners associations bar short-term rentals. Some providers allow policyholders to rent out their house for short stays (a week, for example) when informed ahead of time. You may need to add a rider or extra coverage to your current plan, covering any losses or liability that may occur from renters.

For homeowners renting out their homes often, a policy update may be necessary. If you find your rental is popular, you may want to consider hotel insurance coverage. Conventional homeowner policies do not cover business activities, such as operating a rental. Renting to a single guest for long periods of time requires a landlord plan be included.

Increasing Your Coverage

No one wants to pay the high costs of a lawsuit. Contact your insurance provider to see which policy options best suit your needs.
Some short-term rental websites provide insurance coverage to homeowners. For example, homeowners listing with Airbnb have access to coverage up to $1 million per rental.

Vacasa is another holiday rental website that will provide up to $1 million in home liability coverage, and also up to $10,000 in property insurance if you have coverage with Assurant. You must have the right coverage to avoid paying high costs in case of a lawsuit.

If you plan on renting out your home, make sure you have the insurance coverage you need. Homeowners insurance policy coverage varies – you may not be covered for vacation rentals. Talk to an agent today to see what options will suit you best.

Have a topic you think we should look into? We are always looking for ways to help your health and your wallet. If you have any insurance-related questions contact us today.


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Adding a Teen Driver? Do This

Recent findings by experts in the insurance industry show that the cost of including a teen on a car insurance policy is decreasing.

A few years ago, including a teen driver on one’s auto insurance would have added about 85% to one’s policy only 5 years ago. Currently, the rate change is about 78%.

While an improvement it is still a substantial amount. So why is the inclusion of the teen driver seen as an added risk? The main reason is that the adolescent driver is more likely to be involved in accidents than more experienced drivers are.

Indeed, reports by the National Highway Traffic Safety and Security Administration indicate that auto accidents are the main cause of death among teen drivers. About 2000 of youthful drivers died in auto related accidents in 2015, which was a significant rise of about 10% from the previous year.

The premium paid for adding a teen driver can be particularly painful when the teen involved is male. There is a major discrepancy between the insurance cost for male teens and their female counterparts. (On average adding a male driver increases costs by 89%, compared to only 66% for female teens. This cost also varies depending on the state.

Why are rates Falling?

  • There are fewer teen drivers getting drivers licenses.
  • Technology has made cars safer to drive. This is especially true for newer vehicles with advanced collision prevention systems.
  • Graduated driving programs impose greater restrictions on young drivers until they have more experience behind the wheel.

It is important when adding a teen to your car insurance that you work to prevent accidents so your rates don’t go even higher.

  • Have a strong commitment from your teen that they will not touch their mobile device while driving. (There is new technology on the way that can disable mobile phone apps while a vehicle is in motion.)
  • Instead of purchasing a “personal” car for a teenager, purchase a “family” car that they are allowed to use. It belongs to the house, not to them. Install monitoring devices to ensure speed limits are adhered to and that the car is being properly driven. Have a firm understanding that the care may be used with permission and if the rules are followed. This can also be tied to maintaining excellent grades, etc. Upon graduation, the car could be gifted to the teen as they move to college.
  • Be sure the car has plenty of automated safety features to protect your teen, their passengers, and others on the road. Airbags are a good start. Yet more modern cars are so much more capable of keeping drivers safe.

What can you do to reduce teen auto insurance costs?

  • The first year is a teen driver’s most important. A parent/guardian needs to take an active role in helping to establish good driving habits. These include how to handle a vehicle, show respect & courtesy to other drivers, and how to stay safe on the road.
  • Many Insurance companies offer classes for teens. Successfully completing these can reduce rates. In addition, insurance carriers often offer discounts on insurance if teens maintain good grades.
  • Many states have graduated driving programs. These limit the driving capabilities of younger drivers, particularly night time driving. Be sure your teen abides by these programs.

Naturally, we’re here to help answer your insurance questions and to make certain you and your teen always have the best insurance at the most affordable rate possible.


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