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How to Get a New Insurance Card

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 06/22/2011

Because you must prove you are carrying insurance (by law), knowing how to get a new insurance card is pretty important.

Auto Insurance Documents

If you have lost your insurance card from your auto documents, get it replaced as soon as you can.

Insurance, specifically liability insurance, is required to be able to drive in all states. If you were to ever get pulled over for any reason, one of the things that the police officer will ask you for is proof of insurance.

This proof of insurance is the insurance card that your insurance company provides for you when you first get your insurance and also at each renewal. It provides your basic insurance information and the dates of your current insurance term to show that you purchased insurance for a certain time period. So if you have lost your insurance card you need to find out how to get a new insurance card.

Ask for a New Card

If at any time you have lost or misplaced your insurance card you can contact your insurance company or agent to get a new insurance card. Depending on the procedures of the company there are three ways that you will be getting a replacement card. First, your agent may make you a temporary card that has your information typed into a pre-set form.

Second, the insurance company will mail you a replacement card via snail mail. Third, if you are registered with your insurance company through their website that allows you to access all of your policy information, there should be an option to print out a replacement verification of insurance from here.

Use Your Declarations Page Instead

An insurance card is not the only way to provide proof of insurance so if you can’t figure out how to get a new insurance card from your insurance company or agent, use your declarations page from your insurance policy instead. This has all of the information that you would need to provide anyone that requires proof that you have insurance. In fact, it provides much more information than your insurance card does and actually much more than anyone would need to know.

Because of the large amount of information that is on your declarations page, do not under any circumstances allow anyone that you have been in an accident with see your declarations page. This information will provide them with your limits of liability and if they or their attorney try to sue you, they will know how much they can go up to for your insurance to cover it.

If you are in an accident and you only have your declarations page as your proof of insurance, you can write down or tell the other person the basic information (your policy number, name, insurance company and the insurance company’s phone number) as this is really the only information that they need to know.

What Happens If I Don’t Have My Insurance Card?

If you have not replaced your insurance card and are pulled over by a police officer, you will be cited for not having proof of insurance or not having insurance (depending on your state). Don’t just pay the fine, you can go to court and if you provide proof that you had insurance at the time that you were pulled over usually the ticket is dropped.  Again, the process depends on the state, but it is just best to always have that proof of insurance with you.

How to Handle a Minor Accident

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 06/21/2011

A minor car accident may seem to have only caused a small amount damage, but protect yourself from additional financial costs and possible scams by still calling 911 at the time of the accident.

Crime Scene Report

Filing a police report even for a minor accident is a good idea.

Not all accidents are destructive enough that an ambulance and a tow truck are needed to assist. Some accidents create minor damages to property and are really more of an inconvenience to deal with than anything else.

But, if no rescue teams are needed what is a good way in how to handle a minor car accident?

Assess Any Minor Accident Damage

With any car accident, no matter how minor, always check to see if anyone is injured. Attend to any injuries first and then check the damages that were caused from the accident. In this case you are looking to make sure that you are still able to drive your vehicle away from the scene of the accident legally and do not need a tow truck.

Keep in mind that while the damages done by a car accident may seem minor, sometimes there are underlying things that you cannot see. These damages, such as broken brackets and damage to the frame of the vehicle, are usually only found by a mechanic while they are fixing the visible damages.

In the case of an injury, the adrenaline surge and swelling that happens after an accident covers up any injury that may have happened. These injuries can remain hidden for 48 to 72 hours after the accident and need to be treated when they appear.

So never assume the damages are only minor until they can be assessed later.

Call the Authorities for a Minor Accident

No matter how minor the accident may seem it is best to call 911 for assistance, especially if you are not at fault. Calling 911 and having a police officer come out will provide you with an official record of the accident in the form of a police report. This will prevent anyone from being able to change their story later on down the road.

A police report also gives you a more accurate record of the other party’s personal information so that you can contact their insurance company if needed. People are less likely to give false information to a police officer than they are to a regular person.

Never Agree to Pay for Minor Accident Damages Out of Pocket

If the minor accident is your fault, never agree to pay out of pocket for damages just to keep the insurance company out of it, even if the damages seem minor. As said before there can be underlying property damages that you cannot see or injuries that may present later. Also unscrupulous people can take advantage of the situation by providing you with a bill for the repairs of what they claim were damages from the accident, when the bill actually includes old damages that you did not cause.

Fake injuries are also a possibility in the form of “soft tissue” injuries. These injuries are hard to document and are usually based on the injured person claiming pain in a certain area. This is not to say that they are not real injuries, they are just a type of injury that is frequently claimed by those seeking to take monetary advantage of a situation.

To protect yourself, have a police report filed and report it to your insurance company. Let the insurance company handle it as they know what they are doing and what type of injuries and property damage should occur with the type of accident that you had. Also if the person still tries to pull a scam, they can at least be charged with insurance fraud at this point.

How To Change State Farm Agents

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 12/29/2014

Switching State Farm Agents: You have 3 options to let your old agent know you are leaving and start with a new agent. Get the details now.

If you’re not happy with your agent or insurance company, you can call around for insurance quotes directly from insurance companies. You can also reach out to other agents that may not write for the same insurance company.

