Unemployment Likely to Cause Uninsured Driving

February 18th, 2009 by Brad C

As millions of Americans hold tight to their jobs and corporate America continuesBuying Auto Insurance During A Recession to downsize, we can all feel the ripples of the recession affecting our lives, finances and families.

In fact, as household budgets tighten and salaries shrink or disappear completely, a new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) shows that many people may drop their auto insurance policies altogether due to unemployment, resulting in millions more uninsured drivers hitting the road over the next year.

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Listen to Unemployment Likely to Cause Uninsured Driving

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Behind in Car Payments: Torching a Car for the Auto Insurance

November 29th, 2008 by Brad C

A new, sad phenomena is occurring across the land. Firefighters are doing it, police officers are doing it, friends are doing it for other friends. “It” is burning a car for the auto insurance money. Many Torching a Car for the Auto Insurance confused souls think this is the answer to overwhelming car payments or other financial troubles. Instead it becomes the source of a whole new set of problems.

The process seems so simple. Drive the car to a remote place, pour some gasoline on the seats and light a match, then go home and report the car stolen. Seems like a good idea – at the time.

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Listen to Behind in Car Payments: Torching a Car for the Auto Insurance

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Love Your Car Insurance Company? Chances Are You’ll Stay

September 4th, 2008 by Brad C

A new survey by J.D. Power and Associates shows that drivers who are happy with their current auto insurance company usually won’t change regardless of price.  But that begs theConstantly Shop For Better Car Insurance Rates question – are they still getting the best deal?

Most people consider five factors when choosing an auto insurance company – interaction, policy offerings, price, billing and payment, and claims. 

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Listen to Love Your Car Insurance Company? Chances Are You’ll Stay

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Car Thieves Love Honda Civic, Accord

July 10th, 2008 by Brad C

Just because your Honda Accord or Civic is old doesn’t mean it’s not still a hot car, especially to car thieves.  Turns out the most popular car with thieves last year was the 1995 Honda Civic, followed by the 1991 Honda Accord. 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) just released its annual car theft report, Hot Wheels 2008, which identifies the top 10 most stolen vehicles:

1.    1995 Honda Civic
2.    1991 Honda Accord
3.    1989 Toyota Camry
4.    1997 Ford F-150 Series Pickup
5.    1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 Pickup
6.    1994 Acura Integra
7.    2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
8.    1994 Nissan Sentra
9.    1988 Toyota Pickup
10.   2007 Toyota Corolla

The good news is that motor vehicle thefts are down compared to last year.  But there are still things you can do to make sure your car doesn’t become a statistic.

  • For starters, lock the car and take the keys!
  • Use any anti-theft devices that came with the car.
  • Turn on any audible or visible warning device.  While most people ignore them, thieves still don’t like the risks associated with drawing any attention.
  • Install a “kill switch”, fuel cut-off or smart key system.  If a car is impossible to start, odds are thieves will move on to another topic.

Make sure you tell your insurance agent about any anti-theft devices you add; you could enjoy the extra benefit of lower auto insurance rates!

Listen to Car Thieves Love Honda Civic, Accord
Listen to Car Thieves Love Honda Civic, Accord

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I Just Wanted a Car, Not Noah’s Ark

July 6th, 2008 by Brad C

You thought you found a great deal on a used car – low miles, looks great – almost too good to be true. There’s a great chance it isn’t. Right now, with all of the floods in the Midwest, thousands of cars have gone underwater, and unscrupulous folk will try to pawn them off on unsuspecting buyers. But there’s a way to find out if your dream car is really a nightmare.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau now has a database that lists cars that have been declared a total loss or reported as stolen. Just enter the VIN number of the vehicle, and you’ll know if your car has a history filled with red flags.

While the database is fairly comprehensive, it only includes results reported by members of the NCIB, so your auto may not show up there. Still, it’s one more free way to protect yourself before buying a lemon.

If you do buy one of these lemons, not only can you have a myriad of mechanical problems, you can have one heck of a hard time getting auto insurance on that car. Worse, if the car you bought has been reported as stolen, you will be investigated and the car will most likely be returned to the original owner, leaving you both car-less and money-less.

