What All Drivers Need to Know About Handling a Hit and Run Accident

A hit and run accident can be a stressful event for drivers. Any type of accident is certainly frustrating, but a hit and run accident can be emotionally draining. Drivers can do the most possible to protect themselves by being prepared.

The best thing that you can do is to first record as much information as possible. If you were present for the accident, record details about the other vehicle – including make, model, color, and any other features that you can note. A license plate number would of course be ideal.

Don’t forget to record the other basics. For instance, the date, time, location, and damage involved is essential to your forthcoming claim.

The next step will be to submit an accident report through local law enforcement. A report will help speed the process of auto claims with your insurance company. This is a helpful step even when there’s not much to report.

Speaking to your insurance company will be the next phase of the process. Feel free to contact the company or your insurance agent for guidance along the way. They will be able to help you obtain expenses through the other person’s insurance company, or, if you can’t identify the person (or they don’t have insurance), through your policy via uninsured or underinsured motorist protection.

Of course, some drivers don’t have this level of protection. If this is the case, you would be unable to recuperate your losses. If you want to avoid having to pay for scenarios like this, you could consider adding uninsured and underinsured motorist protection onto your car insurance policy. That coverage could come into play in a hit and run accident.

If you have adequate coverage, you can expect to be paid for expenses at outlined in your policy. Bodily injury and property damage are the two types of protection that will be relevant to the situation. Of course, the deductibles will be applied.

A hit and run accident can be a difficult and emotional time for drivers. Maintain awareness for the key steps to prepare yourself for this event and how to react to it properly and promptly.

Is it possible to register a car under a different name?

One of the questions asked often of those who work for the Department of Driver Services or auto insurance agents is: “Is it possible to register a car under a different name?” There could be any number of reasons why someone may want to do this. Perhaps you do not want to actually sell your car, but you want to allow someone else to use it for a period, and they need insurance. Alternatively, perhaps you are the parent of a teenager, and want him or her to have responsibility of the vehicle. Another possibility is that you are separated or divorcing and want to allow a former spouse to use the car. Whatever the reason, the time may come that you wonder if this is something that could be done.

The answer to this question will vary from state to state and situation to situation. It may be possible for you to register the car under one name and someone else to hold the lien on it; however, generally, the title will be under the name of the person registering it. This is something many insurance carriers require, because it is in their best interest for policy holders to have a vested interest in the car they are insuring. It may be possible in cases where there is a parent/child relationship.

The best thing you can do to have this question answered for you is to visit or contact an insurance agent. He or she can look over your particular situation and help you decide what you need to do to achieve the goal you have in mind. It could be that there are options available to you that you have never before considered.

As you can see, this tricky subject can be confusing even for those who understand titles and insurance. Before attempting any sort of registration, title or insurance switch, it is important you know the facts in your state. Learning more about the facts will help you make a smart decision—whether or not you can register the car under a different name.

Insurance Guide for First Time Homeowners

It’s very exciting to own a home for the first time, but it also comes with added responsibility. If you learn about that beforehand, you won’t have any trouble navigating the waters of issues like insurance and taxes. Your homeowners policy will protect your home and the financial investment you’ve made in it, so you’ll want to be sure that you’ve got the coverage you need. Your insurance agent can help guide you, but it’s also possible to learn a lot on your own.

One of the things you should carefully consider is how much coverage you need. Many people try to insure their homes for the amount they owe on their mortgage, but the home might be worth much more than that. You should insure it for what’s called "replacement cost." That way the insurance company would pay to completely rebuild your home if it were to be destroyed. Periodically, you’ll want to review the level of insurance you have with your agent to make sure it’s adequate – particularly if home prices are on the rise and the value of your home may have jumped significantly.

Another issue to consider is that homeowner’s policies don’t always cover everything. If you live in an area where there are hurricanes, floods, or other types of natural disasters, these often require riders on the insurance policy or a special type of policy altogether. Learning about these other types of coverage can help you avoid serious financial problems in the future should your house become damaged.

