Category Archives: Insurance

The factors that influence your insurance rates

There are many factors that influence insurance coverage

Love it or hate it, you are required to hold insurance on every vehicle you drive…period. Now don’t go trying to run to another state to escape having to hold insurance coverage, as every state requires it. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s say that you’ve got a good driving record and all of the added claimed factors that could mess up your insurance rates are absolutely in your favor. Yet, your car insurance is still high. . Yet your unemployed, accident prone, ticket collecting buddies across the US pay less for their car insurance?

Now, I know this doesn’t seem fair, but there are many factors that go into your car insurance rate. Some of it you can change and some of it you can’t change.

You can’t change:

  • Your age
    Dick Clark and Sophia Loren notwithstanding, aging is unavoidable. And while you may be a mature-looking teen or a youthful octogenarian, the oldest and the youngest drivers are far more likely to have accidents.
  • Gender
    Whether it’s the mothering instinct or fewer NASCAR fantasies, women statistically make safer drivers.
  • Marital Status
    OK, you can change this, but there have been no reports of people marrying simply to lower their insurance rates.

You can change:

  • Geography
    Where you live matters. For instance, those living in rural America are far less likely to have a collision or a stolen car than those living in a city. But, sometimes even just moving across the street can change your rate.
  • Driving violations
    Speeding tickets, running red lights, failure to yield, etc. all count toward your auto insurance rate.
  • Your vehicle
    If you must have that cherry red Corvette or the Ferrari GTO, be prepared to pay for it. Your insurance premiums will be higher.
  • Accident claims
    While you can’t change the past, keeping your slate clean and free of accidents will hold you in better stead than lots of fender benders.
  • Credit rating
    That’s right -” many insurance companies view having a poor, or even no credit history as suggestive of higher risk.”
  • Occupation
    A little easier said than done. Believe it or not, insurers have found correlation between your occupation and risk. Makes sense that the pizza delivery guy could be a higher risk!

Even when you think you have everything in your favor there are still a few other things that can affect your insurance rates such as:

  • Miles driven per year
  • Distance to work
  • Occupation
  • Years of driving experience
  • Business use of the vehicle
  • Whether or not you currently have auto insurance
  • Theft protection devices (often results in discounts)
  • Multiple cars and drivers (another opportunity for discounts)

Now that you are thoroughly overwhelmed, your best bet is to take your time and comparison shop. It will certainly pay off in the long run.

How Can I Get a Better Deal on Car Insurance?

In this economy, Freeman Grapevine wants to make sure that you have insurance that is reliable yet affordable. And if you have a good driving record with no recent accidents, you should see some discounts on your car insurance.

These discounts may not happen immediately, but over time you should see a reduction in your rates.

Several insurance companies are taking performance monitoring to the next level. With the installation of an opt-in diagnostics system that communicates with on-board sensors, insurance providers can monitor driving in real time, and offer lower rates to drivers with proven safety records. Specifically, the devices measure average speed, braking speed, and total time behind the wheel.

For drivers that are below average in these areas, a discount will be rewarded after a month. Discounts can range up to 30% from certain insurers, which can provide significant relief for fiscally challenged motorists. In most states, the devices can lead to never having higher insurance rates. Furthermore,  the program is completely voluntary, with an option to cancel at any time. The devices do not include GPS, so a driver’s privacy is maintained while using the system. [Source: Motorology]

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHt4cSvphfM

I hope that you do have a good driving record. If you do then you should shop around for the best quotes. The lowest quote does not necessarily mean the best insurance for you. Make sure they have the coverage you will need.

If you are planning to buy a new car soon, now is a good time to call around for your best quotes on a Buicks, GMCs and Used, or you can just come and check out Freeman Grapevine.

What do you do after an accident?

First let me say that I hope you never get into an accident of any kind. They are monetarily and emotionally stressful. It’s not something that anyone looks forward to, let alone really prepares for. So what do you do, Fort Worth, if you get into an accident? I found a short, yet concise video you should take a look at. You might think, “Ozzie, it’s obvious what to do after and accident” that is until you actually get into one. Staying calm and keeping your wits isn’t always the easiest thing to do in that traumatic situation.

