THE ULTIMATE SECRET TO SAVING MONEY ON INSURANCE!

THE ULTIMATE SECRET TO SAVING MONEY ON INSURANCE!

There are many things you can do to make sure you get the best rate possible when it comes to your insurance. Maybe more importantly, there are also things you should never do again. We mean it, literally stop doing all these things because they’ll drive your agent, and you crazy. We’re going to run through some Do’s and Don’ts about shopping for insurance to help you find the best coverage possible!

Do!- Ask your friends for referrals. It’s always great to work with someone who is a friend of a friend, or who knows someone you deal with. This holds true in almost every profession; you want someone who you can trust!

Don’t!- Compare your price against your friends. Seriously, it’s a waste of your time, and you’ll drive yourself, and your agent crazy. No two people will ever get the same rate from an insurance company, and nothing drives someone more crazy than hearing “but my friend only pays this much…” Stop it. Stop it now. Here is a short list of things that can affect differences in policy premiums…

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Marital Status
  • Homeownership
  • Credit Score
  • Driving Record
  • Types of vehicles
  • Coverages
  • Deductibles
  • Endorsements
  • Any discounts
  • Zip code

The list is virtually endless, and no two people are the same. So save yourself the headache!

Do!- Learn what each coverage does and what you’re paying for! What’s more important, higher liability limits or full coverage? Do you know what Full coverage means? Know your coverage DEEPER than just the numbers on the paper. Know the definitions, the clauses, the exclusions, provisions. It won’t take long to figure out what it all means, and you’ll save yourself time and money!

Don’t!- Call 10 different places and just say “I want a quote for full coverage.” Full coverage is a small piece of what an auto policy consists of, and you could misunderstand estimates based on the integrity of your agent. For example you walk into two agents offices and all you say is “I just need full coverage”… Agent A quotes you full coverage, minimum liability, with no endorsements, and is $50 per month, and Agent B quotes you full coverage, maximum liability, towing and roadside, and rental car coverage, and is $90 a month. If you didn’t take the time to understand the policy, you may think that Agent A is a better deal, but you’d be wrong! Think about the grocery store, would you rather buy a box of 100 plastic utensils for $4.99, or a box of 1,000 plastic utensils for $12.99? Insurance is no different, the better PRICE is not always the better or equal POLICY!

 

Do!- Think about your deductible! Your deductible is what payment YOU are responsible for in the event of an accident. For example, if you have some money saved in the bank, and are not somebody who would mind paying smaller accidents out of pocket, consider a higher deductible! It can help same you some money, and your insurance company is happy because statistics show you are less likely to file any claims! For example, if you accidently hit that curb and crack your bumper, and the damage is $600, you have two choices. If you had a $500 deductible, you could claim it, and the insurance company would pay $100 (not necessarily worth it for the potential premium increase) and you pay the first $500! On the flip side, if you had a $1,000 deductible, you’d pay the whole $600, and nobody would ever know anything! It’s all personal preference, and what you can afford. Let’s say you don’t have an extra $500 laying around, consider $100-$200 deductibles, but be ready for a higher monthly premium!

Don’t!- Increase deductibles JUST TO SAVE MONEY! This ties in pretty closely with what we just said, be mindful of your own financial situation. If you don’t have an extra $1,000 to pay for damage to your car, then don’t have a $1,000 deductible! Once the accident happens, there’s nothing your insurance company can do for you, and it might not be worth the $10 per month savings it’s giving you! Plus, if you finance or lease your car, most financial institutions REQUIRE $500 deductibles. THINK and ASK before you act!

Finally…

Do!- Just ask! It never hurts to ask if any discounts available to you, especially when it comes to larger expenses like your car insurance. Your car insurance agent or company may have savings to offer that are not widely advertised.

Common discounts that can shed cost from your car insurance include:

  • Good student discount
  • Safe driver discount
  • Defensive driving course discount

Ask your insurer if specific discounts are applicable to your situation.

On the whole, don’t be afraid to verify any potential rate reductions with your insurer before investing your time or money in an effort to get cheaper coverage. The results of these short-term money saving tricks will vary between insurance companies; make sure you know what initiatives will prove most successful for you personally.

 

Don’t!- Switch without talking. Many times customers will switch to another carrier without contacting their old agent. This is either out of shame, fear, anger, or many other reasons. Whatever it is, always contact them yourself. You never know if there are any discounts they can add on, or savings the other company is giving you that your current agent can you give you also! Always explore every avenue with a big expense like insurance!

Had a car accident lately? READ THIS NOW!!!

Had a car accident lately? READ THIS NOW!!!

Car insurance fraud isn’t all elaborate schemes and setups. In fact, it’s easier than you think to commit car insurance fraud by accident, or to become a victim of a fraud perpetrated by someone else.
Sterling Soo Hoo, Vice President at Richard Soo Hoo Insurance in Boston, MA shares his advice on the causes, consequences, and avoidance of car insurance fraud.

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What Is Car Insurance Fraud?

Generally speaking, car insurance fraud occurs when someone deceives an auto insurance company in order to benefit financially. Some forms of fraud are certainly more egregious than others: auto insurance fraud can range from a mistake when filling out paperwork to a staged accident.

