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Van Insurance for Commercial Use

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/04/2010

Considering drivers, work equipment, licenses and other factors for your business van policy

yellow vans

Why you need a different policy for a work van.

There are two types of van insurance: personal and commercial. Commercial van insurance deals with the vans used in business, such as those for construction, painting or delivery operations.

This sort of business insurance is different than a personal auto insurance policy and is closely related to fleet car insurance.

Getting Started With a Van Policy

Many personal car insurance policies don’t cover the vehicle while it’s being used in commercial settings. That’s why a personal auto policy is inadequate for commercial use. But commercial van insurance is designed specifically for a work-related van.

Commercial van insurance is underwritten by an insurance company that specializes in insurance risks. However, most major property and casualty insurers have a commercial insurance subsidiary. Chances are the same agent or broker who handled your personal policies can handle a commercial policy.

Registration and Drivers for Van Insurance

The van should be dedicated to commercial purposes. Ideally, it should be registered by a sole proprietorship DBA or corporation rather than an individual. The driver is insured as well. The driver should be able to document proof the he or she is licensed to drive the insured vehicle.

With a van a regular driver’s license should suffice, but with a larger vehicle a commercial driver license (CDL) may be required. Check with your state for specific requirements.

The driver’s record should also be good. It doesn’t to be perfect, but the driver may be declined if there are too many incidents on their record. Many commercial insurance carriers won’t insure a driver under age 25 regardless of driving record. Remember, all drivers need to be specifically listed on a commercial policy. These rules are much stricter than with a personal policy.

Commercial insurance is geared towards change. As long as they qualify, adding and removing both vehicles and drivers is usually a simple matter of submitting a change request to the insurance agent. The important thing to remember is to keep it current.

Extras on a Van Insurance Policy

Van insurance is only the first part of the commercial insurance process. If you’re using a van for work, you may have many valuables for your job in the van. Unfortunately, van insurance usually only covers the van itself and whatever was bolted inside of it by the factory. Tools and equipment need to be insured separately.

In a commercial setting this is typically accomplished by an “inland marine” policy. The same company that wrote the van policy should be able to write the inland marine policy. Just get your equipment together, place a value and date of manufacture on it, and submit the list to your insurance company. Premiums on inland marine policies are typically quite reasonable, and well worth every penny if something happens.

Also, don’t forget about your trailer. If you have a trailer, you’ll need to insure that separately. Trailers can usually be added to the commercial auto insurance policy. All of these things will help if you need to insure your commercial van.

Student Car Insurance For Young Drivers

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/02/2010

How getting good grades and staying on a parent’s policy will help students pay less for auto insurance

young female student driver

Good grades and staying on a parent's policy can help lower auto insurance rates for students.

Car insurance for students, like insurance for any young driver, is expensive. But there are some advantages students have while they’re in school.

Student car insurance considerations are usually only valid for individuals under 25. Older, non-traditional students generally aren’t subject to these conditions (or eligible for student discounts), even if they go to school full-time.

Good Grades Can Improve Insurance Rates

There are very few things high school drivers can do to keep their insurance premiums down. Statistically speaking, they are among the highest-risk drivers around. Even an otherwise modest liability-only policy can be very expensive for them – same thing goes for learner driver car insurance or car insurance for teens.

Even so, students can limit their insurance bill. Staying out of accidents is the most important thing they can do. But maintaining good grades is a close second. Most companies offer good student discounts of up to 20 percent for high-school age students. The good news is you don’t have to be the valedictorian to be eligible. A 2.0 GPA is usually all that’s required.

Students can document good grades by providing a current transcript or letter from a school to the insurance company. What’s more, good student discounts often extend to college-age students under 23.

Try Keeping Student Auto Insurance At Home

Many insurance companies allow a child to stay on his or her parent’s policy past age 18 if they are a full-time college student. This usually lasts until the child leaves school, gets married or turns 23, whichever comes first. Specific requirements can vary widely from company to company – so always check with your agent or broker.

Because a parent’s policy often offers discounts that a student could not usually get – like longevity and multi-car discounts – it’s often a good idea to keep student car insurance on the parent’s policy as long as possible.

Special Situations for Student Car Insurance

One caveat to staying on a parent’s policy: if the student goes to school in a state where the parent’s insurance company doesn’t do business, there may be an issue with staying on the parent’s insurance.

If the insurance company discovers the out-of-state student, they may drop the student and force them to insure separately in that state. There may also be a problem if there’s a claim. Be sure to check with your agent or broker if this is an issue.

Even if the student is forced to go it alone, maintaining constant coverage should remain a priority. Any gap in coverage may force the student into a high-risk company later – even with a spotless driving record. This could make a bad situation worse. It certainly doesn’t hurt to shop around. The good student discount and other discounts may still be available to them.

Sports Car Insurance for Your Ride

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

Things to consider when insuring an exotic, high performance, or other sports cars – such as raised limits, stated value, and more.

convertible sports car driving on sunny day

Don't forget coverage for your sports car before you drive off the lot.

There isn’t that much difference between insuring a sports car and any other car. But there are special considerations when dealing with sports car insurance.

In most cases the basics remain the same. All sports cars need to be insured to satisfy state liability requirements and any lienholder requirements for full coverage. This is particularly true if a sports car is intended to be driven rather than just looked at.

Raising Limits On Sports Car Insurance

Sports cars aren’t cheap. Insuring them isn’t cheap, either. Most companies consider sports cars to be significantly higher-risk models compared to run-of-the-mill SUVs and sedans. Premiums can therefore be quite expensive, even for low-risk drivers. This has nothing to do with the color of the car (the notion that a red sports car costs more to insure is a myth), but with the model itself.

