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Oct 16
Insurance Giant Raises Rates in California Ahead of Vote

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rates in california As Californians prepare to vote on a new law which will allow insurance companies to offer discounted rates for new clients who can prove that they had continuous coverage with any licensed insurer for a period of five years or more, Mercury General is raising its rates an average of 4% per policyholder.

Opponents of California’s Proposition 33, which is supported by Mercury chairman George Joseph and other insurance company heads, predict that the insurer’s new rates will raise costs to its policyholders by an estimated $63 million, thus contradicting the ballot’s measured promise that passage will lower costs for safe and insured drivers.

According to Mercury’s critics, which include Consumer Watchdog and the Consumer Federation of California, the insurer is seeking to make larger profits in California and not, as Proposition 33 claims, reward drivers who follow state law, buy auto insurance, and decide to change insurers after holding continuous coverage for five years or over. Prop 33’s detractors say that Joseph’s company has a long history of abusing its customers and ignoring state law in an arrogant manner.

However, Mercury and other insurance companies which support Proposition 33 argue that California’s current insurance laws punish good drivers by not permitting them to get a discount on a policy if they change insurers after earning continuous coverage. They also say that the new law will benefit consumers by forcing insurance companies to compete for drivers’ business.

One key provision in Proposition 33 is that drivers will only be eligible for the continued discount if they have not had a lapse in payments over a 90 day period before switching insurers.

Opponents of the measure say that it will have a negative impact on consumers, including people who have been unemployed for extended periods, students, and people who are recovering from serious illnesses. These individuals are likely to have dropped auto insurance due to what they thought were mitigating circumstances and thus lost their continuous coverage.

Joseph, who is currently ranked at 392nd in the Forbes 400 list of billionaires with a fortune estimated at $1.1 billion, has spent $8 million to promote passage of Proposition 33.

Oct 14
Auto Insurance Companies Lower Florida No Fault Rates

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auto insurance In an attempt to take advantage of a new Florida law, four of the five largest insurance companies are cutting no-fault insurance rates to lower their costs in the Sunshine State.

Following the passage of a law which targets fraud in Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) system, Geico, Progressive and USAA have reduced their PIP rates by 10 percent. Allstate has decided to ask for different rate cuts for its three separate insurance divisions; no PIP rate change for Allstate Fire & Casualty, a 10 percent reduction for Allstate Insurance Co. and a 5.8 % cut for Allstate Property & Casualty.

State Farm, the largest auto insurer in Florida, was one of the few companies that decided against lowering its PIP rates. In sharp contrast to its competitors, the company has asked to be allowed to raise its PIP rate by 7.9 percent. State Farm had originally sought to raise personal insurance protection rates by 22 percent, but reduced its request with the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation. The insurer decided to ask for a smaller increase because the new state law, HB 119, caps non-emergency medical care at $2,500, disallows payments for massage and acupuncture treatments and attempts to curb insurance fraud.

Even though State Farm’s PIP rate is going up, its overall auto insurance rate is set to be lowered by 2.9 percent.

Auto insurance clients should check with their agents to see how the new state law affects their rates. Some of the smaller insurers which operate in the state of Florida may have raised their PIP rates because they are not able to be as flexible as the larger companies. Additionally, be certain to visit Florida’s official Department of Insurance online website for additional questions or comments concerning the new rates.

Oct 12
Loss of Use Insurance for Texas Drivers

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insurance in texas When consumers think about insurance, they usually have in mind such things as how much coverage they are purchasing, what the policy will or will not cover, and how much their monthly premiums will be. The most pressing thoughts center on the amount of damage that an insurance policy covers in case of an accident or a natural disaster, but rarely do people remember that insurance policies have an optional benefit which covers loss of use.

Loss of use insurance benefits can cover almost anything that can be insured, including homes, cars and other property, such as equipment and farms. In addition, loss of use insurance coverage helps policy owners to deal with the long-term effects of instances such as a car accident, or a flash flood. After all, a driver can’t use an automobile if it is damaged in a crash, nor can a home be safe to live in after it has been flooded.

Though there are certain limits to how much an insurer will pay or how long a period of time it will last, loss of use coverage acts like a cushion to the consumer; it pays for the costs of renting a car while the owner’s vehicle is either being fixed or replaced, or for extended stays in a hotel or apartment until a dwelling is repaired or rebuilt.

Automobile insurance consumers should ask their agent if their current insurance company offers loss of use coverage. Not every company offers this benefit, however, so it is a good idea to ask which insurers in the state of Texas offer it. For more information on Texas auto and home insurance providers, visit the official Texas Department of Insurance website.

Oct 10
New Jersey Fines Among Highest for Uninsured Drivers

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uninsured driversAlthough all states mandate that drivers have at least liability coverage in order to drive legally on public roadways, not all states enforce the same rules and fees when a driver is found driving without insurance. A study has recently revealed that the state of New Jersey has some of the strictest consequences for uninsured drivers.

In most states, fines for driving uninsured typically run around $200 with a temporary driver’s license suspension of a few months or until the fines are paid. In New Jersey, however, along with a fine ranging anywhere from $300 to $1,000, drivers run the risk license suspension for up to a year as well as state-mandated community service. The consequences increase for habitual violators. A few weeks in jail, fines of up to $5,000, and driver’s license suspension for at least two years is common repercussions for New Jersey drivers who are caught habitually driving without auto insurance. In order for New Jersey drivers to reinstate their driver’s license, they must reapply again with the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, there is no guarantee of reinstatement. The decision whether to reinstate a habitual insurance violator’s license depends upon the agency and the severity of the violations.

In an effort to cut down on uninsured drivers, other states are taking strict initiatives along with New Jersey. In Louisiana, for example, legislators revised ACT 512, which allows police officers to tow vehicles that have no insurance. This law formerly applied to individuals who were caught repeatedly driving without insurance, but it was revised in 2012 to include first-time violators as well.

