Does my Atlanta car insurance cover a rental car if I’m in an accident?

If you need a rental car after an accident, you'll need rental reimbursement coverage.

If you need a rental car after an accident, you'll need rental reimbursement coverage.

So, you’ve been in an accident, and you need to take your car to a mechanic or a collision center to be repaired. But there’s still tons of stuff you need to do that all depend on your car – you need to get to school or work, you need to get the kids to practice or lessons, or you just need to be able to get your weekly groceries. In any case, you’re dependent on your dependable transportation. So, you get a rental car.

The problem is, rental cars can cost you hundreds of dollars a week, and you may not have that kind of money lying around. So, how can you get help in paying your rental fees? For that, there’s rental reimbursement coverage. Here’s how it works.

What is rental reimbursement insurance?

Rental reimbursement coverage is just like it sounds – it can help reimburse you for the costs associated with renting a car while your car is in the shop after an accident. However, this type of coverage isn’t automatically included in your car insurance. It can usually require you to have an endorsement to your policy. In other words, you have to have this coverage on your car insurance in order for your rental car to be covered if you’re in an accident.

How long will my insurance help pay for my rental car?

Well, it is a rental car – you can’t just keep it forever, even if you do like it more than your regular ride. Your policy will usually have a per-day and a per accident limit which will vary based on your coverage. In Atlanta, your typical rental car can cost about $20 – $30 a day, depending on the type of rental you get. So, your rental reimbursement coverage may only cover about $20 a day and up to $900 per accident.

For exact coverage numbers, it’s important to talk to your agent or look at your auto insurance declarations page. You agent or carrier may also give you some recommendations for rental car companies they’ve worked with for an even smoother reimbursement process.

How much does rental reimbursement insurance cost?

Rental reimbursement coverage usually isn’t that expensive in relation to your current monthly rates. It depends on your plan, your insurance carrier, and your driving history, but even with the worst driving record it’s not going to cost you a lot to have that peace of mind.

If you’re looking for the absolute lowest rates on car insurance, you may be tempted to skip rental reimbursement coverage. However, if you’re in an accident, a few dollars more on your policy is probably going to be more appealing than spending around $200-300 a week on a rental car. And that’s on top of any repair costs you may have to pay before you meet your car insurance deductible.

How can I save money and afford rental reimbursement coverage?

If you’re still worried about the added cost of rental reimbursement coverage, there are tons of ways to save on your original auto insurance policy:

  • Make sure you have a good driving record – it makes you seem less risky to the insurance company.
  • Ask about discounts (especially bundling)
  • Ask your agent if your car’s safety features can lower your premium
  • Boost your credit score
  • Shop around for car insurance

These tips can help you save some money on your car insurance so that you can add rental reimbursement coverage. It may seem like a pain to shop around for a great car insurance rate, but the peace of mind will ultimately pay off. After all, the whole point of car insurance is to be able to take care of your needs in a worst-case scenario.

That’s why our agents are insurance experts. We’ll use our knowledge and exclusive connections to get you customized quotes for the coverage you need. And we’ll save you money through it all! To start getting your free auto insurance quotes, give us a call or fill out our easy online form.

Do I need insurance for a vacant home in Atlanta?

It's important to get the right vacant home insurance to protect your house.

It's important to get the right vacant home insurance to protect your house.

Sometimes the housing market is hard when you’re trying to sell your home. Sometimes, you may need to move out of your house for an extended period of time. Regardless of your situation, you may need to leave your home for quite a while. Unfortunately, your regular home insurance usually won’t cover a home you’re not living in. But if there’s no one to watch or check up on the property and it’s not insured, how can you protect it from vandalism, theft, or any other sort of disaster? Find out here.

What’s the difference between an unoccupied and a vacant home?

First, it’s important to define the difference between a vacant and an unoccupied home. (Yes, it can matter to your insurance company.) An unoccupied home is one where there’s furniture in the house, the utilities are turned on, and the place is generally ready for anyone to turn the key and live in.

A vacant house is one where the lights are not on and nobody’s home. There’s no furniture to see, the utilities are turned off, and the house is pretty much the husk of a building with no one living in it.

When is my house considered unoccupied or vacant?

It’s important to talk to your insurance agent, then, about the amount of time your policy will cover between each tenant living in the house. Usually, normal home insurance policies can cover an unoccupied home for 30-60 days after someone moves out.

However, if you’re on an extended vacation, going through long-term medical treatment where you’re away from your house, or having renovations done where you can’t physically stay in your house, your insurance policy may include a clause that will allow your coverage to continue through your life event.