Unfortunately, if you make an honest error (or small exaggeration) when it comes to your car insurance, it can still be considered fraud. Sterling says that some of the most common accidents that lead to unintentional car insurance fraud are:

  • Not giving your agent or company all the information regarding the use of the vehicle
  • Not being advised that all household members that are related to the policyholder must be listed on the policy.
  • Moving addresses or staying at another location without letting your company or agent know
  • More serious cases of premeditated, fraudulent activity are usually what come to mind when people think about auto insurance fraud. These cases include:
  • Buying a policy after an accident has already occurred
  • Staging a car accident
  • Causing an accident intentionally
  • Inaccurately reporting inflated repair costs

What Are the Consequences?

Being found guilty of car insurance fraud, accidental or not, can result in a policy cancellation or legal punishment. Even less serious consequences, however, can result in major headaches. If your policy is cancelled, for example, driving for any amount of time without valid coverage is extremely risky, and you’ll need to find a new insurer right away.

Looking at the bigger picture, Soo Hoo notes that car insurance fraud ends up further hurting the people who pay for coverage. “People who defraud insurance companies ultimately cause the rest of the insurance buying public to pay more in premium, not only because fraudulent claims must be paid out, but because money is spent investigating and processing those claims as well. In some circumstances, legitimate claims may also be denied or investigated if they resemble a fraud situation.”

 

How Do I Stay Out of Fraud’s Way?

Seeking help and staying on the defensive can help you avoid committing or becoming victim to fraudulent activity.

To prevent accidental car insurance fraud, Soo Hoo recommends working with a trustworthy agent to purchase and maintain your coverage. He then advises to “give your agent as much information as possible” to ensure accuracy. Soo Hoo explains that many of the clients that he’s worked with over the years have found it easier to obtain reliable and fraud-free coverage with the help of a trained professional. “Many clients, from my own experience, realize that it’s a mistake to buy insurance on their own. There’s just too many pitfalls that will save you a few dollars today, but will cost you in the long run when you need it most.”

On the road, there are a few best practices for protecting yourself from fraudulent activity. The easiest way to stay in the clear? “Drive defensively,” Soo Hoo states.

If an accident does occur, “don’t be afraid to call the police,” Soo Hoo says. “Don’t be afraid to make the other person wait. Call your agent if you’re worried (we deal with car accidents daily!), take lots of pictures, and if you suspect fraud, notify your agent so they can alert the company. Try to get witnesses to help you—you’d be surprised who’s willing to help!

So long as you’re familiar with the risks of unintentionally committing, or becoming prey to, a fraud situation, taking precautionary steps to avoid one isn’t difficult. Remember to keep your insurance agent updated on any information that could change your policy and always drive safely!

 

 

 

Thinking about an Electric Car? READ THIS FIRST!

Thinking about an Electric Car? READ THIS FIRST!

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These days, everyone is looking to save a little money – and, if you can do it while also being good to the environment, it can be all the better. There has been a lot of talk over the past several years about electric cars, and especially regarding how much cheaper these vehicles are on fuel expenses. But one thing that many people wonder about is how much these vehicles cost to insure.

Over the past several years, it was actually somewhat difficult to find auto insurance for electric cars. Because these vehicles were still so new to the marketplace, many auto insurance companies were not yet prepared to offer coverage on them. However, over time, as electric vehicles have become more mainstream, so have the insurance policies to cover them.

 

The Cost of Coverage for Electric Vehicles

A study released in the fall of 2014 by CoverHound revealed that electric vehicles are actually cheaper to insure than vehicles powered by gas. On average, most electric vehicle owners can save in the neighborhood of $200 per year on their auto insurance coverage by moving from a gas-powered car to electric. In some cases, however, the savings could be closer to $600 annually.

This is a nice change from several years ago when some auto insurance companies would not insure electric vehicles. Now, as more information has become known about this type of transportation, more and more insurers are hopping on board with coverage.

 

Why Insurance Is Lower for Electric Vehicles Versus Gas

 

Both gas and electric vehicles tend to drive on the very same roads – so they essentially face the same potential dangers and risks in terms of accidents and moving violations. So why, then, is auto insurance cheaper for electric vehicles than those that are powered by gas?

One reason is that, for the most part, the price of auto insurance is largely still based on the driver, as well as the type of vehicle. Therefore – at least at the present time – most of the EVs that are on the road today are compact and not nearly as powerful as some of their gas-powered counterparts. This tends to make them safer, which in turn, equates to lower auto insurance premiums.

Vehicles that have the potential to go fast will have a much higher risk of being involved in a serious accident. This is because the driver has the ability to go at much higher speeds—becoming a danger not only to him- or herself but also to others.

It is important to note that while it is less expensive to insure electric powered vehicles today, as these vehicles evolve over time, and potentially become faster and more powerful, the lower priced auto insurance may or may not always be the case.
Individual electric car owners should, just like all other potential auto insurance buyers, shop around for several different quotes, prior to making a purchase. This is because the actual cost of auto coverage will typically depend on the specific vehicle that’s being insured.

For example, because electric cars are still a relative newcomer to the marketplace, certain parts may be more difficult to find if the vehicle needs repair – and this could potentially raise the cost of insurance coverage for that specific vehicle. With this in mind, it’s best to obtain several competing quotes before moving forward.

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Additional Savings Opportunities by Going Electric

In addition to saving on auto insurance, drivers who switch from gas-powered to electric powered vehicles could also save in other areas as well. For example, fuel costs can be reduced – in some cases, significantly – depending on the type of vehicle that was formerly owned.

Electric vehicles may also offer a lower overall cost of ownership. While the initial sticker price may be comparatively more than a similar gas powered auto, there are numerous rebates available to purchasers of these vehicles.