The best course of action is to shop around for the most affordable insurance rate and always keep at least the state-required of coverage on your vehicle. Consequencesof driving without insurance can lead to court fines, fees, and driver’s license reinstatement costs that end up being a lot higher than an insurance premium.

Oct 08
Low Cost Program Offers Lower Insurance Rates in California

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insurance rates With inflating prices of groceries, gas, and more, many California drivers have been running the risk of not obtaining insurance in order to pay other bills. This of course, is a serious risk, and if caught, an uninsured driver faces a multitude of consequences. Fortunately, the California Low Cost Insurance Program (CLC), which was set in place over a decade ago in order to help drivers obtain affordable California auto insurance, has helped decrease the amount of uninsured drivers on California roadways with it recent changes.

Per California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, financial problems have been the primary factor for the high amount of uninsured drivers in California. However, the CLC program has revised their program in order for it to be accessible to more drivers.

According to the California Department of Insurance, CLC has helped to decrease annual premiums in California by up to 9%. These reductions are the largest since 2009 in California, with an average annual premium price of a little over $257 per vehicle.

Along with premium reductions, the state of California has also increased the maximum income eligibility, making it easier for more drivers to qualify for the program. The new income requirements are as follows:

  • A household with one person can make no more than $27,925 annually
  • A household with two people can make no more than $37,825 annually
  • A household with three people can make no more than $47,725 annually
  • A household with four people can make no more than $57,625 annually

In addition, drivers must be at least 19 years of age in order to qualify for the CLC program, and each driver must have had their driver’s license for at least three consecutive years. Drivers must also have a clean driving record with no major speeding tickets or at-fault accidents.

For more information regarding the CLC program and its eligibility requirements, visit the official California Department of Insurance online website.

Oct 07
New Yorkers Faced with Increasing Home Insurance Prices

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Home Insurance Prices are Increasing in New York

home insuranceWith natural disasters, floods, and escalating prices on building materials, New York residents are faced with a problem that seems to be sweeping through the nation: rising New York home insurance costs.

According to recent information from a local New York insurance firm, winter storm losses have grown significantly over the past few decades, and thunderstorms have caused close to $25 million in damages to local New York homeowners. In addition, the cost of building supplies, such as paint, nails, insulation, wire, and shingles have increased. The aforementioned scenarios have had a major impact on New York home insurance prices.

Lisa Mahill, an engineer in New York, recently stated that her home insurance seems to consistently increase year after year:

“Each year my homeowners insurance goes up. Many times when I ask about the increase, it is attributed to the cost to replace. I’m certain that it’s true, but it increases every year.”

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, this problem is widespread, and New York is just one of the many states that have suffered from rising home insurance rates. Nationwide, home insurance prices have been steadily increasing since 2007, with only a slight drop in 2008.

However, even with the rising New York home insurance prices; there are several ways that consumers can cut costs:

  • Keep all of your insurance policies with the same company. Having the same auto, home, or renter’s insurance company could potentially bring about discounts.
  • Consider raising your deductible by $1,000. This can help cut costs by giving you extra protection in the event of a major loss.
  • Pay any and all small claims out of pocket. This will prevent you from being charged a surcharge in addition to eliminating any applicable loss free discounts.
  • Reduce service fees by opting for monthly electronic bank transfers or automatic and recurrent credit card payments.

For more information on New York home insurance, including premiums, policies, and local insurance company information, visit the official New York Department of Financial Service’s website (DFS).

Oct 06
New York No Fault Car Insurance Laws

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auto insuranceNine states nationwide, including New York, require no fault insurance to be purchased as part of an auto insurance policy before being able to legally operate a vehicle. No fault insurance, commonly known as only personal injury protection coverage (PIP), helps protect all individuals who were injured in a car accident.

In New York, the no fault insurance law requires that drivers carry at least $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP), at least $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL), and at least $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. In New York, this plan is typically called the 50-10-25 plan.

In addition to the required coverage however, drivers in New York are urged to buy additional protection. For example, additional personal injury protection (APIP) coverage will help drivers in the event that that $50,000 isn’t enough to cover all of the damages. APIP coverage can usually be purchased in additional increments of $50,000. APIP coverage can also be added on for lost wages and other expenses.

Typically, the default PIP protection only covers up to 80% of lost wages, but additional protection can cover up to 100%. Furthermore, APIP coverage offers out-of-state, no performance loss protection, which will cover guests or others that are in a collision while driving your car. Keep in mind though that out-of-state protection may not cover lost wages for guests or people other than you if they happen to be injured in an accident or collision.

If you have any questions regarding New York no fault car insurance, or if you need quotes for additional APIP insurance, be certain to visit the official New York Insurance-Department of Financial Services online website (DFS) where you can obtain information on new insurance laws in New York, perform a company search, get broker information, and more.

Oct 05
Wildfire Threat Endangers California Homes

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wildfire threat With drought conditions persisting amidst a wave of oppressive heat, California homeowners have to brace themselves for an increased threat of wildfires, a long-standing bane of residents of the Golden State.

According to a recent collaborative study carried out by the Insurance Information Network of California and Verisk Insurance Solutions, over two million homes – 15% of the statewide total – in various regions of the state face severe damage or even total destruction by wildfires. The unyielding heat wave and resulting drought have dried out thousands of acres’ worth of trees, dense brush and other vegetation, turning once-lush areas into easily flammable fuel for fires sparked by natural events such as lightning strikes or man-made activity such as accidents or even deliberate arson.

The study points out that 417,000 homes are under severe threat of wildfires in Los Angeles County alone, citing such risk factors as the presence of too much dry vegetation, siting of buildings on hills and other sloped surfaces, and the amount of vehicular access to certain areas or lack thereof. Additionally, the pervasive heat this fall will likely be exacerbated by the seasonal Santa Ana winds which help fan wildfires in Southern California under conditions of hot, dry weather.

