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Excluded Drivers in California

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 05/06/2017

Q: Can the owner of the vehicle be an excluded driver on a car insurance policy in the state of California?

A: Yes, they can. However, if the owner is an excluded driver that means that they can NEVER drive the vehicle under any circumstances. If they have an accident driving that vehicle, it will not be covered by the insurance company.

When you exclude a driver from a policy, in exchange for a cheaper rate, you are telling the insurance company that a particular driver will not be using that vehicle at all. The insurance company agrees to not rate that driver because the risk is then removed that they will have to pay out a claim for that driver.  Now, if that driver does have a car accident with the vehicle they are excluded on and the insurance company finds out, your policy can be subject to cancellation.

Also, just because you exclude a driver it doesn’t mean that you get off not having to pay anything for the driver, most insurance companies now add a surcharge to policies for each excluded driver that you have listed. So all-in-all, unless the owner of the vehicle has an atrocious driving record, in most cases, it’s just best to leave them on the policy.

Now, with all that said. These rules do vary by insurance company and there are cases where the owner of the cannot be excluded because they are the named insured on the policy. So as always, it is best to check with you car insurance agent on your company’s excluded driver rules.

Filing a Car Insurance Claim With Another Company

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 05/03/2017

How do I file a car insurance claim against the other driver?

claimNo one wants to file a claim against their own insurance. Between having to pay your deductible to get repairs done and the hit that your CLUE report takes, it makes for a bad situation for something that wasn’t your fault. So the other alternative is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance instead, but how do you get that done.

Steps to Take at the Accident

Being able to file a claim against the other driver’s car insurance starts at the accident scene. When you are exchanging information take a picture of the front and back of the insurance card of the other driver. The front of the card will give you the policy identifying information and the back of the card will provide the phone number to call to be able to file a claim.

If possible, call the police so they can create a police report for the accident.

After the Accident

Call the other person’s insurance as soon as you are able to after the car accident and get the claims process moving. The adjuster with the other company isn’t going to be able to do anything until they can get a hold of their insured and take a claim statement of what happened during the accident, so get the process started as soon as possible. Also please understand that if they are not able to get a hold of their client to take a statement, they are not going to be able to do anything about the claim.

This is when you provide the police report with the details of the accident. Hopefully, the report will clearly show that their client was at fault.

Claim Denied by Other Company

If the other company denies the claim because of not being able to get a hold of their insured or they do not believe that their insured was at fault, then you will be left with no recourse other than to file a claim with your own car insurance company for your damages.

Replacement Coverage for a Leased Vehicle

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 04/30/2017

Q: I have a leased vehicle. If it is a total loss the bank is paid off. Does any insurance company sell a rider to where they would pay me also so that I can get wheels to reduce my loss and down time and obtain another vehicle for my continued use. I can understand this would cost quite a lot because it would be like insuring two cars but I do stand to be disadvantaged if the leased vehicle sustains a total loss. If no normal company – would one like Lloyds of Lundon? And if so how do you find an agent?

 

A: The point of insurance is to indemnify, or put you right back to where you are when the accident happens. In this case, the lease is paid off and you go out and get another lease. That puts you back in the same position you were before the accident. Now, for the in between time when you are trying to get your new lease and find yourself without a vehicle, this is when carrying LOU coverage comes in handy. LOU is Loss Of Use coverage that will pay for you to be in a rental car while you are in between vehicles. There is a timeframe though, so don’t dilly-dally looking for that new vehicle.

The only coverage I can think of that would immediately put you right back into the same type vehicle is a new coverage that insurance companies are coming out with called “New Vehicle Replacement Coverage”. The name of this coverage will vary from insurance company to insurance company, as will if they offer it for leased vehicles. The good news though, you won’t have to go to Lloyds of London for that.

 

Changing Your State Farm Agent

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 04/30/2017

Q: The directions you have provided to change State Farm Agents no longer work as of 4/23/17.

A: Thank you for advising.  The directions that this reader is talking about can be found here.

This was written 6 years ago, so I have no doubt that the information may be out of date.  However, steps one and two are still valid and work for changing agents with any company, not just with State Farm .  Insurance agents are supposed to be on your side and go to battle for you whenever you things go wrong or when things need to be taken care of.  Whenever you feel that your agent no longer has your back, it is always recommended that you find a new agent. Insurance is a big deal and you need to have an insurance advisor that you can trust. So, if you are ready to look for a new agent that will work out better for you:

  1. Talk to your friends and ask who their State Farm agent is and how they feel about them
  2. Look at online reviews of local State Farm agents
  3. Choose an agent to go visit and interview them. Seriously, interview them and see what kind of feeling you get from them.
  4. Advise the new State Farm agent that you choose that you want to move your State Farm policies to them.
  5. Let your new agent do their job and get your policy switched over to their office, all you have to do is sign the papers.

It’s time-consuming but simple.  In the long run, you will be a lot happier also with your new State Farm agent.

 

 

Increasing Car Insurance Premium After Small Accident?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question, Research Last Updated: 04/30/2017

Q: I was charged for failing to yield making right turn on red after I made complete stop and check did see not car approach. Believe driver made illegal u turn. She had witness in car or following her. Once police arrived he was called to side they talked privately. He refused to listen to me and was very rude. I did report him later. Anyway this happen 2014 now 2016 Dec my rates went from 140 to 262. monthly after reporting Kroger employee pushing cart tore off my review mirror. Even though Kroger was responsible. I live on fixed income. According to them they forgave my first and only accident .

 

A: Unfortunately, it feels like there is something else going on here.  I am not saying that your accidents aren’t playing a part in the increase in your rate, but a $1,464 annual increase is not something that I have ever seen for a side-view mirror claim. There are two other things that come to mind right now. First, almost every insurance company increased their rates in 2016. I fielded these calls everyday for the insurance company I work for and also had feedback from agents that we weren’t the only ones doing so.  I would definitely talk to your car insurance agent or car insurance company and see if they did have a rate increase in their car insurance product in your state.

Second, you mentioned “fixed income”. I may be wrong, but that usually indicates that you are of retirement age. After a certain age, car insurance premiums go up and the older you get the higher they increase.  I know this doesn’t work well because that’s when you are usually on a fixed income, but car insurance companies do it because older drivers, while they do have more experience, start becoming more of a risk because of slower reaction times and a decrease in eyesight.

All in all, contact your insurance agent to have them go over your policy to explain what is going on with your rates. If you don’t like what you hear, start shopping around for a company that can give you a better car insurance premium.

 

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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.