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Auto Insurance

Some people believe that Auto Insurance is just a commodity. It isn't!

Consumers are bombarded with ways they can save up to 15% in 15 minutes, or that they can just pretend that buying car insurance is like booking a hotel on Priceline: All too often, drivers do not discover the importance of having adequate limits in place until after they have an accident (the stink is like finding that your cheap hotel room is over the adjacent restaurant's garbage bins) .

We all want to save money where we can, but trying to cut corners on your insurance coverage will cost you much more in the long run if you have an accident and the other person sues you for more than your insurance limits can provide.

Don't think for a minute that lawyers will only try to cash in on your insurance limits. They will attack your personal assets if the amount of insurance you have is insufficient. Don't slash coverage to save a few dollars; the ensuing shock is just not worth it. Rather, think of your auto insurance policy as an attorney & a body shop on retainer: You get what you pay for .

You can reduce how much you pay in insurance premiums; you just have to be smart about how you do it.

There are several key factors that affect the cost of your insurance premium, such as

  • Your driving record;
  • The type of vehicle you own (high performance, expensive & fun cars cost more than less expensive, modest vehicles);
  • How you use your car (do you car-pool? Use your car for businesses?);
  • Insuring your Home with the same insurer that provides your car insurance;
  • Purchasing your umbrella policy with the same auto insurance company;
  • Simply paying your term premium in full;
  • Your educational achievements;
  • Membership in credit unions or college alumni groups;
  • Mature driver course discounts;
  • Your CREDIT SCORE!

As your agent, we will seek out these discounts because it is our job to make sure you have the best possible protection at the lowest premium available.

Another way for us to ensure that you have the best protection at the lowest premium available is to examine your coverage. There are several different levels of coverage that make up an auto policy:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: Provides coverage to an accident victim in the event of a law suit - this is the person(s) YOU injured in an accident. Even if there is a question of fault, you have representation with your insurance company's adjusters or, if necessary, their legal staff - your attorney on retainer!
  • Property Damage Liability: This covers the cost of any damage that your vehicle causes to another person's property. While this usually refers to the other vehicle involved in an accident and for which damages you may be held responsible, it can also include damages to houses, garages, and anything else that counts as property (you pulverize your neighbor's favorite ficus!).
  • Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist: This pays for your personal injury damages that result from an accident caused by an at-fault, uninsured motorist. This also pays for damages which cost more than an under-insured motorist's coverage can pay for. Typically, this is a medical and financial loss. A great example of this is a driver who, while texting, rear-ends you while you are stopped at a light, and you find out his insurance policy had lapsed! At that point, your insurance company - in a way - takes the place of the at-fault driver's phantom insurance company and adjusts your loss. Then, they'll sue the heck out of the person who hit you!
  • Collision: Covers damage done to your car when it collides with another vehicle or object, regardless of fault, less your deductible.
  • Comprehensive: Covers damage to your vehicle resulting from something other than a collision. Examples for this include vandalism to your car, theft of your car, a broken windshield, a tree limb falling on the hood of your new car, flood damage, and other non-collision events - less your deductible.
  • Other Miscellaneous Coverage: This varies depending on the insurance provider and your state of residence but can include Roadside Assistance, Rental Car Reimbursement protection, and repair enhancements including Original Manufactured Parts.

As independent agents, we can provide you with dozens of coverage combinations from several different insurance carriers. We are not limited to just one insurance company or to one State. So, please contact us today at 562-594-6541 or, for our Safeco customers, 877-857-9505 (our direct, dedicated 24/7 telephone line to Safeco)! As your insurance agent, we will provide you with a free review of the best coverage at the lowest possible premium.

Here is some helpful information that will allow you a better understanding of what your car insurance means:

Auto Insurance Coverage Descriptions:

What Does It Mean?

Note: The following review of policy terms and issues is for your information only. This is not a complete description of your policy's exact coverage terms, conditions,exclusions and limitations; please see your policy for exact coverage afforded under this policy or call us with your questions.

Bodily Injury Liability(Occasionally referred to as BI)

Pays when you are legally liable for injury or death caused by your vehicle. Legal fees & court costs are also included. Pays up to the first limit for each person and up to the second limit toward injuries in the accident for which you are legally liable. Your attorney & funding mechanism on retainer!

Property Damage Liability(Occasionally referred to as PD)

Pays when you are legally liable for damage to the property of others caused by your vehicle. Remember the ficus!

Combined Single Limit (Occasionally referred to as CSL)

Means the Bodily Injury and Property Damage are combined into one single limit, without sub-limits imposed

Uninsured Motorist

(Occasionally referred to as UM)

Pay damages that you, household relatives, & passengers in an insured motor vehicle are legally entitled to recover because of bodily injury caused by an uninsured,at fault driver & vehicle. Pays up to the first limit for any one person and subject to the first limit for any one person up to the second limit for all persons injured or killed in an accident. This could also be single limit coverage.

Underinsured Motorist(Occasionally referred to as UIM)

Pays you, household relatives, and passengers in your insured motor vehicle against damages arising out of accidents with motorists who have motor vehicle insurance with lower limits of liability coverage than those damages suffered by you.

Medical Payments

(Each Person Limit)

Pays medical, hospital, and funeral expenses for you, household relatives, and guest passengers injured in a motor vehicle accident regardless of fault. This is often coordinated with health insurance or workers compensation benefits.

Comprehensive

(Often referred to as “other than Collision”)

Pays for loss or damage to your vehicle caused by fire, theft, vandalism, hail, windstorm, riot, falling objects (tree limbs!), flood, and damages otherwise not excluded. This policy section has a deductible; refer to your policy for the amount of your deductible. This coverage does not pay for collision or upset. That is paid under your collision if you carry collision.