Also, an EV will have fewer parts that need ongoing servicing than will a gasoline powered car – so the owner of an electric auto typically won’t need to worry about repairing or replacing items such as the clutch, alternator, spark plugs, fuel pump, or belts – because these aren’t even part of an electric vehicle’s power train.

 

The Future for Electric Vehicles

As electric vehicles have made their way into the mainstream, they may see more and more everyday uses. For example, one area where you may see them more frequently is in the world of law enforcement.

Recently, the Los Angeles Police Department tested electric motorcycles. Not only can these save the department on its fuel costs, but are they are also much more quiet than the department’s current gas powered Harley models. This feature can have numerous benefits.

Tech giants Apple and Samsung are both rumored to be working on the design and build of an electric car. Apple’s goal is to begin production of its EV (iCar?) by 2020.

 

Heard of GAP Insurance? If not, CLICK HERE!

Heard of GAP Insurance? If not, CLICK HERE!

Most auto owners are familiar with auto insurance. In many cases, this is because this type of insurance coverage is a requirement in all but two U.S. states. However, because a vehicle can also be a costly purchase, this insurance is also necessary for protecting that investment from unexpected damage, vandalism or theft.

Typically, if a vehicle has been involved in an accident and is in need of repairs, the insured vehicle owner will pay the amount of the policy’s deductible, and the insurance policy will pay out the remainder of the costs so that the vehicle can be repaired.

 

In some cases, however, when a vehicle is so badly damaged that it is considered to be a total loss, the compensation that is received from the vehicle owner’s auto insurance company may not be enough to fully cover the amount that the individual owes on the vehicle’s loan or lease agreement.

This situation can typically arise when the balance that is owed on a vehicle’s loan is more than the book value of that vehicle. When this is the case, it can become quite costly for the individual. The good news is that there is a financial solution. This comes in the form of “gap” insurance coverage.

Gap (or GAP) insurance, or guaranteed auto protection, is typically offered through new car dealerships when a vehicle is being financed. And, although most new car purchasers may not initially go with this coverage due to cost, many wish that they had.

 

How Does Gap Insurance Work?

 

Gap insurance is a type of auto insurance coverage that a vehicle owner can purchase to help protect them against a loss that may arise if the amount of money received from his or her regular insurance coverage is not sufficient in paying off the balance of the vehicle’s loan or lease.
As an example, the “blue book” value of David’s car is $10,000, but he still owes a total of $15,000 worth of car payments on it over time. If David is in an auto accident and his vehicle is written off as a total loss—or if his vehicle is stolen and is written off as a theft—then his auto insurance policy will only reimburse him for the $10,000 blue book value of the vehicle.

Because David still owes $15,000 worth of car payments, he will be $5,000 short. However, he will no longer have a car to show for those payments. Therefore, if David had a gap insurance policy, the coverage would cover the $5,000 “gap”—or the difference between the $10,000 blue book value of the vehicle and the $15,000 amount that David owes the finance company.

 

How Much Does Gap Insurance Coverage Cost?

The premium price on a gap insurance policy will be dependent on a number of different criteria. For example, the insurer will take into account the make and model of the vehicle that is being insured, as well as the purchase price.

This type of coverage may be purchased and quoted from several different places, including car dealerships where a vehicle purchases or lease was initiated, insurance companies that specialize in gap insurance coverage and from online gap insurance sellers.

 

The Many Advantages of Owning a Gap Insurance Policy

While the majority of motorists scoff at the idea of purchasing additional insurance coverage, gap insurance can actually pay for itself many times over. With this coverage, you can be protected from owing money on an auto loan or lease on a vehicle that is totaled and that is no longer of any use to you.

In numerous instances, the owner of a vehicle will actually owe more than the estimated value of the auto. This is because the loan will include ancillary amounts such as interest, taxes, and fees.
In addition, the actual value of a vehicle will also depreciate very quickly – especially when purchased brand new. Therefore, if a driver totals his or her vehicle before the car’s loan has been fully paid off, then it is highly likely that there will be costs over and above what the regular auto insurance policy does not cover. With that in mind, a gap insurance policy can save hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars for a vehicle owner.
Considerations Before Buying Gap Insurance Coverage

Prior to purchasing gap insurance coverage, there are several items to keep in mind. First, just as with other types of insurance, a gap insurance policy will only pay off the auto loan balance if the terms of the agreement have been met. Therefore, it is essential to read all of the fine print in order to ensure understanding of what the plan will – and will not – cover.

Often, gap insurance policies require that the vehicle owner carries both collision and comprehensive auto insurance coverage on the vehicle. Gap insurance is not a replacement for such coverage, but rather a complement to it.

 

So your kid can drive…READ THIS BEFORE YOU GIVE THEM THE KEYS!

So your kid can drive…READ THIS BEFORE YOU GIVE THEM THE KEYS!

Although getting a driver’s license can be one of the most exciting times in a teen’s life, it’s important to remember to also have your teenage driver be properly insured. According to statistics from auto insurance companies, those who are under the age of 25 are the highest risk drivers on the road today. This means that auto insurance premiums can be quite expensive for drivers who are in this age group.

Yet, rather than holding off on allowing your teen to drive, there are some options for allowing them behind the wheel, while at the same time taking steps to keep their necessary auto coverage as low as possible.
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Is It Cheaper for Teens to Have Their Own Individual Policy or to Be Insured on a Parent’s Auto Coverage Plan?

