The Difference between Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance

Many people carry only the state minimum coverage on their vehicles, but for those who want (or need) to carry more insurance, the differences between collision and comprehensive can be confusing. Fortunately, a good agent can help you get just the right coverage, so you don’t have to worry about whether you have the correct auto policy for your needs. Keep in mind, if you finance your vehicle you’ll normally be required to carry both comprehensive and collision insurance on it until it has been paid off. That’s designed to protect the company you’re making payments to, in case something happens to the vehicle.

Collision insurance is very specific. It protects your vehicle if you get into an accident, no matter who’s at fault. If another driver hits you his or her insurance should pay to fix your vehicle, but what if that driver doesn’t have insurance? It’s generally not legal to drive without insurance, but many people still do it. If you’re hit by someone who doesn’t have coverage on his or her vehicle, it’s quite possible you’ll simply be out of luck with getting your auto fixed unless you have collision coverage. Especially if your vehicle is relatively new and still worth thousands of dollars, it’s a good idea to carry collision coverage.

Comprehensive coverage is more about issues like fire, theft, and glass breakage. These problems are not covered under standard PIP and liability insurance policies, but it’s a good idea to have this coverage. Generally it’s not that expensive, and can protect you if your car is stolen or if it catches fire. Some policies cover fixing chips and cracks in the windshield and some don’t, but all policies cover serious issues of glass breakage like smashed windows or a windshield that’s too badly damaged to simply be repaired.

Understanding the difference between the various types of options for protecting your vehicle is very important, so make sure you pay close attention to the information provided to you by your agent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about something. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve gotten the policy that’s really right for you.

Ways to Protect your Car Without a Garage

Extreme weather conditions like heavy winds, rain, hail, and snow can all cause significant damage to your vehicle when it isn’t protected with a garage. However, the following tips will help you offer your car the best protection available when you don’t have access to a garage.

Car Cover

One of the top ways to protect your vehicle without a garage is by getting a car cover or tarp. Car covers can either be custom-made for your specific car make and model or a they can be tarp-style cover that is simply a large piece of plastic to cover your vehicle. Either way, car covers will protect your vehicle from the elements, including rain, snow, and sleet. The paint, glass, and other elements of your vehicle’s exterior gets adequate protection with a car cover and it is relatively inexpensive.

Car Port

Where you park your automobile or truck also makes a big impact on itsprotection. When you’re not at home and have a choice between parking on the street or parking in a carport, choose the carport. This will protect your vehicle from harsh weather and winds that can cause damage. If you need to park outdoors, be sure to avoid parking underneath trees where sap can drip down and destroy your paint job. To avoid theft of your car and its contents, park in a well-lit areas. It’s also possible to purchase a steel carport when you don’t have a garage. These carports allow you to protect your vehicle in the winter months when harsh weather like snow and hail is prevalent.

Security Alarm

You also need to protect your vehicle from potential theft and vandalism. One of the best ways to do this is by installing a security alarm on your vehicle. It will deter thieves when they find out you have an alarm, which is often seen by a blinking red light in your dashboard. If a would-be thief attempts to steal your car, the alarm will sound, causing the perpetrator to abandon his mission to steal your vehicle.

Regular Wash and Wax

Another way of protecting your car’s paint job is by taking good care of your car’s exterior. Getting your car washed and waxed on a regular basis does more than improve its appearance. It also keeps dirt, grime, and foreign materials from sticking to the vehicle. A regular wax job provides a smooth surface where many things slide right off of it.

Steering Wheel Lock

If protecting your vehicle from theft is of high important when you don’t have a garage to park in, having additional security protection like a steering wheel lock is a great option. A steering wheel lock will literally lock your steering wheel in case someone breaks into your car and attempts to steal it. If a thief managed to get your car started, he won’t be able to drive it away because the steering wheel locks.

GPS Tracking Device

Lastly, you should consider installing a GPS tracking device on your vehicle. A GPS tracking device offers the ability to track the location of your car remotely, and in real time. If your other security measures were surpassed by a car thief, you can still track down its whereabouts — and with the help of local law enforcement, get your vehicle back.

Protecting your vehicle with proper car insurance is essential, but you should also take further steps to offering it the best protection available. Not only for protection from the elements, which can destroy and damage the exterior of your vehicle, but also to prevent theft when you don’t have access to a garage.

How Are You Covered Under Minimum Auto Liability Insurance?

Under minimum auto liability insurance, a requirement of all states, individuals have very little protection. Under most state laws, drivers must carry a specific amount of auto liability insurance. This insurance provides protection to other drivers who you may be involved in an accident with. It provides you, as the driver, with protection from the financial hardships of trying to pay for this type of damage on your own. However, there are numerous limitations to know about.