For more information regarding California home insurance, visit the official California Department of Insurance website for information regarding different California insurance companies and policies. Keep in mind that having the correct amount of homeowner’s insurance will help protect your personal belongings in the event of a natural disaster.

Oct 04
PIP Auto Insurance Law Reformed in Florida

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Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

pip auto insuranceFlorida auto insurance has been fluctuating for several years now, and in an attempt to regulate the insurance and prevent fraud, major changes have been made to the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance laws in Florida. This in turn has not only reduced fraudulent activity in Florida, but has also reduced rates for both personal and commercial drivers.

The new Florida PIP coverage consists of drivers maintaining no less than $10,000 PIP coverage for injuries, with an optional $2,500 non-emergency treatment clause. The treatment cause became effective in order to reduce the abuse of the no-fault laws in Florida.

According to Florida insurance regulators, all auto insurance companies must already have plans in place to reduce their PIP rates. If any insurance company hasn’t already reduced the rates or created a plan, then an adequate explanation must be provided to the insurance regulators. Unfortunately, some Florida auto insurance companies do not agree with the new price reduction, as they believe this will not solve the issues that Florida has been facing, such as fraud.

Fraud continues to be a growing problem in Florida, with a plethora of fraudulent accident claims each year. As a result, auto premiums have continued to increase in Florida, and the longer these fraudulent claims continue without solutions, Florida auto insurance premiums will continue to rise.

For more information on the new PIP laws and regulations, visit the official Florida Department of Insurance website. You’ll also be able to research various Florida insurance companies and get new quotes in the event you are looking for new auto insurance, or need to change to another company.

Oct 03
New Law Allows California Drivers to Keep Insurance Discounts

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Insurance Discounts in California

insurance discountsIn 1988, California passed Proposition 103; a law stating that drivers who have no risks within five years of driving are allowed to receive additional discounts, but only if they stay with the same insurance company. However, a newly passed law has changed how California insurance companies provide discounts to safe drivers, allowing drivers to still get discounts after five years of safe driving, even if they switch to another company.

Proposition 33, a newly passed California motorist law, states that consumers who have California auto insurance and have been safe drivers, can either keep their current insurance or switch to another company without their discounts being affected. This new law allows drivers to negotiate better rates and deals with their current insurance company. This gives the customers more power in regards to negotiations and their own insurance premiums.

Proposition 33 will also those who no longer need insurance the ability to keep their discounts. For example, people in the military, the unemployed, disabled, or those who no longer have a car may need to stop their insurance for a period of time. Under the new law, lapse of insurance doesn’t take away the persistency discount, allowing drivers to have customer protection.

In addition, Proposition 33 mandates that the California Department of Insurance, along with the elected insurance official, have the final say insurance prices. Any outrageous or excessive insurance will be banned. Extra fees and additional charges, although typical in many other states, is not allowed in California.

In conclusion, with a new law in place, California insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher rates while knowing that their drivers cannot move onto other companies. Drivers now have the option to find the best rate and deals for their own situations without the fear of losing their driving discounts. This is turn will provide a more competitive insurance market, which will make for lower rates and more uninsured drivers coming forward to get insured.

Oct 01
State Farm Florida Increases Rates on Home Insurance

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seguro de vivienda Florida homeowners who hold insurance policies sold by State Farm’s subsidiary in the Sunshine state need to brace themselves for an increase which averages 6.9%. This is State Farm Florida’s fifth rate increase in as many years.

The State of Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation approved State Farm Florida Insurance Company’s request for a rate increase, the fifth such uptick in five years. However, state regulators cut the insurer’s initial request to raise premiums by an average of nearly 15%, which State Farm justified by citing increased costs caused by hurricane and underwriting losses.

The insurer, which is based in Winter Haven, FL, complained at a public hearing that its surplus had slipped down from $877 million to $366 million in the four years between 2007 and 2011. Additionally, State Farm Florida reported that it had been forced to borrow $750 million from its parent company State Farm Mutual to cover claims and other expenses after the 2004 hurricane season. This loan is still outstanding, executives said.

Florida’s insurance regulators objected to various elements of State Farm Florida’s proposed increase, including a cushy 16% profit and contingency factor. They also were not convinced by the commission fees paid by State Farm Florida to its sales agents, who were making 10.8% commissions on existing policies but not writing new policies in the state.

State Farm Florida has not written any new policies over the past few years. In 2010 the insurer cut 125,000 homeowner policies from its rolls and lowered its risk in the state by dropping an additional 10,000 policies in early 2012.

Nevertheless, State Farm Florida managed to get its fifth rate increase over the past five years; including a 27.9% upward bump in 2009, an additional four percent rise in 2010, then two more price hikes (6.6 and 18.8% respectively) in the 2011-12 time period.

Because Florida’s geographic location makes the peninsular state vulnerable to tropical systems throughout the six month-long hurricane season, many insurance companies consider the area too high-risk.

Though State Farm Florida received less than what it asked for from state regulators, it will not appeal the Office of Insurance Regulation’s decision, which comes as the Atlantic hurricane season reaches its activity peak.

Sep 29
Geico Now Offers Commercial Auto Insurance in New York

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Commercial Auto Insurance in New York

commercial auto insurance In addition to personal New York auto insurance, Geico is now offering commercial auto insurance for New Yorkers. Commercial auto insurance consists of insurance for small business such as contractors, retailers, and more, and covers cars, vans, and trucks that are used by the businesses. The new coverage is offered to new and existing customers, and free quotes can be obtained by calling GEICO.

