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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.

Military Car Insurance: Helping Those Devoted to Protecting Us

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/12/2011

What you need to qualify for military car insurance, who provides it, and why you should look into it.

Military Family Together

Military car insurance is needed to protect the whole family.

Military car insurance is a way for insurance companies to support those that are in the armed forces by making at least their insurance needs a little easier to deal with.

It can come in the form of discounts on the insurance premium, special coverage adjustments for when active members are deployed or even whole companies devoted to the insurance needs of military members.

Requirements to Qualify for Military Car Insurance

The qualifications for military car insurance vary depending on the company that you are looking at going with.  Being active duty military is the only military status that is a guaranteed acceptance across the board at all companies.  Most companies also accept spouses, retired military and minor children of active duty military that are of driving age.  Other companies accept adult children whose parents are already signed up with them for insurance or have been in the past while the parents were active duty.

There are even companies that will allow you the military car insurance and all of the benefits that go along with it as long as you are affiliated in some way or a member of an organization affiliated with the armed services, such as a credit union.  But, to quality for military car insurance by affiliation is not as common.  It is best to talk to the company that you are getting insurance quotes from to find out what their specific requirements are.

Who Provides Military Car Insurance

Military car insurance is provided in two ways.  One, by companies completely devoted to the military personnel and their family’s needs, such as USAA and Armed Forces Insurance (AFI).  These companies provide more than just car insurance also so you can bundle all of your insurance policies together with one company.

The second way to obtain military car insurance is through a regular insurance company that is in business.  Usually the policy is written as a normal policy that is available to everyone that drives, but includes the military discount rate for the premiums.

Benefits of Military Car Insurance

The most common benefit that comes with military car insurance is that you will receive a discount on your insurance premiums.  This discount varies from company to company, but can be as large as 15%.

Other benefits can range from a special customer service number being available 24 hours a day for military personnel deployed around the world in other time zones and being able to easily change coverage on your vehicle to comprehensive only while it is in storage during a deployment.

Things to Keep in Mind about Military Car Insurance

  • Always shop around for your car insurance to get find the best rates for the coverage you need. On top of that, talk to other people that you know in the service about who they are covered with.  They can tell you not only who they found had the best rates, but also which company was the easiest to deal with when they needed help with a claim or when they needed assistance with their policy while they were deployed overseas.
  • If you decide to go with a company that does not deal exclusively with military personnel, don’t forget to tell them that you are or were in the military.  If you don’t let them know, they don’t know to apply any discounts or benefits that you may be entitled to.
  • If you are unmarried and are active duty, you need to have a power of attorney in place and filed with your insurance company.  That way if you are overseas and something happens, the person that you have as power of attorney can take care of your insurance without any problems from the insurance company.

Vehicle Insurance: Why, What, & How Much?

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 02/10/2011

The vehicle insurance you have to have, what is available out there and how much it is going to cost you.

A Car Accident is Exactly the Reason for Vehicle Insurance

I hope the person at fault had the required insurance.

For all drivers on the road, vehicle insurance is a necessary requirement (some would even call it a necessary evil).  It is also very confusing.

Some may wonder if they really do have to have insurance to drive or is it just something that the insurance companies push to make more money.  Others have no idea what type of vehicle insurance is available or even how much this extra driving expense is going to cost them.

Do I Have to Have Vehicle Insurance?

Vehicle Insurance (also called car insurance or auto insurance)  is required in most states if you wish to own and drive a vehicle.  Exactly what type you have to have will depend on your situation.

If you own your vehicle and have a clean driving record, the only coverage that you are required to carry on your vehicle is liability insurance.  However, this coverage only pays for the medical bills and damages that you cause to another person.  Liability insurance does not cover any of your own medical bills or damages to your vehicle if you are the reason for the accident.

In the event that you do not own your vehicle and have a loan on it, your lender will require that you also carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle.  These coverages protect their investment by making sure that damages can be fixed and also that your loan is at least mostly paid off in the case that the car is totaled in an accident.

If you have a bad driving record or have been caught without insurance, the state may require that you carry SR-22 insurance.  This works as both security to the state that you have insurance in place while you are driving and a certain kind of punishment for your past bad driving decisions.

The minimum vehicle insurance required differs from state to state.  You can find out what is required in your state by talking to a local insurance agent or contacting your state’s Insurance Commissioner’s office.

What Kinds of Vehicle Insurance are Available?

Vehicle insurance comes in all shapes and forms.  It can come in the form of a policy that provides coverage for private passenger vehicles that are used for day to day use or it can be created to cover a classic car that is kept in storage most of the year.  Policies are also available for smaller commercial vehicles that are used to transport people (taxi cabs) all the way up to special policies written for large trucks used to transport goods across country.

How Much Does it Cost?

Shopping for vehicle insurance is very similar to shopping for clothes.  Clothes come in different sizes, shapes, colors, material and are put together by different designers.  The price of each piece of clothing depends on what options you choose.  This is the same for vehicle insurance.

The price that you end up paying for vehicle insurance depends on the size of your liability limits and deductibles, the shape or type of your vehicle, how colorful your driving history is and what coverages you need to make up the fabric of your policy.  On top of all that, each company that designs or puts together the policies charge different rates.  Some companies are very cheap and then there are the designer companies that charge an arm and a leg for the same coverage that the cheaper companies offer.

So there is no one price that you can expect to pay for vehicle insurance.  To find out how much it is going to cost you, get quotes from local insurance agents and also to the insurance companies that sell direct. Just make sure that you are getting quotes for the same coverage to get the best idea on the prices.