So, before you get the cashier’s check for that new sports car, take 60 seconds and search the VIN number. Hopefully it will come up clean, and you’re good to go. If not, send an email to the NICB to thank them for saving you from a nightmare.

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Listen to I Just Wanted a Car, Not Noah’s Ark

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Correlation Identified Between Roof Strength, Vehicle Safety

March 12th, 2008 by Brad C

If your SUV has a strong roof, you are much more likely to survive a roll-over crash. That’s the new finding announced yesterday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is big news, considering that 59% of all deaths in SUV’s involve roll-overs.

The IIHS studied data from 12 states to reach its conclusions, and estimates that 200 lives a year could be saved by strengthening roof requirements. Additionally a huge number of serious, long-term injuries could also be avoided.

Experts from the manufacturers, other organizations, and the government will argue these results for months, but in the meantime the impact for consumers could be huge. Right now actuaries at insurance companies across the country are starting to incorporate these results in their risk forecasts for each of the vehicles identified in the IIHS report.

People owning 2000-2004 Nissan Xterra’s or 2002-2005 Jeep Liberty’s can celebrate that their vehicle’s top performance could lead to a rate reduction because of a lower likelihood of injury or death in a roll over crash.

Conversely, owners of Jeep Grand Cherokees or Ford Explorers may find their insurance goes up a little, since the roofs on these cars fared among the worst performers.

If you’re planning to buy an SUV, new or used, keep these findings in mind because they absolutely will affect your auto insurance rates, but more importantly, they could make a difference in keeping your family safe while you drive. Check out the complete Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Roll Over Report before you make your final decision

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Listen to Correlation Identified Between Roof Strength, Vehicle Safety

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Hey Parents, Do You Know the Rules of Child Passenger Restraints?

November 29th, 2007 by Brad C

A recent survey by GMAC Insurance shows that most parents don’t know what type of seat or which way their little ones should face when riding in a car. Laws covering child passenger restraints vary significantly by state, but fortunately the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration has issued guidelines to help parents find the right safety seat to match each child’s weight and height.

Of course this information is extremely important to car insurance companies, because awards involving critically injured children frequently allow for lifetime medical costs, and young children could expand that coverage period by an extra twenty years.

So, which guidelines cover your child?

If your child is less than a year old and under 20 pounds, make sure they sit in a rear-facing car seat, and stay that way as long as possible. Usually most starter car seats can handle children until they reach 30 pounds.

Next step for a child is to face forward, usually once they are over a year old and weigh more between 20-40 lbs. The forward facing seat and harness should be used until the child outgrows it.

Once a child exceeds 40 lbs, instead of using weight as the deciding factor, switch to height. A child under 4’9” should use a booster seat until they grow tall enough to no longer require it.

Finally if your child is taller than 4’9” and weighs at least 80 lbs, it’s time to switch to a seat belt, though the child should remain in the back seat until they are 13 years old.

Keeping your child safe is a huge responsibility. I hope this information helps you handle at least a tiny part of that load.

Listen to Hey Parents, Do You Know the Rules of Child Passenger Restraints?
Listen to Hey Parents, Do You Know the Rules of Child Passenger Restraints?

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Which Car is Safest? Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Knows For Sure

November 22nd, 2007 by Brad C

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just announced their picks for the 2008 Safety Award winners, and there were some surprising results.

Thirty-four vehicles were selected as top safety picks for 2008, up from just 13 last year. Ford and Honda had the most spots on the list, while the Toyota Tundra claimed the title of the first pickup truck to earn the IIHS designation.

The goal of the IIHS is to reduce or eliminate accidents and injuries from accidents. To qualify for a Safety Award in 2008, each vehicle must have electronic stability control, perform well in frontal and side impact crash tests, and have well designed seat and head restraints for rear crash protection. Federal law will require all vehicles to have electronic stability control (EHS) by 2012, but many manufacturers are making it a standard feature now, which significantly impacted the number for Safety Award winners. Experts believe that EHS can reduce single vehicle fatal accidents by over 50%. What a great reason to get a new vehicle with that feature!

A critical factor in auto insurance rates is how well it performs during a crash including protecting the occupants and the cost of repairs. Before you buy your next vehicle, see what the IIHS has to say about it first. This simple step can help you save a lot on car insurance premiums, but, more importantly, can help keep you and your family safe during an accident.

