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Advice For Filing An Auto Insurance Claim


We know we need it; it is required, after all. We just hope we never have to use it. Purchasing auto insurance may seem like the difficult part of the process, with all the legalese and fine print; however, if you actually ever need your auto insurance, you’re going to have to file an auto insurance claim. This can be the trickier part, if you aren’t prepared.

Below is some advice for filing an auto insurance claim. Although it’s best to brush up on this advice before you actually need to file an auto insurance claim, you may want to jot this advice down for future reference.

Get Answers

You really should know how much auto insurance you have before you’re involved in an accident; however, if you don’t, find out how much liability coverage you have. Liability coverage is the amount of money you have available to pay for the damages caused by an accident in which you are at fault. The liability insurance can cover vehicle repairs and hospital expenses for the other party, for example.

You also need to know the amount of your deductible for your collision auto insurance coverage, and your comprehensive auto insurance coverage if you have it. Simply put, this is the amount you have to pay before your auto insurance kicks in.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company, and provide them with your name and address, as well as those of the involved parties, everything pertinent to the accident (date, time, location, damages, etc.), and the names and addresses of any witnesses. Your insurance company will advise you on what further steps to take, and then they will take it from there.

Keep Records

In the meantime, keep records of all paperwork, including repair receipts and hospital visits. Your insurance company may request this documentation later.

Being prepared before an accident will make the process after the accident much smoother.

How Does My Driving Record Affect My Car Insurance Premiums?


In order to legally drive a vehicle on the roads of the United States of America, the vehicle being operated needs to have the appropriate auto insurance applied to it. Drivers are required to insure their vehicles in order to comply with the rules and regulations established by the federal government. Persons who have auto insurance will be required to pay car insurance premiums.

This is the amount necessitated by the insurance company which needs to be paid by insurance policy holders in order to cover the cost of the individual’s coverage. Different policy holders will often pay different amounts, or premiums, either monthly, semi-annually or annually. Since there can be such a difference between one person’s premiums and the next, many people are interested in learning why there are such variations in price. Primarily, what insurance companies look for in determining a person’s car insurance premium is their driving record.

A person’s insurance premium is a direct reflection of the information that is found within the person’s driving record. Insurance companies look at the last three to five years of a person’s driving record in order to determine how much of a liability the driver would represent to the insurance company. The reason that insurance companies look at these driving records is because individuals who have had tickets or accidents are more likely to have tickets or accidents in the future, as compared to drivers that have not been in any accidents or acquired any citations from law enforcement officials. Insurance companies order your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles from your state of residency, in addition to any other states in which you have been licensed to drive. The specific number of accidents and citations found in your file will affect the price of your car insurance premium.

Most states issue points for individuals who are in violation of the various driving rules that are put in place and sometimes for those who have gotten into auto accidents. Insurance companies often use the point system and the number of points in a driver’s record in order to determine their auto insurance premium(s). In order to compete with other insurance companies, many insurance providers will try to offer the lowest insurance premium while still protecting their own company from any liability the driver may cause the insurance company.

Premiums can be established initially when the driver adopts a specific company’s policy, but they can be changed over time if the driver gets into an accident or if they receive a ticket. Specific changes to a driver’s premium as a result of accidents or citations will vary from company to company. If you have a question about how your specific policy will change, it will probably be easiest and most convenient for you to get individualized answers regarding your policy, and a potential premium change, by getting in contact with your insurance company. If you have your account number, you will be able to contact an insurance agent who can give you the information that you are looking for when it comes to your auto insurance account.

No-Fault Insurance Explained


If you’re fortunate, or depending on how you look at it, unfortunate to live in one of the twelve states that are under a non-fault auto insurance system, you can cause an accident, yet your insurance company won’t pay for the other parties’ damages.

If you live in a No-fault state (DC, FL, HI, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, ND, PA, UT) that means you live in a state that both requires drivers to carry insurance for their own protection and places limitations on their ability to sue other drivers for damages. Your auto insurance company will pay for your damages (up to your policy limits), regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Any other drivers involved will be covered by their auto insurance policies. Since all are required to carry insurance, in theory, there should be no uninsured motorists in those states. Stop laughing; the term “in theory” was used!