Also, insurance costs may vary widely among different models of sports cars. For instance, high performance car insurance can be very expensive, while car insurance for other vehicles is cheaper. Each car and driver is quoted differently. Rates can also vary greatly between companies on higher-end vehicles – that’s why you should shop your rate.

You should also keep liability limits on actively driven sports cars high higher than state-mandated minimums. Sports cars attract attention across the board. This attention is not always welcome. If your sports car is in an accident – especially if you’re at fault – you are more likely to face litigation than if you just drove a Ford Focus. If that happens, you’ll be glad you had those higher limits.

The same holds true for material damage. Even when a sports car is paid off and the bank no longer requires full coverage, there’s probably a lot of intrinsic value in the car. Keeping full coverage after payoff is usually a good idea.

Consider Stated Value on Your Sports Car

Traditional sports car insurance may not be enough for older, collectable sports cars or expensive high-end models. For a typical auto insurance policy the vehicle’s value is determined by blue book and other market-driven factors. This may not translate well for classic cars or exotic models where a stated value policy may be more beneficial. In such a case, classic car insurance or an exotic car policy may be a better choice.

There are special considerations for these policies as well. For example, a classic car insurer may decline to insure a vehicle that is regularly driven, even if it qualifies otherwise. Consult your agent or broker for more information.

Learner Driver Car Insurance: Do You Need It?

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 07/28/2010

Why you need auto insurance with your learner driver permit and what to do about it

young girl driver buckling seat belt

Learner driver permit holders need car insurance.

Congratulations on getting your learner driver permit! The question to ask now is: do you need insurance to drive now?

Even at this stage in your driving career, the answer is an absolute “yes” in all 50 states. All drivers and all vehicles must be insured — no exceptions.

But how exactly is this done? How do you get learner driver car insurance?

Sometimes it’s as simple as understanding car insurance for teens. But often the specific answer varies greatly depending on situation, company, and state.

Learner Driver Car Insurance for Teenagers

If the driver is a teenager, learner driver auto insurance is best acquired by placing the new driver on a parent’s policy. The insurance company will need the learner driver’s state-issued license number and a vehicle to place the driver on.

This can be a tricky proposition. Some companies insist on placing the highest-risk driver on a policy on the most expensive car – you’ll have to check with your agent or broker.

The ideal situation would be to place the teenager on an older, paid-for vehicle with liability-only coverage. Make no mistake – this is going to be expensive no matter how it’s done.

Even so, given the big expense of insuring a teenager on a full-coverage policy on a newer vehicle, it might make financial sense for the family to buy an older car to insure their teenager. Naturally, check with an agent to make sure this is feasible for your particular situation.

Learner Driver Car Insurance for Adults

The situation is a bit different for adults who are driving for the first time. Many companies will take an adult driver on a learner permit in their high-risk company. Being placed in high-risk is due both to their lack of driving history as well as their lack of insurance history. While this can be expensive, many adults can move to a less expensive standard company after six months if all goes well.

An option an adult may consider for learner driver car insurance is a “non-owned” policy. This is a liability-only policy that covers only a particular driver and not any particular vehicle. A non-owned policy satisfies state liability insurance requirements and at the same time starts the clock on the driver’s insurance history sooner than later.

To qualify for a non-owned policy a driver must not have a car registered in his or her name. Otherwise the company will require the policy to be written on that car, even if it’s not the car being driven.

When You Get Your Full License

It stands to reason that an insurance company will not continue to insure a driver on a learner’s permit indefinitely. The driver will need to show proof of obtaining a full license in a timely manner to avoid cancellation. Most companies will allow a few months for this.

No company will wait around forever. You should provide the insurance company your full driver’s license information as soon as possible to avoid any problems.

Kit Car Insurance For Your Hobby Car

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

How kit cars are different, insurance considerations before and after building your own car.

auto parts for building kit car

Don't forget to insure your kit car before you start building!

A kit car may be the ultimate do-it-yourself project. It allows the hard core car enthusiast to build their own car from the ground up. But as with any car, kit cars need to be insured.

Given the unique nature of the kit car process, it’s insured differently as well. There are several kit car insurance considerations you wouldn’t even consider with standard factory-built cars.

How Kit Cars Are Different

Perhaps the important difference between kit car insurance and other types of auto insurance is the “builder’s risk” aspect of it. Whereas a standard automobile is built in a factory somewhere, and a classic car is built in a factory a long time ago, kit cars are by definition built by private individuals.

Auto factories carry a form of commercial insurance to cover their building process to protect against theft, damage and other perils that may hinder getting the finished product. In the same way, individuals constructing kit cars should insure during the building process as well.

Insuring the Kit Car Build

You should consider insuring a kit car before the first part is ordered. This provides coverage for such things as missing or damaged or parts during the building process. Without this coverage, a mishap involving parts could completely stop the build. After all, how much more useful is an unfinished kit car versus a totaled car?

Both cars just take up space.

Many traditional property and casualty insurers won’t insure kit cars (although some do). Even if your normal company doesn’t insure kit cars, they may have access to a kit car insurance market through a broker.

As with classic car insurance, there are several companies that specialize in the kit car insurance. Alternatively, you can shop for kit car insurance online. Check with your agent or broker for more details.

After Building Your Kit Car

Once the kit car is built, it’s insured in much the same way as a classic car. Material damage is covered at a stated value (generally the total amount spent to build the car) while liability is a secondary concern at best. State minimum liability limits must be satisfied to legally drive a kit car on the road.

If the car is meant to be primarily a display piece it’s not absolutely necessary. As with classic car insurers, most kit car companies won’t insure the finished product unless it’s used for primary transportation.

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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.