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble selling your house when you’ve already moved out, most home insurance policies will have certain exclusions for vacant properties once the time limit is up.

Talk to your agent about insuring your vacant home.

Why won’t my regular home insurance cover a vacant house?

The reason why is risk. Vacant homes create what is called an “attractive nuisance.” A vacant house can present golden opportunities for vandals and thieves. It can also present opportunities for people to get hurt or bring down neighborhood value.

Insurance companies prepare for the worst. In a house where no one is there to keep an eye on things, an unattended electrical fire could break out, a vandal could create an eyesore on your walls, or the neighborhood kids could break an arm in their new “playhouse.” Carriers don’t want to take on the same risks for a vacant house as they do for a property that has someone keeping an eye on the things that could go wrong.

Can’t I just tell my insurance that I am still living in the house?

You may be thinking, “Why can’t I just tell them that I’m still living there?” Well, if there is a disaster that takes out your house, your neighborhood or town will look to you to fix the damages. If someone is hurt on your property, it’s you that the injured person can decide to sue.

Whether you’re living in the home or not, it’s still your responsibility, and if the property is not properly covered, you’ll be stuck footing the bill yourself. Plus, if something happens and your carrier finds out that you weren’t occupying the building, they could very well drop your coverage or consider you as a case of insurance fraud.

How do I insure my vacant or unoccupied house?

While insurance companies aren’t eager to take on the risks of a vacant building on a general policy, it can be rather easy to get additional coverage for the building.

Some insurance companies will just let you add a low-cost endorsement to your existing home insurance policy. Some carriers require you to get an entirely separate policy (which means you can probably just change your insurance for that property from a regular insurance policy to a vacant home policy.) Either type of coverage will usually only kick in after the home has been vacant for 30 days and can cover the home up to a year.

If your current carrier doesn’t offer these options, it’s completely fine to ask your agent for recommendations. Whether you go with a specialty insurance company that your agent recommends or one that you find, do your research before getting their policy. Make sure they’re a reputable company. (The easiest way to check can be by checking their A.M. credit rating or BBB ratings.)

How much does vacant home insurance cost?

Since you’re not actually occupying the house that you’re insuring, vacant home insurance works a bit differently than a regular home insurance policy. If you’re considering an endorsement, most additions like this can cost under $100/month. Otherwise, insuring your vacant home can depend on:

  • The location of your home
  • The amount of coverage you need
  • The fire and weather-resistance of your home
  • Other risks that your specific home faces.

This is why it’s important to sit down with your agent and be straightforward with the conditions of your home and the types of risks you’re worried about. Your agent will make sure that your new coverage won’t violate your current contract with them and that you’ll have the right coverage while you’re away.

A vacant home presents certain risks.

Our insurance agents are experts at finding the right vacant home coverage for your specific home. We’ll help you find multiple quotes on the coverage and rates that work for you while you’re transitioning into your new stage of life. To get started, just give us a call or fill out our easy online form!

Source

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/insuring-your-vacant-home-1.aspx

What’s the difference between market value and replacement cost?

Your home's market value is different than its replacement cost.

Your home's market value is different than its replacement cost.

When you’re shopping for Atlanta home insurance, you may be tempted to go for the cheapest option. After all, you’re spending tons of money on your mortgage already. So, you may want to go for a home insurance option that might cost less and include market value reimbursement instead of replacement cost. However, when it comes time to file a claim, you could end up regretting your decision. We’ll tell you why.

What is market value reimbursement for home insurance?

Insuring your home for its market value means insuring your house for the amount that someone would pay for it in the current real estate market. This includes the land that your property sits on and only the finished product of the house itself. We’ll tell you more about why that’s important in a moment.

What is replacement cost for home insurance?

Your home’s replacement cost is different than its market value. If your insurance policy covers the replacement cost of your home, it’s saying that your insurance can help you cover the costs of actually rebuilding your home from scratch.

So, what’s the actual difference?

Insuring your house for its market value means that your insurance may reimburse you for the amount that someone would pay for your house if they were buying it from say, a real estate agency. Insuring your house for its replacement cost means that your insurance can help you with the cost of everything that it takes to rebuild your house – demolition, materials, inspections, certificates, construction labor, landscaping, other structures, etc.

Keep in mind that the market value and replacement cost for your home are different than the Actual Cost Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV) on your home insurance policy. These terms refer more so to the personal belongings inside of your home rather than the house’s structure. So, it’s important to have the right amount of coverage for your belongings in your home insurance policy as well.