According to Pionne Corbin, the director of GEICO’s commercial lines, customers now have the benefit of combining their residential and commercial auto policies together, which in the long run, will save time and money on its already low-cost premiums:

“Customers can now contact GEICO for all of their automobile insurance needs, and through the GEICO Insurance Agency we can meet other insurance requests they may have. We are really pleased to continue to offer affordable commercial coverage for businesses in New York. We are very well known for being the low-cost provider on our personal auto insurance coverage.”

Additionally, GEICO’s New York Regional Vice President, John Pham, recently stated that GEICO customers also have the opportunity to enjoy lower premium rates while saving money if they need commercial auto insurance:

“Business owners can now purchase commercial coverage directly through us, which should lead to significantly lower premium rates for many risks. GEICO delights in providing competitive insurance with fantastic service, and our commercial insurance products provide even more opportunities for New York insurance consumers to save money.”

Coverage for commercial vehicles through Geico is underwritten by Geico, or in some cases, through an arrangement by affiliate companies, such National Indemnity Co. (NICO) or Berkshire Hathaway. On some occasions, the coverage is underwritten by non-affiliates.

Along with commercial auto insurance, Geico, the third largest private passenger insurance company in the nation, also offers insurance protection to people who own motorcycles, motor homes, ATVs, boats, and travel trailers. In addition, GEICO offers homeowner, flood, and renter’s insurance.

Sep 27
Florida May Decrease in Auto Insurance Premiums

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Florida drivers could see a price drop of up to 25% of their premiums

seguro de auto Recently, the state of Florida made changes to the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on automobile policies. With the changes in places, reports have suggested that Florida drivers could see a price drop of up to 25% of their premiums.

However, keep in mind other costs involved with insurance policies may offset the new price reduction. Florida insurance companies are hesitant to explain the new price reduction to consumers because it could potentially expose hidden prices listed as additional costs. For example, a recently revealed hidden was found to be an insurance fraud scheme, which ended up costing companies over a billion dollars.

Executive Director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, Bill Newton, explained recently that under new Florida Law, insurance companies are mandated to decrease Florida PIP costs by at least 10% by the beginning of October. If insurance companies fail to decrease rates, they must provide a legitimate explanation as to why the prices stayed the same or increased. Newton also explained that insurance companies need to be held accountable for any and all reasons why insurance premiums will not decrease:

“We should collect all these excuses from insurance companies and hopefully no one will say my dog ate it.”

However, the Florida State Office of Insurance Regulation (FSOIR) is concerned that the 10% decrease may actually increase the overall premium costs regardless of hidden or additional costs.

“This projected savings may actually mitigate premium increases, not reduce premium.”

The reasoning behind FSOIR’s recent statement is because in Florida, PIP represents 20% of a Florida driver’s total auto insurance premium. With up to a 25% reduction in PIP costs, this would mean that a total of 5% only would be reduced from the customer’s total price.

For more information regarding the new Florida PIP laws, visit the official Florida Department of Insurance website. You’ll also be able to compare different quotes and inquire with different companies regarding pricing and savings now that the new law is in effect.

Sep 26
Fraudulent Insurance Cards Becoming a New Negative Trend in South Florida

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Fraudulent Insurance Cards

fraudulent insurance cards Although South Florida is famous for its beaches, its sports franchises, its culture, year-round balmy weather, a plethora tourist resorts and glitzy nightlife, it’s also infamous for its darker side: drug smuggling, rampant political corruption and, increasingly, auto insurance-related scams.

Due to the explosive growth of the area’s population over the past 30 years, law enforcement agents in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties have witnessed many fraudulent practices, including the filing of false auto theft cases, staged car accidents, and self-inflicting damage to automobiles to get payments from auto insurance companies.

The latest scam, however, alarms police agencies and insurance companies because it’s not easy to detect or to deter: over the past few months, law enforcement agencies in the region have noticed an uptick in the use of fake auto insurance cards which are difficult to tell apart from genuine cards issued by Allstate, Geico, State Farm and other auto insurers.

According to Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Boris, false auto insurance cards are hard to differentiate from the genuine article. “If someone was to take this card and it was fraudulent how easy would it be to take that off and add an 11 or a 12 and we would never know, this is just a piece of paper,” Deputy Boris said.

The perpetrators of this new scam don’t need much in the way of special tools or hard-to-get materials. There are websites where a scammer can simply download a template for a fake insurance card, copy it to a computer’s hard drive, then print it out. The site owners try to skirt the law by placing disclaimers stating that they do not support any illegal activities, a trick once used by Prohibition-era alcoholic beverage companies when they sold the ingredients to brew beer or make wine and placed “DO NOT FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO MAKE BEER AT HOME” disclaimers on product labels.

To combat this new tactic by auto insurance scammers, local police agencies are joining forces with insurers. The two sides share information and meet on a regular basis, and police officers who carry out sting operations to catch scammers can call the insurance companies to check if a card is valid or not.

If you are interested in how to protect yourself from auto insurance fraud in the state of Florida, you can visit the official website of the Department of Financial Services’ insurance fraud division. More auto insurance-related information can be found at the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles official website.

Sep 25
Lower your Texas Auto Insurance Premiums

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Save upto 30% on your Auto Insurance

save on auto insurance In a recent study done in Katy, Texas, Frank Hursh, owner of an independent insurance agency, gave advice on how drivers can potentially lower their Texas auto insurance by up to 30%:

“These steps are so simple it amazes me that more Texans are not taking advantage of them. If they realize how much money they could be saving every month, they will follow them immediately,” Hursh said in his office earlier today.”

One of the easiest ways to save, but something that often overlooked by consumers, is to maximize the discounts they are entitled to. Often, drivers believe that discounts are automatically offered to them after giving out their information to an insurance company, but according to Hursh, this isn’t necessarily true:

“Most people do not pay attention or ask questions. They just assume they are getting the best deal. They may not and unless they ask questions, and they may be leaving money on the table. Most insurance companies are happy to give you these discounts if you qualify for them but sometimes, you have to ask.”

