Wednesday, August 28, 2019

What Can I do to Lower the Cost of My Car Insurance?

We hear this question a lot when we start working with our clients.  Each of our companies that we write for asks different questions in order to determine eligibility, find the most accurate rate, and see which discounts a customer might qualify for – this is one of the reasons that we ask so many questions when we are gathering information from current and prospective customers. 
There are some different rating factors that are automatically included in the rate: 
  • Accident-Free & Good/Safe Driver:  All auto insurance companies look at an insured’s driving record and claim history when determining the rate for auto insurance.  If you are “accident-free” or have a clean driving record for the last 3-5 years, many insurance companies apply a discount to the premium quote 
  • Vehicle Safety Features:  While most of your car’s safety features are automatically incorporated into the rate from your VIN#, it is still good practice to let your insurance agent know if you have optional safety features in case it is eligible for an additional discount.  Does your car have blind-spot detection?  Automatic braking?  Lane Departure Warning System?  Does it have an anti-theft system?  If so, let your agent know! 
  • Multiple Car Discount:  If you have more than one car insured on a policy, your policy will receive a mult-car discount 
  • Driver Age:  Some companies give an automatic discount to drivers over the age of 55  

 Companies also offer a few different discounts you might be eligible for: 
  • Usage-Based Insurance / Telematics:  This is something that is relatively new and several of our auto insurance companies offer.  Using either a device that you plug-into your car or an app on your smartphone, the program tracks your vehicle usage and driving habits.  Common things that they look for are hard braking, fast acceleration, and night-time driving (between midnight and 4am).  Some companies give a discount for enrolling in the program, and then additional discounts are available at the end of the monitoring time or at the renewal.  Each company’s program is different, so make sure that you talk with your agent to get the specific information for the company that your auto insurance is with.  
  • Bundling your auto/home insurance with the same insurance carrier:  Most of our companies offer a discount if you have your auto and home insurance insured with the same company.  Some companies also offer further discounts if other insurance policies are also written with that company as well (motorcycle, boat, RV, personal umbrella, etc.) 
    • While most companies offer a discount if your auto and home insurance are written together, this doesn’t always mean that it will be less expensive to do this.  Sometimes it is cheaper to have your auto insured with Company A, and your home insured with Company B.  As independent insurance agents, we take that into consideration when we are quoting our customers and look to see which is best for each customer 
  • Company Car:  Are you provided a company car or truck that you drive to/from work?  If so, you may be eligible for a company car discount 
  • Low Mileage:  Do you put less than 7500 miles on your car a year?  The number of annual miles varies by company for what qualifies for low miles 
  • Good Student:  Is your student is between 16-24 years old, a full-time student, and has a “B” average, they may be eligible for a good student discount.  This if for both high school and college students 
  • Distant Student:  Does one of the drivers listed on the policy go to college over 100 miles away from home and not have a car with them at school?  If so, they may be eligible for a distant-student discount 
  • EFT/Paid-in-Full:  You might be eligible for a discount if are you paying for your policy in full, or are paying up for payments automatically withdrawn from your checking/saving account.   
  • Paperless Discount:  Would you prefer to get most of your insurance documents via email instead of through the mail?  A couple of our companies offer a discount if you do! 
If you think that you might be eligible for a discount that you are not currently getting, please reach out to your Absolute Insurance agent so that we can review your policy.   

Also, let us know if you have had anything change in your life that might affect your insurance:  
  • Did you recently retire?  Will your vehicle usage and annual mileage change?  If so, let us know! 
  • Do you have a new job and now have a company car?  Let’s discuss whether the company car discount is an option for you. 
  • Do you telework from home?  We should review the current vehicle usage and mileage to see if we still have it listed correctly. 
Are you thinking of buying a new car?  Call us before you make your final decision and we can quote to see what it would be to add to your existing policy.  This is helpful if you are debating between two different vehicles – the type of vehicle and the safety features that it has can have a huge difference in the insurance rate.
At Absolute Insurance Agency, we know that getting the best coverage at the best price is important to our clients.  One benefit of being an independent insurance agency is that this allows us to quote with multiple companies to see what the best insurance policy would be for you and your family.  Interested in an insurance quote?  Click here for a quote or contact us at service@insaia.com.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Agreed Value vs. Actual Cash Value: What is the best coverage for your boat or camper?