Why should I insure my house for its replacement cost value?

Here’s the deal – on average, the cost of a modest house in Atlanta proper (not in an Atlanta suburb like Roswell, Stone Mountain, or Douglasville) is about $250,000 to $300,000. The cost to construct or reconstruct a house of a similar size is about $500,000 – and that’s not including the cost of labor for your construction team, your electricians, your plumbers, or other workers that have to make sure the house can actually stand and function for you.

Plus, depending on the company, the average time to rebuild a house is about 7 months, and the company could charge by the hour or by the job. That’s also not to mention the fact that you’ll have some additional living expenses to handle while you’re unable to use your home (i.e.: restaurant bills, lodging, travel costs, etc.)

That means that if you’re only insuring your house for its market value, you could end up spending over $250,000 extra dollars on rebuilding a home that cost you or is only worth about $250,000. (Almost double the worth of your house.) So, only insuring your house for its market value may not be the best strategy, unless you have that kind of money lying around.

Also, make sure your agent is up to date about the changes you make to your house.

Any improvements to your home, including additions, pools, finished basements, and more, could add both market and replacement value costs to your house. That’s why it’s vital to let your insurance agent know about any life events. It ensures that you have not only enough coverage for everyday life, but also for a rainy day.

It may be intimidating to insure your home for its replacement cost value, but keep in mind that your home is an investment. And if disaster strikes, you want to make sure your home is protected properly. Plus, our insurance experts can help you find the best deals on the home insurance you need. We’ll work with you to make sure you have the right coverage limits for the prices that fit your budget. To start comparing quotes on the perfect Atlanta home insurance for you, just give us a call or fill out our easy online form today.

Source:

https://www.zillow.com

What to do if you’re in a car accident in Atlanta

If you're in a car accident, don't leave the scene.

Being involved in a car accident is stressful.

Accidents – we’ve all seen too many of them (especially in Atlanta rush hour traffic). However, being in a car accident can be one of the scariest and most stressful situations you can be in. You want to make sure that you, your passengers, and the occupants of the other vehicle are all right while potentially dealing with another irate driver. Throughout all the chaos, it can be easy to panic and lose sight of what to do. So, here are the basic steps you should take after getting into a car accident.

What to do if you’re in a car accident.

1. Don’t leave the scene.

The latter half of your fight-or-flight instincts might be going into overdrive right about now. Whatever you do, fight the urge to flee. The consequences of fleeing the scene of an accident are going to be a lot more severe than just dealing with the car accident outright – especially if there’s any significant damage to the cars, injuries to the passengers of either vehicle, or fatalities.

If entirely possible, simply find a safe place like a parking lot, road shoulder, or turn lane for you and the other driver to pull into so that you don’t block traffic. If blocking traffic can’t be helped (like on the 4 or 5 lane highways that we love so much), try to move your vehicles into a position that blocks the least amount of traffic until the police or a tow truck can help you maneuver safely off the road.

2. Don’t admit fault.

Even if you’re pretty sure you’re the one that caused the whole debacle, don’t admit fault. It can almost be a reflex to try to apologize to the other driver if their car is damaged or if someone was hurt, but again, fight the urge. Try not to say anything that could be construed as you admitting fault for the car accident; your statements could incriminate you before any official fault is assigned by a lawyer, court, or insurance company.

3. Make sure everyone is okay.

Of course, you want to make sure that no one was hurt. Have everyone check themselves for any bumps, bruises, or scrapes from the incident. If someone has been knocked unconscious or has immediate neck or back pain, try not to move them until emergency responders are on the scene to tell you how to proceed.

4. Call the police.

Even if there were only minor injuries and the incident doesn’t exactly seem like an emergency, responders still generally recommend that you call 911. The operator will tell you whether or not the situation calls for emergency attention or if a non-emergency line needs to be called to simply clean up the accident and report anything. Calling 911 is also an almost surefire way to have an officer dispatched to the scene. Either way, you’ll want a police report on record, at the very least, for your insurance company.

Pro Tip: If you see an accident, but you don’t know enough of the details or you’re not one of the parties involved, you can call 311 where they’ll connect you or provide you with the number to your local non-emergency line.

5. Take pictures

This step will be important for filing your insurance claim at the very least and providing evidence for a court case at the very most. If and when it’s safe to do so, take pictures at multiple angles of the accident scene. You’ll want to get photos of your vehicle and the other person’s vehicle if they’ll allow it. Some carriers even recommend that you take video of any damages or injuries at the scene.