When there is a teen driver in the family, parents may wonder whether it will be better from a premium cost standpoint to add the teenager to their existing policy, or have the teen driver purchase their own individual policy. The answer to this question is “it depends.”

There are several criteria that will help to provide you with the best answer. First, it is a good idea to have an agent provide you with a detailed quote for adding the teen driver to the parent’s existing auto insurance plan. In some cases, if there are already multiple vehicles on this policy, the addition of the teen could actually cause a premium increase for all of the vehicles on the plan.

Alternatively, the cost of a new, stand-alone policy for the teen driver will also depend on several factors. These include his or her actual age, the amount of time they have been licensed, his or her driving record, and the amount of actual time that they spend driving the vehicle. For example, does the teen spend a great deal of the time driving to and from a part- or full-time job, or do they only use the vehicle intermittently on a daily or weekly basis.

How to Keep Teen Auto Insurance Premiums Down

Certainly, in many instances, the cost to insure a teen driver can be high. However, there are some ways that you can help to keep these costs lower by following a few simple tips. These include the following:

 

  • Obtain several competing auto insurance premium quotes.Just as with shopping for any other type of auto insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around for the best rate. Often, different insurers will offer policies at vastly differing premium prices – even for the very same coverage.
  • Take a drivers’ education course.Oftentimes, those who take and successfully pass a drivers’ education course prior to obtaining their license will be able to obtain a discount on their auto insurance premiums. Be sure to forward the course information on to the auto insurance company in order to receive any discount that is allowed.
  • Inquire about additional premium discounts.It always helps to inquire about any additional premium discounts that you may be eligible for. This can include those for being a good student, being a member of Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts, and other advertised or unadvertised discount options.
  • Keep a clean driving record.Keeping a clean driving record goes without saying for both teen and adult drivers. However, moving violations can oftentimes harm a teen’s auto insurance premiums even more so than an adult’s. Likewise, a teenager who obtains even just one DUI conviction can have his or her auto insurance premiums raised by as much as several hundred to several thousand dollars per year – for between three and five years.
  • Keep up good grades.Teenagers who earn good grades in school can also earn lower auto insurance premiums on their insurance. This includes both high school and college students.
  • Drive a safe vehicle.Your teenager’s auto insurance rates can also be kept lower by keeping them in a safer car. Certain vehicles are considered to be safer than others, such as Honda Civics or Volvos. Likewise, newer model cars that include airbags are also less costly to insure. Conversely, some vehicle models that will tend to raise your auto insurance premiums can include sports cars, high performance vehicles, and even SUVs.
  • Add safety features to the teen’s vehicle.By having safety features on the teen’s vehicle such as traction control, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, and automatic seat belts, you can also help in reducing the premium rate on your teen’s auto insurance coverage. If the car is updated with CAS technology, that can help lower your premium further.

The Bottom Line on Obtaining the Right Auto Insurance for Your Teenager

Getting a drivers’ license is an important step for your teenager. Yet, before they get out on the road, it is important to ensure that they are properly insured with the right type of coverage.

In doing so, be sure to check with your state in order to determine its minimum liability coverage requirements. It is also wise to check on any discounts that your teen may be eligible for. This can help in reducing both current and future premiums.

 

Own a classic car? READ THIS!

Own a classic car? READ THIS!

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Owning a classic car can be a fun hobby. It is estimated that there are actually more than 6 million individuals in the U.S. alone who are classic car collectors – and more than 25 million who are classic car enthusiasts. Therefore, there is a large market for those who are both interested in – and who own – this type of vehicle.
Owners of antique and classic cars have specialized insurance needs. Typically, these vehicles cannot be covered under regular auto insurance policies. In most cases, classic cars are not out on the roads on an “everyday” basis, but rather they are only used for limited pleasure driving, and / or for going to car shows and club related events. Therefore, for those who own such vehicles, it may be somewhat more difficult to obtain auto insurance quotes. In limited cases, these individuals may be able to obtain coverage from their current auto insurance carrier. However, there are other situations where the classic car will need to be insured via a specialty vehicle insurer.

 

How Does Classic Car Insurance Work?

When going about insuring a classic car, it is first necessary to determine the definition of what exactly a classic car is in the eyes of the insurance company. This definition may vary from one insurer to another, however, according to the Classic Car Club of America, a classic car is defined as follows:

“American or foreign-built, produced between 1925 and 1948. They were generally built in limited quantities and were expensive when new. Classic and antique cars are those manufactured 30 or more years ago.”

Because those who own a classic car will oftentimes treat the vehicle with much love and devotion, they want to be sure that the car is more than adequately insured should anything ever happen to it.

In addition to seeing the vehicle as a collector piece or an investment, owners of classic cars will oftentimes also have an emotional attachment to the item as well. This is usually not the case with regular cars such as a family sedan or car that is used for business.

Therefore, it is highly important to a classic car owner that coverage be perfect for any type of restoring, replacing, or repairing that would need to be done in the case of damage, vandalism, or theft.

Because of their differences from “regular” vehicles, classic car insurance policies will also differ a great deal from standard auto policies. This is especially the case when it comes to how losses are settled following an accident or a theft.

In most cases, auto insurance companies will value a standard vehicle based on its actual cash value. This will take depreciation into account. With a collector car insurance policy, however, the plan is typically written on an agreed value. This means that the car owner will be paid the full value of the vehicle if it is lost or stolen. The car’s agreed value will also apply to physical damage that may occur to the vehicle such as fire or vandalism.

