NAVIGATION - SEARCH

Why Staying with Your Car Insurance Company Can Be a Good Thing

You’ve probably seen tips on other insurance blogs or heard advice through auto insurers directly about how important it is to shop around for quotes. While this is a strong practice to allow yourself access to the best rates for your car make, age, and driving history, it isn’t always the best idea. For some people, staying with the same auto insurer for an extended period of time has been the most cost-effective, practical solution for their circumstances.

What many people don’t think about when deciding to switch auto insurance companies is the quality of the services, not just the quantity of cash they’ll save. Just because a car insurance company is offering cheaper rates than your current insurance policy doesn’t mean it’s a better policy. Before you switch to a different insurance company that offers you a lower quote than the insurer you’re currently dealing with, make sure you weigh the options. Staying with your current car insurance company can be a positive decision.

 

Renewal Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for several years. Arbella offers an additional 1% loyalty credit for every year you renew with them. Ameriprise offers discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for three years. While some insurance companies offer discounts when you renew with them, most companies offer more substantial discounts on other fronts.

 

Bundling Discounts

A lot of insurance companies will give you a discount if you bundle your car insurance with your home or life insurance policies. Nationwide, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and other insurance companies offer discounts to people who purchase multiple insurance policies with them. If you have bundled policies and have earned a discount as a result, you may have to prepare yourself for higher rates if you decide to switch insurance companies or forego a policy.

 

Accident Forgiveness

Nationwide, Allstate, Travelers, and dozens of other insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to their clients. Accident forgiveness refers to a park in which customers do not have to pay extra rates after their first at-fault accidents. Most accident forgiveness discounts can only be redeemed after 5 or 6 years of loyalty to the insurer. If you’ve been with the same company for long enough to qualify for this perk (or are close to this threshold), staying with your auto insurance company could be beneficial.

 

Overall Loyalty

As a general benefit from staying with your auto insurance company, you’ll have a better relationship with your insurer. Building trust with an agent creates a positive working relationship. This trust may help you in the long run; if you ever need to file a claim after an accident, this process should be simpler and more successful if you are speaking with an agent you’re very familiar with. If your agent knows your driving habits and history well, he or she will be able to recommend the best coverage for you. Getting acquainted with your insurance company is a huge perk to staying loyal to your insurance company.


If you believe none of these benefits affect you directly right now, you might want to shop around for auto insurance quotes. If one of these perks applies to your current policy, sticking with your current company could be the best option, especially if the quotes you’re seeing aren’t significantly lower than your current rate.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook

Risk of a Car Crash Increases with Every Hour of Lost Sleep

Drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep nearly double their risk of a crash, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

If you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep, sleep deprivation could cause you to get into an accident. The AAA Foundation found that sleep-deprived drivers had a steadily increasing risk of being involved in a collision in comparison to drivers who slept for the recommended seven hours or more before getting behind the wheel:

  • Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk
  • Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk
  • Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk
  • Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk

Sleep deprivation similar to being drunk

Sleep deprivation can seriously impair your ability to drive. In fact, the study found that drivers who get less than five hours of sleep share the same crash risk as someone who is driving over the legal limit for alcohol.

“You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”

One in three adults sleep less than seven hours a day

While 97 per cent of drivers told the AAA Foundation they viewed drowsy driving as a completely unacceptable behaviour, nearly one in three admitted that in the month leading up to the survey, they drove when they were so tired, they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.

“Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk.”

No matter how much you open your windows or how loud you turn up your radio, you can’t trick your body into staying awake. In fact, you could easily fall asleep behind the wheel without even realizing it.

And while caffeine can make you more alert, the effects usually wear off quickly if you’re sleep deprived. Coffee or other stimulants cannot substitute sleep, and the AAA urges drivers to prioritize getting plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) into their daily schedules.

