It pays to be a safe driver. That’s because many insurance companies offer discounts for drivers with clean records. To see what discounts could apply to your auto insurance, click here to get a free Philadelphia auto insurance quote. Many of these discounts are tiered. The first one kicks in if you have no accidents or tickets for three years, and generally rates will be reduced again in five years. In most cases these discounts will be applied by your agent, but you should ask if you are getting a discount if you know you have a clean record. They may not be automatic. If they aren’t applied to your policy, or if your insurer doesn’t offer this discount, it may be time to change insurance companies. Another careful driver discount given by some insurance companies is called a “defensive driver discount.” This is given to drivers who take a state-approved defensive driving class. The classes which qualify you for a discount will vary from state to state and from insurance company to insurance company. Court mandated classes won’t qualify you for the discount, either.
Having a “safe car” can also earn drivers a discount on insurance. Passive Restraint Systems such as airbags or factory installed motorized seatbelts can earn some drivers discounts on their monthly insurance premiums. Anti-lock brakes or ABS (Anti-lock braking systems) are another safety feature for automobiles that are favored by insurance companies, as well as anti-theft devices like car alarms and lo-jack systems which deter theft and vandalism, or make it easier to recover your car if it is stolen, resulting in fewer claims for insurance companies to deal with and therefore lower their costs.
Other automobile discounts are awarded for a variety of good behaviors or lifestyle situations. For example, “good student” rates are sometimes awarded to drivers under 25 who meet certain GPA requirements. For teen drivers who are often expensive to insure, this discount can help, and is one of the few discounts available to young drivers. Older drivers aren’t left out of the savings, either. Seniors (65 and older) can also enjoy discounts, as well as 55 and older drivers who have already retired. If your car is used less frequently and endures fewer miles because you no longer driver to work every day, that’s the key.
If none of these categories describes you, there are yet other discounts on auto insurance available for owning a newer car, an economy car, or a vehicle which is good for the environment. Buying a “green” auto or hybrid can net you some additional cash on your federal tax return as well. Some states such as California add an additional state tax benefit for buying green vehicles. Other miscellaneous discounts are awarded for specific types of utility vehicles, for parents covering students under 21 attending schools more than 100 miles away, and for work vehicles used on farms or ranches. It doesn’t hurt to call your insurance agent to see which of these discounts you may be eligible for, and could pay off big in the long run.
Sitting at the DMV with your newly licensed child can be a scary place. Your child is likely elated that they finally passed their driving test. Meanwhile, you feel conflicted between worrying if they’re ready for the responsibility and panicking about how this will impact your insurance premiums.
Youthful drivers are drivers under the age of 25 years old. Insurance companies use actuarial tables and statistics to try and measure “risk” to the insurance company that this age group is likely to be involved in an insurance “loss.”
The CDC determined that “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.1 In 2008, nine teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.” Another statistic shows that 16 year old drivers are 2x more likely to be in a fatal car crash with multiple youthful passengers or while being distracted by a cell phone than a person driving alcohol-impaired!
There have also been additional medical studies to support findings that they are simple more likely to underestimate dangerous and hazardous situations. Studies of the frontal cortex of the brain, where cognitive thinking takes place, reveal that there are significant differences in that area of the brain in that age group versus scans of a more mature brain.
As a result of these statistics and studies youthful drivers under 25 will have the greatest impact on the liability and collision portion of your insurance. That being said, there are things you can do…
Require your child to take a driver safety course. These courses can be offered through schools and private driving instruction classes. Some insurance companies offer their own programs that your child can participate in to receive additional discounts. Talk with your agent for more information.
Choose the vehicle they drive wisely! In a previous article we discussed the impact the car you drive has on price. In this case try to choose a vehicle that is older that won’t require collision coverage. It will be less costly if you purchase a 3rd car with liability only than trying to rate for them on your vehicle requiring collision coverage.
It is also important to point out that this is not a good time to reduce the price by decreasing your liability coverage. In fact, you may want to increase that coverage to protect your assets particularly if you own a home. You can also purchase a Liability Umbrella Policy for additional protection.