Collision or Upset

Pays for loss or damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with another object. Your car will be repaired unless it is deemed to be a total loss, in which case your claim payment is settled on the “actual cash value” of the car, less your deductible. See your policy for the amount of your deductible.

Towing and Labor Costs

Pays up to the stated limit on your policy for each claim for towing your vehicle and any labor costs, such as changing a tire or a “jump start” at the place of disablement. Does not pay for parts or subsequent repair costs. Check your policy to determine if you have adequate protection.

Rental Reimbursement

Pays towards expenses to rent a vehicle if you have a covered collision loss and your vehicle is disabled longer than 24 hours. Usually there is a per day limit as well as a total benefit limit; check your policy to determine if you have enough protection.

Lease “GAP” coverage

Additional coverage for your leased or purchased auto may be added to provide limits in excess of the actual cash value of the auto, which takes a dive the minute it leaves the dealer's lot. This coverage would apply if the lease agreement makes you liable for an amount greater than the actual cash value of the car at the time of a covered theft or total loss.

Standard Equipment vs. After Market Equipment: Applies to Sound Systems & Accessories, Wheels, Covers, Beds, Paint, and Other Vehicle Accessories

Insurance will generally repair or replace items that are standard equipment – sold and permanently installed on a vehicle as it is normally delivered for sale as the manufacturer intended. After-Market can be described as items that cost extra to enhance your car's value and appearance. To properly insure these items often requires a stated, proved value and an endorsement on your policy. If you have any after-market items (including but not limited to upgraded sound equipment, wheels, covers, beds, paint, and other accessories that did not come with the vehicle in its original condition), you may wish to endorse these items to your policy and pay the extra premium to cover them in the event of theft or damage.

Personal Property in Your Vehicle

Your auto insurance policy generally does not cover any personal items in your car; items not covered include CDs, Tapes & any type of phone as well as any other personal property. This is typically covered under your Renters or Homeowners insurance policy.

Campers & Travel Trailers, and personal items and equipment inside these vehicles

Protection for campers attached to trucks must be added to your auto policy whether rented, borrowed, or purchased. Liability protection may be provided by the truck's liability insurance (the truck on which the camper is placed for travel); but if you want the camper shell insured for collision or comprehensive protection (vandalism, for instance), for an additional premium you can add comprehensive and collision protection for the camper shell. The liability insurance for a trailer may extend from the auto or truck towing it unless the weight of the trailer exceeds a specified weight restriction found in your policy, but this does not automatically extend to damage to the camper or trailer itself. Comprehensive & Collision coverage for the trailer must be added by endorsement. Personal items and equipment inside a trailer or camper must have a valued stated on the policy to be covered. The safest way to determine how best to insure your camper or trailer is to call your insurance representatives at DRIVE RIGHTand Huggins Dreckman Insurance.

Motor Homes, and personal items and equipment inside these vehicles

Insurance for a Motor Home is not automatic; borrowed, rented, or purchased, the motor home must be added to your auto policy just like any other vehicle. Personal items and equipment inside the motor home must have a valued stated on the policy to be covered. The safest way to determine how best to insure your camper or trailer is to call your insurance representatives at DRIVE RIGHT and Huggins Dreckman Insurance.

Motor Home, Camper and Trailer Rentals

If you rent, buy or borrow these types of vehicles or equipment, your un-endorsed car insurance will not automatically cover these vehicles. It is best to presume that your policy does not automatically provide you with insurance coverage for these types of rentals. Check your policy or call your insurance representatives at Huggins Dreckman Insurance at least two weeks before you leave for your trip to determine how best to ensure your protection

Automobiles You Do Not Own

Your policy may not provide you with protection if you borrow a vehicle from a friend or acquaintance; check your policy before you borrow a friend's car – and check theirs! Otherwise, you may find your 15 minutes brought you much more than fame.

Other People Driving Your Car

Protection to drivers not listed on your policy may be limited to the state's minimum coverage regardless of your policy limits. Or, you may have full protection; check with your insurance company.

If Your Vehicle is Owned by a Corporation

You must advise your insurance representatives if any entity or any one other than you owns your car (leasing company, loss payee, or perhaps your own business, a parent, etc) and verify that the owner or entity which owns the pink slip is added to your policy! Who is insured under the policy could be a big issue at claim time.

If Your Vehicle is Used in Business or as a Delivery Vehicle:

You must advise your insurance representatives if this is the case. Your policy as written may not cover cars or trucks used in business or as a delivery vehicle (this includes teenagers delivering pizza, for example) or driving for Uber.

Reporting a Newly Purchased Vehicle: Vehicles Purchased from a Dealer (new or used vehicles)

Insurance for newly purchased vehicles may not be automatic! You should advise your insurance company at the point of purchase about this vehicle and have the car sales representatives fax your agent a copy of your sales agreement. Regardless, you must just presume that you have to advise your insurance company in not less than 7 days from the time you purchase a new vehicle or you risk not having any coverage at all. For instance, Mercury Ins. Co. requires notification in writing within 7 days from purchase or there is no coverage; if not notified in 7 days, Mercury requires that you present the vehicle for photo inspection with insurance coverage starting from the date of inspection.

Reporting a Newly Purchased Vehicle: Vehicles NOT Purchased from a Dealer (new or used vehicles)

Insurance for newly purchased vehicles may not be automatic The insurance company must be advised in writing within 7 days from the time you purchase a vehicle or you risk not having any coverage at all. Some companies require that you present the vehicle for inspection if Physical Damage Coverage is desired (collision, fire, theft, etc). Coverage may not be in force until the vehicle is inspected if there is such a requirement in your policy.