Signs that you are drowsy

When you are drowsy or tired, you are less alert and your reaction time is impacted. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation notes eight signs that you are too tired to drive:

  • You have difficulty keeping your eyes open.
  • Your head keeps tilting forward despite your efforts to keep your eyes on the road.
  • Your mind keeps wandering and you can’t seem to concentrate.
  • You yawn frequently.
  • You can’t remember details about the last few kilometres you have travelled.
  • You are missing traffic lights and signals.
  • Your vehicle drifts into the next lane and you have to jerk it back into your lane.
  • You have drifted off the road and narrowly avoided a crash.

Penalties for drowsy driving

Though there appears to be no specific law in Canada that targets driving while fatigued, you could easily catch the eye of the police if you’re driving while drowsy—even if you’re not involved in a collision. If you’re not able to stay in your lane, or if you run a red light or make an unsafe lane change, you can end up with a ticket.

And while tickets come with a one-time fine, they can also affect your auto insurance premiums for years to come, as they stay on your driving record for at least three years.

Then, of course, if you’re involved a collision, the penalties for driving while fatigued are more serious. You could be charged with dangerous driving, careless driving or even criminal negligence.

Don’t risk it; get the sleep you need to drive safely behind the wheel.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook

Umbrella Insurance for a Very Rainy Day

Many consumers are not aware of the benefits provided by an umbrella policy and many may not even be aware of the existence of such a policy. Others might just view it as an “upsell” offered by insurance companies and agents hoping to make some extra income. However, the policy actually offers significant benefit to individuals and, according to the Insurance Journal, the state of Maryland’s Insurance Administration has issued a consumer advisory explaining the policy’s benefits. If you don’t currently have an umbrella policy, you’ll want to read on to understand better what it can do for you and your family.

In your standard home insurance policy, there’s a limit of liability for personal liability claims. The usual coverage that’s automatically provided is generally $100,000. However, given today’s litigious society and the cost of medical care, a claim can easily exceed that amount. If you are a homeowner, your assets, including your house, can be attached in the event of a judgment against you. This is where an umbrella policy can really help out.

The personal umbrella policy is given its name because it acts as an umbrella over more than just your personal liability policy. Most people who have umbrellas use the policy as extra protection for both their personal liability and automobile liability coverages. For example, if you have a $1 million umbrella policy, it will provide the $1 million in protection if either your personal liability or auto liability policy limits were exhausted.

Keep in mind that this is a liability policy and not a property policy. Therefore, even though your home insurance policy has two main types of coverage, the umbrella only applies to the personal liability portion of the coverage. As an example, if you have not insured your home for the proper amount and have a large claim, the umbrella policy will not provide you with any benefit. On the other hand, if someone is injured on your property and sues you, the umbrella policy will be prepared to step in if your home insurance policy’s personal liability limit is exhausted.

It’s common for people to consider the umbrella policy as an optional item and not necessary. Even if they are aware of the existence of umbrellas, many people choose not to purchase them, thinking that a very large loss will never happen to them. Unfortunately, when something unforeseen actually happens, it’ll be too late to purchase the coverage. Umbrellas are generally inexpensive when viewed in relation to how much coverage they provide. That low premium is a good sign of the relative infrequency of loss contemplated by the insurance companies in underwriting the policies. However, just because everyone thinks it’s rare for a loss to occur doesn’t mean they don’t believe it will never occur.

You should also keep in mind that there might be some ways to save on insurance premiums by purchasing an umbrella policy. Because many insurance companies offer a multi-policy discount, you might find that it’ll defray the cost quite a bit. When I first started purchasing an umbrella policy, the discount I received from adding it to my existing home and auto policies with the same insurer almost covered the entire cost of the umbrella! Given its low cost and potentially great benefit, you should really invest in an umbrella policy.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook

What Car Warranty is Best for Me?

Whether you're shopping for a new or used car, most people have a general idea that a warranty is a good idea. Warranties are often considered to be a form of "insurance" - you pay out a fee and in exchange, your car will be fixed if anything on it breaks, but unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. There are different types of warranties and a warranty might not necessarily cover everything that you think it will. Here is everything you need to know:

What Exactly is an Auto Warranty?