However you choose to record the incident, make sure that you keep the information in a safe and easily accessible space. Using a cloud system can be a big help if you’re using your phone to capture everything. You could also find somewhere to print your pictures out and store the physical copies in a secure location.

6. Exchange information

There are a few other pieces of information you’ll want to get from the other driver and vice versa:

  • First and last names
  • Best contact numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • The make, model, color, year, and VIN of both vehicles
  • The name and phone number of their insurance company
  • Auto insurance policy numbers

These are the ONLY forms of information that another driver absolutely needs from you after an accident. You can provide more information but be careful when doing so. Some people will use other forms of your information to steal your identity. So, never allow someone to take a picture of your license or your insurance card. Write everything down for the other driver and be careful about the additional information that you do share.

If you're in a car accident, take pictures of the vehicles if it's safe to do so.

7. Gather info from witnesses.

If there are any witnesses that stop and are willing to give their information, take down their name and best contact numbers in case you, your insurance company, or your lawyers need additional info or testimonies.

8. Call your insurance company.

Let your car insurance company know what happened as soon as you can. Tell them the entire truth about the incident. Lying or not telling them certain details could affect the payout of your claim, or it could cause them to outright deny your claim. Make sure you have the proper amount of collision coverage to handle the incoming costs of the accident. Find out what additional info they need that can’t be given over the phone and send it over to your agent as soon as possible.

If possible, also write down the name of the agent you spoke with and their contact number. Keep notes on all of your conversations with dates and times as a quick reference for you, but also as a method of reference for your agent, the insurance company as a whole, or your lawyer if they need it.

9. Keep a record of your medical expenses and treatments.

If you’re hurt in the accident or you recognize an injury within 2-3 weeks of your accident, make sure to document any medical treatments, visits, medications, or physical therapy costs that arise because you were hurt. It will give your insurance company a more detailed view of what they need to cover.

Also, keep track of how the injury affects your daily life: Are you still able to drive and maneuver easily with your injury? Did you have to miss work? Were you unable to cook or clean and you had to hire a service or eat take out? This type of info could allow your insurance carrier to reimburse you for some of these costs as well.

10. Get a property damage evaluation.

Have an adjuster assess the damages to your vehicle. If you disagree about how your insurance is reimbursing you or you have any concerns, feel free to get a second opinion from repair shops or a mechanic. (You may have to make sure that your second-opinion repair shops will take your insurance, though.) Be upfront with your adjuster about the concerns you have, and in a worst-case scenario, talk to your lawyer if you think you’re being unfairly charged or not covered properly.

11. Don’t talk about the accident.

Just as you don’t want to admit fault while you’re at the scene of the accident, you should also avoid talking about the accident while handling the case. The only people you absolutely need to talk to about your car accident are the police and your insurance company. If the insurance company of the other driver contacts you for a statement, direct them to the police report, your lawyer, or your insurance company.

12. Be careful about accepting early settlements.

Again, take about 2-3 weeks to see if you have any injuries that weren’t immediately apparent. Also, if your car wasn’t completely totaled, make sure to note any internal damage to your vehicle that you notice in that 2-3 week period. There may be other issues that weren’t visible at the time of the car accident, and they might not be able to be fixed if you take a settlement payment too early.

It may seem like a lot to remember, especially after going through something as traumatic as a car accident. Still, if you take these tips step by step, you’ll definitely find that you’re more equipped to remain stirred but not shaken if you are in a car accident.

However, it’s important to have the right car insurance in the first place to handle life’s little accidents. That’s why our insurance agents are experts at getting to know the exact type of car insurance you need for your specific lifestyle. And we’re masters at getting you the best rates! Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting free, customized quotes from an insurance expert.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-color-of-money-what-information-to-share-after-an-auto-accident/2012/08/14/ea635822-e645-11e1-936a-b801f1abab19_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.83fdd689dc1f

https://nextdoor.com/agency-post/ga/atlanta/atlanta-police-department/what-is-your-preference-for-reporting-non-emergencies-23095813/

Will Atlanta car insurance cover a cracked windshield?

If you have a cracked windshield, it's important to get it repaired.

If you have a cracked windshield, it's important to get it repaired.

Whether it’s a tink or a thump, it can be annoying at the very least to have a cracked windshield. “Whatever,” you may think, “it’s just a little crack. What’s the harm in leaving it there?”

