What to watch out for while choosing car insurance
January 23, 2017 | Scott Cooke, Owner
The most important criteria include the five “C”s. Here’s a brief description of each:
• Claim settlement policy – The true test of an insurance company is at the time of an actual insurance claim. This is possible to check by looking at the company’s past records of claim resolution. Now is the time to check if the existing insurance can be transferred to another insurance company without loss of benefits already paid for.
• Coverage – What is the right coverage for you? Usually, car insurance policies cover third party liability and own damage. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, it is mandatory to opt for third party liability insurance cover while own damage is optional. Opting for both is the standard procedure since they cover any damage due to accidents and loss from third party mishaps. Most insurance companies offer “add-ons” with the basic policy.
• Customer service – Thanks to technology, insurance policies are now issued instantly. Besides this, other issues such as changes in policy or cancellations are processed quickly. In the event of a claim, cashless settlement is also available so that post-repair delivery is quick without incurring bills at the workshop. It is therefore important to check the insurance company’s network for this facility. The bigger the network, the better the claimant’s options.
• Communication access – The insurance company’s contact information must be easily accessible. If there is a problem the insured individual must know whom to get in touch with and the procedure to follow.
• Cost – Last but not least, is the price or premium. Car insurance premium is based on “insured declared value” or IDV and the rate multiplier and depends on the car model, the age of the car, daily mileage and the terrain of the location. It is important to declare the right IDV and select a policy that offers the maximum IDV even if you have to incur a slightly higher premium.
Besides the above, the following are the benefits to look for:
• No claim bonus - if no claim has been filed during the insurance period, a no-claim discount is offered on risk cover against own damage at the time of policy renewal. For each consecutive claim-free year, the discount increases progressively. The point to note is that the no claim bonus eligibility holds good even in the event of a new vehicle purchase or existing insurance renewal before the due date from a different insurance provider.
• Opting for deductible - Drivers with a good record can opt for “voluntary excess” or deductible to lower their premium payments, in addition to the compulsory excess. In the case of a compulsory excess, the insured is liable to pay a specific amount if a claim is filed.
• Premium based on car type - If your car has extra security features such as anti-theft alarms the chances of theft is lower and insurance can come at a lower premium.
Coverage – What is the right coverage for you? Usually, car insurance policies cover third party liability and own damage. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, it is mandatory to opt for third party liability insurance cover while own damage is optional. Opting for both is the standard procedure since they cover any damage due to accidents and loss from third party mishaps. Most insurance companies offer “add-ons” with the basic policy. Scott Cooke, Owner
• Timely insurance renewal - If car insurance is not renewed before the expiry date the renewal premium can result in loss of coverage especially if there is an accident and also mean no discount for the no-claim bonus.
• Choice of Add-ons- Besides the basic car insurance coverage, insurance providers offer several optional add-ons. It is important to select the right ones and only pay for those. For example, if there is a medical expense cover or hospital cash cover, check to see if you have a medical insurance policy that already covers these.
• To renew or not to renew - with the same insurance provider? When it is time to renew your car insurance, compare insurance providers to see what they are offering before making a decision. The car insurance industry is very competitive and for the same coverage, you can probably get a better price elsewhere.
Some final precautions to bear in mind are:
• Check that the insurance policy is genuine. Always buy your car insurance directly from the insurance company or from its authorized agent.
• Always get a premium payment receipt.
• When you receive your policy document, check the IDV, no claim bonus and deductible details to make sure it is what you opted for. Any discrepancies must be notified and rectified immediately.
• Make sure only you sign the proposal form and always read before signing
• Do not opt for monthly payments as this is more expensive than annual payments
Remember that car insurance protects you and the occupants of your car on two counts: from accidental damage and from third party claims when you are responsible for the accident. Therefore, choose with care.
Tips for dealing with water damage due to frozen pipes
January 9, 2017 | Scott Cooke, Owner
Coming home to a water soaked floor can be devastating. What do I do? Who should I call? Some of the first steps are to ensure the safety of you and everyone including animals in your home.
Make sure you are safe! If the electric is still on, turn it off at the main breaker, but make sure to not go near the breaker if there is standing water. You may need to call a non-emergency fire department number if the situation is bad (Don't dial 911 unless you are in a life threatening situation). Don't risk your safety to turn off electric or water, let professionals do it. If there is a main water cut-off in your home, turn it off to stop the flow of water and minimize the damage as much as possible. Check to make sure the structure is safe, if the water has been standing for a while on a wood subfloor, there may be structural damage. If you suspect structural damage, leave the property and call a water damage restoration company in your area.
If you have determined all is safe in the home, take pictures, make a log of all affected items and their values. This will be necessary to have when submitting a claim to your insurance company. If possible, move any valuable items out of the affected area, as most antique furniture and other items can be successfully restored by an experienced water damage technician.
Take a note of how much of your property has been affected, note the approximate square footage, rooms, and where you think the water source is. Give this information to the water damage company once you call. Most water damage restoration companies can be on site within 30 minutes to 1 hour of your call. Ask what their time frame is.
Bottom line is, don't risk your safety to save your home, let the professionals help.
Tips on buying car insurance
November 9, 2016 | Scott Cooke, Owner
1. This is also known as rating the driver
Insurers use this rating as a way to measure what it costs to insure a particular person if a claim is made and how likely claims would occur again in the future. This is often referred to as financial responsibility that an insurer takes on. The tip is to maintain a safe driving record and avoid traffic accidents and you will go a long ways towards getting cheaper car insurance.
2. Not all Insurance Companies Rate Drivers the Same
Many providers use the same general metrics but their algorithms that ultimately determine rates are quite distinct. One of the biggest factors that all insurers use in calculating premiums is the frequency of accidents. When a person files a claim, the insurance kicks in and accidents can cost many thousands of dollars, especially if there is a death involved. The more claims a person files, the riskier he or she is in the eyes of the carrier and more likely to file a future claim. Thus, higher rates are imposed on these at-risk motorist. To keep rates low, avoid incidents and filing claims and you will save a lot of money on auto insurance. If you have had accidents in the past don’t worry.
3. Main Contributing Factors that Affect Auto Insurance Rates
*Driving Record: Auto Insurers will take a close look at how many citations and accidents you have been involved in.
Keep up a good driving record and watch your rates go down.
*The Location you live: If you live in the city, you can expect to pay more than if you live in a rural location with much less traffic.
* The Car you Drive: This is a very large factor that makes up rates. New and expensive luxury or sports cars have some of the highest insurance rates. On the other hand, used cars that are safe and cheap to repair have some of the lowest coverage costs. Get a boring used car and save on coverage.
* Marriage Status: Married people pay less for car ins because they are considered more responsible.
* Your Age: Drivers that are under 25 can expect to pay about double for auto ins. The sweet sport for the lowest rates is between 32 and 62 years of age.
4. Apply for all the Discounts you can
A great and smart way to save on vehicle insurance is to apply for several discounts. If you have more than one automobile, consider getting a bundled or multi-vehicle discount. You can also take a safe driver course and save about 5%. Other popular discounts are good student, military, and even teacher.