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Instant Car Insurance Thanks to Technology

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/21/2011

How to find instant car insurance and the benefits of purchasing instant car insurance compared to the downfalls.

Shopping Online for Instant Car Insurance

Instant car insurance online is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse.

In our “need everything now” culture, it’s no surprise that you can even get your car insurance instantly…well, almost instantly.

A simple visit online to an insurance company that specializes in online insurance and a quote or two later you have instant car insurance.  There’s no waiting, you are in control of what you buy and everything is done from your computer.

But, is instant car insurance really as good as it sounds?

Finding Instant Car Insurance

Finding instant car insurance is harder to do that one would think.  If you type “instant car insurance” into your favorite search engine you will find yourself with close to 11 million results.

But, if you start visiting all of the sites that came up you will find that most of these sites are for instant quotes only and they will have an agent call you or you have to visit a local agent to get the actual policy.  This is not instant car insurance, there are too many steps involved before you get your policy.

Generally, instant car insurance is available directly through companies like Esurance, Progressive and GEICO.  These are companies where you can get a quote and purchase the policy instantly online, all in one step.

Benefits of Instant Car Insurance

Instant car insurance has the benefit of being able to be purchased any time of the day or night, whichever is most convenient for you.   All you have to do is log on, decide what coverages you need and if the price is right, purchase the policy.  There’s no agent pressuring you into additional coverage that you don’t really need just to increase the amount of commission they will make off your policy, you purchase what you have to have and what you want.

Instant car insurance can also be cheaper than buying a policy from an agent because the company doesn’t have to pay out an agent commission on your policy.  This means a   10–15% savings for you.  If you opt to receive bills in your email instead of through the mail, have your premiums automatically withdrawn and print off your own policy paperwork instead of having it mailed to you, the savings could be even more.

Like everything else in insurance, the savings and options available for purchasing instant car insurance varies from one company to the other.

Downfalls of Instant Car Insurance

The main downfall of instant car insurance also happens to be one if its benefits, the absence of an agent.

Without an agent you have no one to ask questions to if you don’t understand coverages, if you have billing questions or if you have a claim.  All of your insurance needs are handled through a toll free number answered by a customer service agent that is timed on how long they take talking to you and has the best interest of the insurance company in mind, not what’s best for you.

Import Auto Insurance for Your Foreign Car

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/21/2011

What foreign cars need import auto insurance, why the premium is so high and how you can bring that premium down.

A red Italian car

A foreign car like this needs special insurance in the U.S.

When we watch movies that are set in other countries, depending on the type of movie, the cars look sleek and sporty or they look funny and interesting to drive.

But, trying to get import car insurance for a foreign vehicle that you have managed to buy and get to the United States can be anything but fun.  Insurance companies have special markets for import cars and some companies won’t insure them at all.  Don’t give up on your dream of owning an import – there are ways to get them insured.

What Foreign Cars Need Import Auto Insurance

Import auto insurance may be needed on any car that you have brought into the United States from a different country.  This does not include what people normally think as import cars, that you can buy on a U.S. car lot from Toyota, Hyundai or Honda.  While these are import names, they do not meet the specifications of being an import car.  In fact, some of these import names have plants here in the United States where they make the vehicles that we drive here.

Import autos are the ones that you have brought over or are from another country and do not have to meet the same specifications as vehicles in the United States do before they are sold.  These specifications are along the lines of safety equipment that is required by law in the United States, emissions and that the speedometer shows speed in MPH in addition to kilometers.  The largest difference in import cars from most countries is that the steering wheel is located on the left hand side of the vehicle instead of the right side that is standard in the United States.

Why is Import Auto Insurance so High?

Import auto insurance is expensive because of the vehicle itself.  Import vehicles generally do not have parts available here in the United States making it expensive for an insurance company to repair if it was ever in an accident.   Also, because the import does not fall into the same category as all other domestic vehicles, it requires a specialized policy where the policy is centered on the individual value of the vehicle, similar to a collector car policy.

The rate for an import car also depends on the type of import that you choose to purchase.  For example, an imported sports car is going to be much more expensive than a small import that you purchased for the excellent gas mileage.