Good Student Discounts. Most companies will offer a discount if your child is enrolled in school, including college courses, full time with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher.
This is huge milestone in your child’s life! As parents it is our job to support them and keep them safe. Talk you children about the dangers of talking on the phone and texting while driving. Insurance premiums are going to go up, but a distracted youthful drivers could result in immeasurable cost to our lives.
There are several types of disability insurance. Among them are Individual Disability Income. Mortgage Disability and Credit Disability. If you’re thinking you can’t afford disability insurance or that you might not REALLY need it…this article is for you!
Did you know that you are more likely to receive disability benefits than receive death benefits from a life insurance policy? However, many people choose to insure their “lives” but forget to insure their livelihood. “Studies show that a 20 year old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.” (SSA Publication No. 05-10029:www.ssa.gov/dibplan/index.htm). Your ability to work might be your greatest asset yet it is one of the least protected by some.
Imagine if you lost your job and could no longer generate income. Think about how long it would take to deplete your “emergency savings” in relation to how long it took you to create that nest egg…if you even have it at all. Many people loose everything and end up claiming bankruptcy due to disability. Fortunately this doesn’t have to be the case. Disability insurance allows you to affordably put a plan in place for the unexpected.
Individual Disability Income is designed to replace 45-60% of your gross income tax free. Disability is defined as an inability to perform the duties of your current job. This coverage provides if you are disabled due to a freak accident or because of an illness such as cancer or heart disease. There are a few features that you want to make sure your policy provides. You want to make sure that the policy covers if you cannot work in your current occupation and not just in any occupation. It’s also important to make sure the policy is “guaranteed renewable” that way your insurer can’t cancel the policy as long as you maintain the premiums. Most are payable to age 65. Additionally, you want to consider the “elimination period” this is the amount of time you must be disabled due to injury or illness before the policy kicks in. This period can generally range from 30 days to 6 months. An important fact to note is the elimination period is a key factor in determining the premium. The shorter the elimination period the more expensive the policy. The other major factor effecting price is your “occupational class” meaning the type of job you have related to the statistical likelihood that you will sustain an injury that will prevent you from performing that specific occupation.
There are other riders to consider as well such as the Social Security rider and the Cost of Living Adjustment Rider (COLA). According to USA.GOV, “Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if
You cannot do work that you did before;
We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.”
The COLA rider provides for an increase in benefits annually in order to keep pace with inflation. This coverage is crucial in terms of a long term disability.
Mortgage Disability is designed to pay the amount of your mortgage in the event of disability. More people foreclose on their homes each year due to disability than any other reason.
Credit Disability can be purchased at the time of a vehicle loan for pennies a day to ensure that even if you become disabled it will pay the remaining balance on your outstanding loan.
Now that you’re aware of the likelihood that you could become disabled take action and call an agent today to discuss how you can properly insure your greatest source of income…your ability to work!
What’s with all the mystery? Fred and Marcy live right down the street and they pay less than I do for their auto insurance premiums. Why is my rate so different?
To most people the way insurance companies calculate premiums seems completely random. Let me assure you it is NOT. Insurance companies spend millions of dollars calculating and weighing a plethora of factors trying to determine “risk” and then assigning a cost to it.
Knowledge is power. Once you understand what factors auto insurance companies are using to determine your rate the more power you will have over the premiums you pay…
One of the most obvious reasons you might pay more is if you have tickets or accidents. You are considered a “higher risk.” Even if you did not receive points for a ticket it is still a factor. If you are shopping for insurance and you do have accidents find out from your current company if they were considered at fault or not at fault. If they were not at fault they will not count against you. However, if they were considered at fault find out what percentage you were found to be at fault. Chances are if you were less than 50% in the wrong it will still affect the premium, but it won’t be “surchargeable.” Additionally, most companies will also consider how much was paid out to determine if there is to be a surcharge.
Location, Location, Location…This is one of the biggest factors affecting price. Insurance companies use statistics to show which areas are at higher risk for “claims.” These claims include accidents, grand theft auto and vandalism. As a general rule rates in the city will always be higher than in the suburbs and surrounding areas. Your Agent will be able to tell you if you are in a higher rated area. The solution here…is move! Maybe it’s time to buy that house in the country.
