How Will Insurance Fit Into Your 2016 Budget?

As 2015 comes to a close, many individuals are considering their goals for 2016, specifically their financial goals and changes they would like to see in their budget and savings. While you are considering your 2016 financial goals, don’t forget to consider how insurance coverage will fit into your new budget.

Why Insurance is Crucial to Your Budget

Many people consider insurance a lesser priority than many other aspects of their budget, like say their house or car payment. However, insurance deserves a much higher ranking on your budgeting priority list. The reason is because insurance is the safety net that can keep your entire financial life from crashing down. Sickness, natural disaster, injuries, fires, floods, storms, car accidents, and other unpredictable events can throw the most carefully planned budget into a tailspin that could take years to recover from. Insurance against these events is the easiest and most reliable way to make sure you can face anything life throws at you. In the event of a catastrophe, the entire budget is dependent on the insurance choices you have made previously.

Which Type of Insurance is Important?

The types of insurance you need depends greatly on where you are in life. Do you own a home or rent? Are you married or single? Do you have children? Do you own a vehicle? Do you own recreational vehicles? Do you work in a dangerous occupation? All of these questions will help guide you in choosing the types of insurance you need in order to make sure you and your family are well protected in the event of a tragedy.

When most people think of insurance, they think health insurance and life insurance. However, many families have found that unexpected home damage or car accidents can have a devastating impact on their family as well. This is why you cannot ignore your need for sufficient home and auto coverage. Often taking the minimal route can prove financial disastrous later on.

Fitting Insurance into the Budget

If you are like most people you are tempted to say, “but I can’t fit insurance into my budget.” The truth is you can’t afford not to fit it in. A careful evaluation of your income and spending will very likely reveal areas of spending that can be curbed in order to insure yourself and your family properly. Compare quote comparisons to help make sure you get the absolutely best deal available to fit your New Year budgeting goals.

Do You Need Additional Personal Injury Protection?

Do you need additional insurance above what is required by law in your state? Auto insurance often covers liability, collision, and personal injury protection. Liability covers you if you are at fault, you pay for repairs to the other person’s property and cover medical bills. Collision coverage is where your insurance will cover repairing your vehicle if you are at fault, minus any destructible. And personal injury protection is something that every motorist should consider when determining how much insurance you actually need.

What Is Personal Injury Protection?

Personal injury protection, often abbreviated PIP, is a type of insurance that will pay for your injuries, regardless of whether or not you are at fault. While you may have health insurance, sometimes health insurance doesn’t cover everything and personal injury protection coverage can help pay for those things.

For example, if you have a high deductible on your health insurance, or if you require in-home care or special physical therapy, your health insurance may not cover certain procedures or may cover them only after the high deductible is met. Most health insurance does not cover lost wages or funeral expenses. These are some areas where personal injury protection may be able to help.

Personal injury protection may pay for things such as lost wages due to the accident, hospital bills, physical therapy, in-home care, rehab, prescriptions, doctors’ bills, and can even pay for funeral expenses.

Sometimes called “no-fault insurance,” where it is available may depend on whether your state is considered a no-fault insurance state.

Personal Injury Protection Can Cover More Than Just You

But personal injury protection can cover more than just your injuries when you are driving your car. Personal injury protection can extend to your passengers. It can also cover you if you are riding in someone else’s car or if you are walking or riding your bicycle and get hit by a car.

When you combine personal injury protection with uninsured motorist protection, you’re more likely to be covered if someone else doesn’t have insurance and causes an accident.

Having personal injury protection makes a lot of sense. Talk with an independent insurance agent about personal injury protection and how it works in your particular state.

How to Shop for Auto Insurance Online

Shopping for auto insurance may seem daunting, especially if you are online and looking at various auto insurance carriers. Not all policies and not all auto insurance carriers are the same which is why you need to compare quotes before making a decision to go with a particular policy.

How Much Insurance Do You Actually Need?

Your first step in buying car insurance is to understand how much insurance you actually need. Some people are very safe drivers, whereas other people can be aggressive drivers or have a fair number of accidents and need more coverage. You may need to look at insurance coverage that will handle collision coverage if you are more prone to having accidents. If you live in a place where there is a lot of wind, you may want to consider something such as comprehensive insurance that can handle a tree falling on your car.

Comparing Policies and Features

When looking for auto insurance, it’s important to realize that not all policies are the same. Policies cover various items including collision, personal injury protection, liability, uninsured motorist, comprehensive, and other possible coverages. Policies may vary from state to state; some states require certain coverages, whereas other states often require only liability.

When looking for an auto insurance policy, it’s important for you speak to an independent insurance agent so that you can compare policies and prices. By doing this, you can determine whether the policy you are looking at is a good price and whether it has the coverages you need.