Here are 11 things to remember after you’ve been involved in a car accident I found here.

  1. Make sure everyone is ok – before concerning yourself with vehicle damage and exchanging insurance information, make sure that all parties to the accident are ok. If not, call 911.
  2. Save the apologies for another time – yes, politeness is an admirable trait, but in this situation, a simple “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” can be seen as an admission of liability.
  3. Start talking – to witnesses, that is. Get all the relevant contact information of any bystanders that may have seen the accident.
  4. Call Your Insurance Company – report the incident to your insurance company, even if you are completely at fault. Also, keep track of the time and money spent pursuing your claim.
  5. Take Pictures – having proof of the damage to the car will help with insurance, and serve as evidence if there is a dispute down the line. One helpful tip is to always keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment for these situations.
  6. Take Notes – similar to pictures, detailing the accident and the nature of your injuries as soon as possible can serve to expedite the process.
  7. Get a Property Damage Figure from your Insurance Company – this valuation will serve as the amount you can recover or replace your car. If you are not happy with the figure from your insurance company, seek outside quotes.
  8. Careful Who You Talk To – if the other party’s insurance company contacts you, your best response is to get in touch with your insurance company or attorney. Why? Because they are better equipped to handle the situation.
  9. Don’t automatically accept the first estimate or offer you get – jumping the gun on the settlement can be a costly mistake.
  10. Get an attorney – if there is a dispute with your insurance company, or the seemingly simple car accident suddenly turns complicated, then seeking legal counsel is your best bet.
  11. Take a deep breath, everything is going to be ok.

Does anyone have any other advice to give? Remember if you need a little help after an accident, give us a call and we can walk you through the steps it takes to get you back out on the road again in a flash.

How Do You React When Pulled Over By The Police?

If you get pulled over for any reason, know your rights. What you say and what you do matters and can mean the difference between a routine traffic stop or something much worse.

I found a couple of videos that I wanted to share that give really great example of what to do and what not to do during a traffic stop. Remember, you may have had a bad day, you may be really angry, but that Officer is already on edge, don’t give him any reason to be more wary of you than he should be.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Basically what it boils down to is common sense. Use your head, be polite, be cordial, be willing to cooperate, but don’t forget your inalienable rights. The burden of proof always is on your side. Good luck.

Can anyone give us any pointers for an experiences you may have had?

Your New Car…and an Indispensable Item

Let’s face it, if you drive you need insurance. There are no “if, and’s or but’s”At some point in your driving career, you are going to need it for a fender bender, cracked windshield or total car loss.

People spend a lot on new cars and they require proper care, maintenance and PROTECTION. Here is where new car insurance comes into play. New car insurance helps safeguard  you against costly vehicle repairs, most of which you probably never saw coming in the first place.

Insurance is a no brainer. Get it. Stay Protected…besides, it’s the Law. What does everyone else think about insurance? Has it paid off for you? Have you ever had to use it? Let me know!

Inexperienced Drivers and their New Cars

While ignorance is often bliss, when it comes to driving a car, ignorance is the passenger you don’t want to ride with.
It is so important for young drivers to get not only the necessary driving experience, but also a good background understanding safety issues, as well as being responsible for maintaining their new car

Young drivers between 16 and 19 are far more likely to be one car accidents than any other age group. Excessive speed, not knowing vehicle limitations and inexperience are the culprits.  Just because you pass your driver’s test doesn’t mean you are a pro behind the wheel just yet. There’s still a lot to learn.

Car Maintenance

Simple basic car maintenance such as checking the tire pressure and making sure that all the bulbs work correctly should be a “no brainer”. The young new car driver needs to get in the habit of checking and changing oil regularly. Knowing how to change a tire or headlight bulb is mandatory.

The Reckless Youth

I remember the days when I thought I was invincible, too. The years when you start gain responsibilities but neglect the rules.  The reckless youth ignores important road rules such as speeding, driving without a valid license, insurance, texting, talking on the phone, horsing around with the passengers, taking unnecessary risks…we’ve all been there.