Keeping Import Auto Insurance Premium Reasonable

  • Get quotes on the insurance before you buy your import.
  • Make sure that the import is modified to legally drive on the road in the U.S.
  • Install car alarms and lock your car in a secure area when not in use.
  • See if the insurance company will insure the vehicle as a collector car if you don’t drive it all the time.
  • Ask your current insurance company if they offer import insurance so you can keep your longevity discounts.
  • Shop around to different companies to see if they even offer import insurance and to get the rates of the ones that do.

Over 50 Car Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/20/2011

The good and the bad of over 50 auto insurance and how to take the bite out of increasing premiums.

Over 50 couple enjoying a drive

Over 50 doesn't mean the end of fun driving.

Life changes after 50. You’re getting closer to retirement (if you aren’t there already), your body is aging and your insurance is about to go through some changes of its own.

While the early years after 50 bring lower premiums, you will find that this is only for a short period of time.  The higher your age gets the higher your over 50 car insurance is going to start getting.  But, there are steps that you can take to slow down this premium increase.

The good news and bad news about over 50 auto insurance

The older a driver gets the more experience they obtain being behind the wheel.  For most, unsafe driving is a thing of the long-ago past and insurance companies reward you with lower rates as you age past your 50’s.

However, over 50 auto insurance does not continue to be a good thing as you reach further and further beyond your 50th birthday.  As you get older, your senses deteriorate and your reflexes slow. Insurance companies know from the statistics that this also makes your driving not as safe.  This is not due to any fault of your own, it is just your body getting older and you do not react as quickly to different situations on the road as you did when you were younger.

Unfortunately, this also gives insurance companies a reason to increase your auto insurance premiums and the older you get the further down the safe driver categories you will fall.  You finally fall so far down that you are rated no higher than a new teenage driver and are considered a high risk.

Decreasing Your Over 50 Insurance Premium

Just because you now have auto insurance doesn’t mean that you have to stay with the rates that your current company is charging you.  If you are not happy with your premium contact your agent or company and see if there is anything they can change or update for you to decrease your premium.  If they are still not able to decrease your rates or are unwilling to work with you, it is time to start shopping around with other insurance companies.

Start with companies that specialize in servicing seniors. Companies like AARP may be able to offer a better deal.  Also if you are computer savvy, don’t forget about the additional discounts some companies offer if you purchase their instant car insurance online.

Additional ways to save on over 50 auto insurance

  • Combine all of your insurance needs with one company for the multi-policy/multi-car discounts.
  • If you drive a collector car, look into restricted collector car insurance.
  • If you are retired and don’t drive as much, make sure that your insurance has your annual mileage listed correctly.
  • If you store your car for a long snow bird vacation, see if your insurance company can drop your coverage to comprehensive only while it is in storage.
  • Take a senior safety driving course.

Where Your Auto Insurance Premium Dollar Goes

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/15/2011

Where your premium dollar goes, who does what with it, and why large cash reserves are important to auto insurance companies.

Here at Car Insurance Guidebook, we followed the money...that is your premium dollars.

Auto insurance, it’s part of most people’s monthly bills. Most people pay that insurance bill without giving it a second thought. But what if you did? What if you asked yourself where that money actually goes, and what does it do?

It just so happens we asked the same question.

The following is a generalized discussion of where your premium dollar goes at an auto insurance company. Please remember exact figures vary from company to company, but most follow this formula fairly closely.

The Agent’s Cut

Around 10 percent of your car insurance premium goes to your insurance agent as commission. Agents typically get higher commissions for new business and lower commissions for renewals, but when it averages out it comes out to right around 10 percent with most companies.

Agents are almost always contractors with the insurance company, rarely employees. They are therefore responsible for paying for much if not all of their overhead with this commission. In other words if you like your agent, by all means stick with him or her. That agent sees a direct benefit from your loyalty at least once a year.