It’s good to follow your agent’s lead, but it’s also good to arm yourself with knowledge and ask questions. If you do that, you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to getting the right insurance policy for your needs. Homeowners want and need to be protected, because buying a home is a huge investment. If you insure that investment correctly, you shouldn’t have any serious worries about your financial future when it comes to your home. That’s a great feeling, and the peace of mind that comes with it can be very valuable – especially when it’s your first home.

How Flat Rate and Percentage Deductibles are Determined on your Home Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is a vital part of being responsible when you purchase a house. Generally, your mortgage company will require it. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, it’s still a good idea to make sure your home is insured. That will protect you against significant financial loss in the future, is your home is damaged or destroyed. One thing you should talk with your insurance agent about is your deductibles. Some companies determine these by flat rate, and others use percentages. In some cases, there will be different deductibles for different types of coverage.

For example, in areas that are prone to hurricanes there will be two different deductibles on a home insurance policy. One deductible will be a flat rate for any standard problem that occurs and is covered by the insurance. The other deductible will be a percentage of the insured value of the home, if the damage to the home is caused by a hurricane. Until that percentage deductible is paid, the insurance company doesn’t have to provide any monetary assistance for hurricane damage. Other types of insurance policies that are specific to a particular kind of damage are also often focused on percentage deductibles, while more standard insurance coverage is generally a flat rate.

Keep in mind that it’s sometimes possible to change a flat rate deductible, while percentage deductibles are normally set by the insurance company. Hurricane policy deductibles are usually two percent of the home’s insured value, but standard homeowner’s insurance might have a deductible that’s $500, $1000, or more. Each time the deductible goes up, the total amount paid for premiums comes down, but the insurance company will limit how the deductible can go.

It’s also very important for the homeowner to make sure he or she has money to pay any deductibles if a claim is made. It’s great to save money on insurance, but not if there’s no way to pay for problems when they arise. Talking with your agent and asking plenty of questions can help you make the right decisions about your insurance needs. Just be sure to set your deductibles wisely and understand any that are based on a percentage of your home’s value.

Insurance Tips for Classic Car Owners

Owning a classic car is the dream of many people. Perhaps you want to get that same car you drove as a teenager to restore and drive on the weekends, or maybe you want a true antique to take to car shows. No matter which type of classic car you have in mind, there is one thing you have to keep in mind—insurance.

Insuring a classic car is a bit different from a regular car. The details will mainly depend on how often you drive the car. If you are driving it once or twice a year to a car show, you may be able to get a significantly reduced rate; however, if you are going to take it racing on the weekends, you may need more insurance than a standard car.

One of the tips that comes up time and time again amongst classic car enthusiasts is to find an independent agent that specializes in this type of insurance. While it can be tempting to work with a big, faceless company, you will get the care you need by talking directly with an agent.

Do not try driving your car without some form of insurance. Classic cars are even more likely to break down than a traditional car, and if you find yourself on the side of the road, a police officer will be asking for your insurance information and the car’s registration. Not insuring your car can cost you way more than what you pay for your small monthly policy.

Another piece of advice is to make sure you get insurance that covers the full value of the car, not just the book value. A well-restored old classic is likely worth considerably more than the book value. You could wind up in some serious hot water if you do not insure for the full value and you wind up getting into an accident or otherwise causing damage to the vehicle.

Classic car owners want the very best for their car, which is often more than simply a mode of transportation; it is normally an investment too. Insurance is not a place where you should try to cut back to save money—however, saving money is a possibility if you work with an agent that understands your needs and can help you figure out how to get the best rate without sacrificing coverage.

Does my Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Flood Damage?

Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, your insurance company can provide you with special insurance that will cover losses you incur based on flooding, The federal government guarantees the insurance policy. If you do not have an agent the insurance can be purchased directly from the National Flood Insurance Program . According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about 20 percent of losses due to floods occur in areas that are considered low to moderate risk. Purchasing a flood policy for homes in these areas is modestly priced.