If you drive a car you must always remember this: You are on your own.

It is important to remember that there are new car drivers and those that just have licenses. Having the freedom to drive is a terrific thing and a major part of growing up. It should be embraced and encouraged as long as it is NOT done at 120mph.

Ok, that’s the end of my rant. I remember how exciting it was when I got my first new car, so enjoy it. I welcome all our young people to share the roads, but do so in such a way that you aren’t a danger to you or the drivers around you.

Aw Man I Got A Ticket!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/renneville/4796783835/in/photolist-ckhN1w-4MghVA-5Wf4Hk-8iSLHz-ckhLu3-ckhLQy-8ft1Sp-ckhJTq-aq2MPT-6Hmfjp-9cF1CF-7V9HTQ-9aB5La-cjyYdE-7V9J59-7V9Kau-cmyCNj-8UrVDo-a7LqQa-6bczSw-afAAFp-gDtoXT-7JbuVJ-dSaPmw-oTAPNU-snztny-cjyYxW-8zpCSr-ckhMdu-cjyZCq-7V9JtS-7V6t9V-7V6uot-cjonH5-dLq1vw-7V6tH8-cmyFeA-7V9J2N-cU7wN7-7V9Kuo-cjyZfW-e4fvLz-cjyYUq-7V9HF7-5asEBb-9WvkHj-9nCLqH-sihGbm-g4Nuby-pX4c1i
Fe Ilya, Flikr Creative Commons

You’ve all probably been there, but hopefully not lately. You’re toodling along down the road, minding your own business, and all of a sudden…WHOOP WHOOP! You glance up in the rearview mirror and sure enough there are red and blue lights dancing around back there, so you start making your way over to the shoulder. The officer walks up, asks for your ID and insurance and explains to you that you were clocked at X miles per hour over the speed limit. Once he gets back from his car he writes you your ticket and tells you to slow down and have a nice day.

So, what do you do now? Most folks crumple that ticket up, stuff it into the glove box and forget about it until several weeks go by and then they wake up in a blind panic wondering if they’ve missed the deadline. So what do you do now? Now, this whole little narrative is predicated on the assumption that you were justly pulled over and were actually speeding and have no problem admitting it. If you feel you were wrongly pulled over, by all means appear in court to contest. Sometimes this is a good idea in larger metropolitan areas because there is a decent chance the officer won’t show at court and the judge will dismiss. Happens in Houston fairly frequently for example.

But the common option is seek ticket dismissal through taking a Dirver’s Safety Course so the ticket doesn’t appear on your permanent record and your insurance premiums remain unaffected. To take the course, you can do it online these days which requires a set amount of time in front of your computer with test questions scattered throughout. A different option is the comedy defensive driving courses offered in most larger metro areas. The comedians get up there and in a humorous fashion, hit all the test questions in a way that keeps you entertained as well as help retain the info. Best of all scenarios though, is to keep your car between the stripes and at posted speed.

Fort Worth and Dallas New Car: Know your ABC’s

I was running out for lunch the other day and I noticed something during my trip that I thought I needed to write about.

Let me first start by saying that in the late 80’s automakers began installing airbags in cars for safety reasons, and there’s no doubt that over the past 30 years airbags have saved thousands of lives.

However, it is important to note that airbags are designed to protect average-sized adults…not young children.  I know we’ve all heard it, but airbags can pose a serious risk to children who ride in the front seat.

In fact, according to research conducted by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “children exposed to airbags during a crash are twice as likely to suffer a serious injury”.  The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “children under the age of 13 are safest seating in the back seat of a car”.

The following are some safety guidelines for children riding in a car.

  • Infants seated in a rear-facing safety seat should never be placed in the front seat of a car that has an airbag – When the airbag engages, the force of the airbag is directed right at the infant’s head as it comes out of the dashboard.
  • Children seated in a forward-facing child should not be placed in the front seat of a car that has an airbag. – Again when the airbag engages, the child’s head is in the path of the airbag as it emerges from the dashboard.
  • Remember for children 13 and under: The safest place to be in a car is the back seat.
  • For children ages 13 and up riding in the front seat remember:
    • All children should wear a lap/shoulder belt.
    • Move the front seat as far back as possible from the dashboard.
    • Make the sure the child doesn’t lean forward.
    • Have the child sit upright against the seat at all times.