The type of vehicle you drive will affect the price. A sports car will likely be more money to insure than a family sedan. Foreign cars can also carry higher premiums because of the additional cost of parts and labor to repair them. In general the more expensive a car is (the actual cash value) the more money it will cost to insure because in the event of a total loss the more money the insurance company has to pay out. Additionally, some models may be less expensive to repair in a collision claim, but carry a higher risk for bodily injury. The solution here is to do your homework before buying your next car. Check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for its “Top Safety Picks.” You could also research the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) they analyze the cost to insurance companies from theft and collision claims. The NICB, National Insurance Crime Bureau, will also show you the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen. Understand that if your car is on that list your premium will reflect that additional “risk.”
Your age is also a determining factor. Drivers under twenty-five will be the most costly to insure because statistics show they are at greatest risk for tickets accidents. Most companies will however offer significant discounts for students with good grades and youthful drivers who have completed driver training programs. Drivers over fifty may be eligible for a discount, but be ready for that rate to go up again once you reach seventy-five.
One final factor to consider is mileage. The more miles you drive your vehicle each year the greater propensity for accidents simply because of the increased exposure. There are many ways to combat this issue …try walking, riding your bike, car pooling or taking public transportation. All of these will not only save on your insurance premiums, but they will reduce wear and tear on your vehicle, save gas money and they are better for the environment.
Finally, as always find an insurance agent you can trust. They will be your best resource to understanding your individual rate.
You finally found the right place to rent! Now you need to get a moving truck, decide how to arrange all your furniture, update friends and family with your new address; call the electric company, the phone company and your local insurance agent. Whether you rent a house an apartment or a condo you will need to purchase renters insurance. Here’s why…
If you don’t have renters insurance and another of your fellow renters lights a cigarette, falls asleep and a fire ensues destroying your clothing, furniture, electronics and other personal effects it won’t matter how you arranged the furniture. However, you will be thankful you purchased insurance. Your landlord is only responsible for the dwelling itself not your personal property within. So, while his insurance will cover the building you will not have coverage for all of your belongings without a renter’s policy.
Aside from providing protection for your personal property, renters insurance would assist you in finding alternative housing while your apartment is being repaired as well as provide coverage for additional living expenses.
Renters insurance also provides protection for theft and vandalism. Be cautious and take a close look at your policy. Most policies have limitations for jewelry, collectibles, fine arts and antiques which are attractive to burglars and you may need to purchase a Personal Articles Policy to ensure you have adequate coverage.
Liability protection is also provided through renters insurance. If someone trips and falls in your apartment and decides to sue you this coverage will help protect your assets. The medical portion of the policy will also cover for their injuries.
When you’re searching for a policy make sure it’s an HO-4. Here is a list of covered perils.
Fire or lightning
Windstorm or hail
Riot or civil commotion
Vandalism or malicious mischief
Damage by glass or safety-glazing material that is part of a building
Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
Water-related damage from home utilities
Electrical surge damage
Now that you’re aware of why you need the coverage let’s talk about price…How much is all that coverage going to cost? Believe it or not the cost of a renter’s policy could be as little as $10 per month! That’s looking like a bargain considering the alternative. The price will ultimately depend on the amount of coverage you need and where you live. Talk with your agent and they can provide you with an inventory checklist to get started. Be sure to purchase enough personal property protection. You can always offset the price by taking a higher deductible.
How many people know what their home Insurance policy actually covers? When it comes right down to it are we even shopping for coverage or are we simply shopping for price? In today’s budget conscience society the answer for most is price. Unfortunately, in this case that mentality can leave you in a terrible financial situation. Too many homeowners purchase insurance because it’s a requirement at the settlement table. The coverage’s people carry are just enough to satisfy the loan requirements, but that isn’t always enough. Remember, banks are concerned with protecting their assets not yours. You worked hard to buy your home now you need to be smart to protect your investment. It could be the largest investment you ever make.
