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RV Insurance

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/27/2011

Understanding the need for RV insurance, how different RVs are insured differently, and introducing extras often associated with RV insurance.

Insuring this Class A is not that much different than a car.

There’s nothing like a road trip in a fully equipped recreational vehicle. Of course, as with any other vehicle you need to be insured before you hit the road. There are several ways to go about getting that insurance depending on what kind of RV you have, as well as several options to consider.

How an recreational vehicle is insured largely depends on what kind of RV it is. A self-propelled RV such as a Class A mobile home would be insured in much the same way as an automobile. A small, non-wheeled RV such as a camper shell would be insured on an inland marine policy. Finally, an RV trailer would be insured much the same as, you guessed it, a trailer.

Insuring a Self-Propelled RV

Self-propelled RVs range from large Class A mobile homes, which can easily cost six figures, to Class B mobile homes, which are little more than customized vans. There are also Class C mobile homes which fall somewhere in between. Since they are full vehicles in their own right, they are insured in much the same way as any other car or truck. You need ample liability coverage as well as any full coverage required by your bank if you’re still making payments. Of course, you can still choose full coverage if the RV is paid off.

It’s important to be properly licensed to drive these vehicles, especially Class A mobile homes which can be big enough to require a CDL to operate legally.

Insuring RV Trailers

Towable RVs range from large fifth-wheelers and sport utility RVs to modest tent trailers. As trailers, they are insured as trailers. Trailers do not have liability coverage (that is afforded by the towing vehicle), so only full coverage is available on these vehicles. As with a self-propelled RV, make sure you take enough full coverage to fulfill any lienholder requirements.

RV trailers are often insured on an actual cash value basis rather than a stated value basis associated with commercial trailers. Consult with your insurance agent for more information specific to your situation.

Insuring Camper Shells and Truck Campers

It might be something of a misnomer to call these accessories “recreational vehicles” since they have neither motors nor wheels, but they are RVs all the same. These RVs are generally covered on an inland marine policy, however some companies may treat them separately.

Getting the RV Insurance Extras

Because of its special status as both a means of transportation and a living quarters, RV insurance can blur the lines between traditional auto insurance and provide coverages normally found in homeowners insurance coverage. For example, many RV insurance policies provide liability protection at a campsite while the RV is parked, similar to the liability coverage seen in homeowners insurance.

Personal property coverage that extends beyond the standard “factory installed and bolted down” philosophy seen in other forms of auto insurance may also be available, analogous to the personal property coverage in homeowners insurance policies. Consult with your agent to see if these coverages are available and included in your RV insurance package.

Scooter Insurance: What You Need to Know

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/25/2011

What a scooter is, why scooter insurance is effectively the same as motorcycle insurance, what’s important in scooter insurance liability sections, and how to select full coverage on your scooter.

Why does it look like a motorcycle? Because it is.

What a scooter lacks in power, it more than makes up for in efficiency. With gas prices on the rise once again, a scooter is a great way to cut down on energy costs while still providing a convenient means of transportation, particularly if you live in an urban area.

However, how does one insure a scooter? Are there special, hidden rules governing how they’re insured? The answer is no. Scooter insurance works much the same way as a motorcycle insurance, mainly because as far as the insurance company is concerned, it is a motorcycle.

What is a Scooter?

Evolved from early motorcycles – which themselves were effectively bicycles with motors – scooters have been around in the United States for nearly a century. They first enjoyed widespread popularity after World War II after servicemen returning from the fronts were introduced to them. To this day, scooter manufacturers tend to be Italian or Japanese firms.

Strictly speaking a modern scooter is little more than a small motorcycle. While there is no hard and fast rule governing where a scooter ends and a motorcycle begins, a commonly accepted cutoff point is an engine size of 400 cc, however so called “maxi-scooters” can have engine sizes of of up to 800 cc.

How to Insure a Scooter

Since insurance companies consider a scooter a motorcycle, you insure it in the exact same way as a motorcycle. The same state liability limits apply to scooters as they do to motorcycles and automobiles, but you do want to consider these limits in a slightly different manner. Because scooters are small and top out at slower speeds, they are less likely to do serious damage to other people’s property than automobiles or even their larger motorcycle cousins. This is something to consider when considering liability limits for personal property and personal injury to others.