These states opted for the no fault insurance system because it guarantees every driver immediate medical treatment in the event of an accident. Further, it’s intended to reduce the legal and administrative fees associated with insurance claims. Again, in theory, this should equate to lower premiums. Unfortunately, often times the liability issues that still remain will actually drive premium costs up.

However, because no state is pure no fault, drivers can always be held financially responsible for the cost of injuries they cause in certain circumstances – that’s the loop hole. Some states allow injured parties to sue if their injuries meet certain standard for severity, while others allow it when total costs reach a certain dollar level.

Below is a classic case of a no-fault situation. Neighbor lived in a four-plex apartment building. It had a 4-stall garage along with a 4-stall wide driveway. Because the driveway was so wide it was second nature for the tenants to pull out of their parking spots and turn around in the driveway instead of backing into the street.

One Sunday afternoon, one of the tenants decided to go visit a friend. She got into her car and began backing out of the driveway in her normal manner. When all of a sudden she felt a bump and heard a scream. At first she thought she ran over her cat who would occasionally escape. She opened her car door and found half of a body. Scared half out of her mind, she shut the car off and ran into the house and immediately called 911.

The driver was too scared to go outside at that point. As far as she knew, the half body, belonging to one of her neighbors, was still under the car and the driver was certain the injuries were serious. Her left rear wheel had crossed her body from her thigh on one side on the diagonal to above her pelvic region. The driver later learned that some strong man from across the street came over and picked up the car so she could get out from underneath.

The neighbor announced that she was feeling fine and didn’t want to go to the hospital. But the police and ambulance didn’t feel the same way so they took her the four blocks to the hospital. Turns out the neighbor was sunbathing behind her car and somehow the driver didn’t see her when she walked to her car. She ended up with no broken bones, no internal injuries; just a tire track from her right thigh across to her left stomach.

The driver felt absolutely terrible, accepted full responsibility, wanted to do everything and more to make it up to her. The next day, the driver phoned the insurance company to explain to them what had happened. They asked her two questions. #1 Does she drive? (yes) and #2 Does she own a car? (yes). The insurance company informed the driver that due to No Fault insurance the neighbor’s own car insurance would have to cover the medical costs. The driver was clearly at fault, yet the driver’s insurance wouldn’t cover the damages even though it was her fault.

The driver went as far as to tell the neighbor to sue her since it was her fault and she felt totally responsible. The neighbor merely responded, “It was just an accident.” The lesson here – next time lay on the grass, instead of the drive way to sunbathe and risk the doggy doo.

Interesting No-Fault system, wouldn’t you say?

Rental Car Insurance: Types And Coverage


When looking at the different options for car rental insurance in the United States, you will generally run into five options. These are Loss Damage Waivers (LDW) which are also commonly referred to as Collision Damage Waivers (CDW). There is also Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), and UMP, which is Un- and Underinsured Motorist Protection. The fifth option is to not take any rental insurance at all, but we’ll get back to that one later.

LDW/CDW takes care of pretty much everything. It takes care of your own risks, plus if the car is stolen or damaged, then Loss Damage Waivers will cover the entire cost. This is by far and away the best insurance for car rentals as far as coverage goes—but the price reflects it. Many places charge $20-30 per day for this type of insurance, which means even a single week can cost you an additional $210. This insurance can be, and often is, even higher if you rent a full-sized or luxury vehicle.

Liability Insurance Supplement is often in addition to whatever other insurance you purchase. LIS covers you for the costs of any damage or injuries that are a direct result of an accident you are involved in. LIS is usually much cheaper than LDW/CDW, but this may still cost you $8 a day and it adds up, though there is a definite degree of reassurance from knowing you are covered.

The two other insurances that are generally offered are Personal Accident Insurance and Uninsured Motorist Protection. While both of these may seem appealing at first glance because of cheaper prices, don’t be fooled. There is almost never a situation where you actually need one of these. If you’re going to buy insurance for a rental car, then buy the larger policies that are more inclusive. Saving $5 a day won’t help if you get into an uncovered accident.