 

How Much Does Classic Car Insurance Cost?

The cost of insurance for a classic car will vary based on several factors. These include the vehicle’s age, type, and value. In many cases, classic car insurance will cost less than insuring a regular, standard vehicle.

One reason for this is because these cars are not typically used on an everyday basis, and so are therefore not exposed to regular risk of accident. On average, the cost to insure a classic car will cost anywhere from one-third to one-half that of auto insurance for a standard vehicle.

Although classic car insurance is typically less than standard auto insurance, it is important to note that these policies will usually come with certain restrictions. Some of these may include the following:

  • Limitations on how many miles may be driven annually
  • Rules on how the car must be stored (typically in a secure garage)
  • Restrictions on who is allowed to drive the vehicle

 

Considerations When Choosing a Classic Car Insurance Policy:

When shopping for classic car insurance, it is a good idea to compare several different policies prior to making a final decision. Just as with regular auto insurance, premium prices may vary a great deal – even for similar coverage options.

Some important questions to ask prior to moving forward with a policy should include:

  • Will the vehicle qualify for coverage as a “classic car?”
  • It this policy “actual cash value” or “agreed value?”
  • Should I hire an appraiser in order to determine the value of the car?
  • Does the insurance company need to approve the appraiser I hire (if applicable)?
  • How often can the vehicle be driven?
  • How must the vehicle be stored?
  • Are there any situations in which a claim may be denied?
  • What is the limit for comprehensive coverage?
  • What are the limits on liability coverage?
  • Do I qualify for any type of premium discounts?

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Once you have obtained answers to all of these questions, and you have received several premium quotes, you can then move forward with making a decision on the best classic car insurance policy for your specific needs.

Got a ticket recently? READ THIS!

Got a ticket recently? READ THIS!

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Types of Traffic Tickets & What They Mean for Auto Insurance

All drivers make mistakes on the road, at least once in a while. Yet, sometimes, those slip-ups have greater consequences, especially if they result in an accident or if a police officer is nearby.

Receiving a traffic citation can be stressful, never mind trying to determine its effect on your auto insurance. Here’s a general list of the types of traffic tickets and a look at the consequences for your premium.

 

Types of Tickets:

While each state may have specific terminology for tickets, these are some of the main types of traffic citations.

  • Speeding:Driving over the posted speed limit at any time can result in a speeding ticket. Nowadays, a police officer doesn’t necessarily have to be nearby for a driver to receive a ticket. Radar technology can catch a driver’s speed from as far as 4,000 feet away, and some states even have photo-enforced, electronic readers that measure how fast you are traveling. Driving even 1 mph over the posted the speed limit is breaking the law and is technically unsafe. Always note speed limit signs and follow them as you see fit for the road and weather conditions to avoid this type of citation.
  • DWI/DUIs:A DUI or DWI is a serious offense. Driving with a blood alcohol content over .08% alcohol may lead to a license suspension or revocation and further consequences that are not easy to undo.
  • Reckless Driving:Reckless driving occurs when an operator drives a vehicle in a dangerous manner. This could be as simple as passing a car when there is a double yellow line, excessive speeding or failure to comply with a police officer’s order to pull over.
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit-and-Run:If an accident occurs, it’s important to stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive, regardless of whether there was another vehicle involved. Leaving the scene of an accident can have serious consequences. This offense is also known as a hit-and-run and occurs when a driver hits another car, person or object (in some states, animals) and leaves without helping anyone or identifying him or herself.
  • Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License:Maybe your license recently expired or you forgot your wallet at home. Regardless, driving without a valid driver’s license can lead to a ticket.
  • Illegal Turns:Failure to comply with a “No U-Turn” or a “No Left Turn” sign may result in a ticket for illegal turns.
  • Running a Red Light or Stop Sign:Driving through a red light or a stop sign is illegal and may result in a traffic citation.
  • Distracted Driving:More states are passing laws about distracted driving with varying degrees of consequences. In general, distracted driving is anything that prevents a driver from focusing on the roadway. Texting, emailing, or calling on your cell phone without a hands-free device are all examples of driving in a distracted manner in some states.
  • Parking Tickets:Illegal parking such as blocking a fire hydrant may lead to a parking ticket, and your vehicle may also be towed. While annoying, these generally have no effect on your insurance premiums!

 

  • Window Tints:Each state may have their own laws regarding window tints, but be aware that if your vehicle’s windows are over your state’s legal percentage, then you may receive a ticket.

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Ticket Consequences:

  • Fines:The fines for tickets can range in cost. A parking ticket may cost you $50 but reckless driving could leave you with a fine up to $5,000.

 

  • Court appearance:Some tickets, like a DUI, may require a court appearance. A driver may also choose to challenge a ticket in court if they believe it was issued without adequate reason.

 

  • Action may be taken against driver’s license:If you received a DUI or DWI, then your driving privileges may be at risk. Some states suspend or revoke your license after a serious infraction.
  • Points:Some states operate on a points-based system. Certain citations will result in a number of points (typically 1-3) and if a driver receives a certain number of points over a period of time, further action may be taken. For example, in the state of New York, speeding may result in 3 points, and if a driver receives over 11 points in an 18-month period, his or her license may be suspended.
  • Listed on your driving record:Tickets may be listed on your driving record and in some cases, drivers may seek mitigation. Whether or not you received the citation in- or out-of-state may determine whether it will be included in your driving history.

