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.

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.

Why is Personal Liability Insurance Important?

The intent of personal liability insurance is to protect the insured from staggering financial jeopardy if involved in an event that causes damage to another’s property or bodily harm to others. It is also designed to protect business professionals from overwhelming financial exposure in the event of harm caused to others during the course of business.

Three Common Kinds of Protection Automobile Property and Liability Insurance

All car owners in 49 of the fifty states are required to carry minimum property and personal liability insurance. These are statutory minimal requirements. The amount of required coverage varies by state. Many motorists realize that the state mandated coverage does not offer enough protection to them and frequent by policies known as 100/100/300. This means that they are covered for $100 thousand dollars in property damage for an accident and also covered for $100 thousand per person for medical care per person per accident to a maximum of $300,000 per accident. These coverages also include protection in the case of a fatality.

Homeowners, Condo Owners and Renters Insurance

All of these policies provide coverage in the event of theft or fire in the insured homes. Most policies also include protection in the event someone suffers bodily injury while at your residence. Because this coverage is inexpensive most people who carry this kind of insurance have coverage for $100 thousand in medical payments or death benefits.

Professional Liability Insurance

In addition to professional liability insurance providing coverage for harm done to others by a business professional it also covers the legal expenses attendant to either defending the claim in court or negotiating a settlement.

However, all of the three kinds of policies are usually insufficient to protect high net worth individuals should they be involved in an incident that causes bodily harm or a fatality. Thus, their insurance advisors usually explain how important it is for them to acquire an "umbrella policy" to increase their protection against financial claims.

Umbrella Insurance

Personal umbrella liability insurance gives insureds additional liability coverage that covers any excess damage or injury that exceed your auto, home or professional liability insurance coverage. It is known as umbrella insurance, "additional personal" liability and "personal excess."

The more you have the more protection you need as your exposure increases in direct correlation with your wealth. It is best to discuss your personal liability coverage with your insurance advisor.

What You Need to Know about Property Damage Coverage

Property damage coverage is a requirement in the United States. All drivers must have at least $5,000 worth of property damage coverage per accident, if not significantly more. This type of coverage provides protection for repair expenses to damage done to another person’s property, but not to your own. Most states actually require significantly more than the federal level of required coverage.

Why You Need More

It is important to know that this type of protection is often necessary at a higher rate beyond these state and federal requirements. It benefits you to have more protection. If the vehicle or other property damaged is at a significantly higher value than the amount of insurance protection you have, you, as the driver, are financially responsible for covering the remaining difference. More so, this could leave you in a poor financial situation if you do not have the funds to cover a large accident.

How to Buy It

To buy property damage coverage, consider what your needs are specifically. The amount of coverage you get depends on your state’s requirements and your desired level of protection. To reduce costs, consider the following:

  • Packages that bundle property damage insurance with liability coverage may save you money compared to buying them separately.
  • Ask your agent for recommendations on how much to purchase based on previous claims for vehicles like your own.
  • Know that this insurance does not cover your vehicle in any way. It covers the other person’s property. This means that having comprehensive coverage, or another form of insurance, is a good idea if you want to protect your investment.

Do take the time to compare your options. The costs of property damage insurance range significantly from one company to the next. However, when comparing policies, make sure to compare the same type of policies to each other. Look at the difference in coverage options, discounts, and deductibles you may need to pay.

Ultimately, you need to have property damage coverage if you are a driver or a vehicle owner. Not doing so could put your financial future on the line and even jeopardize your driving privileges. To avoid this, purchase a policy that provides adequate coverage for potential accidents and damage to property. Whether it is another car or someone’s other property, the costs can rise sharply beyond a basic policy or state-limit policy. Look for the policy right for you instead.

Passenger Seat: Are you Covered by the Drivers Insurance?

No matter in what state you drive, you’re responsible for the injuries that your passengers suffer during a car accident in which you are at fault.

This means that you need the proper amount of auto insurance to cover any medical treatment that your passengers might need following an auto accident. Personal injury insurance is what provides this protection. Fortunately, this type of insurance is required in no-fault car insurance states, meaning that the odds are high that your auto insurance policy will include this important coverage.

