Common Auto Insurance Coverage

Two cars crashedMost Auto insurance policies are actually many levels of coverage, combined together to form a single insurance policy. Like items in a first aid kit, each option can cover you from different damages, accidents, and events.

To build the policy you want it’s important to understand what each common type of Auto insurance covers:

Liability Coverage – There are two types of liability coverage – coverage for Bodily Injury and coverage for Personal Property. Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, or post a bond, to register your vehicle or obtain a driver’s license.If you’re legally responsible, or “liable” for damages, Liability coverage helps pay for them. Legally required for drivers in almost every state, Liability coverage includes Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage, which pay for someone’s medical expenses, personal injuries, and property damage if you’re at-fault.

Collision Coverage – If you hit something like another vehicle or a fixed object like a guard rail, lamp post, or telephone poll, Collision Coverage helps pay for the damages to your car.

Comprehensive Coverage – If your car is broken into, or dented in a hail storm, Comprehensive Coverage would help cover the losses to your car. Sometimes called “Other Than Collision” or “Fire and Theft,” Comprehensive covers losses from things other than an accident, like vandalism, riots, floods, hail, fire, animal collisions, and theft.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – These days, about 1 in 7 drivers are completely uninsured…and about 30% of drivers don’t have enough insurance. That’s why it’s important to consider Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage. It provides Liability (Bodily Injury and Property Damage) coverage for you, if an uninsured or underinsured motorist is at fault in an accident. If you or anyone in your car is ever hurt in an accident, Medical Coverage can pay for their medical expenses.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Pip is similar to Medical Payments coverage, but it covers a wider range of costs. It can help pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses, work loss, funeral costs, and even replacement services. Many states require drivers to carry a minimum level of PIP coverage. When deciding on your Auto insurance policy or making changes to your coverage, it’s important to understand what each option does, and how it would work if you ever needed it. Some coverages are required by your state, while others are extra options you may want to expand your coverage.

How you’d like to customize your car insurance depends on your needs, budget, and the amount of coverage you want. Get an Auto insurance quote or work with Nancy Kuznieski, your local Farmers agent, to choose the coverage combinations that provide the best car insurance coverage at a price that fits your budget.

How to Lower the Cost of Car Insurance

Not all car insurance premiums are created equal. From your driving record, to how far you live from work and the type of car you drive, there are many factors that impact your car insurance costs.

Try these 5 smart tactics to reduce your car insurance rates:

 

1. Keep your driving record clean

When it comes to driving, it’s wise to leave racing to the pros over at NASCAR. Why? While using caution on the road may not win you any checkered flags, it could translate into substantial car insurance savings down the line.

In fact, Farmers offers a safe driver discount* if you’ve managed to avoid accidents and citations, and maintained a spotless record over a period of time.

2. Choose your car wisely

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new car – comfort, options, fuel economy, and (most importantly) cost. But a factor that’s often overlooked is auto insurance.

Auto insurance rates are calculated based on a host of factors such as make and model, cost of replacing parts, crash test rating, history of theft claims, price, and more.

(Believe it or not, if the SUV you’re planning to buy is considered theft-prone, that could possibly drive up your premiums.)

Before you walk out of the dealership with a new car, consult with your insurance agent, who can help you compare insurance rates on different models.

3. Research your car’s safety reputation

Keep in mind that owning a car with a high safety rating not only makes you and your family safer on the road, but with a reduced risk of accidents, it could lead to a lower premium too. Also, cars with factory-installed safety features such as air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes, or an anti-theft device, may help you qualify for additional savings.

View the 2015 Top Safety Picks to see if your car’s a top performer from a safety and insurability standpoint.

4. Look into teen and senior discounts

As any parent will tell you, it’s hard not to picture the worst case scenario and worry about mounting expenses when your teen gets behind the wheel for the first time.

There’s a silver lining though! Teen drivers who have good grades or live away at school may be eligible for policy discounts. So you’re usually better off adding them to the family plan rather than purchasing a separate policy.

Seniors, too, enjoy some auto insurance perks. Farmers, for example, offers discounts to residents of most states, who are 55 and older, and have completed an approved driving course.

5. Cut down on your driving

Driving less could save you a bundle not only on gas but also on your premium. If it’s an option, try moving closer to work or carpooling. Infrequent drivers are at a lower risk of being involved in an accident, and may therefore enjoy low-mileage discounts.

Remember, it’s never a good idea to let your car insurance policy collect dust. Doing a yearly check-in with your agent and reviewing your existing policy can really pay off.

Your agent can point out any discounts you may be missing out on, and help revise your policy to cut costs. For example, did you know that raising your deductible or bundling multiple policies together may help slash your monthly premium even further? Find out more with 5 Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Premiums.

Tips to Driving on Icy Roads

afternoon shower on a highwayWinter weather is back on its way to Austin late this evening and staying until late Thursday. Freezing rain and sleet make the roads slick and difficult to drive on. Make sure you are taking the proper precautions if you’re out on the roads the next couple of days. Here are some things to remember when driving in icy conditions:

  1. Slow down– This may seem obvious but it is the most important thing to do if the roads are icy. Slowing down can reduce your chances of sliding on the ice and decrease your chances of being involved in a car accident.
  2. Ease up on your breaks– Antilock brakes, or ABS, do not work well on ice. Because of this, pressing on your breaks too quickly or too hard can lock up your steering wheel. If your steering wheel is locked up, you are unable to control the direction of your vehicle.
  3. Avoid steep hills– This can be difficult living in the hill country but ice tends to accumulate on higher surfaces. If you’re attempting to tackle a steep enough hill, gravity will take its toll.
  4. Turn into a slide- If you do happen to slide, it’s best to turn your wheels in the same direction that the rear of your car is turning. Be careful not to turn your wheel too sharply and overcorrect because your car will slide in the opposite direction that you want it to go. Make sure you’re gently turning your wheel and letting off on the break during a slide.
  5. Wear your seatbelt- Another tip that is common sense but is so often forgotten. Wearing your seatbelt can save your life in the event of an accident. As accidents are more common in inclement weather, wearing your seatbelt is a must.

Be extremely careful if you’re out on the roads the next few days and try and keep these tips in mind while driving. If you are in an accident, Kuznieski Insurance Agency has 24/7 Roadside Assistance.

Airbag Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a second recall notice for more than 2.12 million automobiles in danger of experiencing unexpected airbag deployment after repair as a result of the initial recall.  This repair has proven ineffective for certain models of Acura, Dodge, Jeep, Honda, Pontiac and Toyota and these vehicles are still prone to inadvertent airbag release in non-crash situations.

While it can be a major inconvenience to schedule an appointment for automobile repairs — especially a second time on the same issue — safety recall notices are not something to postpone.  The force with which an airbag deploys can cause potentially fatal injuries if deployment occurs unexpectedly.

Specific makes and models affected by the additional recall include:

• Acura MDX
• Dodge Viper
• Jeep Grand Cherokee
• Jeep Liberty
• Honda Odyssey
• Pontiac Vibe
• Toyota Corolla
• Toyota Matrix
• Toyota Avalon

If you are unsure whether or not your car is subject to this or any other safety recall, visit www.safercar.gov and click on the “Look Up” tab. You will need your vehicle’s VIN number to complete the process.

Article provided by: Hensley Law Firm

10 Things to Remember In a Car Wreck

Stressed Driver Sitting At Roadside After Traffic AccidentIt is estimated that 20% of all motorists on Texas streets and highways are uninsured. This poses a problem when there is a car accident. Make sure you are insured but also remember to do these 10 things when you’re involved in a car wreck.

  1. Call the police: have them make a report
  2. Go to the hospital and get checked out if you’re injured at the scene. You may also want to see a specialist who deals specifically with car wreck victims.
  3. Get identification. Driver’s license, ID card, license plate number or VIN number are means of proper identification.
  4. Take pictures of ALL cars involved including yours.
  5. Take a picture of the person who hit you.
  6. Record an apology, if possible.
  7. Get the witnesses’ names and addresses. The police will take them but you should keep a copy for yourself in case information is lost.
  8. Do NOT agree to a recorded statement until you have consulted an attorney.
  9. Hire an attorney that specializes in Personal Injury. You don’t want a criminal, tax, or family lawyer handling your auto injury case.
  10. Make sure you have proper car insurance. You don’t want to have to rely on the person who hit you to be insured.
    1. Rental
    2. Uninsured motorist
    3. PIP/personal injury protection: wages (80%) and medical bills

Article written by: Deborah Hensley

Giving Your Kids The Keys

business man handing giving car remote keys to a casual senior man, isolated on white. clipping pathIs driver’s education enough? According to the CDC,teenage drivers are three times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a fatal car accident, so it’s no wonder that kids getting driver’s licenses is a rite of passage most parents are not entirely excited about. Aside from the added costs associated with having a young driver, there is also increased anxiety as parents are eventually left behind to wonder what kind of driver their teenager is without them in the passenger seat. Is she distracted by the phone or the radio? Is he going too fast? Teen drivers today face more and different challenges than their parents did. With increased temptations by technology, both hand-held and in the car, frequency of road rage and more congested streets and intersections, it’s more important than ever for kids to be prepared when they hit the streets alone.

But how can you ensure your kids are road ready before you turn them loose? The driver education they receive is key. Texas allows parents to choose between parent-taught driver’s ed or outside driving schools, and both types must adhere to state-mandated regulations that usually involve a required amount of study before taking a state permitting test, additional safety education and a required number of behind-the-wheel hours under the supervision of a licensed adult. But the way the material is taught and the amount of additional practice time above and beyond the minimum requirements can vary greatly, and this is perhaps what makes the difference in a confident young driver and one who is a potential danger to themselves and others.

Whether you choose a parent-taught program for your child’s driver’s education or a driving school, the parent must take a proactive role in preparing and educating their new driver.Even though they are online, parent-taught home programs are called parent taught (vs. computer taught) for a reason. The intention is not to turn teens loose with a computer and allow them to quickly skim timed lessons counting down the seconds until they can move on to the next section. Make sure they understand what they’re reading, and point out real life examples of topics discussed when you’re driving and why they’re important.

If you choose a driving school, put it to the test in the same way you would a sports gym or music teacher you’re thinking about entrusting your child’s training to. Check for an approved curriculum and make sure limited drive time with the instructor takes place in a variety of weather and road conditions, and is not restricted to the route the student will test on. The goal is not just to pass the test; it is to create a safe driver. When they are with you, allow them to drive as much as possible at different times of day and in different situations. Remember that while learning to drive, passenger time is valuable time as well. Teens follow adults’ examples concerning seat-belt use, texting/cell phone use, road rage and obeying traffic laws, so the years leading up to a teen learning to drive are an excellent time for parents to review their own driving habits. Whether behind the wheel or riding shotgun, the time teens spend in the car with a parent creates the most valuable teaching moments for ensuring safe young drivers.

For information on helping create a safe driver in your teen, visit www.cdc.gov and click on the “teen driver” tab.