Choose a Good Insurance Company

It’s tempting to go with the lowest quote when looking at auto insurance, but the reality is whether or not the insurance company has a good track record. You want an insurance company that is known to treat its customers well. If you choose a company solely on price, you may be disappointed when you do get into an accident and they aren’t there to help you.

You can check up on insurance companies’ ratings by looking up there financial strength with Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best. You can also contact the department of insurance in your state to determine whether there has been any complaints filed.

 

 

Why Compare Your Insurance Quotes Live

When it comes to insurance it is always best to get more than one quote, but it may be difficult to figure out what insurance policy is right for you. There is a tool that can help you compare insurance companies in real time so you can decide if it is time for you to switch insurance companies or if your current provider is sufficient.

Why Use Live Insurance Comparison?

The first and most obvious reason is that this type of tool can help you find the right insurance for you at the lowest price. This means that you are going to get the right coverage for your needs and for your area. Each state has different requirements and needs when it comes to coverage that is going to be accepted by law and sometimes doing searches on your own is simply not enough. You may be able to find a quote here and a quote there but without the proper coverage these quotes are not going to be the quote of the actual insurance that you need.

What is the Process?

The process of using this tool is simple. First you input your zip code so that the tool can decide just what type of coverage, level of coverage, and overall type of coverage that you need for your area to be both covered and safe. After you have input your zip code the tool will then compare your insurance coverages that you will need. The tool will cycle through a wide range of companies both local and nationwide and display the overall insurance costs for those companies. This will allow you the chance to overlook the results and decide which works for you and which is going to give you the best coverage for the price that is being shown.

Getting an automatic quote from a tool like this can make a huge difference in the overall success of your insurance search and can really help you to find the insurance you need and want as well as find the insurance that is going to keep you safe and keep you covered no matter what happens to your home or to your car. An automatic insurance quote tool can really help you to find the right insurance for you at the right price so that you can get the coverage you need each and every time.

Consider Adding Comprehensive and Collision Coverage Before Winter Comes

Auto insurance policies are made up of many different types of coverage, some of which policyholders may either accept or decline. Two coverages that drivers sometimes decline are comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. If you don’t currently have these coverages on your auto insurance policy, you may want to add them before winter comes and driving conditions worsen.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Comprehensive and collision both protect your car, although they provide protection in different circumstances.

In general, comprehensive coverage protects your car from any damage it sustains that isn’t caused by a collision with another moving vehicle. Specific coverage varies, but comprehensive coverage might include protection against damage caused by:

  • hitting an animal

  • a stone hitting your car’s windshield

  • vandals or thieves

  • a hailstorm or thunderstorm

Collision coverage, in contrast, provides protection for your car if it is in a collision while moving. (One exception is hitting an animal, which is usually covered under comprehensive coverage.) If you are at fault for an accident or involved in a no-fault accident, the collision coverage provided by your auto insurance policy may help you repair or replace your car.

As with all coverages, comprehensive and collision coverages come with their own deductibles, which are selected when purchasing a policy. The deductible you select, your car’s value and other factors will affect how much each of these coverages costs.

Declining Comprehensive and Collision in Summer

Often, comprehensive and collision coverages are some of the most expensive coverages in an auto insurance policy. To reduce their premiums, some drivers decline these coverages — especially during the warmer months when the weather is generally fair.

As winter approaches, however, it’s sometimes advisable to purchase these coverages. With winter comes more difficult driving conditions, and the chances of your car being damaged increase. Having comprehensive and collision coverages during winter will make sure your car is insured when it’s most likely to sustain damage. Once winter is over, you can drop these coverages if you’d like.

Finding Affordable Coverages is Easy

Finding affordable comprehensive and collision coverages is easy when you compare quotes online. In fact, you might even be able to find a policy that includes these coverages and isn’t much more than your current policy by shopping around with different insurers. To see how little you could protect your car for this winter, get quotes from auto insurers that serve your area.

Make Sure Your Auto Insurance Plan is Ready for the Holiday Travel Season

Every holiday season, thousands of American drivers take to the road to reunite with loved ones and enjoy the winter season. As part of this preparation, motorists may perform regular maintenance on their car, or make sure their tires are fully inflated. However, the biggest threat to travelers may not be under the hood, but rather just outside their door.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, American roadways will see an increase of 50 percent more drivers. Of them, many will be traveling at least 50 miles to spend the holidays with their loved ones. As a result, drivers are at an increased risk of being in an accident.

Before you head out on the open road, be sure your home and auto are prepared. Here are three things every driver can do before heading over the hills and through the woods to reunite with family.

Check tire pressure: Tire pressure is not just key to proper maintenance and maintaining fuel efficiency. Rather, tire pressure can also help motorists keep good traction in all weather, while maintaining proper stopping power.

Before leaving for the holiday season, start by checking tire pressure on your vehicle. By filling tires to the proper levels, travelers can make sure their vehicles stay safe.