Traffic Ticket Fun Facts:

Not all states have the same traffic violations. Here are a few key interesting differences:

  • Texasdrivers are nearly 50% more likely to receive a ticket for a speed contest than regular speeding.
  • New Yorkdrivers receive about 30% more illegal U-turn tickets than the national average.
  • Massachusettsdrivers are charged with failing to stop more often than drunk driving.
  • The top traffic tickets in Californiaare minor accidents and speed contests. California drivers also receive 120% more tickets for speeding over 100 mph than the rest of the nation.
  • Illinoisdrivers receive about half as many seat belt violations as the rest of the country. There are also more child seat violations issued there than drunk driving with injury.

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Car Insurance and Citations:

Depending on the severity of the offense, your car insurance rate may increase with a ticket. Remember, your auto insurance premium is largely determined by your perceived risk level as a driver. Insurers look carefully at your driving history to determine this, though other factors such as location, vehicle, age and gender also have an effect.

Having multiple citations or points on your record signifies that you may be riskier, and costlier, to insure. That said, it all comes down to your individual situation. Every carrier is different, and if all of your violations are not listed on your record—because you fought them in court or received one out-of-state that did not transfer back home—then you may not see as large a premium increase.

Additionally, there are certain tickets that will definitely result in pricier coverage. A DUI or DWI infraction is never taken lightly and will raise your insurance by a significant amount for at least a few years. This may range from an additional couple hundred dollars to more than a $1,000 each year.

Your rate may also increase if you’ve been issued several speeding tickets or a reckless driving citation, as those typically signify a high-risk driver. If you recently renewed your policy, it is possible that your insurer may not discover your tickets for some time. They may instead affect your renewal rates later.

If this traffic ticket is the first you’ve received, don’t panic. Insurers typically look at your entire driving history so if they see a clean record with one rare parking or speeding ticket—it’s unlikely to grossly change your premium. You may see a slight increase, but it is nothing compared to the effects of a DUI or a frequent offense.
The tickets that are less likely to affect your insurance rate negatively are: first speeding ticket, expired license or registration, seat belt violation, window tints, parking infraction.
The tickets that are more likely to affect your insurance rate are: DUI or DWI (especially with an SR-22 filing), reckless driving, multiple speeding tickets, distracted driving (as laws become stricter).
If you believe you have a case, you can also fight traffic citations in court. In some states, you can also take a defensive driving course to remove points from your driving record, though be aware that your infraction may still be listed in your driving history. The best way to keep citations off your record is to avoid them all together by driving safe and following the law. You can see how safe of a driver you are here.

Suspended or Invalid License? READ THIS!

Maybe you left your license at home—an honest mistake, a lost wallet, an ID left behind at a restaurant. Or, perhaps, your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked and you were caught behind the wheel. There are many possible reasons you may be driving without valid ID, but none are acceptable on the road. Here’s a look at the ticket consequences for driving without a valid driver’s license.

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Fines and Penalties for Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License:

  • Valid Driver’s License but Not With You:

There’s a difference between driving without a valid driver’s license and driving without proof of a valid driver’s license. While neither is an action you want to take, the latter is certainly a less serious offense.

Drivers who leave their licenses at home because of a forgotten wallet won’t face the same penalties as those who don’t have a license at all, though they may receive a ticket. In all fifty states, drivers are required to have their driver’s licenses on them at all times. Driving without proof of one is often considered a misdemeanor. As a result, you may receive a ticket and pay a small fine. Motorists may also decide to fight the ticket by showing the court proof of a valid driver’s license. In some cases, the ticket and fine will then be dropped—commonly known as “fix-it tickets”. If it’s a subsequent offense, the penalties may increase.

  • Expired License or No License at All:

Renewing your driver’s license is typically easy to do. Most states allow you to do so online or by mail, though some renewals may still require an in-person visit at the local DMV. Failing to renew can have consequences. Each state has their own laws, but some tack on a late fee, typically around $10–$25. If your driver’s license has been expired for a significant length of time, you’ll face a retesting of your vision, knowledge and road skills. If you’re caught behind the wheel with an expired license, you may face other repercussions, including fines, arrest and vehicle impoundment. In a points system state, points may also be added to your record.
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  • Driving With Suspended or Revoked License:

Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a more serious offense than driving with an expired license or with one left at home. Why? A suspended or revoked license means at least one offense has already occurred, as some type of issue(s) or action(s) led to the suspension or revocation in the first place. As a result, you may be arrested and could face jail time from 2 days up to 2 years—depending on your state. Furthermore, your suspension period will increase and you’ll likely face a fine ranging from $50 to more than $2,000. In a points system state, you may also receive up to 10 points on your record.

The Effects of Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License on Auto Insurance:

Yikes, driving without a valid license has some serious consequences. Your premium is likely to increase significantly and your car insurance policy may even be cancelled by your provider. If your policy is cancelled, then you may have a gap in car insurance coverage, which could lead to a costlier premium down the road. All of these consequences are, of course, dependent on the degree of the traffic violation. If your license or wallet was simply forgotten at home, you’re unlikely to see any auto insurance penalties for that. However, if your driver’s license was suspended and you were caught behind the wheel—your insurer will see that as risky behavior and hike your rate. If your initial reason for suspension/revocation was due to a DUI-related offense, the penalties may be harsher.

Furthermore, your state may also require you to file an SR-22 form. This form shows proof of insurance, but carriers often charge higher rates to file it as it’s usually only required for drivers who have committed serious violations.