Typical discounts consist of profession, age, safe driver, academic, policy renewal discounts, marriage, and installing anti-theft locks into the vehicle.

Hursh also suggests combining all of your policies together with the same insurance provider for additional discounts. For example if you are also a boat, motorcycle, or homeowner, then consider combining your insurance policy together for all of your property for up to an additional 20% off:

“Not only are these steps smart to begin with, doing these things will also help lower your monthly premium and save you some money.”

If you need assistance or more details about Texas insurance companies, visit the official Texas Department of Insurance website to receive quotes, read about different insurance companies in Texas, and learn more about discounts.

Sep 23
Texas Insurance Companies and Weather Services Warn of Dangers

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National Weather Service, recently warned Texas residents and business owners

windstorm insurance John Meth, of the National Weather Service, recently warned Texas residents and business owners that the 2012 hurricane season is in full effect and now is the time to ensure that they have windstorm insurance. In addition, tropical storm predictions for this season have increased from 12 to 17 around the Gulf of Mexico area.

In an effort to educate Texas residents, Metz has been touring Texas communities with Mark Hanna, the Insurance Council of Texas manager. Two State Farm community specialists, Amelia Folkes and Alime Nieves, have also joined the tour.

Per Hannah, Hurricane Ike has been the costliest hurricane in the history of Texas when it tore through the state four years ago, leaving many people homeless and several businesses demolished. Hannah urges Texas residents to make sure their insurance policy covers them in the event of a hurricane:

“Now is the time to talk to your insurance agent and make sure about your coverage. Ask questions now while you can get ahold of your insurance agent. It’s easier to find your agent now, before a storm, than after.”

Hannah also urges business owners to look over their insurance policies to ensure that they have the right amount of windstorm insurance.

If you don’t have windstorm insurance at all, it’s crucial to purchase a policy immediately. In addition, be certain to inventory your home and all of your property inside. Take pictures of all of your assets and make sure that all of your valuables are listed on your insurance policy.

If you need assistance with right amount of windstorm insurance, or if you have any questions or concerns, visit the official Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) website, a non-profit state insurance organization that provides consumers with insurance information and hurricane awareness details.

Sep 21
Brownsville Ranks as Safest Driving City in Texas

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Safest Driving City in Texas

brownsville auto insuranceIn the annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report” released in August 2012, Brownsville, Texas, ranked as the safest driving city in the state of Texas, and the 25th safest driving city in the nation.

In 2011, Laredo took the top spot for the safest driving city in Texas, but from 2007 to 2010, Brownsville steadily held on to the #1 spot, and this year has reclaimed its place.

“Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report” was created in order to increase vehicle safety discussions throughout the United States. According to the Texas Regional Vice President of Allstate, Phil Lawson, recognizing cities will help to promote safer driving in the years to come:

“It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can demonstrate on the road that will help make our roadways safer. Minimizing distractions, obeying traffic laws, and using your car’s safety features like turn signals and headlights, are all ways to be safer, no matter where you drive.”

This, of course, is good news in regards to Texas auto insurance rates. Insurance rates and fees tend to vary state to state and widely depend upon the state’s accident reports, medical expenses, and cost of automotive repair. Safe driving means fewer accidents, which in turn could reduce the prices of Texas auto insurance.

The report compares the country’s largest cities, and studies the amount of collision and accidents in each city, then compares those statistics against the national average. In the 2012 report, Texas had 21 cities appear in the national report. Out of the 21, five of those cities ranked safer than that national average, including Brownsville, Laredo, McAllen, Amarillo, and Lubbock. Lawson hopes that more cities will make it to the top of the list in the future:

“We want to recognize the city of Brownsville for being the safest driving city in Texas, and whether you drive in a large city, small city or a rural area, we encourage all Americans to practice safe driving habits and good car safety.”

Sep 20
Auto Thefts on Rise in Texas; Consumers Urged to get Extra Insurance

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Auto Thefts on Rise in Texas

auto thefts A recent police report has indicated that car thefts are on the rise in Texas; specifically Odessa, Texas. According to the Odessa Police Department, 280 car thefts have been reported since the beginning of 2012, a massive spike increase from previous years.

In many instances, the stolen cars are later found abandoned, and stripped of major parts such as the engine and transmission. Cosmetic damage is not usual. A concern for police, however, is the people who’ve had their car stolen do not have the correct coverage in insurance to be able to cover the damages done to their vehicle.

In Texas, the state-minimum requirement is liability insurance. Liability insurance, the bare minimum of all insurance coverage, only protects the other driver in the event of an accident. In other words, if you hit someone with your car, then your liability insurance will cover the other driver’s damages, but it will not cover your own. Liability insurance will also not cover any damages to your vehicle if it is stolen.

Texas drivers are urged to consider purchasing extra auto insurance coverage, especially since car thefts in Texas have significantly increased. Comprehensive insurance coverage in Texas will ensure that your vehicle is covered if it is ever stolen, or if it’s damaged by acts of nature, such as heavy rain storms. In addition, comprehensive coverage insurance allows use of a rental car or other forms of temporary transportation while your insurance company resolves the issue. Keep in mind, however, that Texas auto insurance companies typically do not pay for stolen cars unless the incident has been reported to the police.

If you need to find a new insurance company or even a better rate when adding on additional coverage, remember to always shop around at different Texas insurance companies. The official Texas Department of Insurance website offers its users several options, such as finding quotes, insurance company complaints, and a detailed description of each types of insurance coverage, including auto, home, and health.

Sep 19
Texas Insurance Company Shares Ways to Save for Teens

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Ways to Save for Teens on Auto Insurance

texas auto insuranceA Texas Auto Insurance has recently shared several ways that Texas drivers can save on their auto insurance prices.