Do you have a boat and/or camper insured (or that needs to be insured)?  Do you know what type of value it is insured for?  You might want to look at your most recent declaration page to see how it is currently covered.

Boats and campers are typically insured one of two ways - either Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Agreed Value (AV).  What is the difference?


  • Agreed Value (AV):  Agreed Value means that if we have a boat insured for $10,000, and it is determined to be a total loss in a covered claim, the insurance company would pay the agreed value of $10,000.
  • Actual Cash Value (ACV):  ACV pays up to the amount an item is insured for, but the insurance company determines the value.   An insurance company might use NADA and comparables to look up the value of a boat or camper.  With the same example above, the insurance company might determine (after looking at NADA and comparables) that the value is $8,000 so they pay $8,000 if the boat was determined to be a total loss in a covered claim.  

Agreed Value is better coverage, and since the values of boats and campers can be all over the place we recommend changing to Agreed Value coverage.  We have had issues where a client has felt that their camper is worth more than NADA and comparables show - Agreed Value coverage fixes this problem when there is a total loss.  If you would like to discuss how changing from Actual Cash Value to Agreed Value could affect your insurance policy, contact Absolute Insurance today by emailing us at service@insaia.com or calling us at (515)279-2722.

For more information on insuring your boat, check out our Boat Insurance page.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What is the right Rental Car Reimbursement amount for you?

If you have full coverage insurance on a vehicle on your auto insurance policy, you might also have rental car reimbursement coverage.  The amount of Rental Car Reimbursement coverage varies from plan to plan but the lowest coverage that any of our companies offers is around $30/day.  In Iowa, this will typically pay for a full-size car. If you normally drive a SUV, van, or truck, the $30/day coverage might not be enough to pay for a rental car for a replacement SUV, van, or truck.  We have clients who have multiple children or other needs where renting a full-size car would not work.  
Please contact us if you want to increase your rental car coverage or if you want a quote on how increasing rental car coverage would affect your insurance premium.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Commercial or Personal Auto: Which is Right?



If, like many Americans, your family car is also used for purposes that could be considered commercial use, you may want to steer yourself into a chair and look over your insurance policy.

You'll need to consider buying a commercial policy or make sure your existing policy covers the vehicle for business use.  Every company has different guidelines and may surcharge for business-use coverage on a personal auto policy.

One thing to keep in mind when determining if you should have a commercial auto or personal auto policy is that it isn't where you drive, but why you are driving:

  • Are you a sales manager who visits different stores/locations within your region?
  • Are you delivering pizza or other goods to customers?
  • Do employees drive your vehicle?
  • Do you drive people for a fee?  (Rideshare such as Uber or Lyft)
  • Does your vehicle have commercial license plates?
  • Do you haul equipment such as trailers, ladders, etc. in or on your vehicle?
  • Do you need more liability coverage than a personal auto policy provides?  
  • Do you need special coverage for situations encountered while conducting business?  
If you are think that you might need a commercial auto policy, or have questions about what is covered under your personal auto policy, please give your helpful Absolute Insurance agent a call today at 515-279-2722 or email us at service@insaia.com.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rental Car Rules