But what if you bought your policy online and you don’t have an agent? Well, then that 10 percent either goes back to you as savings, to web sites for referral fees, back to the company, for something else, or a combination of any of the above. Check to see if getting auto insurance through an agent is really that much more. If not, it may be in your interest to have a human on your side rather than a computer.

Keeping the Lights On

Around 25 percent of your insurance premium goes to the insurance company itself to account for its day to day operating expenses. This includes salaries for executives, front office staff and other employees such as claims adjusters. It also includes other overhead such as front office utilities, company fleet vehicle maintenance, and something called “re-insurance,” which is effectively insurance for insurance companies. Pretty much everything the company does except for one very important function falls under this category.

All They “Claim” to Be

That leaves us with around 65 percent left of your premium dollar. Where does that go? Well, what is the most important function of any auto insurance company? Indeed, what is the main reason an auto insurance company exists in the first place? That’s right. To pay for claims!

Like all insurance companies, auto insurance companies are required by state law to keep substantial amounts of cash on hand in what are called “loss reserves” so that they can pay any and all legitimate claims that come their way in a timely manner. In fact, when insurance companies do go into state receivership, failing to comply with this rule is by far the most common reason.

Even for small, regional companies, required loss reserves can easily run in the tens of millions of dollars. Despite that, many companies keep loss reserves well in excess of state requirements to prove financial security with independent agencies such as A. M. Best and others. Suffice it to say, auto insurers take loss reserves very seriously – thus the large amount of your premium dollar they apply to them.

Performance Car Insurance and the Car Lover

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Definitions, Research Last Updated: 03/23/2011

What cars need performance car insurance, the options available and what you can do to increase your odds of getting coverage.

Performance Car Insurance and the More Powerful Engine

The potential for dangerous speeds is why performance cars are hard to insure.

It is said that Americans have a love affair with vehicles. And there is usually none more desired than the elusive performance car.

We love the look, the smooth feel of the body and the way our heart beat resets itself when the engine is revved.

But, what cars actually qualify as being labeled as a performance car and with how expensive these cars are, how does the owner make  sure that they have performance car insurance?

What Cars Need Performance Car Insurance

Cars that qualify as a performance cars all have one thing in common, a high performance engine.  So if you have a car that is all souped-up on the outside, has a killer paint job and modifications to the body, but the engine belongs in a station wagon…you don’t have a performance car.

Performance cars have high horsepower engines (more so than a normal car), possible super or turbo chargers, can rev higher than a normal car and has specialized braking and suspension installed to handle the higher performance engine.

Performance Car Insurance Options

Insurance companies have a love-hate relationship with these cars.  They love it because it brings them the prestige of saying that they insure a higher class of car and also the premiums that a performance car can possible bring in for them.  On the other hand they hate them because if they have to pay out on a performance car claim, it is going to be exponentially higher than a claim that involved a regular vehicle.

Because of this insurance companies usually take one of two routes with performance car insurance.  One, the owner has the option to insure the vehicle the same way a classic car is insured.  This means that they have a cap on how much mileage can be put on the vehicle over the course of the year and the vehicle has to be kept in locked storage when not in use.

Two, the high performance vehicle is insured in a high risk market.  This doesn’t mean that the driver is a bad risk like most of the other drivers in this market are.  It just means that the insurance company feels that insuring a high performance vehicle, due to the high expense it would incur if damaged, is a high risk for them and they require a higher premium to be able to insure it.

Avoiding Roadblocks to Getting Performance Car Insurance

A performance car owner can do a number of things to make themselves more attractive to insure and also possibly keep their premiums at a decent level at the same time.

  • Wait to buy a performance car until you are 30 or older – the older more mature driver is a safer insurance risk for a company to take.
  • Make sure that your performance car is street legal- this means all safety equipment such as headlights, windshield wipers, a horn, etc., are all installed.
  • Don’t add modifications that an insurance company cannot inexpensively replace if damaged- consult an insurance agent with the list of modifications you have added to your vehicle when getting a quote.  Some modifications will automatically get you an insurance denial by some companies.
  • Keep your driving record clean
  • Install an anti-theft device

All of these precautions may make insuring a performance car a little less costly when the insurance bill comes due.

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