A Daily Blog on Creating Success

What to Do if You’re Rear-Ended

 

A Rear End Collision is one of the most common types of auto accidents.  Whether the reason is because they are fiddling with the satellite radio or texting, people are very distracted these days.  So, when it happens to you, how should you handle it?

 

rear ended

Decide if You Should Call the Police

Depending on the situation, you may wish to call the police first.  This is never a bad idea.  Trust your instincts.  If you have an uncomfortable feeling about the driver or situation, call the police.  Find a safe area to wait until they arrive.  Are there witnesses?  Ask them to wait with you.

The police will gather all the information about both drivers and will give you an incident report.  That report will have all the information you need to give to your insurance carrier as well as their carrier.

 

What you should do if you don’t call the Police

If you decide not to call the police then you will need to gather some information that will help with the claim handling process.  Here is what you need.

  • Their Insurance Information.  Their Insurance carrier and policy number.  The ID card will have all of this information.
  • Their Personal Information.  Name, address, and phone number.
  • Their Vehicle Information.  Year, make and model.  Bonus points if you can get the VIN on the car!

Take photos of everything.  The cars, the scene of the accident, their ID card (if possible).

 

Contact your agent before calling a claim in.

We always recommend calling our agency before calling a claim in to the carrier.  We can help you decide if it’s best to go through their carrier or your carrier.  Sometimes it is actually best to go through your carrier even though you were rear-ended.  The reason for this is that generally speaking you insurance carrier will provide better and quicker service to you.  You would need to pay your deductible if you choose to do this.

If you go through your carrier, they will then go after the other driver’s insurance carrier and will work to get them to accept liability and have your deductible returned to you.  Regardless of which insurance carrier you report the claim to, you must be prepared to to talk about the accident.  You will need to give your report on what happened to both your insurance company as well as their insurance company.

 

How a Not-At-Fault accident affects your Rates

You should not see a rate increase on your renewal due to a not-at-fault accident.  If you shop your policy with another carrier, however, you may see that the rate is higher due to the accident.  It will not be much higher but a not-at-fault accident could affect future quotes.

 

Do you need to go through Insurance?

No, not at all.  The other driver could pay out of pocket to cover the damages.  Make sure you get all of their information mentioned above just in case you change your mind later.  Take your car to YOUR mechanic and have them give you an estimate.  Call the other driver to discuss the cost of repairs.  Make sure the other driver knows that additional damage could be discovered while the car is in the shop.

One thing to consider!  Do you need a rental vehicle while your car is in the shop?  Without insurance, most likely you won’t have access to one.  Check your policy today to make sure that you have Extended Transportation coverage in the event of a claim.

 

Have you ever been rear-ended?

 

My name is Keith Laskey.  I write about insurance, youth development and adult success.  Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830,  for any insurance related questions or concerns.  

Travelers Insurance Roadside Assistance Coverage (RDA)

What is the Travelers Insurance RDA Coverage?

 

Recently Travelers Insurance changed the way that they provide Roadside Assistance Coverage.  For years the coverage limit was a dollar amount, most commonly $25, $50, $75, $100 or $200.  If you broke down and needed a tow, you would contact a towing company and have your car towed.  You would pay the bill and then submit the receipt  to  us (the Agent) or to Travelers directly.  You would receive a reimbursement check within two weeks.

 

Now it is handled a little bit differently.  Travelers now provides a mileage limit, 15 or 100 miles.  The cost for 100 miles is $6 per 6 month term per car.  If your car is disabled and accessible (must be within 100 feet of a roadway or driveway) than Travelers will send out an Authorized Service Provider to provide assistance.  You must have Collision or Comprehensive coverage on your policy in order to be eligible for the RDA coverage.

 

Santa Claus Parade 2006Creative Commons License Jason O’Halloran via Compfight

 

Here are the services that will be provided….

 

  • Towing or Flatbed services
  • Winching (for when a vehicle is off road and not accessible by a tow truck)
  • Providing jump start for a dead battery
  • Changing a flat tire
  • Key lock-out service
  • Delivering of supplies, including oil, water, other fluids and fuel.