If you would like to find out your risk factor visit the NFIP website, if you think flood insurance is a luxury and not a necessity visit the NFIP flood simulator website and learn how much damage a small amount of water can do to your home.

Homeowners need to be aware that this insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding your home, but, your possessions are covered only for cash value, not replacement cost. This means that if you purchased a flat screen TV six years ago, the insurance company will pay you the cost of buying the TV minus seven years of depreciation. This has befuddled many folks who filed claims with the National Flood Insurance Program when they discover that they money they receive to settle their claim is not enough to replace their belongings.

There is a solution, it is known as excess flood insurance and it extends your coverage further than the NFIP policy does. You can extend coverage limits, opt to raise your personal protection from flood damage to provide replacement cost and choose other coverage options. To obtain this type of insurance it is best that you discuss your needs and coverage goals with your flood insurance agent.

Storms are becoming stronger and even low risk commercial property and residential properties can be severely damaged in areas that were once considered safe. Check with your insurance agent so that you know your property is protected and you will have peace of mind.

What should I look for when purchasing umbrella insurance?

All of us have heard the term "policy limits" when buying auto insurance or homeowners insurance, but most likely never gave it much thought. Simply put policy limits are when your insurance stops paying and you are liable for losses past the policy limits.

Say you have an auto insurance policy with $100 thousand liability insurance per person and $300,000 per accident. This means that if you injure an individual in an auto wreck and are sued successfully for $250 thousand you are on the hook for additional $150 thousand dollars.

The way to gain protection above your policy limits is to purchase an excess liability policy. These policies are often called "umbrella policies."

Buying Umbrella Insurance

Before you go purchasing an umbrella policy you must check on your auto policy and homeowners/renters/condo insurance policy. When you buy an umbrella policy you must have certain minimum liability coverage in those basic policies. Usually for auto insurance it is $100/$300 thousand.

Generally the least amount of coverage you can buy when purchasing an umbrella policy is $1 million, but many folks opt to extend their liability coverage for personal damage and injury to as high as $5 million. They do this because the additional coverage is very affordable.

Things to Do When Purchasing an Umbrella Policy

  • Make sure the policy covers the cost of legal defense or negotiations in the event you are sued
  • Exposure to slander and liable claims is greater in the age of the Internet, make sure this is a covered risk
  • Before you buy get a sample policy and look over all the issues that are covered, even better, get two or three sample policies in order to compare coverage.
  • Once you have decided on all the coverage you want get quotes from three insurance companies, you can do this online or through your broker if you have one.

Umbrella policies are not for the rich only. An accident or incident can endanger all your assets, including your home, your savings and if you are a business owner even your business. Coverage expense is very affordable and the peace of mind you have knowing you have protected yourself is well worth the cost.

Why Did My Insurance Premium Increase When I Haven’t Had a Claim With My Insurance Carrier?

Opening your insurance renewal packet can be a scary thing because even if you haven’t made a claim, your rates could still increase. This is because your insurance carrier uses a wide range of factors to set rates. In addition to a minor increase in your premium due to inflation and cost of living, here are some of the other most common reasons why your premium may have gone up when you renewed your policy.

Traffic Ticket

Your insurance carrier has access to driving records in your state and use your history to set rates. If you have received a traffic ticket for speeding or another similar infraction, the ticket could cause your premium to increase. In fact, a traffic ticket can increase your rates even more than a claim, particularly if you weren’t deemed at fault in the claim.

Lower Credit Score

Some states allow your insurance carrier to take your credit score into consideration when setting your insurance premium. In this situation, if your credit score drops, you could find yourself paying more for your home or auto insurance. Therefore, be attentive to paying your credit-related bills on time every month and keeping your balances on credit cards low with respect to your credit limits.

Driving Different Vehicle

The car you drive has a big impact on the rates you pay for insurance. You’ll likely see your premium for comprehensive and collision coverage go up if you switch to a newer, more expensive vehicle or one that is statistically more likely to be stolen. Your liability rates depend more on the extent of the damage that vehicle most often causes in an accident and the statistics on how often that particular vehicle is involved in accidents.