However, as with motorcycles one place you don’t want to skimp on coverage on with scooter insurance is on medical payments for yourself and your passengers. If you live in a no fault state, this is known as personal injury protection or PIP. As with a motorcycle, as a scooter driver you are exposed to the elements much more so than you are in a car, therefore you and your passengers are more likely to get injured in an accident. It stands to reason you want to ramp up this coverage as much as you can.

Full Coverage on Scooter Insurance

As with other motorcycles, it’s possible to get full coverage on your scooter. Indeed, if you’re still making payments on your scooter you’ll want to to avoid force placed coverage. Full coverage works the same way as it does with automobiles and motorcycles. There are collision and comprehensive sections, both with deductibles.

However, because there simply isn’t as much to a scooter as there is to other vehicles, full coverage is not nearly as important (or expensive) as it is with automobiles. That said, if you want the peace of mind full coverage on your scooter provides, you can get it it quite inexpensively, and probably with a low deductible to boot.

Trailer Insurance for What You Tow

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 06/11/2013

How trailers are insured, how to insure a personal and commercial trailer, and why it’s important to make sure your trailer contents are insured too.

Don't forget to insure your trailer!

There are a myriad of reasons to have a trailer. They can be strictly commercial, strictly for pleasure, or a little of both. Regardless of what they’re used for, however, they should be insured just like your other vehicles.

While they do carry some coverage simply by being towed, this is often not enough. You may need trailer insurance. Insuring a trailer is a simple thing to do once you know what the insurance company needs.

How Trailers are Insured

The single most important thing to remember about trailers is that you have to insure them separately from your vehicles. Because trailers are not self-propelled vehicles by themselves, they do not qualify for liability coverage. Instead, they are eligible for full coverage only.

Many trailers are insured on a stated value basis. That is you tell the insurance company how much it’s worth and they insure it for that amount (less depreciation, of course). It’s a fairly simple process.

Insuring a Personal Trailer

It’s very easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a nice recreational vehicle trailer. Why would you not insure it? Remember, when it comes to your trailer your vehicle’s coverage only extends to liability. Even if the vehicle towing the trailer has the best zero deductible full coverage available, if you’re in an accident and the trailer is not covered separately, there’s no coverage on that trailer. Obviously, you want to insure it.

Depending on the company, recreational vehicle trailers may be insured at actual cash value (i.e. the amount the trailer is worth at that particular point in time) or stated value. Consult with your insurance agent to for more information specific to your company.

Insuring a Commercial Trailer

If anything, commercial trailers are even more straightforward to insure. You provide the insurance company with the year, make, serial number and value of the trailer and they insure it at the desired deductible. That’s pretty much it. Since many commercial trailers tend to be pretty basic (seriously, how much more basic can a vehicle be than a flatbed trailer?) premiums to insure them tend to be quite reasonable.

As with other commercial vehicles, don’t forget to notify your insurance agent of any changes as soon as they occur to keep your coverage current. Add a trailer as soon as you acquire it, and drop a trailer as soon as you get rid of it.

Don’t Forget Your Tools and Toys

In addition, any contents loaded in or on that trailer have to be insured separately as well, usually on a so-called “inland marine” policy. This includes work trailers as well as recreational trailers such as those used to transport boats, snowmobiles or jet skis.

Remember as a general rule an auto insurer only insures those things on a vehicle that are factory installed and bolted down. Trailer contents need to be insured separately to avoid any gaps in coverage should theft or any other loss occur.

How trailers are insured, how to insure a personal and commercial trailer, and why it’s important to make sure your trailer contents are insured too.

There are a myriad of reasons to have a trailer. They can be strictly commercial, strictly for pleasure, or a little of both. Regardless of what they’re used for, however, they should be insured just like your other vehicles. While they do carry some coverage simply by being towed, this is often not enough.

Insuring a trailer is a simple thing to do once you know what the insurance company needs.