Thinking about the unexpected time it will take to repair the windshield and the cost of getting your windshield repaired or replaced can be one big headache. Plus, it can be tough knowing where to start to get your glass repaired. Here are some of the biggest questions you’ll need to ask yourself if your windshield is cracked.

If there’s a small crack in my windshield, should I get it repaired?

In short, yes.

Even if it’s just a tiny chip in your windshield, that nick can quickly transform into something more. Whether another rock hits your windshield or you run over something, another impact could cause that crack to spread or shatter a part of your windshield. Even running over a speed bump, a road plate, or a pothole could make a chip or tiny crack ten times worse.

Other than being an eyesore, your windshield can be responsible for up to 60 percent of your car’s structural integrity. Additionally, the larger the crack is, the more money it’s going to take to repair in the long run. You could even end up paying to replace the entire windshield if the crack gets too big. So, it’s probably just better to nip the problem in the bud.

Does my windshield need to be repaired or replaced?

There are three main factors that will determine whether your cracked windshield will need a quick repair or a replacement. You’ll need a full replacement if:

  • The length of the entire crack is more than 6 inches long. (It depends on the company you use, but this is usually the standard that glass repairers use. Anything larger can still severely impact the structural integrity of the vehicle if it’s simply repaired.)
  • The damage is close to the edge of your windshield. (Again, cracks that are located close to or on the edge of your windshield are compromising the structural integrity of the car and are probably a lot deeper than a surface crack.)
  • The driver’s line of sight is obscured by the damage. (Even with all of the repair technology out there, the resin that is used to repair a windshield may still warp the glass slightly, which is something that you don’t want as a distraction while driving.)

Otherwise, you should be in the clear to have your windshield repaired! If you have the repair done by a reputable glass repair company, repairing your car’s glass shouldn’t be that expensive or time-consuming. Rather than replacing a piece of glass, windshield repair companies use a special resin that works with the properties of the glass, which is made to splinter into extremely fine cracks on impact.

Comprehensive car insurance can help you cover the cost of repairing the cracked windshield.

Will my car insurance cover a windshield replacement?

So, maybe you do fall into one of the categories we mentioned. Great. Now you have to pay to have an entire cracked windshield replaced and installed. Or do you? Can Atlanta car insurance cover a cracked windshield?

If you have comprehensive car insurance, more than likely, you can be covered for the cost of replacing your windshield. Unlike collision coverage that covers damages to your car due to you hitting another car, comprehensive coverage can help you handle losses not caused by a crash (i.e. fire, vandalism, burglary, falling objects, car theft, and animal strikes).

However, it’s important to take a look at your plan’s declarations page and the amount of your deductible to make sure that your insurance will actually help you cover the costs. If your deductible is more than the cost of the new windshield and you haven’t met that amount, you may still have to pay for the windshield out-of-pocket. Some states allow the deductible to be waived in the case of glass damage, but unfortunately, Georgia is not one of those states.

What company should I choose to replace my windshield?

Just like any other business, you want to make sure that you do your research. Simply going to a major retailer doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is the best fit for you. Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for a company to replace or repair your cracked windshield.

  • Do they have good reviews? – Places like Google and Angie’s List can be extremely helpful when finding feedback on a business’s service quality.
  • Are they a reputable business? – The Better Business Bureau’s website will usually have information, ratings, and any formal complaints listed for a legitimate repair business.
  • Do they have warranties for their work? – Most reputable glass repair services will warranty or guarantee their work for 90 days at least.
  • What is their employee training like?
  • Is the company certified by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA)?
  • What kind of tools do the employees use/wear when working on your windshield?
  • What kind of adhesive do they use?

These are just some of the things to keep in mind when looking for a windshield repair company, whether they’re a major retailer or not. You may also want to ask your insurance carrier if they have any preferred providers for windshield repair, even if you haven’t met your deductible.

So, there we are! Not a lot of people know that their car insurance can help cover this type of damage because it just seems like a cosmetic issue. However, if you want to keep your car sturdy, any damages to your windshield should be addressed as soon as possible through a reputable repair service.

And to find the perfect insurance coverage for anything that you and your vehicle are up against, our agents are the experts at finding the best car insurance for your particular area and situation for low rates! Call 404.352.0304 or fill out our online form to get free quotes on Atlanta car insurance and find out how much you can save.

Source:

https://info.glass.com/repair-or-replace-my-windshield/

Autonomous cars and auto insurance: What’s going to happen?

Autonomous cars could have huge effects on car insurance.

Autonomous cars could have huge effects on car insurance.