According to Frank Hursh, the owner of a local Texas insurance agency, there are a variety of ways for teenage drivers to save money even though their premiums are usually higher than average:

“Insurance companies are typically reluctant to insure teenage drivers for a number of reasons including that they do not have experience. Age is also a factor. Because teenagers are so young, they tend to be involved in more accidents.”

The first step for parents to take is to purchase their teens safe and reliable cars instead of flashy and expensive sports cars. Although a safe car may be boring and “ugly” to teens, sports cars will almost always have a higher premium. Adding in the extra costs of insuring a teenage driver, and the prices can get extremely high.

Additionally, students who make the honor roll or high grades in class could be eligible for “good student” discounts. These discounts have been shown to make a huge financial difference in insurance prices.

Furthermore, students should always take driver’s education, if even their state doesn’t require the course. Driver’s education not only prepares teenagers for the road, but several insurance companies nationwide offer discounts for students who have successfully completed the program.

In addition, parents should always shop around for different insurance. Many parents assume that their teen’s’ policy is going to be expensive no matter what, and usually end up just signing up with the first company that gives them a quote. Yet, different insurance programs have different discounts and incentives for teen drivers.

With the aforementioned savings steps combined, parents should be able to able reduce the premiums of their Texas teen drivers quite substantially.

Sep 14
New Jersey Personal Injury Protection News

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Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

auto insuranceIn a recent New Jersey regulator meeting, insurance companies were reminded that each company must offer its consumers the default option of $250,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Customers can request a lower limit in writing, but it’s a mandatory requirement for insurance companies offer the maximum PIP coverage.

According to Kenneth Kobylowski of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, several insurance companies in New Jersey have been violating this rule and not offering its customers the coverage:

“The Department of Banking and Insurance has become aware that some insurers have not been providing $250,000 as the default coverage limit for personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits for a standard private passenger automobile insurance policy as required by N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.”

PIP, also known as no-fault coverage, provides medical expenses protection in the event that the driver is an auto accident and requires medical attention. The protection covers treatment and services to the driver in regards to bodily injury, and in the state of New Jersey, the default and maximumcoverage is $250,000.

However, different amounts of PIP insurance are offered in New Jersey ranging from $15,000, $50,000, $75,000, and $150,000. Although several insurance companies have not offered the default coverage, just as many New Jersey auto insurance customers are unaware of the standard law. If customers opt for a lower PIP coverage, this could mean lower insurance rates.

If you are already a New Jersey auto insurance customer and would like to reduce your PIP coverage rate, contact your auto insurance company to discuss your options. If you are seeking new auto insurance, keep in mind that typically, New Jersey insurance companies will add the default $250,000 PIP coverage. In order to change your policy to a lower coverage, be sure to request the change in writing in order for it be effective.

Sep 13
New Jersey Offers Pay as You Go Auto Insurance

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new jersey insuranceWith insurance prices in New Jersey averaging around $2,000 annually, many drivers are looking for ways to save on their premiums, especially if they only use their vehicles on certain days or weeks, or only drive a few miles per day.

Pay As You Drive

Pay as you drive, known as PAYD, is an insurance program that allows your own driving patterns to dictate what your insurance premium amount will be. The less you drive, the lower your rates, and the safer you drive, the lower your rates.

In New Jersey, PAYD works when an insurance company installs a monitoring device inside your vehicle. The monitoring device is able to gauge how hard you press on your brakes, how far you drive, and how often you drive. This in turn, dictates your premium price. For those who only drive a few miles a day and aren’t prone to aggressive driving, this could mean a huge savings on auto insurance prices.

Top Insurance Companies Offer PAYD

Currently, most of the top insurance companies offer PAYD, such as Progressive Insurance, which offers its customers a chance to preview PAYD for a month without any obligation. Allstate Insurance is currently offering customers a 10% discount on their premiums just to try out the pay as you drive plan.

A recent study showed that roughly 70% of the drivers who have tried the PAYD plan will be able to save close to 30% on their annual insurance rates. According to the Brookings Institute, if all drivers choose the PAYD plan, household savings could average close to $270 per vehicle, per year:

“We estimate driving would decline by 8% nationwide, netting society the equivalent of about $50 billion to $60 billion a year by reducing driving-related harms. This driving reduction would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2% and oil consumption by about 4%. To put it in perspective, it would take a $1-per-gallon increase in the gasoline tax to achieve the same reduction in driving.”

If you’re shopping around for New Jersey auto insurance rates, and you feel that PAYD may be an option for you, don’t forget to inquire with each company. As the plan unfolds and more data is collected, more insurance companies tentatively plan to offer PAYD.

Sep 12
Insurance Company Raises Rates in Illinois

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Disappointing news for Illinois drivers

illinois driversThere is disappointing news for Illinois drivers who are insured through Farmers Group. The insurance company, which is the sixth largest car insurer in the state of Illinois, has increased its insurance by an outstanding 15% for Illinois drivers. This is the one of the largest insurance price increases in decades.

A Farmers Group spokesperson released a statement explaining the reasons for increased rates, which, according to the statement, is out of the company’s hands. High auto accidents in Illinois which have resulted in rising medical costs, auto repair costs, and parts labor, was the deciding factor that led to the increase.

However, in an effort to lighten the blow, Farmers Group is offering discounts and savings to existing customers who opt to purchase Illinois auto and home insurance through their company. More details can be provided via local Farmers Group insurance agents. For many, this still may not be feasible with the harsh economic conditions affecting not only Illinois, but the entire nation.

If you are shopping around for new insurance, or would just like to determine if you can get a better rate from your current insurance carrier, there are several different options available. Word-of-mouth referrals to different companies can potentially get you and your referral a discount. Other incentives, such as age, employer, safe driver, and student discounts may also apply. Be certain to check with your current insurer regarding any applicable discounts you qualify for that you may not be aware of. If you are looking for a different provider, make sure to inquire about any discounts as well as compare prices between several different insurance companies in Illinois.