But, what if you are not happy with your State Farm agent who writes exclusively for just one insurance company and you still want to stay with that company. This is a situation that some State Farm clients find themselves in, they want to stay with State Farm, but they no longer want to do business with their State Farm agent or they have moved away from the area.

Here’s how to change State Farm Agents…

Step 1: Find A New State Farm Agent

The first step that you need to take is to find a new State Farm agent in your area. You can do this by looking in your local phone book under insurance or you can go to www.statefarm.com and do an agent find on their website. The information in the phone book is relatively easy to find as State Farm usually takes out a large ad in the phone book that highlights all of the agents in your calling area.

But, the State Farm website is going to have the most current information available to you and if you are looking for a new agent in the area that you are moving to, this may be a better option as you most likely do not have a phone book from that area yet.

Step 2: Requesting to Change Your State Farm Agent

As each insurance company is different in the process that they require to be able to switch agents, I called a State Farm agent directly and asked him what the current process is to switch State Farm agents. He advised that the person that was looking to switch needed to go to their old agent and asked that a request be sent to the new agent to transfer their insurance policy to the new agent.

The new agent would then accept or deny the request and the process could take up to 10 days. He stated that this was the best and actually the fastest way for a policy to be transferred to a new agent.

If you are not on good terms with your agent, a signed written request can also be sent to the old agent asking them to transfer your policy to your new agent.

Step 3: Switching State Farm Agents Through State Farm

State Farm also has one last way that you can request to switch agents and that is directly through them. If you go to the “Contact Us” from their homepage and type in “switch agents” on the next page, it will pull up a link to their email where you can request a change in agents.



What to do after a motorcycle skid accident?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 06/15/2011

How a motorcycle skid accident is handled depends on the severity of the skid and the presence of any injuries.

Any accidents that  involve a motorcycle have to be handled with care as these types of accidents have a higher likelihood of an injury. For a motorcycle skid accident with no injuries, what to do next depends on the seriousness of the accident.

If the accident is minor, for example the motorcycle in front of you stops suddenly and you hit their back tire sending them into a skid at a low speed.  Exchange insurance information and go your own way, if both vehicles are drivable.  You are going to want to report this to your insurance company so that they can have a claim started for when the motorcyclist or their insurance turns in a claim to them, because unless the motorcycle rider pulled out in front of you; you are at fault for following to close (depending on your state laws).

If the vehicle is more serious and additional assistance is needed to clean up fuel or tow a vehicle away, call the authorities for assistance and file a police report.  Having a police report filed for a low speed accident is also a good idea, but unless the area you live in requires on to be filed, may not be necessary.

Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 05/27/2011

Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible program offers you a chance to pay less money out of your pocket at the time of a claim as a reward for previous good driving.

Pile of Money Getting Smaller with Vanishing Deductible

Nationwide's Vanishing Deductible decreases your deductible in exchange for good driving.

Every insurance company tries to offer a special program to draw new customers into their insurance family. It could be a discount for your expensive student if they keep up their grades or it could be a premium refund for every year you don’t file an insurance claim. In the case of Nationwide Insurance – it’s their Vanishing Deductible program.

The information that Nationwide offers on their website gives the basics of the program, but leaves one asking a lot of questions.

To get more information, I called the Nationwide’s Insurance Call Center at 877-669-6877 and the representative there was able to offer more of the details of the Nationwide Vanishing Deductible program.

What is Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible?

Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible program is a basically a safe driver reward program that will save you money on your deductible if you should ever have a claim. If you sign up for this particular Nationwide program and chose a $500 deductible with your coverage, they automatically knock $100 off of your deductible just for signing up; making your $500 deductible $400 from the start.

Then for each year that you are a safe driver and do not file a claim with Nationwide they will knock off an additional $100 (up to $500).

If you do have a claim you will only have to pay out of pocket what your current deductible is at the time of the accident.  For example, you choose a $500 deductible and you are a safe driver for 2 years and get 2 of the $100 deductible drops. If you have an accident your deductible will only be $200 for that accident ($500 starting deductible – $100 sign up bonus – $200 for two years of safe driving = $200 left of your vanishing deductible).

What Deductibles Does it Cover?

Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible decreases all of your deductibles that you have on your policy, not just your collision coverage deductible. This means your comprehensive deductible, your uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage and your collision deductible.

What if the Accident is not my Fault?

If you have an accident that is not your fault, then you shouldn’t be penalized for it under this program, right? The answer to that question is….sort of.

Per the call center employee, if Nationwide has to pay for the damages from the accident you can use the lowered deductible for this claim, but you start back to your full deductible again after the accident.

So if your deductible has been lowered to $300 from $500 through the Vanishing Deductible program, your deductible for this accident will be $300. But, then you go back to the $500 deductible after that and have to start working toward claim free years again to start getting it lowered back down.

The only exceptions to this is if the other party’s insurance pays for the damages to your vehicle, if you have a rock chip in your windshield that can be repaired without the windshield being replaced and if you total your vehicle. The last one is a bit tricky though.

If you total out your vehicle Nationwide will waive your full deductible for you with this claim, but your claim free period is erased and you start back over at your full deductible again.

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