Plan a route ahead of time: While it may be tempting to take the same route you’ve always taken, it may not be the best – or most direct – route to your destination. In some situations, there may be a better way to get to your destination.

By using a GPS system, travelers can route a better direction to their destination and back, potentially with less traffic and easier routing. Be sure to have a map ready as a back-up, to make sure you can get to your destination with ease.

Get a new auto and home insurance quote: Sometimes, maintenance doesn’t just apply to your car. By getting a new auto and home insurance quote, travelers can make sure they are fully covered for whatever happens on their travels.

By comparing multiple quotes for auto and home insurance, holiday drivers can better understand all their options, and select a level of coverage that works best for their needs. Before taking to the holiday road, be sure you are fully covered with a new quote.

Before starting the car, make sure every aspect of your journey is covered. By completing proper maintenance in every aspect, you can make sure your travels are covered and safe this holiday season. 

I Don’t Own the Apartment. What Do I have to Lose? Why Renters Insurance is More Valuable Than You May Think.

If you’re renting an apartment, you may think that you don’t have much financially invested into the property. What you may not realize, however, is that in the event of a disaster, you could be financially liable for more than you think. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your landlord’s insurance policy will protect you from all lost or ruined belongings. You could still find yourself liable for significant costs associated with unexpected damages to furniture or valuables, or for an accidental injury that occurs to a guest in your apartment. As protection against such financial consequences, renters insurance may be a valuable and affordable option to safeguard your personal investments.

As a tenant, even though you do not own the property and even though the landlord carries an insurance policy, there are still scenarios where you are financially liable if a disaster occurs. For example:

  • If your apartment building is destroyed by fire and all of your personal items are ruined, you will have to pay to replace those belongings, and may need to pay for a new permanent, or temporary place to live.
  • If a natural disaster, such as hail or a tornado, strikes and damages your personal property, such as a grill or patio furniture, you may need to pay to replace the damaged items.
  • If your apartment is vandalized, you may have to pay to replace stolen items such as a laptop or flat screen television.
  • If a pipe bursts and your apartment floods, ruining your furniture, you will need to pay to replace ruined items.
  • If a guest in your apartment slips and falls on the steps and sues you for his injuries, you may be responsible to pay the cost of medical care.

Under these scenarios you, and not your landlord, would be responsible for paying to replace damaged or lost items, or paying for medical costs associated with an accidental injury. Renters insurance, however, can protect you in such instances:

  • In the case of a fire or flood, renters insurance will help you pay to replace damaged furniture and belongings. Renters insurance may also help you to pay for temporary living expenses if you need to relocate to a hotel or other temporary housing location.
  • In the case of a natural disaster, renters insurance can help you pay to replace damaged property.
  • If a thief breaks into your apartment, renters insurance can help you pay the cost to replace lost items, as long as they are listed in your policy and you meet the coverage limits.
  • If a guest suffers an injury in your apartment, a rental insurance policy that includes liability protection may cover the cost of medical care to compensate the injured individual.

Renters insurance is extremely affordable, especially for first time renters. Depending on the policy type and deductible selected, the cost of renters insurance may average only a few hundred dollars a year for $500,000 of liability coverage and $20,000 of property coverage. Speak with your independent insurance agent to determine which policy may best suite your needs based on your belongings and their value. Discuss with your agent what protections specifically apply to tenants and landlords in your state, and decide what deductible level will best suite your needs. Remember that while higher deductibles can decrease the annual cost of coverage, you will be liable for more upfront costs out-of-pocket if an incident does occur.

Precious Cargo. The Safest Vehicle Choices for Your Teen Driver.

When the day comes for your teen to get behind the wheel of a car and hit the road on his own, it can be a day of both pride and apprehension. As parents, it is our job to prepare our children for the responsibilities of the road and to put them in the best position possible to travel safely. Vehicle choice is an important factor impacting teen driver safety, and unlike so many other factors, it is an element that parents can help to impact. To help ensure your teen is in the best position to stay safe behind the wheel, consider these features when helping your teen to select the right vehicle:

  • Do your research. Before putting your teen behind the wheel of any vehicle, review its safety ratings to ensure it has proven safety reliability. You can find reviews at the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • Select a newer vehicle. Though more expensive than older, used vehicles, newer vehicles are typically in optimal working order and typically offer the newest and most advanced safety features to help keep your teen safe from accidents and injuries.
  • Choose a vehicle with high quality safety features. Select a vehicle for your teen that possesses optimal safety features such as fully functional seat belts, front, rear, and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock breaks, and ideally a rear back-up camera. Avoid vehicles where vision may be impaired, such as vehicles with tinted windows or modified pick-up trucks or Jeeps with obstructed rear views.
  • Choose a vehicle with proper crash protection. Aside from properly functioning airbags, choose a vehicle that offers optimal crash protection. Mid-size vehicles offer more protection than smaller vehicles in the case of a collision.
  • Choose a stable vehicle. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and other taller vehicles are more likely to roll over due to their height. Instead, choose a sedan with a lower center of gravity that is more stable and less likely to tip or roll. Heavier vehicles are also safer than smaller, lighter options.
  • Consider fuel economy. Choose a vehicle that gets at least 20 miles per gallon in city and highway driving to minimize the possibility of running dangerously low on fuel due to poor miles per gallon ratings.
  • Avoid vehicles with high horsepower. Sports cars and other high-performance vehicles may encourage reckless driving by tempting drivers to speed in order to appreciate their full functionality. Select a vehicle with a more responsible and functional appearance and performance level for better safety.