Everyone knows that one of the newest innovations with the brightest of futures is the self-driving car. Many car manufacturers have already delved into the arena of self-parking cars and cars with automatic braking systems. However, what happens when this same technology can actually take you from place to place? And how does it affect the world of car insurance? How does a company insure a car that doesn’t have a driver? How will insurance companies assess the risks of a self-driving car? We’ll look at some of the risks that autonomous vehicles present and some of the effects they could have.

How could autonomous cars affect auto insurance?

Lower car insurance rates.

Insurance premiums could drop because of autonomous cars since they eliminate human error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 94 percent of accidents are caused by the error of the driver. So, by removing a significant part of the risk, insurers could charge lower rates because the carrier (theoretically) won’t have to pay various, expensive claims for accidents.

Additionally, since autonomous vehicles decrease the number of accidents and traffic on the roads, it’s predicted that more people will opt out of owning a private vehicle and opt for autonomous ride-sharing services (especially in cities) for the sake of convenience.

Think about it: if you’re not driving a car, and your neighbor isn’t driving a car, and you’re both going to the same place, the odds that both of you would pay thousands of dollars for something you’re simply riding in is probably slim. This means that there are (presumably) fewer cars on the road, which of course, means less risk as well.

Passing the buck: Shifts in liability.

Even though autonomous cars take human error out of the equation, there are still opportunities for the vehicle to wreck. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that brakes fail, technology shorts, and systems fall short. But if no person is driving the vehicle, who’s to blame for the accident? More importantly, who helps pay for the car and the injury to the other car’s passengers?

Autonomous cars could lower the frequency of accidents on the roads.

With the rise of programs like Uber and Lyft and the lessened likelihood of a person actually owning the car, the answer would the car manufacturer or the business that owns the car. But since the entity “at fault” for the accident is a company, the insurance coverage would look a little different. According to Insurance Journal, instead of the liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance that normal drivers would insure their cars with, self-driving vehicles would need:

Product Liability Insurance

The fact stands that technology is not yet foolproof. So, what happens when the hardware you’re depending on for travel short circuits or shuts down unexpectedly or its memory gets overwhelmed?

They’re all things that will have to be handled by product liability for the car itself instead of liability for an individual driver. It can help cover the costs that may arise from bodily injury, negligence, and property damaged due to a product the vehicle product, not a specific operator.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Unfortunately, one of the darker sides to autonomous vehicles is that outside parties can still find their way into the software, redirecting the car for nefarious purposes or causing a crash. That’s right – we’re talking about hackers. Though many car manufacturers take great care in creating protection for autonomous car software, they’ll still need cyber liability to help cover damages if a vehicle has fallen victim to a hacker.

Of course, businesses would still benefit from BOPs, commercial liability, and other types of insurance that can protect them as an entity. Still, these are the two main types of coverage that insurance companies could see a spike in if and when self-driving cars are more common.

More Accurate Claims.

When accidents happen in an instant, the amount and severity of a claim really depend on witnesses and the drivers involved. Even authority figures that report to the scene can only deduce what happened from the layout presented to them. So, some claims can be escalated or fault can be wrongly assigned. With autonomous cars, there are tons of cameras and sensors that can give information to responders and insurance companies to properly assign fault and determine if a driver was at fault or which vehicle malfunctioned.

This results in less faulty claims and can streamline the claims system of insurance companies so that they can quickly issue payouts if an accident does still happen.

Opportunities in Government.

Autonomous vehicles won’t just expand an insurer’s opportunity to get in on the ride-sharing space. They may also have the opportunity to work with the government on infrastructure. In order to drive safely, autonomous technology must be able to sense and recognize buildings, other cars, road systems, traffic lights, and a number of other factors that long-time drivers take into account in a matter of seconds.

So, the autonomous cars won’t be the only ones that will need sensors. Certain buildings, crosswalks, and other types of infrastructure will need ways to communicate with the car. These sensors, along with the communication devices on other cars will need to be insured for software bugs, errors in communication, and wear of the system over time.

Preparing for Autonomous Cars

Overall, self-driving cars don’t seem to be that big of a threat to the insurance industry as a whole. If anything, the rise of these autonomous vehicles may help carriers. Less human error means significantly lessened risks and fewer payouts from claims. Insuring businesses and corporations instead of individuals means more revenue than personal auto insurance plans currently generate. Plus, according to the Harvard Business Review, the new lines of insurance that would grow from this need could generate more than $81 billion by 2026.