A warranty is a contract between either you and your dealership or you and your manufacturer. At its simplest, a warranty sets out a specific amount of time and mileage; any defects and repairs that are necessary under that time and mileage amount are automatically covered under warranty. Warranties usually last around three years or 36,000 miles. They can also be extended upon vehicle purchase. This is very common when used vehicles are purchased. 

But an auto warranty is not a type of insurance even though it is often presented as one. Auto warranties are only designed to fix parts that are considered to be defective or faulty. They are not designed to fix parts that have broken down from wear-and-tear, collisions or other issues. There are also different types of auto warranties that you need to understand.

What Types of Warranty Coverage Exist?

  • Drivetrain and powertrain warranties - These warranties are designed to ensure that the very essential components of the vehicle last: the engine, transmission and the associated parts. Drivetrain and powertrain warranties protect against manufacturer defects of these components but will be voided if they haven't been properly serviced (such as with regular oil changes).
  • Bumper-to-bumper warranties - The standard bumper-to-bumper warranty is a three-year warranty (or 36,000 miles) that governs the parts of the vehicle from bumper-to-bumper. If these parts are considered to be defective, they will be repaired as needed.
  • Rust or corrosion warranties - This type of warranty is rarer but may be tacked on to the other warranty. This covers rust and corrosion if it occurs due to a defect.
  • Federal emissions warranties - This warranty is more popular now and will cover any repairs necessary to ensure that the vehicle meets its emissions standards.
  • Roadside assistance - This is another specialty warranty that offers roadside assistance if a vehicle breaks down. Most people already have this through their insurance.

How Does a Warranty Work?

To go through a warranty, you must first contact the vehicle entity you have a relationship with: either your dealer or your manufacturer. They will then direct you to the repair shop that will work with you. 

Warranties can be voided if an individual does not maintain their vehicle properly. Auto Tek provides complete auto services that will ensure that all the parts of your vehicle are well-maintained so that you can stay within your warranties. Contact our team of professionals today!

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook

The Problem with Employer-Provided Life Insurance

Working for “the man” got you down? Just wait till he takes your life insurance policy away.

If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that offers employee benefits, life insurance through a group policy might be among the perks you can take advantage of. Group life insurance policies generally offer a decent amount of coverage at a reasonable price and some give the option of adding a certain level of additional (supplemental) coverage.

Sounds great, right? Now you can check getting life insurance off of your “to do” list.

Or not.

While group life insurance through your employer is far better than no life insurance at all, it may not be enough to protect your family from financial hardship if the unthinkable were to happen to you.

The Downsides to Many Group Insurance Policies 

  • Coverage Limits—Some policies may set a limit on the amount of coverage you can get. Often, the coverage you’re eligible for will be based on some multiple of your income. To obtain more coverage, you may have to apply for an additional policy from another source.
  • Less Flexibility in Benefit Options—Group life insurance doesn’t typically provide the option of adding benefit riders like those for accelerated death, child term, or disability.
  • Lack of Control Over Your Policy—With the policy owned by your employer, not by you, you could find yourself with no life insurance if your boss reduces the benefits or entirely drops the group policy.

And there’s more. 

The Biggest Potential Problem with Group Life Insurance 

Now you Have it, Now you Don’t—A group policy typically disappears if you’re laid off or if you voluntarily leave the company. So, if that’s your only source of life insurance, you’re banking on the idealistic vision that you’ll be working for your employer for a long time. Unfortunately, real world data shows that’s not very likely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.6 years in 2014.

While some group policies are portable, allowing you to take coverage with you by remaining a part of the group after you leave a company, with most you simply lose coverage. If you opt to continue coverage with the group policy, be warned—you might find yourself paying a rather hefty premium to the insurance company.

Some group life policies offer the option to convert them to individual policies. These are also generally quite expensive, but they offer the advantage of being guaranteed issue. 

Term Life: An Affordable Way to get More Peace of Mind

According to LIFE Happens.org, four out of every ten married couples have only group coverage. And one in four Americans believes he/she needs more life insurance. If your only form of life insurance protection is through your company’s policy, individual term life insurance might be just the thing you need to protect your loved ones financially and give yourself peace of mind.