Sep 07
California Drivers May Need Extra Protection on Certain Cars

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california drivers

According to a recent study performed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, certain cars rank significantly higher for the risk of theft in the state of California. Drivers who own these vehicles are advised to purchase added insurance protection that covers them in the event that their vehicles are stolen.

The report, which studied car thefts that occurred during 2011 in California, concluded that the 1994 Honda Accord was stolen the most, followed by several other foreign and domestic vehicles:

  • 1994 Honda Accord
  • 1998 Honda Civic
  • 1991 Toyota Camry
  • 1994 Acura Integra
  • 2004 Chevrolet Pickup Truck
  • 2006 Ford Pickup Truck
  • 1994 Nissan Sentra
  • 2010 Toyota Corolla
  • 1997 Nissan Altima
  • 1998 Toyota Pickup 4×2

The study revealed that the Honda Accord was also among the most-stolen vehicles in every other state in the nation. No information was given as to why the Honda Accord remains the most stolen vehicle in the United States. However, NICB offered several tips for drivers in order to reduce the risk of theft:

  • Have an alarm system installed in your vehicle
  • Invest in a vehicle tracking device
  • Maintain higher coverage insurance that protects you if your car is stolen
  • Never leave valuables inside of your car

The good news is that car theft seems to be on the decline. According to the FBI Crime Statistics, car theft has declined close to 3% from 2010 to 2011. When more people using alarm systems and tracking devices, the numbers are predicted to decline even further for 2012.

For more information on additional insurance coverage options in California, visit the official California Department of Insurance website, where you can compare rates, review insurance company ratings, and inquire about different quotes and prices.

Sep 04
New York Drivers and Auto Insurance

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Auto Insurance in New York

auto insurance In the busy world of New York, many people opt to use public transportation instead of driving a vehicle. However, being the most populated state in the United States, those individuals who do choose to drive must always consider not only the legal requirements for New York auto insurance, but also extra protection in the event of an accident.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), New York drivers must at least maintain liability insurance if they intend to operate a vehicle. Liability insurance in New York consists of a minimum amount of $25,000 per injury per person, up to $50,000 for two people. In addition, drivers must also have at least $50,000 in the event that they cause a death in an accident, with a maximum of $100,000 for two people. Furthermore, drivers in New York must have $10,000 for property damages. These figures are only for the minimum state-required liability insurance. Most New York insurance companies offer added protection as well, which is highly advised considering the high rate of auto accidents in the state.

On average, New York drivers can expect to pay roughly $704 per year for their policies, which can be broken down into monthly payments of around $59 per month. In addition, the average collision deductible in New York averages around $335 per month, making it one of the most expensive states to carry auto insurance in.

However, as expensive as New York insurance may be, the penalties for not having insurance are much higher. In addition to driver’s license and registration suspension, New York drivers that don’t have at least liability insurance can expect to fork over around $1,500 in fines as well as a driver’s license and registration reinstatement fee. Once your driver’s license and registration is restored, an additional $750 penalty fee follows. Drivers who do not purchase insurance and pay the allocated fines within 90 days are subject to the indefinite suspension of their driver’s license and registration.

The easiest way to avoid these fines is to ensure that you always maintain the required amount of auto insurance in New York. For a detailed list of companies and rates, visit the official New York Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) website.

Sep 02
Insurance for Texas College Kids

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seguro de auto According to the San Antonio Express News, a college student attending school in Waco, Texas, was recently found dead close to his apartment. William Patterson, a freshman at Baylor University, was stuck in his car close to Penland Hall when the car caught fire.

While most students remember tuition, books, and supplies, several Texas college students forget about insurance, such as health, renter’s, and even Texas auto insurance, which is mandatory. However, many students and their parents simply forgo insurance, thinking that the rates are just too expensive for college-bound students.

Health Insurance:

At some schools in Texas, health insurance is a requirement. Thanks to the federal reform, many parents have the opportunity to keep their children on their insurance plans until the age of 26. If not, several schools offer healthcare insurance to students. Students can also look into individual healthcare plans that provide discounts to those in college.

Auto Insurance

In the state of Texas, having at least liability insurance is a must for anyone who is operating a vehicle on Texas roadways. Even if a college student only drives home on the weekends, it’s still mandatory to keep auto insurance. If the student leaves the car at home while attending college, there is a chance that the premium can be lowered by up to 20%. In addition, take advantage of any “good student” discounts if applicable, such as discounts for maintaining a high GPA.

Personal Property Insurance

Personal Property Insurance, or renter’s insurance, is the #1 type of insurance that Texas college students fail to purchase. However, the average student today typically has a plethora of electronic gadgets that are worth quite a bit to someone looking for a way to make a quick buck. In addition, if these gadgets happen to be lost in a complex fire or natural disaster, usually the only way to recover damages is if the student possesses renter’s insurance. However, renter’s insurance typically runs around $100 to $200 per year for Texas students, and deductibles are as low as $50.

Aug 31
Allstate Insurance Company Ranks Two Arizona Cities as Safest Drivers

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Tucson and Phoenix have some of the safest drivers in the nation

arizona auto insurance Good news is in store for drivers in Arizona in regards to insurance savings. A new study done by the Allstate Insurance Company claims that both Tucson and Phoenix have some of the safest drivers in the nation.

According to Allstate’s eighth annual America’s Best Drivers Report, Tucson ranked in the #1 spot for cities with a population between 50,000 to 75,000. The rank is a result of Tucson’s likelihood of collisions ranking 16.4% lower than the national average. Phoenix landed in first place for cities with a population of a million people or more, and boasts a 1.6% lower chance of accidents and collisions than the national average.