Then there was the fifth option: not buying any. Insurance is expensive, so it is important to see if this actually is an option for you. Some car insurance policies automatically cover rental cars, which makes any rental insurance both superfluous and fiscally unsound. Also see your credit card company’s policies. Some of the more respectable credit cards have a policy to automatically cover you as long as you put the rental on that card. If either of this cover you, that is a much better route to go than rental insurance from the agency itself.

All of that being said, make sure that you are not under insured. Otherwise if you are involved in an accident you might end up paying for any damages you shouldn’t have to pay for. Always check each insurance policy for coverage and cost, and make sure the first makes it worth the latter.

What Makes Classic Car Insurance Special?


Anyone who owns a vintage vehicle or a collection of enduringly stylish classic cars knows that a standard automobile insurance policy can’t adequately cover the specific needs of someone who drives a classic vehicle. A classic car owner is more likely than a standard driver to make a claim for repainting after a tiny scratch, for example; whereas a typical driver will be much more likely to get into a highway pile-up than a classic car owner. The habits and requirements of the drivers who spends time behind the wheel of a classic 1950s Ford are obviously quite different from those of a driver who gets around in a used 1997 Taurus; so it makes plenty of sense that insurance companies would create policies specifically for drivers who own vintage cars.

One of the most useful facets of many classic car insurance policies has to do with the idea of flexible usage. This unique idea allows drivers to attain full coverage at a variable rate depending on how often they drive their car and in what situations. Most drivers with antique automobiles drive their vehicles over less than one thousand miles each year, but some collectors drive up to five thousand miles a year in their prized cars. Some drivers are extremely careful about distance because of its potential wear and tear on the vehicle, but just as many classic car enthusiasts are more concerned about what kind of situation they are driving in than how far they are driving.

Many vintage car owners only take their precious vehicles out for special events like auto shows or parades, but there are some drivers who enjoy taking the occasional drive outside of the umbrella that these events provide. With an insurance policy that supports flexible usage, a driver can pay only for the coverage that he or she needs to cover his or her classic car driving habits. This means that a driver who enjoys a leisurely weekend afternoon of driving through town in his or her car will be able to do so without risking the investment that the car represents, but also that a driver who only starts the engine during a special event will not have to pay extra money for open road privileges that he or she won’t use.

In addition to what is and is not covered, there are many conveniences that a classic car owner can enjoy by having classic car insurance instead of a standard auto policy. For one thing, having the agent who is responsible for the policy be knowledgeable about and sensitive to the needs of classic car owners can save quite a bit of hassle and phone time. Vintage car collectors are understandably very selective about where they get their cars repaired, and often will be unwilling to let anyone but their personally trusted mechanic look at their car. The reasons for this fact will be obvious to an agent who understands the needs and desires of people who own classic cars, but for an agent who is not experienced with these kinds of customers it can be a difficult fact to swallow.

Gap Insurance: A Financial Safety Belt


Why is gap insurance considered as a financial safety belt?

Simply put, it keeps you from being financially ruined when disaster hits your car. For example you are in this situation, you bought a late-model car three months ago using a car loan with a regular car insurance. The car costs $30,000 and you have already made three payments of $900 each month. Then, disaster strikes. An electric post falls and slams down on your car. The car was flattened to half its height.

Immediately, you reported it to the auto insurance company, which they in turn play with numbers, mileage, depreciation, market values, and other related stuff. After a couple of days, the adjuster informs you that the worth of your car at the time of the accident is $25,000. This is the amount that the auto insurance company will provide you. But the finance company that gave you the loan will still consider the car to be worth its original price.

They also play with numbers, interest rates, taxes and license fees. Then they come up with the amount of $38,000. This is the amount that you need to pay them. If the auto insurance company releases the $25,000, where will you get the remaining $7,000? Your car is already a wreck but you still owe the finance company.

You need not face such a dilemma if you have a gap insurance. With the gap insurance, you can ignore the difference between the amount covered by the regular car insurance and the amount you owed the car loan company. This difference is called a “gap” and the gap insurance bridges it so that you need not rack your head for additional financial resources.

A car lease contract must also have a gap insurance. It is a feature that prevents you from draining all your finances. Some dealers who lease cars don’t offer a gap insurance. This is okay as long as they include a “gap waiver” in their lease contract. This waiver declares that you are no longer responsible for gap charges that may occur when your leased car is wrecked.