One tip for shopping: get quotes from multiple carriers is by using the quote form at the top of this page.

Inland Marine Insurance for Auto Accessories

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/22/2011

Why you need inland marine insurance for aftermarket auto accessories, what inland marine insurance is, how it works, and how it applies to personal and commercial situations.

Anyone can get inland marine insurance for their car, no riverboat needed.

You just got a killer new car stereo with all the accessories. You have the woofers and tweeters. Everything is top of the line. Now you can terrorize your neighborhood with all the latest block rockin’ beats. Congratulations.

The down side is now your vehicle is a magnet for car stereo thieves. Is that new system covered by your auto insurance?

Um, probably not.

Items that are not factory installed and bolted down are typically not covered by standard boilerplate auto insurance. At this point you need inland marine insurance for auto accessories – at least your aftermarket accessories.

What is Inland Marine Insurance?

“Inland marine” is an old term for a very contemporary concept. The term dates to the 19th Century, when it was common to transport goods by rivers and canals. The insurance was originally designed to protect those goods, differentiating it from goods transported across oceans. It all has a very distinct Mark Twain feel to it, doesn’t it?

Today inland marine simply refers to insurance for miscellaneous items, no raft or riverboat required. It can apply to insurance for such things as jewelry, rare coins and artwork. However, in the realm of auto insurance it usually applies to aftermarket accessories such as car stereo equipment, burglar alarms, radar detectors and other non-factory installed items.

How Inland Marine Insurance Works

Inland marine insurance is usually a stated value form of insurance, meaning that it’s based on a given value for a particular item. For example, to insure an aftermarket accessory such as a car stereo one would typically provide a value for the item, a year of manufacture and a serial number. The procedure would be repeated for each separate item. These items would then be placed on the auto insurance policy as endorsements, or amendments, which provides the coverage.

You don’t necessarily need to get top quality stuff to qualify for inland marine insurance. The key test is whether the item is factory installed or not. If it isn’t, inland marine is probably required, even if we’re just talking about a modest car stereo.

Remember, depreciation is typically not covered in any auto insurance policy, therefore as the equipment ages the actual coverage level drops. Also bear in mind any new items purchased must be placed on the policy as well; their inclusion is not automatic.

As with full coverage insurance, a deductible can be assigned to inland marine insurance, but many choose a zero deductible. Inland marine coverage in and of itself is often quite reasonable, even with a zero deductible.

Inland Marine for Fleet Vehicles

Inland marine insurance is at least as important for commercial or fleet vehicles (see: fleet insurance) than it is for personal vehicles, if not more. In commercial settings inland marine insurance is used for tools and equipment and is therefore of vital importance for general contractors and others in construction-related industries. It can also be used for larger aftermarket commercial items such as generators and winches.

The application and coverage process is much the same for commercial inland marine as it is for personal inland marine. Exact requirements may vary from company to company, but for the most part stated value, serial number and date of manufacture are required.

Assigned Risk Auto Insurance

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Definitions Last Updated: 02/05/2011

What assigned risk auto insurance is, who needs it, how to apply for it, and knowing when to leave it behind.

Too many incidents like this can result in assigned risk.

All drivers are legally required to have auto insurance, but not all drivers have perfect records. Insurance companies recognize this and work to manage their risk by catering to those with tickets, claims, points and other driving blemishes.

But what if you’re convicted of multiple DUIs in a short period of time, or if your driving record is otherwise so bad that you don’t qualify for insurance even with high risk companies? Can you still get coverage?

The answer is yes, but it’s not cheap.

What Is Assigned Risk Auto Insurance?

At the most general level, assigned risk insurance, also known as the “assigned risk pool,” is a state- or regionally-run program that allows people who can’t otherwise qualify to get legally required insurance due to get insurance. The assigned risk concept is most commonly associated with workers compensation and auto insurance. Obviously, we’re only going to talk about the auto insurance portion of it here.

Assigned risk auto insurance programs assign drivers to various insurance companies, which are then required to take them. There’s little choice in assigned risk. You’re compelled to take what’s offered, and the company assigned to your policy is required to underwrite it. Any company which refuses risks losing their privilege to do business in your state, therefore none do.

Although rates and coverages for these policies are dictated by the assigned risk pool rather than the insurance company, they are still very basic and quite expensive. SR-22 filings are included.

In recent years more and more high risk and non-standard auto insurance companies have entered the market. This means that only those with truly awful driving records need assigned risk auto insurance. Indeed many agents will tell you an assigned risk auto insurance application is quite rare indeed.

Applying for Assigned Risk Auto Insurance

Your shouldn’t apply for assigned risk auto insurance unless you absolutely have to. Go through the application process through several different standard and high risk companies first. There is absolutely no point in saddling yourself with assigned risk auto insurance if you can get coverage elsewhere.

Remember, different companies look at different things when considering driving record. Therefore, while one company may consider you too risky, another may not. Also keep in mind companies look at driving records for different periods of time. Some are only interested in three years of driving history, while others will want to know about five.

If you find you do need assigned risk auto insurance, fill out the application with your agent and pay the necessary premium. The agent will then send the application to the pool where it will get assigned. Chances are good your policy will wind up with a different company than the one your agent represents.

Assigned Risk Is NOT Forever

The nice thing about auto insurance driving records is that nothing is forever. If one truly turns the page on bad driving habits, even the worst driver can shed his or her horrendous driving record and become any insurance company’s preferred customer.

If you do have an assigned risk policy, meet with your agent every six months or so to see if you can get qualified with a high risk or even a standard company again. There’s no reason whatsoever to stay on assigned risk even one day longer than you have to.

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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.