Williamson Insurance Blog Archive
Auto Insurance Blog Articles
November 9, 2017
7 Things to Know About Rental Car Coverage
After a car accident, you have enough things to worry about. Getting to work the next day shouldn’t be one of them.
We’ve all been there—and arranging alternate transportation while your vehicle is in a repair shop can be a hassle. But rental reimbursement coverage can help alleviate some stress after an accident while also saving you money.
Here are seven things you should know about before buying rental car reimbursement coverage:
1. It’s optional.
Rental reimbursement coverage does not automatically apply after an accident. As an optional coverage, it must be purchased separately. A common misconception is that auto insurance automatically covers the cost of a replacement rental car. In reality, you often have to select this coverage and apply it to the policy.
2. There is a limit.
You’ll likely have a per day and per occurrence limit. For example, if you have a 25/750 limit, your insurance company will pay up to $25 per day but no more than $750 per claim for the rental vehicle. Most insurance companies will offer several different options, allowing you to choose the limit that is right for you.
3. Your vehicle must be in the shop due to a covered loss.
Rental reimbursement coverage can be used while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident or another covered loss, not for routine maintenance or leisure. So, if your car is at the body shop after an accident, a rental car is covered up to your limit. But if your car is undergoing routine maintenance that will keep it in the shop overnight or you are renting a vehicle for a family road trip, then rental reimbursement coverage would not apply.
4. You can use it right away.
After reporting a claim, if your vehicle isn’t drivable, you can be authorized for a rental car right away. Otherwise, you will be relying on the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and you may have to wait a little while before they can assess the claim and agree to pay for a rental car. With rental reimbursement coverage, there’s no waiting.
5. No need to worry about additional insurance.
For the most part, when you have collision and comprehensive coverages in your auto insurance policy, it will transfer to the rental vehicle, eliminating the need to purchase additional coverage from the car rental agency. Check with your Grange agent, who will be able to tell you when this applies.
6. You may not need it at all.
If you have access to another vehicle, rideshare service or public transportation in the event your vehicle isn’t drivable, you may not need rental reimbursement coverage. But if you prefer the safety net of having a rental available if you need it, you may want to opt-in to this coverage.
7. It costs less than you might expect.
One year of rental reimbursement coverage will typically cost less than one day of out-of-pocket rental car expenses.
Article courtesy of Grange Insurance
October 25, 2017
Drive for Uber or Lyft? Mind your insurance gap
With ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, now anyone with a smartphone can become a driver for hire where, instead of flagging down the car like a passing taxi, customers use a mobile app to request and pay for a ride.
But here’s the catch. Since many of the drivers who work for ridesharing companies do not have a livery driver’s license and their cars are neither registered nor insured as commercial vehicles, it creates an insurance gap, or a period of time when they are underinsured and taking on more financial risk.
Companies like Uber and Lyft are called a Transportation Network Company (TNC) and there are different coverage periods for these drivers. If you drive for a TNC, make sure you know the three distinct coverage periods and the insurance coverage you need at each time.
Period one: The app is turned on and the driver is waiting for a fare.
Period two: The fare has been accepted and the driver is on the way to pick up the passenger.
Period three: The passenger is in the car.
Right now, TNCs only provide full coverage in periods two and three, meaning drivers are likely to be underinsured during period one, which begins the moment they turn on the app, but before they accept a fare. And some drivers may not be aware of this gap in insurance coverage. If there is an accident during period one, the driver may be on the hook to cover the cost of some liability damages and have no coverage to repair their vehicle. Different ridesharing companies have different coverages during this period, so adding a specific rideshare gap endorsement onto their personal auto insurance policy could keep the driver fully insured.
If you’re thinking about driving for a TNC, ask what level of coverage it provides during each period. Drivers should also contact their own auto insurer to address gaps, if any, in their liability protection. It is also recommended that TNC drivers review a copy of their TNC’s insurance contracts so they know the exact terms and conditions of the coverage.
Knowing your insurance needs as a ridesharing driver doesn’t have to be complicated. Your local independent agent can help guide you through it and make sure you have the insurance protection you need.
Article and infographic courtesy of Grange Insurance
July 12, 2016
There is much more to auto insurance than you think
What is personal auto insurance and why is it so important? It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.
Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
• Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage. In the state of Ohio, you are required by law to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $25,000 for property damage liability.
• Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.
Personal auto policies have a term of six months or a year. Your insurance company will notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.
Why do you need car insurance?
It's really all about protecting yourself financially.