Philadelphia Home Insurance
So where to begin? There are many different insurance companies out there offering home Insurance policies. They all ask the same questions…How much insurance do you need? What is your deductible? The most common misconception is that the different companies all offer the same coverage just different pricing. WRONG! All home Insurance policies are NOT created equal!
Here are a few of the basics to help you on your way to finding the right policy…
The Dwelling coverage is the amount of money your home is insured for. The mortgage company will want you to insure your home for the mortgage value (their investment). However, the real basis to determine dwelling coverage isn’t market value or mortgage value, but rather rebuilding cost. That is the amount of building materials and labor it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of a loss. It is important that you have a good agent that will take the time to ask questions about your home to determine an accurate rebuilding cost. What is the square footage and the overall quality of your home? If your agent is arbitrarily assigning a value they are not looking out for your interest. Additionally, some companies will also offer extended rebuilding coverage as an additional benefit. If your agent isn’t offering this it might be a clue to keep searching.
Look out for policies that are strictly “hazard” policies these policies would not include coverage for your personal property inside your home. Your clothes, furniture, dishes and all personal effects are covered under this section. Certain items that are collectibles like fine art and antiques may need to be listed under a personal articles policy to make sure there is adequate coverage.
Be sure your policy offers automatic inflation protection. Although market value may not be going up the cost of building materials and labor is on the rise. Sit down with your agent often and let them know about any major home improvements.
If you see depreciated loss settlement anywhere on your policy start searching for new coverage… unless that is you only want them to pay you the value of your five year old TV instead of what it would cost you to buy a new one.
Don’t skimp on liability coverage! Often times you can purchase significantly higher limits for just a few more dollars a year. Make sure your liability coverage exceeds your assets otherwise you will need to purchase a Liability Umbrella Policy. If you get sued can you really afford not to have it?
One quick way to offset any added cost associated with better coverage is to take a higher deductible. That way you maintain some of the risk, but only within your comfort level.
Finally, find an agent you trust that will take the time to answer your questions. There will always be cheaper policies out there, but now that you’re informed, is that a risk you’re willing to take?
According to the American Life Project, one quarter of teens say that they text while driving.
Philadelphia drivers put down that cell phone! As of December 1, 2008 if you are caught driving while talking or texting on a cell phone there is price to pay. Philadelphia Police officers will be pulling over drivers that are talking or texting on their cell phones. For the month of November however only a warning will be issued. Not only is the ban for drivers, it also includes bikers, rollerblades, skateboarders, and scooters!
The traffic citation will include a hefty $75 fine for those in violation. Mayor Nutter actually passed this ban back in May 2009. However, the ban was not enforced as it will be in the very near future. The fact remains that if you are distracted while driving you are a danger to yourself and others on the road. Drivers are encouraged however to use their hands free devices so that at least if they are talking while driving they have both hands on the wheel.
By talking and driving you are putting others lives on the line, that text message is not that important! This is especially dangerous for teenage drivers as their entire lives revolve around text messaging. According to the American Life Project, one quarter of teens say that they text while driving.
There are tons of studies proving that texting while driving is dangerous. A recent Virginia Tech study says texters are 23 times more likely to have a crash. Drivers young than 20 have the highest distracted-driving fatality rate among all age groups last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers 20 to 29 ranked second. A few suggestions to prevent teens and adults from texting while driving could range from leaving your phone off while driving to putting it in the trunk, anything to remove the temptation of answering the phone.
A recent Virginia Tech study says texters are 23 times more likely to have a crash.
We’re all guilty of this to some degree; adults can become distracted just as easy. As adults we think every phone call is an important and pressing emergency that just cannot wait. Before cell phones we had to wait until we got home to return calls, waiting a few moments on the side of the road is nothing in comparison. Parents need to set an example for their teens but not texting or talking while driving, make it a family rule if possible. The bottom line is eventually law enforcement is going to step in if parents are not but adults can at least try and instill the precedent of not using the phone while driving in the car.
To find out more about how this law could affect auto insurance rates, please call our office or fill out a free Philadelphia Auto Insurance Quote online.