Allstate, which based its findings on damage claims data, stated that this could mean lower rates for Arizona auto insurance holders. Insurance premiums are based upon the amount of collisions and accidents in a state, the average medical care costs in a state, and the amount of uninsured drivers in a state. With the new report, this could potentially mean lower rates across the board for Arizona drivers. According to a recent report by the Phoenix Business Journal, Arizona ranks among the highest for insurance rates, so a decrease in prices would definitely be a welcome change for the state.

Other cities ranking top for safe driving include Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Madison, Wisconsin, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Boise, Idaho.

For more information on Arizona auto insurance companies and for an easy way to compare rates, visit the official Arizona Department of Insurance’s online website.

Aug 30
New Report Suggests Texas Auto Insurance Consumers Can Save Money

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Texas Auto Insurance

auto insurance A new report geared towards consumers in Texas suggests that long-term Texas auto insurance holders will save money by comparison shopping and switching companies.

According to the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC), the amount of time a customer is with a Texas auto insurance company is a good incentive to shop around for better rates. Customers that are with the same insurance for over two years have the best chance of finding better deals with other companies.

Save Money on Auto Insurance

According to the study, which calculated a rough savings percentage based upon the length of time with an insurance company, drivers should be able to save at least 5% on rates when switching companies. The drivers, however, should be with their current company at least a few years, but those who have been with the same insurance company for even longer seem to get the biggest savings. For example, a driver who has been with the same company for 19 years could potentially save up to 9% when switching to a different insurance company.

The OPIC report did state, however, that shopping around for a better insurance rate is a tedious and time-consuming process. Yet, the potential money that can be saved should be enough incentive for customers to take the time to shop around for different rates. In fact, a recent study in July performed by J.D. Power and Associates confirmed that the average customer saves up to $300 when switching insurance carriers. Yet, the same survey also found that only one out of five insurance holders actually compared companies. This could possibly be because customers simply don’t know that the savings are out there, which is one of the primary reasons that the initial report was conducted.

For more information on several different Texas auto insurance companies and to compare rates, visit the Texas Department of Insurance’s online website. In addition, consider word-of-mouth referrals and local advertisements.

Aug 28
Arizona’s Insurance Rates are Among the Highest

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Arizona ranks as the one of this highest cost states for auto insurance prices

Arizona insurance According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the state of Arizona ranks as the one of this highest cost states for auto insurance prices, coming in 14th out of all states.

Typical households can expect to spend close to $1,700 per year in Arizona auto insurance costs, although the nationwide average is around $1,100 annually. Several factors go into the costs of auto insurance, including the average price of car repairs, insurance fraud rates, medical care, and the amount of uninsured drivers. These factors, of course, will vary from state to state, which causes some states, such as North Carolina and Massachusetts, to enjoy cheaper premiums, while states such as Arizona and Michigan are stuck with higher than average rates.

However, there are certainly options that Arizona residents can utilize in order to reduce some of their auto insurance costs. First, consumers should shop around for insurance companies that offer a “pay as you go” insurance rate. For example, Progressive Insurance is among one of the many companies that will allow its customers to install devices in their vehicles which will analyze information such as distances traveled and how many times brakes were used in an emergency fashion. These pay as you go discounts can end up saving Arizona drivers quite a bit of money if there isn’t extensive driving.

In addition, it’s always a wise idea to ask insurance companies for additional discounts. In some instances, discounts are not given unless customers ask up front. Student, homeowner, and safe driver incentives are among a few of the discounts that may be offered.

Consider lowering your premiums to liability only if possible, especially if your car is over five years of age and is completely paid off. Lowering to liability insurance could potentially save Arizona drivers over $500 or more per year.

Finally, don’t put off shopping around at different insurance companies. Utilize Arizona’s Department of Insurance website in order to comparison shop, get quotes, and uncover complaints filed against specific insurance companies. Even if you think the rate you have is as good as you can get, it’s a sound idea to always check around for better deals.

Aug 24
Lowest Complaints in Over a Decade : Texas Auto Insurance

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According to the Texas Department of Insurance, drivers in Texas have filed the lowest number of Texas auto insurance complaints since 1994.

In records going back to 1994, Texas auto insurance holders made close to 4,160 complaints annually. In 2002, Texas auto insurance complaints reached an all-time high, with close over 5,620 complaints in that year alone. However, last year, in 2011, there were only 1,414 complaints. Typically, the complaints involve Texas insurance companies failing to pay claims in an adequate time frame. Complaints are usually filed via email, telephone calls, fax, or through the mail.

The spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas, Mark Hannah, stated that shopping around for the best Texas insurance is the reason behind the decline in complaints:

“That’s why it pays to shop for auto insurance. With the complaints that come into TDI, the state agency can show the few insurance companies that are not doing a good job in settling auto claims and the Complaint Index ratio is the red flag.”

With the ease of shopping for Texas auto insurance online, a plethora of Texas residents have been able to compare each Texas insurance company more easily than ever before. This gives Texas residents the opportunity to quickly compare quotes, discounts, and coverage information of several different Texas auto insurance companies from the comfort of their own home. This in turn, produces customers who are happier with their insurance providers, and less likely to file complaints.

To search for different Texas auto insurance companies, consumers are advised to visit the official Texas Department of insurance website, where you can compare insurance companies, read any complaints filed, and find answers to a variety of different insurance questions and concerns.

Source: Insurance Journal:


Aug 08
Study finds California a “Low Cost Insurance” State

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Low Cost Insurance State

California may have some of the worst traffic in the country, the highest living cost and sport one of the highest average per gallon gas cost, but when it comes to auto insurance, it is one of the lowest in the country per median income.

With the laws differing for insurance in each state, it is easy to see why there are such swings in household cost for insurance. Other factors that play into the cost of insurance are the fraud and accident rates of the specific area. In states like Florida, the fraud rate is so high that many insurance companies are weary to write insurance. To combat the fraud issue, the state will put together Insurance Department Fraud Teams whose one job is to be in the community working with consumers and insurance companies to find and shut down fraud rings.