How to Bring Your Car Insurance Rate Back Down:

Prove yourself. If you received a ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked license, car insurance carriers likely see you as a high-risk driver. Show them that you’ve changed and are a careful, safe driver by focusing on the roadways and avoiding aggressive driving behavior.

Take a class. Once you’re allowed to drive again, take a defensive driving or safe driving class. While your rate won’t drop to pre-offense rates, you’ll likely see a discount for showing providers that you are serious about driving safe.
Wait it out. Often, drivers dealing with serious offenses have no choice but to wait it out. Once your license is reinstated, you’ll likely have skyrocketing car insurance rates. Try shopping around for quotes and know that the last 5 years of your driving record are the most important for insurers looking at your driving history.
Fight it. If you simply left your wallet at home, you may decide to fight the ticket all together. In most cases, you can by simply providing proof of your driver’s license in court. These are known as “fix-it tickets”. However, if you’re planning to fight a ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked license—good luck. Those are serious offenses and evidence is usually hard to counter.

Driving without a valid driver’s license is dangerous for you and everyone else on the road. There’s never a justifiable reason for driving on a suspended or revoked license. When your driving privileges are reinstated, remember to be smart, stay safe and remain aware behind the wheel.

 

A Hit and Run should only happen in Baseball…

A Hit and Run should only happen in Baseball…

Leaving the scene of an accident is dangerous and can have serious consequences. There are several actions that should be taken following a car crash, and leaving is not one of them. That said, human impulses aren’t always smart—the urge to flee when something’s wrong sometimes overrides all common sense. A hit-and-run is a completely avoidable offense, and because of that, the penalties are quite costly.
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What Is a Hit-and-Run?

There’s the more obvious hit-and-runs that you see on the news with drivers striking victims and deliberately driving off, but there’s also the less obvious cases, in which a driver hits an object like a tree or mailbox and leaves the scene. Even though another person may not have been involved, the act is still a collision and is still classified as a hit-and-run.

A hit-and-run occurs when a driver causes an accident and fails to stop, give their information or aid those in need. This can occur between two vehicles, between a car and person and between a car and property such as trees or objects.

 

It typically doesn’t matter whether you caused the collision or not. It’s not a matter of who is at-fault—though, of course, that is important later—but whether or not you drove off instead of dealing with the situation at hand.

In general, if there’s an accident you should exchange information with whomever else is involved and call the police to report the crash. If you’re unsure of whether or not you are required to report the crash, call anyways and let the officers decide. It’s better to take action at the time than fall into trouble later.

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Fines and Penalties for a Hit-and-Run:

Learn about the laws in your state, as hit-and-run consequences can vary depending on your location. In general, the penalties are much steeper if there is a death or injury involved—the severity of the crash may determine whether the offense is considered a felony or if it is downgraded to a misdemeanor.

As an example of the degrees of consequences, take a look at the state of Washington’s hit-and-run penalties…

One-Vehicle Crash, Property Damage:

  • Classified as a misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $1,000
  • Jail time up to 90 days

Two-Vehicle Crash:

  • Classified as a gross misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $5,000
  • Jail time up to 364 days

Two-Vehicle Crash, Death or Injury:

  • Classified as a A, B or C felony. Class C is for injury, class B is for death and class A involves additional aggravating circumstances.
  • Class A fine up to $50,000, class B up to $20,000 and class C up to $10,000
  • Class A jail up to life imprisonment, class B up to 10 years, class C up to 5 years
  • Revocation of license for 1 year

You may also be convicted of other offenses, such as reckless driving, which may come with additional charges. If an alcohol or drug use is suspected, additional treatment programs may be required. In certain cases, community service hours can replace jail time or fines.

The Effect of a Hit-and-Run on Car Insurance:

A hit-and-run accident is not easily forgiven as it’s one of the most serious offenses that can occur behind the wheel. While it’s possible that it may take your insurer a little while to find out, depending on the seriousness of the crash and when you last renewed your policy, your premium will likely rise when the offense is discovered.

If you’re in a “points system” state, you may see larger insurance hikes. A points system operates by awarding points based on traffic violations. Once a certain amount is reached, your license may be suspended or revoked. A hit-and-run could add 4 to 6 points to your driving record.
Your insurance will go up after a suspended or revoked license because it signifies to your insurer that you are a high-risk driver. If your state automatically revokes your license upon conviction of a hit-and-run, you will see consequences later. If you have to file an SR-22 form, you’ll likely see an increase.

How to Bring Your Rate Back Down:

There are several possible ways to bring your auto insurance premium down. However, it may not be as easy to with an offense as severe as a hit-and-run.
Wait it out. Yes, it will take a while but if you demonstrate a safe, clean driving record over time, your hit-and-run may affect your premium less. Be aware and focus on the road to avoid other traffic violations. Demonstrate that you care about driving safe.
Knock off some points. If you’re in a state that uses a points system, a safe driving course may reduce your points, which could help save you from a license suspension or revocation depending on your state’s laws.
Fight the offense. If you believe you have a solid case, it may be worth fighting the hit-and-run in court so that you can have it removed from your driving record. This may not be possible on your own, so remember that it may be costly to hire a lawyer, and you must have a strong case.