However, there are some adjustments that have to be made to truly profit from this shift. Actuaries (the people who determine exactly how much risk it would be to cover an entity) will have to adjust their models for assessing the risk of the software behind self-driving cars. Carriers will need to collaborate more heavily with governments, safety organizations, communication businesses, and software companies to effectively manage the risks of self-driving vehicles.

Carriers should also start to consider new business models to deal with the increase in business insurance to cover these cars. Plus, insurance companies that focus more on personal lines will need to consider more flexible business models for the potential drop in necessary personal auto insurance.

If insurers consider the benefits of adapting to the business of autonomous cars instead of fighting against it, there could be mutual benefits for everyone involved – including current drivers and future passengers.

Insurers will have to adapt to the changes autonomous cars could bring.

But in the meantime, if you’re looking for Atlanta car insurance we can help. Our team can help you find great coverage at a great rate – we’d like to help you save money on car insurance. You can get in touch with us by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.

Sources:

https://hbr.org/2017/12/driverless-cars-will-change-auto-insurance-heres-how-insurers-can-adapt

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/09/24/heres-how-self-driving-cars-could-clear-up-traffic-jams/?utm_term=.59a9440ba925

https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-features/2018/12/03/510344.htm

7 tips for driving at night and your winter commute in Atlanta

Take care when you're night driving or when you're on the way home from work.

Take care when you're night driving or when you're on the way home from work.

You may have noticed that you’re driving a bit more in the dark for your morning and afternoon commutes. Fall Daylight Savings Time can bring a little extra time to sleep in, but it can also help the night (and the sun) sneak up on you during your morning and afternoon drives.  Here are 7 tips to keep in mind on your winter commute, whether you’re driving off into the sunset or into the night.

Tips for driving at night and commuting in winter.

1. Keep some sunglasses handy.

Your parents may have told you not to look into the sun. However, with 7 a.m. sunrises and sunsets at 5:30 p.m., that can prove rather difficult. Your sun visors can only cover so much windshield real estate. So, if your commute takes you east in the morning and to west in the afternoon, it’ll be a pretty good idea to keep some sunglasses in your overhead or glove compartment.

Polarized sunglasses will be best since they cut down the amount of glare dispersed around your windshield. However, anything that can provide eye protection from the sun’s rays is going to be better than nothing.

2. When using your headlights – Monkey See, Monkey Do.

It’s a good rule of thumb when turning on your headlights to observe your surroundings. Do a lot of other drivers have their headlights on? If so, it’s probably a good idea to turn yours on too. Your eyes might have an easier time adjusting to darkening road conditions, but it’s important to remember that your lights are also to let other drivers see you. Plus, with newer cars having automatic headlights, the lights of other cars can be a great tell-tale signal that it’s the recommended time of day to have them on.

3. Don’t use your brights!

Your high beams may help you see a lot farther than your normal lights, but they’re blinding to a lot of the drivers around you. High-beam lights, or “brights,” are really only meant to be used when driving in rural areas and on open highways that are NOT in metro areas. In fact, the Department of Driver Services states that you should not use bright headlights when:

  • You’re within 500 ft. of another vehicle.
  • You’re driving on a lighted road.
  • You’re driving in rain, fog, snow, or smoke.
  • Your vision is reduced to less than 200 ft.

If you’re having trouble seeing the road ahead, it’s okay to wait in your car before pulling out of your parking space to let your eyes adjust. If you still have trouble seeing at night, there are certain types of glasses specifically made for night driving. You may be able to find them at your local sunglass store, on Amazon, or through your eye doctor.

4. Remember your signal lights.

When you’re in low visibility (or driving at night), it can be hard to see how another driver is maneuvering. So, make sure that your blinkers are working properly and that you use them to signal when you change lanes or when you’re making a turn. Give yourself enough time for the cars around you to make room for your car, then move your car once you have adequate space to make your lane change or turn. Also, if you see another driver with their signal on, make sure to give them enough time and room to turn or merge by gradually slowing down to a safe speed that allows them to maneuver their vehicle.

5. Follow the leader, but not too closely!

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. It’s not just a fun factoid from your high school science class, it’s also a little detail that can cause a car crash if you’re following another car too closely. When you’re traveling at high speeds, your car wants to keep moving forward, regardless of if you’re applying the brakes (which is why you may fall forward a bit when you stop at a stop light.)