Moved to New Location

Insurance premiums depend largely on where you live, both because of state laws and because of statistics on the cost of auto accidents in that area. For example, you’ll likely see your rates go up if you move from a rural area to a densely populated area because there are more vehicles on the road, and therefore, you’re more likely to get into an accident with one of them. Comprehensive coverage for vehicles also depends on theft and vandalism rates in your area and the type of parking you have available.

How are you Protected from Uninsured Drivers?

It’s one of those unwritten rules of driving–the first time you get into a really bad accident, the driver who causes it will be uninsured. It’s surprising that there are so many uninsured drivers on the road, since most states have some sort of mandatory insurance laws, usually with stiff penalties for uninsured drivers. Still, there are a lot of people driving without insurance and it’s important to learn how to keep yourself protected from them.

In terms of damage to your vehicle, the best way to protect yourself from uninsured drivers is to have collision insurance. Collision coverage will cover the cost of repairs to your car after an accident, regardless of who is at fault or whether or not they have insurance. Collision insurance even keeps your car protected in the event of a hit and run accident or if you cause the accident yourself.

Car damage from an uninsured motorist can be frustrating and expensive, but physical injury to yourself or someone in your car can be catastrophic. The best way to protect yourself and your passengers from the medical costs and other expenses associated with an accident caused by a driver without insurance is to have uninsured motorist insurance. This coverage is specifically designed to pay for your medical expenses when the person who caused the accident that hurt you was not insured. Another good coverage to have is underinsured motorist insurance, since just because someone has insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have enough coverage to pay for all of your costs.

It is important to note that in a "no-fault" insurance state, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is an effective type of policy to have for paying for injury expenses that stem from an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Since fault is not assigned to a driver in a no-fault state, each person involved in the accident is basically responsible for their own injury expenses, either paying them out of pocket or with PIP insurance.

Uninsured drivers are a hazard on the road, just like potholes, wet pavement or drunk drivers, and a smart driver would be wise to learn how to prepare for them. With the right combination of collision, uninsured motorist and/or PIP insurance coverage, a driver can make sure that they are protected from at least the financial damage that uninsured motorists can cause.

Deciding Whether A New Vehicle Is A Good Investment

Is buying a new vehicle really a good decision? While you may love that fresh, new car smell, and you may love the fact that you can easily count on the long-term warranty, there are other factors to think about before you make that ultimate buying decision. In short, you need to be sure you have factored in insurance. This is a big investment, but with the right facts, you can ensure you know exactly what to expect.

Know What You Are Buying

Insurance aspects aside, be sure that you are making a wise buying decision based on your ability to repay any loan you take on. You also want to consider if the vehicle is worth the cost to you. Does this vehicle have all of the features you need or is it one that is based on your “wants” instead? Only you can determine if the purchase is a good decision, but it is possible to look at this from a financial standpoint.

Insurance Considerations

Is a new vehicle a good buy? Most insurance companies have no problem providing full coverage to you for new vehicles. They are in good condition and less likely to require significant repairs. However, there are a few other things to consider.

  • Sports cars are often much higher priced insurance-wise than your typical sedan. They are considered a higher risk to insurance companies.
  • If you buy new with a car loan, the lender will likely require that you have full, comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. This is a requirement until you pay off the loan in full. Only then can you drop down to your state’s minimal requirements.
  • Buying a new car is often more expensive to insure than purchasing a used one. The value is significantly higher and that means it will cost more overall to protect.

Think about your needs for this new car. Are the financial aspects of the purchase in-line? If so, the long-term benefits of owning a new car are worthwhile. Look for the most affordable insurance policies by working with an independent insurance agent. This way, you do not overpay for the insurance product you need.

Should you buy that new car? It is up to you to determine if this purchase is good for your bank account and your personal needs. If you are still concerned, talk to your agent before making a buying decision.