Do you have an upcoming trip planned where you will be renting a rental car?  Pekin Insurance, one of the companies that we represent, posted a blog earlier this month regarding rental cars and how to avoid a big rental car bill.  
  1. Make Sure Your Insurance Checks Out:  The vast majority of insurance policies transfer over to rental cars - the coverage you have on your vehicle would be the same coverage as the rental car.  For example, if you have liability-only coverage on your vehicle, your rental car would have liability-only insurance.  If a claim were to come up, it would be filed with your auto insurance company.  Your credit card company you use when paying for your rental car may also provide some coverage as well.  Before you rent a car, you should talk to your insurance agent or credit card company to know what coverages transfer.
  2. Your Age Affects Price:  Some companies will apply a "Young Driver" charge for any driver under 25
  3. Watch Out for Extra Fees:  Make sure to read the rental agreement to avoid extra fees.  There are usually additional fees for returning the car with less than a full tank of gas, using a toll transponder, or using GPS.  
  4. Skip the Inspection at Your Own Risk:  Before you drive off in your rental car, make sure to take the time to do an interior and exterior inspection of the car.  If you have a smartphone, make sure to document any existing damage with pictures or videos and report them before driving off.  (Make sure to get down under the bumper too)
  5. Think Before You Sync:  Several in-vehicle systems store information such as contact information and even work/home addresses.
  6. More Drivers Could Mean More Money:  Before you add more drivers, look at what extra fees might be included with each additional driver and evaluate whether you think additional drivers are needed
For more information, check out the blog from Pekin Insurance!  If you have any questions about what coverage transfers from your auto policy, contact your agent.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Telematics


Many of our auto insurance companies offer a discount if you sign-up for Telematics, or usage-based insurance.  Telematics, or usage-based insurance, is a type of auto insurance that tracks mileage and driving behaviors such as hard braking, fast acceleration, nighttime driving, and idle time.  This means that your insurance premium is affected by your driving habits.  Driving is monitored either with a self-installed device or through a mobile application on your smartphone.  Some companies also provide tips to drivers on how they can improve their driving.

Each company offers their own Telematics program and how the program works varies by company as well.  Click on the links here for a few of our companies to learn more about the specific program offered by your insurer:
If you have any questions regarding how enrolling in telematics could affect your policy, please contact your agent today!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Teen Monitoring Discount - Auto Owners


Auto Owners now offers a new 5% discount for teen monitoring.  How does the Teen Monitoring discount work?  You can use an app on a phone or certain GPS units.  The information from the app/GPS must go to the parents.  It is not shared with Auto Owners.

If your teen is between the ages of 16-20, they are eligible for this discount.  All it takes is a GPS unit attached to the vehicle the teen principally operates OR the teen in an eligible application on their smartphone. This discount will be applied upon the receipt of the proof of the purchase or other documentation.

Eligibility:
Eligible GPS units and smart phone applications must meet the following criteria:
Locate Vehicle-the ability to determine the vehicle’s location via Web or phone.
Speed-the ability to know the teen driver’s speed and other various

The discount is removed when the operator turns 21, gets married, or is removed from the policy.

An otherwise eligible operator is no longer eligible for this discount if they have had:
More than 1 at-fault accident, or
More than 1 violation resulting in 2 or more conviction surcharge points, or
One violation resulting in 4 or more conviction surcharge points, or
One at-fault accident and 1 violation resulting in 2 or more conviction surcharge point.

If this is something you are interested in, here is a hyperlink of 5 companies that could help you with the discount! https://www.hellotech.com/blog/5-of-the-best-teen-driving-apps-for-parents/.  Auto-Owners has recommended these two apps that are eligible for this discount: Life360 and SafeDriver which are both mentioned in the article.  If you are interested in a different teen monitoring app, let us know and we can check to make sure that it would be eligible for the discount too - they need to monitor location, speed, and other driving habits if available.

We have an insured who uses the free version of the Life360 app and they really like it.  They know that their college child is in class so not to call, or that their child made it to work or a friend's house, etc.  Even if you don't have your auto insurance with Auto-Owners, you might want to see if these teen monitoring apps might be useful to you and your family.

If you have any questions regarding this new discount, please contact your agent directly, email us at service@insaia.com, or call our office at (515)279-2722.