How Trailers are Insured

The single most important thing to remember about trailers is that you have to insure them separately from your vehicles. Because trailers are not self-propelled vehicles by themselves, they do not qualify for liability coverage. Instead, they are eligible for full coverage only.

Most trailers are insured on a stated value basis. That is you tell the insurance company how much it’s worth and they insure it for that amount (less depreciation, of course). It’s a fairly simple process.

Insuring a Personal Trailer

It’s very easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a nice recreational vehicle trailer. Why would you not insure it? Remember, when it comes to your trailer your vehicle’s coverage only extends to liability. Even if the vehicle towing the trailer has the best zero deductible full coverage available, if you’re in an accident and the trailer is not covered separately, there’s no coverage on that trailer. Obviously, you want to insure it.

Depending on the company, recreational vehicle trailers may be insured at actual cash value (i.e. the amount the trailer is worth at that particular point in time) or stated value. Consult with your insurance agent to for more information specific to your company.

Insuring a Commercial Trailer

If anything, commercial trailers are even more straightforward to insure. You provide the insurance company with the year, make, serial number and value of the trailer and they insure it at the desired deductible. That’s pretty much it. Since many commercial trailers tend to be pretty basic (seriously, how much more basic can a vehicle be than a flatbed trailer?) premiums to insure them tend to be quite reasonable.

As with other commercial vehicles, don’t forget to notify your insurance agent of any changes as soon as they occur to keep your coverage current. Add a trailer as soon as you acquire it, and drop a trailer as soon as you get rid of it.

Don’t Forget Your Tools and Toys

In addition, any contents loaded in or on that trailer have to be insured separately as well, usually on a so-called “inland marine” policy. This includes work trailers as well as recreational trailers such as those used to transport boats, snowmobiles or jet skis.

Remember as a general rule an auto insurer only insures those things on a vehicle that are factory installed and bolted down. Trailer contents need to be insured separately to avoid any gaps in coverage should theft or any other loss occur.

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.

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Car Insurance Guidebook Unravels the Car Insurance Mystery

Unless you work in the car insurance industry, the topic is probably a mystery to you. The words deductible, comprehensive, collision, liability, premium, loss of use and bodily injury are all gibberish when they reach your ears.

Unfortunately, insurance is something that you are required to have by law if you want to drive. Because of how confusing it is many people go around in almost an insurance daze while they get car insurance quotes from the auto insurance companies that they have heard of. In reality, they are completely lost as to what they are actually buying.

Instead of looking at what each insurance company offers in the terms of protection for both themselves and their car, they are instead looking for cheap car insurance. Finding the cheapest car insurance coverage makes having to buy the required product all that much less painful, but misses the whole point of having insurance.

Learning about insurance through your insurance agent or websites like Car Insurance Guidebook will give you the upper hand when you looking for car insurance. You can take your knowledge and not only find the best price for insurance, you can use it to find really great insurance to protect you and your assets. Then you aren’t stuck settling for just average car insurance that can hurt you financially if you ever need it because there isn’t enough protection.

For example, when looking for insurance the car insurance rates are just the first of many factors that need to be taken into account when you are shopping around for car insurance. You also need to take into account the type of vehicle that you are driving. Many people don’t know this.

Are you driving around a vehicle that is a new sedan and can be protected under any blanket insurance policy? Or do you have an old car that you fixed up that needs special protection and could be better covered under classic car insurance?

Don’t just assume that when you compare car insurance that it will be a one-size-fits-all policy. This is where the insurance knowledge will come in handy; you will know what you need to protect yourself and your vehicle.

You will understand what your insurance agent is talking about when they use insurance terms and you will actually be able to make an informed decision. This is much better for you instead of the “nod and smile” approach people take in their insurance agent’s office.

Also just like your life changes your insurance needs will change. This year you may just need to learn about the best deductible to have. Next year you may need to educate yourself on car insurance for young drivers. As the years pass, motorcycle insurance may be something you will need to know.

Many wise people say that you never stop learning, so take their advice and educate yourself on the insurance that you spend a lot of money on and can’t get away with not having.