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Listen to Which Car is Safest? Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Knows For Sure

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Travelers Insurance Goes Green

September 30th, 2007 by Jeannine C

Travelers Insurance has put their money where their mouth is when it comes to the environment, by offering the first discount in the industry for drivers of hybrid cars, as well as other products designed to keep the earth green.

Now owners of vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, or Mercury Mariner Hybrid can expect a 10% discount in their auto insurance quotes from Travelers to add to the money they save on gas. It’s a smart move for Travelers to secure a new and growing market which is expected to represent 4.6% of new vehicles by 2010.

In addition to the Hybrid discount, Travelers announced insurance programs allowing businesses to replace damaged equipment with safer, more environmentally-friendly equipment, as well as policies designed to fit the special needs of emerging technologies, such as wind farms.

Families owning homes in hurricane prone areas will also benefit from Travelers support of the National Hurricane Survival Institute which promotes hurricane preparedness and the Institute of Business and Home Safety which offers ways to minimize property damage during storms. Many insurance companies already offer discounts on homeowners insurance to property owners who take extra steps to reduce storm related damage through tactics like storm shutters or reinforced roofs.

Whether you believe in global warning or not, anything that takes care of our world in a positive way without causing other types of damage is a good thing. Hopefully other insurance companies will follow Traveler’s lead and provide incentives through auto insurance, home insurance, and business insurance which will encourage everyone to make green choices in their lives.

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Listen to Travelers Insurance Goes Green

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Ten Tips to Thwart Car Thieves

September 18th, 2007 by Brad C

As someone who’s had a car stolen, I know just how terrible that can be.  Mine was stolen from the parking lot of a repair shop – it was an older car, easy to hotwire.  Fortunately, the gas gauge was broken, the thief ran out of gas, and left my car on the side of the road about 600 miles away.  I was one of the lucky ones – most cars are never recovered.  I didn’t want to have that kind of a claim against my comprehensive auto insurance either!

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends a layered approach to protecting your car from thieves.  Here are some ways to discourage thieves from helping themselves to your car.

1.  Don’t leave your keys in the ignition.  Surprisingly, many people will do this, thinking that they’ll only be gone for a minute, but a minute is all it takes a professional to steal your car.

2.  If you are parking in a parking lot, park under the light.  That increases the risk of a thief being seen while forcing their way into your car, and could encourage them to go after another target.

3.  Close your windows and lock your doors, even if the car is parked in your driveway.  Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, this could lull you into a false sense of security and make your careless.  Thieves count on that.

4.  If you have a garage, use it and lock it!  If you don’t have a garage, park front end first for a front-wheel drive car, and back in if you have a rear-wheel drive car.

5.  Always turn your wheels to the side and set the emergency brake; it will make your car harder to tow if that’s the thief’s plan.

6.  Don’t hide a spare key in the vehicle – the thieves know all the places to look to find it.

7.  Consider spending a few dollars on some vehicle protection items, like an ignition kill switch which is spliced in your ignition and disables the vehicle.  Hood locks will prevent access to engine parts, and a steering wheel lock won’t let anyone turn that wheel their way.

8.  Vehicle alarms do work.  Thieves do not like lots of noise drawing attention to them in the act.  Just remember to learn how to work your alarm system so you won’t wake up the neighbors at 2 a.m.

9.  VIN etching involves permanently etching the vehicle identification number onto the car’s windows and windshield.  Before a thief could sell the car, he would have to replace everything, which just wouldn’t be worth it when there are easier vehicles all around.

10.  Go the whole route and install a Vehicle Tracking Device, something like ADT Auto or On-Star into your vehicle.  That way if it’s lost or stolen it can be instantly tracked and even disabled, literally stopping the thief in his tracks.

Things like VIN etching and Vehicle Tracking Devices can actually lower your auto insurance rates.  Make sure to ask if a discount is available when you are comparing car insurance quotes. 

It only takes a few minutes to do many of these things, yet they can make the difference between driving your car home or having to file a police report.  Taking the time to protect yourself is always worth it in the long run.

Listen to Ten Tips to Thwart Car Thieves
Listen to Ten Tips to Thwart Car Thieves

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