Note: Engineers are constantly improving airbags to improve safety.  Known as 2nd-generation or de-powered airbags, these airbags are still NOT designed for children.  Children are best protected in the rear seat.

If you have any questions about child safety in your vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact me at Freeman Grapevine. You can even swing by, and we’ll show you thee proper way to install your child safety restraint systems.

 

Shopping For Car Insurance

If you drive, you can’t be with out it. New car insurance is an important and a vital factor involved in order to keep you one the road. Car insurance is a necessary thing for drivers, not only because it is required by law in many states (all of them I think), but it could be the most protection you may have in case of an accident. Car accidents can have devastating and long lasting effects on you, your car, and your future, depending on which side of the wheel you are on when the vehicles collide.

As drivers, we are constantly in search of an affordable auto insurance policy and insurers are constantly bombarding us with new offers and options. It’s not just a myth, cheap insurance is available throughout the market, but you are going to have do do a little research.

Obviously, shopping online for the perfect insurance option can help you avoid wasting time on numerous calls and automated questions and answers. Choose at least three companies with trustworthy and a time-proven reputation, get their quotes and then analyze and compare these rates in order to take sensible decision.  Just because an insurance option is cheaper doesn’t mean it is the right coverage for you. For example, do you have an older car? Then you probably don’t need to carry Collision. If your car is fairly, then you’d want to have as much coverage as you can reasonably afford. The bottom line is that you are going to have to pay something out of pocket to either repair,  or replace your vehicle and the coverage you carry is going to determine how much.

The fact of the matter is that accidents happen every few minutes, there is simply no way to stop that. The only thing you can do is have the coverage that’s right for you and hope you never have to use it. It’s not worth the risk to be uncovered.

Leave a comment if you have anything you can add or you can always come in and see me

Ft. Worth has a lot of trees…and one just fell on your car!

If there’s one thing we all know about living in Texas, it’s our ever changing weather conditions. One day it can be 82 and sunny the next 72 with mind-blowing thunderstorms, tornadoes and straight line winds. Sometimes it can get so extreme that even the oldest Live Oaks can be uprooted…not to mention scores of falling branches. So what do you do if one falls on your car? dallasnews.com has some guidance. Thanks to them for this information.

If a tree falls onto your vehicle

If your vehicle is damaged by a falling tree, optional comprehensive coverage on a standard auto insurance policy provides financial assistance.

• Contact the auto insurance company immediately to report the damage, to learn whether the damage is covered and to learn the procedure for estimates and processing.

• Take photos of the accident scene before anything is moved and before emergency repairs are started.

• Take measures to protect the vehicle from further damage. Save receipts.

• After the insurance company evaluates the damage, a dollar value will be negotiated. You may receive a check to help pay for repairs or you may be referred to approved facilities where repairs can be billed to the insurance company. Expect to pay a deductible.

• The maximum insurance benefit cannot exceed the current value of the vehicle, so if the damage is severe, you may not receive enough money to pay for repairs.

What you can expect from coverage

• If the tree damaged a structure that is insured, there should be coverage to help pay for removing the tree. (The amount of coverage depends on the type of policy you have.) If the fallen tree did not damage an insured structure, there probably is no coverage for tree removal.

• Some insurance policies may help with the cost of removing a fallen tree that blocks a driveway or a ramp used by a handicapped person.

• If the damage is not severe and you have a high deductible on the insurance policy, you probably should not file a claim, says insurance agent Bill “Bulldog” Cunningham. Filing multiple claims on a policy reflects badly on your insurance record and could result in policy cancellation, he says.

• Ask the insurance agent to recommend companies that are experienced at removing fallen trees or in making emergency repairs to damaged structures.

If you’ve had a branch or tree, or any other body damage done to your car and need advice, please don’t hesitate to give me a call, leave a comment or come and see us. Not to brag, but we’ve got a great collision/damage repair center.