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Does a Hit-and-Run Affect my insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 10/01/2017

Q: I walked out to my car this morning and someone hit my car overnight and didn’t leave any car insurance information. If I file this with my car insurance company, will it affect my rates?

A: The unfortunate answer is, yes it can. Anytime you file a claim on your car insurance policy it has the potential to increase your rates, regardless as to whether it was your fault or not. There are two pieces of good news for you though. One, if you have uninsured motorist coverage and you file a police report for the hit-and-run, your insurance company will pay out under the uninsured motorist coverage and you may not have to pay a deductible. Two, if the amount of your damages are minor and the cost of repairs come in under a certain dollar amount, your insurance company may not increase your rates. Like always, the threshold varies from company to company and it is always good to check to see as to what threshold your car insurance company has.

If your car was parked in an apartment parking lot or in a residential area, most likely the person that hit you lives near you. So it would be a good idea to go around and look at other people’s car to see if you can find damage that matches up to yours. If you can, then your car insurance company will have someone to go after, which can save you the rate increase, as well as being able to get your deductible back if you did end up paying that out of your own pocket.

How Bad Does a DUI Affect my Car Insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 09/30/2017

Q: I just got my first DUI, what is that going to do to my car insurance?

A: Wow, I don’t even know where to start to explain to you how badly this is going to jack up your insurance rates. First, you aren’t going to see it right away, because most likely your license is going to be suspended for a certain period of time. And please don’t bother driving during this time period, because if you get caught you can add another serious infraction to the list of things that are now going to increase your rates.

When you get your license back, most states require that you now carry SR-22, FR19 or some other form of financial responsibility addition to your insurance policy. So first, you can add the filing fee for this financial responsibility that your car insurance company now has to send to your state. Second, most insurance companies also increase your premium, on top of the filing fee,  if you have to carry an SR-22 or other form of financial responsibility. Third, that SR-22 or other financial responsibility filing that you had to ask to have added to your policy midterm is going to flag your insurance company that something is up and they will run your MVR the next renewal, which may be much sooner than they had originally planned on running it. Fourth, once they do run that MVR they are going to find your DUI (which is a serious infraction charge, by the way) and anything else that has been added to your MVR since the last time your car insurance company ran it.

All-in-all, you shouldn’t have got yourself a DUI if you wanted to keep your car insurance rates reasonable.

Are my Pets Covered Under my Car Insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 10/01/2017

Q: My dog goes with me almost everywhere. If I am in a car accident and he is hurt, will my car insurance cover the vet bills?

A: There is nothing in current car insurance policies that cover injuries sustained by a pet in a car accident. However, the good news is that car insurance companies are starting to understand how important pets are to us now and they have been starting to add pet coverage to other types of policies, like homeowners and specialty boat coverage. Car insurance may be a ways off though, if they even do decide to add that coverage, as having a pet in a car is actually a hazard if they aren’t in a carrier and most aren’t. So car insurance companies aren’t in a big hurry to offer protection for something they would rather not have in the car in the first place.

There is though, a big push to start selling pet insurance as a standalone policy. Again, insurance companies are seeing the importance of pets to us and know that we would pay for insurance protection on them. Now, these policies will most likely have coverage for your pet if they were injured in a car accident, so this is what you should be asking your car insurance agent about if you are looking for protection for your pet in a car accident.

Distracted Driving Tickets and your Car Insurance

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 09/30/2017

Q: Will getting a ticket for using my cell phone while driving affect my car insurance?


A: Yes, getting a ticket for using your cell phone can affect your car insurance rates. How much it will affect your car insurance will depend on the state you live in and also what car insurance company you are with. In regards to your state, each state treats these types of tickets different as to what kind of violation they are and they also treat them different in regards to how serious they consider these types of tickets. In addition, each state has different laws about ticketing for talking on your cell phone, texting on your cell phone, and even just having your cell phone in your hand. So it depends on how your cell phone ticket is coded on your driving record as to the impact it may have on your car insurance rates.

As for your car insurance company, this is such a new type of ticket many car insurance companies are still working on how they are going to rate these tickets.  Some go by just what comes across on the DMV report and others treat them very seriously and have them ranked as a serious offense next to reckless driving.

For more information and exactly how your insurance company is going treat any recent ticket you have received, it is best to contact your car insurance agent or car insurance company for more information.


Full Coverage Auto Insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 09/11/2017

Q: My car insurance agent told me there is no such thing as full coverage auto insurance, but I know I have been told there is by other people, does my agent know what they are talking about?

A: Yes, your car insurance agent knows what they are talking about because full coverage auto insurance is actually just a myth. Because there are so many pieces to car insurance and because we all need different coverages to provide us with the best protection possible for our unique situations, there is literally no such thing as full coverage auto insurance.

Full Coverage Auto InsuranceWhat this came from is that people started calling having liability and comprehensive and collision on their vehicles “full coverage”. But one, that is not the most insurance coverage that you can possibly buy, so it is really not “full” in that sense. Two, to one person having full coverage may be the liability, the comp, the collision, the towing, and the rental car coverage and to another it may just be the liability coverage that the state requires them to have.

So rest assured, your car insurance agent does indeed know what they are talking about.

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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.