Your Auto insurance rates are based on a variety of factors such as your driving record, mileage, the car you drive and your age.
Rates are highest for drivers in their teens and early 20, tend to fall for those aged 30 to 60-something, and then start climbing again around age 70. Although drivers in this age range tend to drive less and are more mature, their vision and reflexes are declining. They're also more likely to be injured in an accident than their younger counterparts, and to suffer more severely because they're physically weaker. Also. They often drive smaller cars, which are more vulnerable to damage.
Here are five ways that senior drivers can keep their Auto insurance rates affordable.
Update your mileage. You can get a discount of 5% to 10% if you no longer commute or drive long distances.
Use a telematics device. A usage-based or pay-as-you-go Auto insurance program can reduce premiums by 5% to as much as 40%.
Take a class. Most states require Auto insurers to offer "mature drivers" (who can be as young as 55) a discount of 5% to 15% for completing an accident-prevention course.
Exclude a driver. In some states, you might be able to drop coverage on a driver who no longer gets behind the wheel.
Make your car safer. Some insurance companies offer discounts for anti-theft devices, airbags and anti-lock brakes.
Bear in mind that drivers can use some of these methods at any age and save on Auto insurance by raising their deductible or reducing coverage.
To make sure you get the protection you need at a cost you can afford, just give us a call.
RENTERS INSURANCE: REALITY CHECK
A recent nationwide survey found that only 34% of tenants carry a Renters policy which means that most renters are taking a financial gamble with all of their belongings.
The three leading reasons that respondents gave for not buying Renters insurance show that many people don't understand what this policy covers - and doesn't cover:
Nearly three in five (57%) felt that their rented home has such effective security that they don't need protection against losses from theft.
However, without a Renters policy, tenants still remain highly vulnerable to other risks. A fire could damage or destroy their possessions, requiring replacement at a high cost. An accident might leave the unit temporarily unlivable, costing hundreds or thousands in living expenses. An injury to a visitor on the premises could result in costly medical bills - not to mention a lawsuit. The typical Contents policy will provide protection against these losses - and a wide variety of other risks.
More than half (52%) believed that they couldn't afford the coverage. Among respondents, 21% estimated the annual premium at $1,000 or higher, while another 60% pegged the cost as $250 a year or more.
However, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average Renters policy costs only around $185 a year.
Nearly half (48%) thought that the landlord already had coverage.
Although the landlord carries insurance in the building itself, the policy does not cover risks to tenants' property and liability.
For more information on how Renters insurance can protect you, feel free to get in touch with us.
ONLINE CONSUMER REVIEWS, SLAPPS - AND INSURANCE
After a dispute with a local home contracting firm, Jane Perez of Fairfax VA posted reviews on Yelp and Angie's List accusing the contractor of, among other things, damaging her home.
The contractor filed a $750,000 lawsuit against Perez alleging defamation. Although the suit hasn't been settled, it serves as a valuable reminder: If you write a negative review about a business, don't be surprised if you face a lawsuit - and make sure that your insurance protects you.
Such suits are becoming increasingly common, as people use sites such as Yelp to voice their gripes about everything from restaurants to dentists. Although many defamation lawsuits have merit, others - called "strategic lawsuits against public participations (SLAPPs) - are being filed primarily to silence consumer criticism. While some states have anti-SLAPP laws, they're often weak, which encourages plaintiff to sue.
If you get SLAPPed, insurance might not come to the rescue. Liability coverage under the basic Homeowners policy does not pay legal costs for defending lawsuits for defamation of character, slander, and copyright violation claims. However, for a few dollars, you can purchase a Personal Injury Liability endorsement that covers these exposures. Some Umbrella Liability and high-end Homeowners policies include Personal Injury coverage.
But just because you have coverage, don't start blogging, tweeting, and posting whatever you want. Intent matters; so if you knew what you were doing was wrong, your policy might not cover you. Although you have a legal right to share your personal experiences as a consumer, use common sense when writing reviews: Be accurate, avoid embellishment and generalizations, and describe only what you know from personal knowledge.
P.S. If you'd like to post a review of your experiences with our agency, please feel free.
THE BETTER YOUR CREDIT, THE LOWER YOUR AUTO PREMIUMS
Your credit scores help determine what you'll pay for an auto loan - and Auto insurance.
Studies by state regulators, universities, and independent auditors show that such credit information as how often you've paid a bill more than 60 days late can predict your probability of making an Auto claim and its cost. Insurance companies use this data to help set premiums.
However, one study found that 96% of Americans don't review their credit report once a year, even when they can do so for free. According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in four consumers had errors on their reports that could affect credit scores - and 5% of these mistakes could mean that they're paying more than they should for Auto insurance and financing.
To make sure that your credit report is accurate, improve your score, and keep your Auto premiums down, experts recommend these guidelines:
Order free reports from the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) through AnnualCreditReport.com , one every four months. Correct any errors immediately.
Pay your bills on time. Payment history counts for 35% of your score.
Keep your credit card balances below 20% of available credit.
Monitor your credit history. Because credit bureaus look at how long you've had an open and active line of credit, the worst thing you can do for your credit score is to close credit card accounts. Not only do you lose your credit history for that card, but your overall utilization ratio goes up.
Don't open new accounts in quick succession. This represents a greater risk, especially for people who don't have a long credit history.