By having this coverage, you’ll provide peace of mind to the person sitting in your car’s passenger seat. This person, after all, might face expensive surgeries and other medical treatment should you get into a car accident. If this person knows that he or she is at least covered by the drivers insurance, this will give this passenger one less thing about which to worry following an accident.

When taking out a car insurance policy, it’s important to make sure that personal injury protection is indeed part of your coverage. You don’t want to find out after an accident that you’ll be paying the medical costs of the person in your passenger seat.

The importance of personal injury insurance also proves a point about shopping for auto insurance: It’s possible today to view live insurance quotes online. This makes shopping for auto insurance less of a hassle. But it also encourages consumers to look so closely at price that they forget to evaluate the amount of coverage that an insurance policy will provide, too.

When you’re shopping for an auto insurance policy, make sure to consider whether the person sitting next to you is covered by the drivers insurance. The savings you get with a cut-rate insurance policy might result in big medical bills in the future.

Reasons Why You May Need Short Term Car Insurance

Who needs short term car insurance? You might be surprised.

Maybe you don’t normally drive a car. You’re a public-transportation kind of person. But you’re taking a trip next month and you suddenly need car insurance. Or maybe you’ve just bought a new car and you’d like to drive it before your main auto insurance policy kicks in to cover it. Or perhaps a friend or family member who is not currently on your auto insurance policy will be driving your vehicle for a few days. These are all good reasons for short term car insurance.

At its most basic, short term car insurance, also known as temporary insurance, is insurance that has a lifespan shorter than the typical six-month term of a traditional car insurance. Consumers turn to it when they need car insurance for an amount of time that is generally less than that six-month period.

This temporary insurance is important because like traditional auto insurance it will provide you with financial protection should you suffer a car accident. It’s also the law: It’s illegal to drive without auto insurance throughout the United States. One of the best reasons for short term car insurance, then, is to avoid the heavy fines and possible loss of your license that can result from driving without proper auto insurance.

The good news is that you can shop for short term car insurance just like you’d shop for traditional car insurance. You can check short term auto insurance rates online in just seconds. This allows you to instantly compare policies on both the price that you’ll have to pay and the protection that you’ll receive.

Because it’s so easy to find a good short term car insurance policy, there really is no reason to hit the roads without the proper insurance coverage.

Why Liability Insurance is Required in Most States

Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you are required by your state’s laws to purchase minimum car insurance protection in order to own or operate a motor vehicle. In most states, minimum insurance laws require that drivers only purchase liability coverage, rather than a more comprehensive policy. There are several reasons why minimum liability insurance is required.

Protecting Other Drivers

Liability insurance is required to protect other drivers from any bodily injury or property damage losses that you cause. In most states, you are legally responsible for the harm and loss that you cause another person, and auto insurance helps guarantee that victims have access to the medical treatments, auto repairs and property replacement they deserve following an accident.

Protecting You

Minimum liability insurance not only protects victims of an accident you cause, but it also protects you. Regardless of whether you have auto insurance, you can still be held legally responsible for the losses you cause another person. If you do not have insurance, a victim may sue you directly, which could result in a liquidation or seizure of your personal assets if you do not have the cash to pay a judgment out of pocket.

Considerations

It is never a good idea to drive a vehicle without adequate insurance coverage. Unfortunately, even state minimum coverage may not be enough to protect you in the event of an accident. Talk to your insurer about the cost of increasing your coverage to provide full coverage protection for both yourself and others you are liable for. And as always, be sure to shop and compare premiums to be sure you are getting the most coverage at the most affordable rates. The rates you pay for state minimum coverage at one provider may buy you much more coverage through another.

Can I get Insurance for a Car not Titled to Me

Can I get Insurance for a Car not Titled to Me?There is no easy answer to the question of whether you can get insurance for a car that does not have your name on the title. It really depends on the insurance company and the rules they go by. We all know people that have insurance on a vehicle that is not in their name – but we may not know exactly how they got it.

One way to be sure you can insure a vehicle that is not in your name is to name the person on the title on your insurance policy also. When you give the information to the insurance agency – you can name yourself as the driver. Most of the time this is sufficient to take care of any problems. Of course, you may also want to talk with an independent agent who can compare quotes from several different top providers and find the one that will give you the best rate.