Take a defensive driving course to bring your rate down. They aren’t that expensive, and they can pay off big. A defensive driving course may get any driver a discount, but it can be especially handy if you’ve had a lot of infractions.
Check with your agent to be sure you’re receiving all of the discounts that you qualify for. Be sure to mention alumni programs or other organizations as even those can get you car insurance savings.
Driving away from an accident is reckless behavior. Don’t put yourself or others in danger behind the wheel. A hit-and-run is completely avoidable. Remember, you can always stop and check. There have been multiple accounts of drivers who continue to drive thinking that they hit a deer or another animal, when in fact they’ve seriously injured a pedestrian or a biker. If you ever believe there’s a possibility that you may have hit something, stop to look. It could save a life and no destination is as important as that.

Speeding Tickets & Auto Insurance

Here comes speed Racer! Oh wait…no that’s a cop.

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Perhaps you were in a new area and were unsure of what the posted speed limits were, or maybe, you knew the limit well and were simply trying to reach your destination faster.

Regardless of the reason, the consequences of speeding can be steep—and for good reason, as speeding accounts for nearly 30% of total traffic fatality crashes, according to the most recent data released by the NHTSA. Individual states have their own rules and terms, and therefore, a speeding ticket in one state will not have the same effects as another state.

 

In general, maximum state fines can vary from $50 to $2,500 depending on the driver’s location and history of violations. Below you’ll find the states with the most expensive and least expensive fines. The fine may also depend on whether the driver’s speed was categorized as speeding or reckless driving, as the latter often has higher consequences.

 

Most states now use radar guns, LIDAR technology and speeding cameras, some of which can detect your vehicle’s speed from up to 4,000 feet away. So, just because you do not see a police officer in the area does not mean you won’t be caught by one.

States With the Most Expensive Max Fines for Speeding:

  1. Virginia:$2,500 and/or 12 months in jail
  2. Illinois:$2,500 and/or 12 months in jail
  3. Georgia:$2,000 and/or 12 months in jail
  4. Oregon:$2,000
  5. Missouri:$1,000 and/or 12 months in jail
  6. Nevada:$1,000 or 6 months in jail
  7. Minnesota:$1,000 and 90 days in jail
  8. North Carolina:$1,000 and/or 60 days in jail
  9. Florida:$1,000
  10. Utah:$750

Many of these violations may also lead to license suspension or revocation.

States With the Least Expensive Max Punishment for Speeding:

  1. Tennessee:$50 and/or 30 days in jail
  2. Delaware:$95
  3. Rhode Island:$95
  4. Idaho:$100
  5. Kentucky:$100
  6. Colorado:$100
  7. Connecticut:$200
  8. New Mexico:$200
  9. Texas:$200
  10. New Jersey:$200 and/or 15 days in jail

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The Effect of Speeding on Car Insurance:

Car insurance carriers determine a driver’s risk on their own terms. As a result, there’s no simple answer to the question: “How much will a speeding ticket raise my car insurance?”

The truth is, it depends. One insurer may see your speeding ticket as an indicator that you’re a high-risk driver, while another carrier may practically disregard it because of your safe driving history.
In the end, the consequences of a speeding violation vary for several reasons.
Here are some of the main factors that affect your rate.

  • Speeding or reckless driving? Depending on what your violation is classified as, you may see harsher punishments. In most states, if a driver is speeding over the limit by a certain amount, it becomes a reckless driving offense.
  • Did you report the speeding ticket to your carrier? Many drivers don’t report their speeding tickets to an insurer. Most insurers check your driving record when you first sign a contract, and at any subsequent renewal. (They may check more if you’re a young driver or you buy a new vehicle.) However, tickets you incur during that in-between period may go unspotted until your record is checked again. Insurers have to pay a fee for your MVR (motorist’s vehicle record), so it is not something that they do weekly. If you recently bought a car insurance policy, you may not see the effects of your speeding violation until the next time you renew.
  • Are you in a “point system” state? Many states have a point system that may affect your insurance rate. Points are given based on traffic violations, and if a certain number is reached within a time period, you may be hit with a fine,license suspension or revocation. While each insurer has their own risk-assessment method and will not rely on your state’s DMV, a point system may still affect your rate, especially if it leads to a license revocation.
  • Do you have multiple violations? Having multiple traffic citations may be a warning sign to insurers that a driver is riskier and could end up in accidents.
  • How long ago was your ticket received? This may also affect your insurance rate. While violations are never officially removed from your record, carriers usually look at the last 3–5 years.

How to Bring Your Rate Back Down:

Fight the ticket. If you believe you have a case, it may be worth fighting the ticket in court so that you can have it removed from your driving record.


Wait it out.
 While traffic tickets never truly disappear from your record, auto insurers typically only look at the last 5 years, unless there is major infraction such as a DUI or DWI on your record.
Shop around. One insurer may give you a different rate than another. Just be sure you’re also receiving the right amount of coverage for you, as cheaper isn’t always better.

Take a defensive driving course to bring your rate down. They aren’t that expensive, and they can pay off big. A defensive driving course may get any driver a discount, but it can be especially handy if you’ve had a lot of infractions. If you’re in a state that uses the license point system, a defensive driving course may reduce your points, which could help save you from a license suspension or revocation depending on your state’s laws.
Check with your agent to be sure you’re receiving all of the discounts that you qualify for. Be sure to mention alumni programs or other organizations as even those can get you car insurance savings.
Speeding is never worth it behind the wheel. You may think you’ll get to your destination faster, but you’re actually putting a lot of drivers at risk, and you may end up with a big insurance hike because of it. The best way to avoid these consequences is to stop speeding altogether. You can even use technology to help you. Be a safer driver today—your wallet and other drivers will thank you.