 

Travelers will pay for the services provided up to the mileage amount that you selected or to the nearest repair facility if there is not one within the mileage amount that you selected.

Supplies, fuel, other fluids, etc. will be provided but the cost will NOT be covered.  This coverage can be used up to four times per vehicle per 6-month policy.  Eight times per 12-month policy.

If you do not wish to use a Travelers Authorized service provider or if one is not available than you can use any company you choose and you will be reimbursed.

 

What if you have AAA?

I have used AAA many times in many states.  It is a wonderful company.  But the cost of Travelers RDA coverage is so inexpensive that you should consider dropping AAA.  If you use AAA for other reasons, like discounts on tickets, than you may want to keep the membership.  But if you have it strictly for help in a car breakdown situation than I believe it’s time to move on.

 

What to do next.

Call your agent or check your policy to make sure you have this coverage.  It is very inexpensive and could be extremely useful if you’re ever in a situation where you need it.

 

Have you ever used a Roadside Assistance Coverage from your carrier?

-Keith Laskey

 

13 Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance

We have all seen the great Discount Double Check commercials from State Farm.  They are fantastic.  I love that female cheesehead, I love Da Bear’s fans and I LOVE Aaron Rodgers.  But c’mon man, you don’t think that State Farm agents are the only insurance agents that make sure you are getting all available discounts do you?

throwing-money 2

In our office, we have an auto discounts and advantages checklist from Travelers Insurance.  There are thirteen different discounts that we check for on every single policy and quote.

Here are the discounts.

 

  • Safe Driver Advantage.  No accidents, violations or major comprehensive claims in the household.
  • Early Quote Advantage.  If we can quote your policy eight days or more in advance, you qualify.
  • Multi-policy discount.  Own a home?  Get a homeowners quote for a big discount.
  • Hybrid vehicle discount.  Up to 10% if you have a hybrid.
  • Good student discount.  Have a young driver with good grades? Let us know.
  • Driver Training Discount.  Did your child go to a driving school?
  • Student away at school.  Does your son or daughter go to a school 100 plus miles away?
  • Home Ownership discount.  Even if your homeowners or condo policy is not with Travelers, if you own a home you get a credit.
  • Multi-car discount.  Having more than one car on a policy will get you a discount.
  • Paid in Full Discount.  The rate is cheaper if you pay in full PLUS you avoid annoying service charges.
  • New Car discount.  Is your car less than three years old?  There is an opportunity for savings.
  • Home buyer discount.  Did you recently purchase a home? There is a discount for that too!
  • Accident Forgiveness.  Depending on what state you are in and how long you have had a Travelers Auto policy, you may be eligible for accident forgiveness.

 

These discounts are for newly issued Auto policies.  Some existing Travelers polices are not eligible for a few of the above mentioned discounts, like the Paid in Full or Hybrid discounts.  Talk to your agent about possibly rewriting your policy if your policy is not eligible.  Rewriting a policy can sometimes be a tremendous way of saving money.

 

Many of these discounts are offered by all carriers, especially the Paid in Full, Multi-car, Multi-policy, and Homeownership discounts.  You don’t need to be insured with Travelers or State Farm to take advantage.

 

Call your agent.  Ask the agency to review your auto policy to make sure you are getting every discount that you are eligible for.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. I write about insurance, youth development and adult success. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830, for any insurance related questions or concerns.
For the dog lovers out there,  this is my favorite Travelers commercial!

 

How an Umbrella Policy Can Protect You

Umbrella Policies provide excess liability coverage.  It’s coverage that sit’s on top of the liability coverage of your other policies.  It comes into play if you ever find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit and you reach the end of your limits on your auto or homeowners policies.

 

The Travelers Neon | 113/365 Explored Mike Hiatt via Compfight

 

Umbrella policies insure against the worse case scenario.  If someone falls on your property and sues you, or if you cause an accident and there is significant injury or death to someone as a result of it, or even if your kid says something untrue about someone else on social media.  An Umbrella policy would prove it’s value a hundred fold in any of those cases.