You will want to make sure you have adequate legal coverage on the car before you begin driving. If it is an older car you will probably only need liability insurance and if you owe money on the car you should probably purchase full coverage. No matter whose name is on the title, if the vehicle is involved in an accident, someone will be responsible for the damages to the other car and any injuries to the driver or the passenger. Make sure you can afford a great insurance policy by comparing quotes online.

The best way to answer the question about whether you can purchase insurance for a vehicle that is not titled to you is to speak with an independent agent. This insurance professional can check with several reputable providers to find out what their requirements are and how much a policy will cost. It is always a good idea to compare quotes to make sure you are not paying too much for car insurance.

What Are the State Minimum Liability Limits?

What Are the State Minimum Liability Limits?Every state in the U.S. imposes minimum liability insurance requirements on its drivers. Although the amounts vary from state to state, they all serve the same intended purpose: To financially protect other drivers against bodily injury and property damage incurred in an accident for which they are not at fault.

The minimum amount of auto insurance you must personally carry depends solely on the state in which you live and drive. For example, New Jersey, California, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts all have very low property damage liability limits. In those states, you only need $5,000 of coverage for the damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property. Many other states, however, such as Mississippi, Alaska and Maine, require a minimum of $25,000 of liability coverage for property damage.

State minimum bodily injury limits are typically higher and divided into two categories – the amount an insurer will pay for one person injured in an accident and the total amount an insurer will pay for all people injured in an accident. If you are in Oklahoma, Florida or Louisiana, you are only required to carry $10,000 per person, per wreck with a maximum of $20,000 per accident. Alaska residents, on the other hand, are on the hook for a bare minimum of $50,000 per person with a maximum of $100,000 per accident.

Driving Without State Minimum Coverage

If you choose to drive uninsured or underinsured, you could be facing serious consequences. The laws vary by state, but in some places, you could lose your license for as much as a year or have your vehicle impounded for driving without state minimum coverage. That is in addition to the fines, penalties and court fees you are almost certain to have to pay. Additionally, the offense could go on your permanent driving record for potential employers to see.

Considerations

Keep in mind that just because you have met your state’s minimum liability limits, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have enough auto liability insurance. Some states have notoriously low minimum insurance limits that wouldn’t even pay for half of the damage to a new vehicle. Others may have adequate liability limits for the average driver, but not enough to protect the assets of someone with a lot of savings, investments or property to lose.

You should speak with your insurance agent to determine how much coverage you personally need in the event of an accident. Remember, just because you max out your auto insurance benefits, it doesn’t mean you are not still liable for the damages or losses you cause another driver or passenger.

Registering a Vehicle in New York

Registering a Vehicle in New YorkResidents of the state of New York who own and operate a motor vehicle are required by state law to register this vehicle with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This law applies to all types of vehicles, including new and used cars, whether purchased from an individual or a dealer. Furthermore, new residents of the state who have their vehicle registered in another state are also required to renew the registration for the vehicle in New York as soon as they move to the state.

If it’s your first time registering your vehicle, you will only be able to register in person at the DMV. However, individuals who are renewing their registration can do so online, by mail or by telephone, in addition to the standard option of registering in person. New residents have up to 30 days after their arrival to officially register their motor vehicles.

For first-time registrations, vehicle owners must act upon the following:

  1. Provide proof of insurance. Note that your insurance must be from a New York auto insurance company. Auto insurance policies from any other state are invalid.
  2. Compile required paperwork. If your vehicle was purchased from a dealership, the dealer should have already sent the required paperwork to the DMV. If you did not purchase your vehicle from a dealership, you will be responsible for providing proof of ownership and Form MV-103 (only for vehicles purchased before December 1994).
  3. Complete an application for registration form.
  4. Provide proof of sales tax paid on the vehicle and proof that your vehicle meets the state-mandated emission standard.
  5. Have proof of identity on hand.

Registration fees will vary depending on a few different factors, including the weight of your vehicle and requirement of specialized license tags. Keep in mind that an initial registration fee will be a higher cost than a renewal. Registering a motorcycle has similar guidelines as those for registering a standard automobile; however, motorcycles are registered for one year only and all must be renewed on April 30th.