What Is Covered?

The first thing to know about liability insurance for your auto is that it provides coverage for damages you cause or are otherwise responsible for after an incident. It may cover damage to another vehicle or the property of another person. If you run over someone’s mailbox, the repairs to the mailbox are covered. If you are in a car accident with another vehicle, the costs related to the repairs for that vehicle are covered.

What’s Not Covered?

Most of the time, these insurance products do not provide you with a large amount of coverage in terms of your own property. For example, the damage to your vehicle form hitting another car or running over the mailbox are not included. This also means any damage to your health is not included. These you will need to pay for yourself unless you have additional policy protection.

How Much Is Covered

It is also important to realize that under minimum auto liability insurance, the insurance company covers damages up to the amount of coverage you have. If you hit a $50,000 car and ruin it but your policy is only for $30,000, you are personally, financially responsible for that other $20,000 worth of damage. For this reason, it is a good idea to have more than the minimal amount of insurance. You likely need to have more than what your state requires as minimum.

Are you sure the insurance coverage you have is enough? In many cases, it will not be unless you take the time to talk to your agent about your specific needs. Having enough insurance is critical. It is also necessary to have the right provider for your policy needs. Do not overlook the importance of this type of insurance. It keeps you legally able to operate a vehicle, but it also gives you financial protection from many "what if" situations that could occur.

What Is Incidental Damage on an Automotive Warranty?

Incidental damage on an automotive warranty can be confusing. This term refers to damage not caused by the individual directly. Rather, it is caused indirectly or through the normal wear and tear of use of the vehicle. Often times, this type of incident is not covered on your warranty. Depending on the circumstances, it is essential to know what this implies.

Know Your Warranty

When it comes to incidental damages, which are also known as consequential damages, warranties are often specific about the types of damages not covered by the policy. However, these warranties differ significantly from one manufacturer to the next.

Most define consequential damages as any not directly related to an act. However, they can be a consequence of that act. Some of the most common exclusions from auto warranties include the following:

  • Loss of commercial use of the vehicle
  • Loss of use of the vehicle in general
  • Loss of time
  • Inconvenience
  • Wear and tear on the vehicle

For example, if you are operating your vehicle and scratches from regular use occur, this is not something most auto warranties cover. If something happens while the vehicle is still new, though, this is less likely to be considered normal wear and tear. Therefore, it is incidental damage.

In some cases, it can be ruled as necessary. For example, if you are in an accident and the fender is damaged, the fender is covered. However, whether or not the gas tank that was damaged as a result gets coverage differs from one policy to the next. Some forms of accidental damage are incidental. Any damage caused by a true accident which is not the result of negligence, is incidental damage.

How to Know

If you are unsure what type of damage is covered and what is not, it is a good idea to call the warranty issuer and inquire about this. It is best to do this before you actually invest in the vehicle or buy the extended warranty. If you are facing any type of damage, contact the provider of the warranty to inquire about its coverage as there is no harm in doing so.

Incidental damage on an auto warranty is rarely a covered element. However, your insurance company’s policy may provide some protection depending on the situation. Discuss the types of protection you get from your insurer to determine if this type of coverage is in place.

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.

How are Auto Insurance Rates in a Particular Areas Determined?

There are many factors that go into determining the cost of an auto insurance policy. The total amount a consumer pays is based on the potential amount of risk seen by the insurance company. The total risk takes into consideration the driver, the vehicle and the geographic area where the vehicle is registered and driven. Understanding the geographic risks may help consumers locate the best insurance for their needs.

Claim frequency of a defined group:

Groups can be defined by driver’s age, experience, marital status and the particular area of residence. The location factor will take into consideration the number of claims for the area and the dollar value of the claims. Location is normally referred to as territory and the territory group looks at a few specific factors.

Number of vehicles on the road:

Residents in larger cities may find higher auto insurance rates than those in rural locations. As the number of vehicles on the road increases, the potential for accidents increases. Insurers will look at the number of vehicles per square mile. While a consumer may not be able to control the location, a discount may be available for drivers that carpool. If the vehicle is not used on a daily basis, the insurance rate may be reduced.

Value and repair costs for vehicles:

The overall value of vehicles in some territories may be a factor in that group’s rate. Certain locations have a larger number of high-end vehicles on the road. Repair costs may also be higher for particular areas. These factors might not make a large difference in how the insurance rate is determined but can be a consideration.