Term life insurance offers coverage at premiums often significantly less than those for portable group and whole life policies. Best of all, they’re flexible in the amount of coverage you can apply for and the length of the time (the term) your policy will be in effect. Typical term periods are 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. The term period locks in the policy cost for that specific time and your rates will not increase at any point during your coverage.

You can quickly and easily get a term life quote online. And if you need help determining how much coverage your family might need or have other questions about term life insurance, reach out to a trusted life insurance professional for guidance.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook

Extended Car Warranty, How To Choose The Right Plan…

There are many extended car warranty programs to choose from but it can be a bit tricky to find a “reputable” plan to suit your needs. The best way to choose a reliable extended car warranty program is to find a company that makes the following criteria…

1. Make sure the company is in business for 10 years or more. This assures you that they are not only in the business of selling coverage but also successfully paying claims.
2. You want to choose a company that has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and perhaps more importantly, is accredited by the BBB which holds them to a much higher standard of excellent business practices and customer service.
3. You want the warranty program to be directly underwritten by a US-based insurance carrier holding at least an A rating with an industry rating service such as AM Best or Standard & Poors. This will assure you that if any part of the claims administration process fails the underwriter will directly pick up all claims if needed.

There are also many different levels of coverage available for your vehicle. These levels are Power train, Major Component Plus, High-Tech Component, Component Type Bumper-To-Bumper, or Exclusionary Bumper-To-Bumper coverage. Depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle all or most of these levels could be available. It is important to look through the different levels of coverage for any companies you are considering side-by-side to make sure that you are purchasing the best coverage available for your needs. Do not rely on plan names such as Platinum, Elite, or Gold as they do not always correctly define the level of coverage you are purchasing. Some less than reputable companies will take a very basic plan and label it with a very fancy name. You want to look at the actual list of what is covered to make sure you are getting what you’re paying for.

All in all, an extended car warranty is an excellent investment and can save you thousands of dollars over the term of the coverage. To begin researching the different types of coverage you can visit Auto Advantage and see what the choices are. It is a great idea to fill out the quote request form and let them send you the specifics including coverage details and pricing.

 

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook

Five Things You Should Be Doing to Ensure a Safe Holiday Season

There’s nothing like spending time with family during the holidays. It’s one of the few times we get each year to truly unwind and appreciate the presence of the ones we love. However, burglars have also found this time of year excellent for taking advantage of homeowners who aren’t expecting disaster during such a happy time. Following these five tips will help you ensure the holidays are secure for your family:

1. Take Care with Packages

Ordering gifts to be delivered through the mail is becoming as common an activity as going to the store to pick them out, and large boxes are a beacon for burglars. If you’re expecting packages, avoid leaving them on your doorstep for extended periods of time. Try to schedule delivery to coincide with times when you’re home for maximum safety.

2. Conceal the Anticipation (Slightly)

A pile of gifts and an array of decorations do a good job of getting the family excited about the upcoming celebration, but they also tend to attract unwanted attention. Eliminate visibility of expensive-looking holiday gifts and ornaments from the outside of your home.

3. Remember Fire Safety

If you’re lighting extra candles for the holidays, make sure to keep your basic fire safety procedures in mind. Keeping flames out of the reach of pets and small children are a must. Also remember to put candles out before going to bed.

4. Make Your Whereabouts Secret

If you plan to spend time out of town, find a way to make your house looked lived-in. There’s nothing burglars like to see more than an unoccupied home. Consider having a neighbor stop by periodically to create the allusion of activity on your property. You could also schedule your lights to be turned on and off using home automation.

Consider a Home Security System

If you want to ensure that the safety of your home is being monitored at all times, consider installing a home security system. A wireless home security system will empower you to receive alerts about activity on your property, call for help when it’s needed and even control lights and locks remotely.

LiveWatch home security systems come fully equipped for holiday safety and can easily be upgraded to include home automation services for added convenience. LiveWatch security consultants are here to help you pick a system that fits your needs.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook