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Happy 4th of July from Car Insurance Guidebook

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/06/2017

Keep your eyes on the road to keep your car insurance down this Fourth of July.

Fourth of July is a fun summer holiday that most of us look forward to each year. However, for all of its fun, it is also a holiday that is full of distractions that make driving on the road dangerous. Here are some tips on how to keep safe and not become just another statistic on the road this holiday.

Keep Your Car Insurance Down by Keeping Your Eyes Down

We all know that fireworks are the icing on the cake for the 4th of July holiday. It is something we usually only get to see once a year and something that grabs our attention both in the visual and audio sense. This also means that it grabs our attention away from concentrating on driving when we do hear or see one. Now, being distracted by a single firework is not usually enough to cause a car accident; a steady stream of fireworks in the air is.

If you are driving and spot a fireworks show you want to watch, do yourself and everyone else on the road a favor and pull over. That way you will stay safe and you will get to enjoy watching the show without a pesky thing like concentrating on the road interrupting you.

Another distraction on 4th of July is children running out in the road. They also are distracted by the fireworks, as well as playing with friends and even running around with sparklers. Because they aren’t paying attention, you have to be especially vigilant for them while you are driving.

Don’t Spike Your Car Insurance Rate with a Spiked Drink

Drinking on the 4th of July is as popular as fireworks are with some people. If you choose to include this in your 4th of July celebrations please don’t include driving as part of that. Stay at home, stay with a friend, or stay with having a designated driver. With the invention of Uber and Lyft, there is no reason at all for you to be getting in your vehicle after you have been drinking.

Also, there are enough distractions on the road this night without adding a drunk driver to the list of things that other drivers have to look out for. So do everyone a favor and keep your car insurance rates down by keeping off the road that night.

6 Car Insurance Claim Mistakes You Can Avoid

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 07/05/2017

These 6 car insurance claim mistakes trip most people up.

When a car accident happens, making a mistake on what you need to do with your car insurance claim is the last thing that you want to do. Usually, your car insurance ID card has an accident checklist for you to follow at the time of the accident, but here are some other mistake to avoid making during the course of the car insurance claim itself.

Mistake #1: Failing to Get the Other Person’s Information

On your car insurance ID card, it should state to collect the other person’s information. If you fail to do this at the scene of the accident you are going to have to wait until you get the police report to be able to provide your insurance company with the other person’s information or to be able to file a claim with the other person’s insurance company. This can seriously delay a claim and even cost you money you wouldn’t have had to pay out if you had collected the information at the scene of the accident.

Mistake #2: Not Gathering Fault Information at the Scene of the Accident

Don’t just tell your insurance company that you weren’t at fault for the accident, show them. Take pictures of where the cars ended up, the damage, where the damage is, and the area around where the accident happened. Your claims adjuster or the other person’s claims adjuster will not be at the scene of the accident, so you have to show them the accident. Also, if at all possible call the police and have them file a report at the scene.

Mistake #3: Not Acting Timely on your Car Insurance Claim

Call your insurance company from the scene of the accident or call them when you get home, it doesn’t matter where just call them as soon as possible. You want to file that claim while the information is still fresh in your mind. Don’t let time go by and not get your claim in.

Mistake #4: Not Buying Enough Car Insurance Coverage

This is something that you need to take care of BEFORE your accident. Make sure you have enough coverage on your insurance policy to be able to adequately cover the damage you may accidentally do to another person or their property. Keep in mind that state minimum insurance is nowhere near enough to pay for a new vehicle that ends up being totaled or for serious medical bills. Anything not covered by your policy is paid for by you.

Also, make sure you can actually afford the deductible on your comprehensive or collision coverage.

Mistake #5: Being Pushed to a Body Shop

Yes, there are insurance approved body shops you could use, but you don’t have to and don’t let your car insurance company bully you into going to one of them. If you are interested in using one of their shops, get a list of the approved ones and do your own outside research to choose the one with the best reviews. If nothing else go with the body shop you usually use and trust with your vehicle.

Mistake #6: Low Ball Offers

If your vehicle is totaled by your insurance company or the other person’s car insurance company, don’t accept the first offer they make. Take the numbers and tell them you will think about it. Then do your own research into how much your vehicle is selling for at dealerships and with private sellers. Take that information, along with the Kelley Blue Book value and give a counter offer with the information you have gathered.

Always remember that you have hired your car insurance company and the other person has hired their car insurance company for protection in times like these, you have the control to get what you need from them within the limits of the car insurance policy you or the other person purchased.

5 Questions You Should Always Ask your Car Insurance Agent

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 05/31/2017

When you purchase insurance, make sure you are asking your car insurance agent the right questions.

Car insurance is a more important purchase than most people treat it. Buy too much and you are wasting your money. Buy too little and you are putting yourself at serious financial risk. To make sure you are right where you need to be with your coverage, ask these 8 important questions.

1. What Car Insurance do I Need?

Before you even go to the car insurance agents office, know what your assets are. How much is your car worth? How much money do you have in the bank or invested that you can liquidate quickly if needed?

Knowing how much your vehicle is worth will help you determine whether it is worth putting coverage on it at all and what deductible makes the most sense. You don’t put physical damage coverage with a $500 deductible on a vehicle that is only worth $500.

Knowing your assets and how much cash you can have on hand will help you decide how much liability coverage to choose to protect those assets in the event you are sued after a car accident.

2. Does My Policy Pay Attorney Fees?

In most cases, yes, your car insurance policy will pay for you to be represented by an attorney if you do find yourself in court from a car accident. But, make sure how much your policy covers and what the fine print is in a policy before you purchase.

3. Do I need Coverages That Aren’t Required by the State?

The only car insurance coverage you are required to purchase is liability coverage. However, even though other coverages like loss of use, towing, collision and comprehensive are optional they are still important in providing financial protection.

For example, if you are in a car accident that disables your vehicle, you don’t have a second vehicle and didn’t purchase loss of use coverage you are left without transportation to get to work. Without being able to get to work you aren’t getting paid and could possibly lose your job. A whole scenario that could be avoided just by purchasing the optional loss of use coverage; which is guaranteed to be cheaper than the wages you would lose.

4. What Discounts Do I Qualify For?

When your agent puts together your quote have them provide a list of available discounts. Make sure you go through the list and that the ones you qualify for are added to your quote.

5. Will My Policy be Non-renewed if I get a Ticket or into an Accident?

This last question will get a variety of answers and it all depends on who your car insurance agent is trying to place you with.



Filing a Car Insurance Claim With Another Company

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 05/03/2017

How do I file a car insurance claim against the other driver?

claimNo one wants to file a claim against their own insurance. Between having to pay your deductible to get repairs done and the hit that your CLUE report takes, it makes for a bad situation for something that wasn’t your fault. So the other alternative is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance instead, but how do you get that done.

Steps to Take at the Accident

Being able to file a claim against the other driver’s car insurance starts at the accident scene. When you are exchanging information take a picture of the front and back of the insurance card of the other driver. The front of the card will give you the policy identifying information and the back of the card will provide the phone number to call to be able to file a claim.

If possible, call the police so they can create a police report for the accident.

After the Accident

Call the other person’s insurance as soon as you are able to after the car accident and get the claims process moving. The adjuster with the other company isn’t going to be able to do anything until they can get a hold of their insured and take a claim statement of what happened during the accident, so get the process started as soon as possible. Also please understand that if they are not able to get a hold of their client to take a statement, they are not going to be able to do anything about the claim.

This is when you provide the police report with the details of the accident. Hopefully, the report will clearly show that their client was at fault.

Claim Denied by Other Company

If the other company denies the claim because of not being able to get a hold of their insured or they do not believe that their insured was at fault, then you will be left with no recourse other than to file a claim with your own car insurance company for your damages.

Increasing Car Insurance Premium After Small Accident?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question, Research Last Updated: 04/30/2017

Q: I was charged for failing to yield making right turn on red after I made complete stop and check did see not car approach. Believe driver made illegal u turn. She had witness in car or following her. Once police arrived he was called to side they talked privately. He refused to listen to me and was very rude. I did report him later. Anyway this happen 2014 now 2016 Dec my rates went from 140 to 262. monthly after reporting Kroger employee pushing cart tore off my review mirror. Even though Kroger was responsible. I live on fixed income. According to them they forgave my first and only accident .


A: Unfortunately, it feels like there is something else going on here.  I am not saying that your accidents aren’t playing a part in the increase in your rate, but a $1,464 annual increase is not something that I have ever seen for a side-view mirror claim. There are two other things that come to mind right now. First, almost every insurance company increased their rates in 2016. I fielded these calls everyday for the insurance company I work for and also had feedback from agents that we weren’t the only ones doing so.  I would definitely talk to your car insurance agent or car insurance company and see if they did have a rate increase in their car insurance product in your state.

Second, you mentioned “fixed income”. I may be wrong, but that usually indicates that you are of retirement age. After a certain age, car insurance premiums go up and the older you get the higher they increase.  I know this doesn’t work well because that’s when you are usually on a fixed income, but car insurance companies do it because older drivers, while they do have more experience, start becoming more of a risk because of slower reaction times and a decrease in eyesight.

All in all, contact your insurance agent to have them go over your policy to explain what is going on with your rates. If you don’t like what you hear, start shopping around for a company that can give you a better car insurance premium.


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