 

The last reason I gave may be the most frightening of them all.  Kids are on their iDevices constantly these days.  And most of them are on Instagram or at least communicating via text.  Let’s say that your child, Johnny, makes up something about me that he knows is not true.  Something awful that would damage my reputation.  The rumor gets around to the community and now people are unsure what to believe.

 

I would have no choice but to protect my name.  I would need to file a lawsuit against you, the parent.  Your Homeowner’s policy would deny coverage but an Umbrella policy would protect you from this circumstance.

 

Here are a few other things to know about Umbrella Policies.

  • They are fairly inexpensive.  A $1 Million policy cost as low as $250 to $400.

  • Young drivers, rental properties, multiple vehicles will increase the cost.

  • Umbrella policies help pay for your legal fees and settlements above your regular insurance limits.  Your assets may be at stake without it.

  • Liability risks are everywhere. Do you have a teen Driver? Do you host parties? Do you have a pool, hot tub or boat? Do you have a housekeeper?  These are all risk factors.

  • An Umbrella policy is most useful for protecting your net worth.

 

Our agency recommends that all homeowners consider having a $1 Million Umbrella policy.  If you have a pool or another risk that I stated above than you should increase that to $2 Million.

 

Contact your agent and ask for a quote to add an Umbrella Policy.  It’s usually best to get the policy with the same carrier that you have your auto and homeowners policies to take advantage of multi-account discounts.

 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

-Keith Laskey

How to Use Your Credit Score to Lower Your Insurance Rates

As if insurance rates weren’t annoying enough.  Your car gets older and your rates get higher.  And now you realize that because you missed a credit card bill two years ago you may be paying more for your auto insurance.  It’s very frustrating.

 

Pregnant  woman with money. Family budget.

But, depending on your situation, this information actually may help you LOWER your rates!!

 

 

If you are married or if you are listed on an insurance policy with someone else, take a look at how your names appear on the policy.  Make sure the person who has the better credit is listed first.  If you are unsure who has better credit, call your agent and ask them to give you a quote with both names listed first.

 

If you want to impress your agent, use the term First Named Insured which is insurance jargon for the first name listed on your policy.  If you discover that the Second Named Insured (the person listed second on your policy) has better credit then ask the agent to switch the names and run a report.  There is a good chance your rate will go down.

Unless two people are in the exact same credit tier, there will always be a different rate depending on who is listed first and who is listed second.

 

 

Can Your Agent see Your Credit Score?

No.  What we do see is a number, a code of sorts that indicates what tier a person’s credit score is in.  The lower the better.  I have seen numbers as low as 1 and as high as the thirties.  My number is somewhere in the middle, but we’re working on that!!

 

 

Success Story

A few years back we were having some serious trouble finding a good rate for one of our insureds.  His renewal rate with his current carrier was unreasonable but we just couldn’t find anything better.  Finally, I simply switched his wife’s name from Second Named Insured and put it First.  We saved them close to a thousand dollars for the year.  Didn’t reduce the coverage or increase the deductible.  Just simply changed the way their names appeared on the policy.

There are countless other stories where we just simply switched how the names appear on the policy and saved people a significant amount of money.

 

 

What if you are  Single?

If you are single and your credit score has recently been increasing, you should ask your agent to run a report again and see if your rate has changed.  Companies do not run reports every year so if your credit is stronger now than it was a few years ago you may find that you can lower your rate.  If your score is higher but your rate is not affected then it’s time to shop.

 

 

How to Shop for Insurance

If you are with an independent agency just ask them to shop around for you.  They will quote all of the carriers that they represent.  If you are with a company like Nationwide or State Farm than they can recommend a different agent or agency to help you.  If they cant or will not recommend a different agency than you know they have their best interest in mind, not yours.

If that is the case than it really is time to shop.

 

 

As always, call me with questions or concerns.

 

-Keith Laskey-

photo courtesy of SalFalko via Compfight

 

 

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