When you get a gap insurance, determine how much is offered in the gap policy. You should also know how much will be added to your monthly bill. A gap insurance, for it to be recognized, must be accompanied with comprehensive insurance policies that cover collision.

Sometimes, a gap insurance may no longer be needed if the terms in your regular auto insurance policy indicated that the company will pay off the full amount you owed from the car loan lender.

What is the Difference between Third Party Liability and Full Coverage Insurance?


Insurance can be very confusing for those of us who are not in the insurance business.

Often, our insurance agents start babbling about liability, comprehensive coverage, third party liability, and more – and we feel like they are speaking a language we have never heard before. Well – in a sense they are.

Again, it is very confusing to those who are not in the insurance business. Unfortunately, if you are to get the coverage that you need, at a price you can afford, you must start learning some of the terminology.

For instance, many people do not understand what the difference between third party liability insurance and full coverage insurance is. Third party liability coverage and full coverage insurance are much the same, but in other ways they are uniquely different. Before you determine which one you need, it is important to understand exactly what each type of coverage is.

Third Party Liability Coverage is essentially coverage that protects you in the event of an accident that is your fault.

It generally covers other people and their property that is damaged in a covered accident. It does not cover you, your passengers, your boat, your motor, or your trailer. Furthermore, third party liability coverage only goes into effect if your boat is in an accident that occurred when the boat was being used in a private capacity, as opposed to a commercial capacity.

Third party liability coverage is required by most states, and each state will have its own requirements as to the minimum liability coverage amounts that you have.

This type of insurance is generally required whether your boat is financed or not. Third party liability insurance coverage is often simply referred to as liability insurance, or in the case of boats, watercraft liability insurance. Talk to your agent to find out how much coverage is required in your state.

Full coverage insurance, on the other hand, will cover you, your boat, your motor, your trailer, and your passengers.

It is often referred to as comprehensive insurance, and it is available in different coverage amounts, with different options that are available for the policy. This type of insurance will be required by most lenders who finance boats, and most lenders will have their own requirements as to which optional insurance is purchased.

Essentially, what it comes down to is that third party liability insurance coverage protects other people and their property in the event of an accident that is your fault, while full coverage insurance protects you and your property – in the same way that the third party insurance protects others.

In fact, full coverage insurance will cover you whether the accident was your fault, someone else’s fault, or even no-fault. In most cases, it is in your best interest to have both third party liability insurance coverage – which is required – as well as full coverage insurance – which may be required if you have financed your boat.

Again, even if the boat has not been financed, you should strongly consider purchasing a full coverage or comprehensive policy. Many people even continue to carry the full coverage policy long after the boat has been paid off.

Boat repairs are expensive, and anything can happen.

Most full coverage policies will cover you in the event of mechanical failure, theft, and vandalism, as well as losses caused by storms, fires, explosions, sinking, and much more. Talk with your insurance agent to find out about the different options available for full coverage policies, and make sure that you get the coverage that you need!

Repair Bad Credit With A Loan


If you find yourself struggling with bad credit and want to repair it, you may want to look into obtaining a debt consolidation loan. But if you have bad credit, how in the world will you be able to get a loan? Well, that’s what debt consolidation loans are for – to help you repair bad credit and eventually get yourself back on the road toward a positive credit score and a solid credit history.

Basically, debt consolidation loans work to repair your bad credit by giving you an amount of money so that you can pay off your individual creditors – which will help repair your credit in and of itself – and then you may one payment each month to the debt consolidation company instead of the individual creditors. These loans are given specifically to people with bad or less than perfect credit to help them repair their credit.

Most debt consolidation loans are at a lower interest rate than that which you might be paying on high interest credit cards, so you will be better off right away just from that point of view. However, you will be charged a higher interest rate than a regular loan simply because you do have bad credit. Still, if you can obtain a debt consolidation loan at 9 percent as opposed to paying a credit card 20 percent, it will save money in the long run and get you on the road to credit repair.