Theft rates:

Certain locations have higher rates for auto theft. These particular areas are usually urban. Even if a vehicle is not being insured against theft, the potential for damages may increase the costs. This is one factor that a consumer may be able to influence if the vehicle is equipped with reliable anti-theft devices.

Fraud:

Unfortunately, a particular area may have a higher rate of insurance fraud. Areas that are experiencing a heavy economic downturn can be seen as riskier to an insurer.

To fully understand the factors that affect how auto insurance rates are determined, speak with an agent. A professional will be able to find the best auto rate for a particular area and the other factors combined to quote the insurance cost.

Did your Car Get Damaged by Towing?

You may be wondering what to do if your car was damaged by towing. Depending on the extent of the damage, and whether you can prove when the damage occurred, you may be able to file a claim with either your insurance company or the towing company directly. You will also need to go check on your deductible and see if filing a claim will actually benefit you or if the damages are less than the deductible.

Before you have your car towed, you need to take pictures or video of the vehicle in-case there is car damage after the towing has occurred. Sometimes the towing company will take their own pictures and document any damage to the vehicle to protect their own liability. Unfortunately, sometimes disasters occur and your car may be damaged. If the towing company acknowledges fault, you should be able to make a claim directly with the company. If they do not want to pay, you will need to file a claim with your insurance provider. This is usually considered part of your collision coverage, but you will need to check your policy to make sure you can file a claim. If you do not have the patience to deal with the towing company, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company and they will work with the towing company for you.

If you do not know what to do when there is car damage with towing, it is probably best to talk with your insurance carrier. Remember when you are shopping around for auto insurance rates, if you want to be covered for this type of damage, you will need collision insurance. By comparing quotes with several providers, you can find a premium you can afford to pay that will also give you the coverage you need.

Motorist: Safety Measures when Sharing the Road with Bicyclist

In the U.S., bicycles are considered vehicles, and hold the same rights on the roadways as motor vehicles do. However, because bicycles are much smaller, slower and difficult to see, motorists must take extra safety measures when sharing the road with bicyclists.

Yield Right of Way

When approaching an intersection, yield the same right of way to bicycles as you would a vehicle. According to SmartMotorist.com, approximately one in three accidents involving bicycles occur when motorists fail to yield the right of way to bicycles by either making a left turn in front of an oncoming bicycle, or pulling out from a stop sign in front of a bicycle. Always look for bicycles at intersections, and be prepared to wait for a bicyclist to pass before you proceed.

Avoid Hazards

Many motorist-bicyclist accidents are avoidable by simply being aware of potential hazards. For example, although both motorists and bicyclists must obey posted speed limit signs, it is a good idea to lower your speed when approaching a bicyclist on the road. Similarly, motorists should give bicyclists plenty of space to ride, as well as anticipate potential hazards to both themselves and bicyclists. Also, be careful to follow bicyclists at a safe distance — especially during dangerous weather.

Considerations

Bicyclists are equally responsible for safety when riding on public roadways, although not all bicyclists are skilled in riding safety. For example, professional riders are much more likely to understand and adhere to traffic laws and safety precautions than leisurely cyclists and young children. Though you should be careful around all bicyclists, be especially cautious around young children and riders who may be distracted by other riders cycling with them. Doing so may not only prevent a serious accident or injury, but it could save a life too.

Preparing Your Car for the Summer Heat

With the summer heat conditions worse than they have ever been, it is important that you consider not only yourself but also the place where you spend a great deal of your time: Your vehicle! You already know that these record breaking heat conditions can be hard on your body, but they can also be really hard on your car. Take a few smart precautions for help in preparing your car for these summer heat conditions.

Prepare Your Car To Beat The Summer Heat

Have the hoses and belts on your vehicle examined. A sudden problem with a broken serpentine belt can cause an immediate loss of power steering, which can cause major accidents. A number of other problems can happen due to broken belts or busted hoses as well. Excessive heat can add more pressure to every part of a car, especially belts and hoses, so keeping them in good repair is a vital part of vehicle maintenance.

Your air condition is essential in keeping the inside temperature of your car tolerable during the hot weather. Have the air condition checked prior to the onset of the warm months, including the coolant levels and the mechanical components. The last thing you want is an air conditioning failure on a sweltering day!

Hot weather can make tire damage worse, and it may cause tires to wear more quickly than usual. Keep a regular check on your tire pressure, and do checks for signs of wear or damage on a regular basis. If you see signs of damage, have the alignment on your vehicle checked, and replace tires when necessary.

Don’t take chances during hot weather, because leaving your vehicle unprepared for the hot weather can end up making your life miserable. Take care of your car in this summer heat, and it will take care of you!

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.