• If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
• If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
• If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
Not only is having insurance a prudent financial decision, many states require you to have at least some coverage.
Questions to ask about your personal car insurance.
Williamson Insurance is an advocate for finding auto insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:
• How much can you afford to pay if you get in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
• What is the insurance company's level of service and ability to pay claims?
• What discounts are available? (Ask about good driver and student discounts.) You can also take advantage of large discounts on your auto insurance with a multi-policy discount by bundling your homeowner, renters, mobile home or condo insurance with the same agency and company.
• What's the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)
For additional information you can contact our agencies in Zanesville at 740-453-0791 or Newark at 740-344-9556 or you can request your quote now by simply clicking below. One of our account managers will review your information and be in contact with you.
August 9, 2016
Teaching Your Teen to Drive Without Losing Your Sanity
So your teen has a learner’s permit in his or her hot little hand. The chance to get behind the wheel is no doubt something your child has looked forward to with great longing and you, perhaps, with somewhat less.
The fear is real
Getting into a 4,000-pound vehicle that your child is going to slowly pilot around the block is scary. Yes, a trip around the block will possibly be all your nerves can stand on the first go-round, or perhaps you’ll need to start with merely pulling into and out of the driveway a few times first. Some parents will drive their child to an enormous abandoned parking lot and confirm for themselves that their child has a good grasp of starting, stopping, and turning before unleashing the budding young driver on an actual street.
How you handle the first drive will depend a bit on where you live. Those who live in a rural area are probably going to feel a little safer hitting the road in front of their house than those who live in a big city with heavy traffic near their homes. Also consider how well your child has done in driver’s education so far.
Naturally you’re going to emphasize safe driving rules, such as wearing a seatbelt and putting the cell phone where it can’t be seen during the driving lesson. This is also a moment of truth for you—if your driving habits have been less than stellar, clean them up. As in every other parenting endeavor, kids watch what you do more than they listen to what you say. Now, more than ever, is the time to model safe driving.
Do not expect your child to be a perfect driver from the get-go. Driving, like any other skill, has to be learned. Offer constructive feedback. Try not to yell, even if one of your child’s moves genuinely rattles you.
Watch the jokes
While jokes about crazy new drivers abound, try not to joke too much about your child’s driving, and don’t do it at all during lessons. Yes, you may develop extra gray hair during this process, but teaching your child to be a safe driver is serious business. Your child needs to know that you believe in his or her ability to be trusted to drive safely. It’s better for your teen to overhear you saying he or she is doing quite well behind the wheel than to overhear you joking that you needed sedation after the first lesson.
Once your child has a good grasp on basic maneuvering, have some lessons at night, in the rain, and if possible, on snowy or icy streets. It will not always be a bright, clear day when your child drives, and it’s better for him or her to learn how to handle difficult conditions with you there to offer advice. Remind your child to continuously be on the look-out for cars that suddenly slow down, cars parked along the shoulder, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians—in short, to be aware of all surroundings at all times.
Another important thing to do after basic skills are learned is to teach your child to do at least some of the driving on longer outings. Learning to drive for longer periods without falling to highway hypnosis is an important skill. This is especially true if your child has always been the type to fall asleep during long car trips. And don’t just drive on familiar streets close to home. Eventually, work your way into driving on unfamiliar streets. Make sure your child is comfortable on a country lane at night, a city street at rush hour, and on the Interstate anytime.
Bring in Grandma
If you find that your driving sessions become too nerve-wracking, there’s no shame in handing this duty over to your spouse or a grandparent. Sometimes a teen is less nervous about learning with someone else. The main objective is to make sure your son or daughter is a safe, responsible driver, so do whatever it takes to get there.
You’ll probably be required to keep track of how many hours your teen drives; don’t forget to keep an accurate record of this.
Take it up a level
For bonus points, teach your child how to drive a stick shift. Though automatic transmissions are obviously much more popular, there are occasional times when knowing how to drive a stick will come in handy, such as when one needs to drive someone else’s car or when renting a car in a foreign country. Plus, it’s a skill that gives real street cred.
Good luck, and enjoy the eventual payoff: being able to send your teen to run errands for you.
Article courtesy of Pekin Insurance
June 3, 2016
12 Summer Driving Safety Tips Before You Set Out on a Road Trip
Summer is a time of spontaneity and sunshine, a time when people want to pack up and go somewhere new. After a long winter, you may be ready to jump in your car for a quick weekend road trip. Don’t be caught unprepared and have your dream vacation turn into your worst nightmare.