A newer vehicle with fully functional safety features can help protect your teen driver during his initial years on the road. For questions regarding your insurance coverage and what steps you may need to take in order to insure your teen driver, contact your independent insurance agent.

 

Be Informed. Be Prepared. Be Safe. How to Keep Your Home and Loved Ones Safe During Hurricane Season.

Hurricane season in the United States occurs annually from the beginning of June to the end of November. These are the months when our coastal communities are most in danger of the potential devastating destruction of hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a hurricane as a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. For many Americans, however, hurricanes are thought of less by this formal definition and more by the names that hold devastating memories in our collective conscious: Katrina, Andrew, and Sandy. According to NOOA, Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, costing over $41 million in damages across six states.

For those living on the coast, hurricanes can pose significant physical and financial threats. With proper awareness and education, you and your loved ones can keep yourselves and your home as safe as possible during hurricane season. Follow these tips to prepare your home and family and remain safe this hurricane season.

  • Map out an evacuation route in advance, develop a communication plan for your family, build an emergency kit of food with water and supplies that could last your family 72 hours.
  • Follow the recommendations of local authorities. If you are told to evacuate, do so promptly.
  • Review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Talk to your independent insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate coverage in case of hurricane damage. Also, review your deductible so that you know what you may need to pay out-of-pocket if a worst-case scenario occurs.
  • Ask your independent insurance agent if flood insurance is recommended for your area. If you live in a flood-prone area, your agent may recommend a flood policy. Do not wait until a hurricane is in the forecast to have this conversation, though. There is typically a 30-day waiting period to obtain flood insurance.
  • Consider installing an emergency generator in your home.
  • Install straps or additional clips to fasten your roof to your house’s frame and reinforce your garage doors to protect against expensive structural damage. 
  • When a hurricane is predicted, tie down or move outdoor items such as chairs and tables so that they do not become dangerous projectiles in high winds. Also, nail windows shut with plywood to protect the interior and exterior of your home. Or you could invest in permanent storm shutters, which offer the best protection.
  • Create a document of everything of value that is in your home. Save hard and electronic copies. If a disaster strikes, you may be asked to itemize your losses when filing a homeowner’s claim, so having a document created in advance will ensure everything of significance is recorded.

With proper planning now and in the days or hours before a potential storm strikes, you, your family, and your home can be protected from the damage of hurricane season.

 

Car Compare: How Does the Vehicle I Drive Affect My Insurance Policy Costs

There are many factors that insurance providers take into consideration when calculating your premium. Everything from your age to your driving history and even your zip code play a part in your bottom line payment. But did you know that in most cases the type of car you drive can have a great affect on the price you pay for coverage?

How Does Your Car Type Factor In To Your Insurance Premium?

Whether you’re shopping local or going directly to a national auto insurance provider, the type of car you drive may be a big factor in the amount you pay for your coverage. Insurance providers will use information collected by industry safety reports and customer claims to determine if your vehicle may be a higher risk. 

Some insurance providers may charge higher premiums for cars that have been determined to be more susceptible to damage, theft, and driver/occupant injuries. On the other hand, vehicles that show better results may provide their owners with lower rates.

For example, if you own a vehicle that has better than average crash test results and other high safety standards, like the Volvo XC60, you will likely pay less over time for your insurance coverage. But if you drive a vehicle with lower than average safety ratings, like the popular Honda Civic, you may see a spike in your insurance premiums. 

Shop Local and Save on Auto Insurance Coverage

The easiest way to save on auto insurance coverage is to do your research before you buy. Take the time to research the vehicle that catches your eye at the dealership before you make an offer. If it doesn’t have the best safety ratings it may cost you more for comprehensive coverage. 

With the help of your local, independent auto insurance agents you can easily compare quotes online with multiple national providers to find the best coverage for your needs and your budget. Our team is ready to help you cover all the bases when it comes to insurance shopping online. We’ll be there with you through every step of the process to make sure you know exactly what your policy covers and what you’re paying for. 

Don’t get caught without the right level of coverage when you need it most. Instead, compare quotes online with your local insurance agency and save on your next policy.