There are companies who will help you get a debt consolidation loan to help you repair your bad credit, but they charge a fee for their services and you can easily – well maybe not all that easily – but still you can do it on your own with a little leg work. Debt consolidation loans are meant specifically for people with bad credit who desperately want to repair that credit and become financially sound again.

Look for a loan with an attractive interest rate – as low as you can possibly get it. That might mean getting quotes from several different companies, but it’ll be worth it if you get a quote from one company for a 15 percent loan and another company for an 8 percent loan. Doing your homework can really pay off if you are patient and look at all available options.

Once you get your debt consolidation loan to repair your bad credit, it is essential that you are sure you can make the monthly payments and that you are able to make them ON TIME! Your goal with a debt consolidation loan is to repair your bad credit and nothing can ruin it quicker than a late or missed payment. So approach the loan knowing that your payments can be made on time.

Car Insurance For High-Risk Drivers


If you are classified as a high-risk driver, finding car insurance can be quite a hassle. Some insurance companies will deny insurance to high-risk drivers, while others just choose to charge extremely high premiums. No matter which insurance company you choose, you will most likely end up at a high rate. However, every insurance company is different, so it is important to shop around for the best rates available.

There are many different factors that can contribute to a high-risk driver classification. However, your driving record is the most important factor in determining your risk status. If you have been involved in several accidents over the course of a year or within two to three years, these incidents will negatively affect your record even if they were not your fault. Being involved in an accident can deem you a reckless driver with a penchant for getting into dangerous situations. Also, if you have received multiple speeding tickets, you are also increasing your risk of getting into car accidents. You may be labeled a high-risk driver just by the number of speeding tickets you have received.

There are also several personal factors that contributed to the high-risk label. Unfortunately, many of these factors are beyond your control. Men have typically deemed a higher risk than women, and those who live in the city are considered higher risk than those who live in the country. If you are a city dweller, you will probably pay higher car insurance premiums than if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area. Also, drivers with newer cars are charged higher premiums than those with older automobiles.

Unfortunately, even your credit history can affect your car insurance rating. Those with low credit ratings are usually charged higher premiums than those with better credit scores. Whether or not you have been covered by car insurance continuously is also a factor. If there are gaps in your coverage, they will assume that you have had periods of uninsured driving. Because driving without insurance is very unsafe and also very illegal, insurance companies take this into consideration when considering your rate.

Though it can take several years of clean driving to erase the high-risk driver label, it can still be done. Three years is the industry standard for reassessing a drivers safety standing. If you have a clean record for a three-year period, you can work your way back to the benefits of lower premiums. However, three years worth of high premiums can really add up over time. If you are a high-risk driver, there are still ways to lower your insurance payments. With a little research, you can reduce your payments by a fair amount.

There are many car insurance companies that offer free quotes online. Rather than meeting with salespeople or playing phone tag with agents, Internet sites will give you a quote in minutes. This makes comparison-shopping easier than ever. There are even websites that will find a list of quotes for you. Sites like Netquote.com allow you to enter all of your information one time rather than repeating the process for every insurance company you investigate. Netquote will generate a list of rates organized in an easy to read fashion. This process may take a few days, but the results are typically worth it.

Working toward a clean driving record is the best way to ensure that you will get the best car insurance rates. Avoid congested areas whenever possible, and be sure to slow down in reduced speed zones. Be aware of your surroundings and never speed, and you will be on your way to a successful reduction in your rates.

How To Make Sure You Get The Best Personal Loans Deal


If you are in need of obtaining additional money quickly, then your main choices are using a credit card or obtaining a personal loan from a bank, building society or from a specialist loan company.

For short term borrowing credit cards can be useful, but for longer term borrowing a loan may seem to be the best option. Whenever you take out a loan or credit agreement, your prospective lender will assess your personal circumstances and decide whether to offer to lend you the funds you require subject to its repayment with added interest being paid.

Depending on the result of a financial health check (completed by the lender), you may be offered, on average, up to $15,000 to be paid back over a period of between 6 months to 10 years. The actual amount that you can borrow and the interest rate charged will depend on factors such as your past credit record, amount requested, duration of loan, purpose of the loan, whether the amount borrowed is secured or unsecured, and acceptance of various terms and conditions applied by the lender.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.