To have an accident-free road trip, outing, or fair-weather adventure without mishaps or disasters, consider the following 12 summer driving safety tips before you turn the key in that ignition and head out with friends or family.
Be fun, be safe, and be prepared with these summer driving safety tips
Avoid roadside breakdowns, accidents, injuries, and misfortunes that quickly turn a fun road trip to a standstill, or worse, a day at the mechanic, hospital, or police station. That's not where you want to spend your time, so plan wisely and enjoy.
1. Cue up the music and put away your phone
We all know phone use and electronic distractions cause accidents, yet according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 660,000 drivers are still using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, and the number is rising. More than a quarter of car crashes can be attributed to cell phone use. Don’t be a statistic; prepare your soundtrack ahead of time, and only check your messages when you've stopped for a break.
2. Eat outdoors
A moving car does not a picnic make. A car is for driving, getting from one place to another, and not for dining. Summer road trips are meant to be enjoyed. Stop and eat where you can take in the scenery and savor your meal.
3. Be a master navigator
Let’s face it: getting lost on a road trip is the worst. Losing satellite feeds and battery power can cause you to lose your way. Plan ahead, and plot out your trip. Make sure your GPS device is charged and you have a paper map in hand in case your electronics fail you. Most importantly, program your route before you leave so you will not be distracted on the road. If you need to change course, make sure a passenger in the car can assist you. If not, pull over!
4. Check your tires
Summer weather can be brutal, and heat can cause tires to expand and trigger blowouts if your wheels are worn. Check your tires on a regular basis if you'll be driving in the heat. Also, ensure your spare is usable and that your jack and other tools are in good condition before you head out on a road trip.
5. Beat the heat
Your car isn’t the only thing at risk for overheating; you are too! Make sure you pack bottled water for drinking and keep a gallon of water in your trunk for emergencies. If your car overheats, which is common when you need to rely on an air conditioner, pull over and let it cool off.
The sun will also beat down on your dashboard, steering wheel, seats, and seatbelts. They may be painful to the touch. Using a sun shield when you’re parked can be very helpful and can also offer privacy.
6. Slow down
Rushing and feeling pressured to meet timelines is stressful on any vacation. When you're on a road trip, it can also be fatal if you’re speeding. According to the NHTSA, speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to crashes, and 28 percent of all fatal crashes are attributed to speeding. Stay safe. Slow down and enjoy the trip.
7. Share the fun
If your road trip is a long one, take turns driving. Drowsy driving can lead to serious, if not fatal, car accidents. If you are alone, make sure you break up the trip, take naps as needed, refresh with energy drinks or caffeine, and stay hydrated!
8. Don't drink and drive
It goes without saying that an adult beverage, if you are of age, is a welcome part of summer festivities and celebrations. It is not, however, a welcome addition to a road trip. Don’t drink alcohol if you are going to be behind the wheel. Be responsible and avoid endangering yourself, your loved ones, and innocent strangers by not drinking and driving.
9. Tailgate off road, not on
Tailgate is a word with two meanings. You can tailgate with food, but not with distance. At 60 mph, a typical car needs between 120 and 140 feet to reach a full stop. Most SUVs require an extra 5 to 10 feet on top of that. Keep your distance from the car in front of you, and save the tailgating for your destination or picnic break (see tip #2!).
10. Join a roadside rescue service
Breaking down on the road or away from home can really ruin a fun time and derail summer road trips. Have convenient access to services that get you off the road, to safety, and then back on track to your destination. Here at Pekin Insurance, we're always available to help you.
11. Be in charge
Keep your car battery, your cell phone, and your GPS charged. Don't forget to pack your jumper cables, either. Also, consider pre-charged, portable, cordless cell phone chargers, so if your car dies, you cell phone won’t, and you can still get in touch with roadside assistance.
12. Have an emergency kit
Roadside flares, a first aid kit, extra oil, spare fuses, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a tire inflator are some essential items to have on hand in your car. For the summer, consider having a sheet in the back for the beach, for sleeping, and to use as a makeshift changing room if needed. Don’t forget water to keep you hydrated and your car cool.
Ride easy with these summer driving safety tips. If you plan to embrace your family, friends, and a new destination on a road trip, play it safe. Before you get on the road this summer, make sure your automobile insurance coverage is up to par. We have the perfect auto insurance plans that can be tailored to your needs.
If you have any summer driving tips, let our readers know by leaving them in the comments section below.
Article courtesy of Pekin Insurance