Think about it – there’s a lot that goes into stopping a car, especially when you’re behind another driver. You have to allow time to register the other driver’s stop, move your foot from the gas to the brake, apply enough pressure to stop the car, and then wait for the car to actually stop. During the night or lower-lit conditions, your perception and visibility are lessened, which makes this process take even longer. Even if this interaction only takes a few seconds, not allowing enough space for all of this time to pass will usually slam you straight in the middle of an accident. (And remember, your driving record is one of the factors that affect your Atlanta insurance rates.)

So, what’s the easy fix? Give yourself a little space! You’ll have plenty of distance to maneuver safely in traffic, and the driver in front of you may actually go faster because they’re not blinded by your headlights in their rearview mirrors.

6. Keep Your Windows Squeaky Clean!

The same way that the tiny bulbs in your headlights and taillights can light up your way home is the same way that the lights of other vehicles can completely hinder your driving. Dirty, smudgy windows can help light disperse across your windshield, making it too bright to see the road ahead. Smudges can also warp the vision through your windshield, and dirt can create new blind spots altogether.

It may be tempting to skip the car wash since they’re less pollen and dust in the air, but giving your windshield a wipe-down in the winter can help a lot when you’re dealing with lower visibility (like when you’re night driving.)

7. Don’t fight the weather

With all of the snow forecasts turning into rain, it can be difficult to tell what the weather conditions will be on your drive home. However, whether you’re caught driving in the rain, sleet, ice, or snow, it’s important not to fight the weather (especially if night driving is involved.) If you don’t feel safe getting or staying on the road, trust your gut! It’s better to be a little late to your destination than to put yourself or others in danger if you have trouble seeing, maneuvering, or driving in stormy weather. Pull over to the side of the road, put your hazard lights on, and wait out the storm. (And don’t forget to get your car ready for winter before the weather gets really cold!)

Remember, it’s important to keep yourself safe behind the wheel of the car by being aware of other drivers. The thought of getting home and finally relaxing after a long day can put you in a bit of a hurry. However, if you’re driving at night, taking extra caution and being even more aware of your surroundings can be a great help in reducing accidents and getting home safely.

In a worst-case scenario, though, it’s important to have the right Atlanta car insurance for your day and night driving needs. And we can help you get great rates! Call our agents today to find out how you can save money on car insurance, or just fill out our online form to start getting affordable rates on car insurance in Atlanta.

Source:

http://www.eregulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/18GADM-LR.pdf

Online shopping tips to protect yourself during the holiday season

Prevent identity theft while you're online shopping.

Prevent identity theft while you're online shopping. From cyber-attacks to phishing scams to scammers, there are tons of ways that your information could be compromised during the holiday season. Just as holiday shopping has evolved a lot over the years, so have thieves evolved into hackers. As technologically savvy as you are when shopping for online deals, scammers have become even savvier on ways to steal your personal data. So, ’tis the season to start protecting yourself from cyber-attacks! Here are 9 tips on how you can protect your information and prevent identity theft while you’re online shopping for that special someone.

How to protect your identity while shopping online.

1. Fuel Your Firewall

This is something you should keep an eye on year-round, but it’s especially important to make sure you have a strong computer security system. One of the first things that hackers look for when stealing information are holes or weak points in your firewalls so that they can use malware to sneak a peek into all of those card numbers you’re putting into websites.

There are 4 ways that hackers are usually able to get personal information:

  • Viruses – programs that can negatively change or remove computer software.
  • Trojans – programs that can create backdoors in your security systems by disguising itself as or inside of a legitimate software. These programs are some of the ones that watch your online activity.
  • Spyware – programs that hide in the background of your computer or browser and, well, spy on you. It can record your online activity, keystrokes, passwords, chats, card numbers, and even use your webcam and microphone.
  • Keyloggers – a less invasive type of spyware, but still a program that can record exactly what you type and exactly where you type it.

So, how do you protect yourself? Make sure your firewall and computer operating systems are up to date before doing any online shopping. If your computer systems are current, they’ll more than likely be able to catch, alert you to, and delete any potential threats from websites, pop-ups, or downloads.

2. Keep Track of When & Where You’re Using Your Card

When you’re buying for a lot of friends and family, it can be easy to use different cards for different purchases so that all of your spending is spread out evenly. Just make sure that when you’re using different payment methods, keep a mental or physical tab of which websites you’re using your card on and even which gift you purchased on that card. If your data is compromised, keeping track of that info can make pinpointing the perp a whole lot easier.

3. Use a Secure URL

Most internet browsers and websites have made it a lot easier for users and consumers to keep their websites secure. Secure websites are one of the ways that webmasters are keeping the web safe. See that little “s” at the end of the HTTP in your website’s URL? That extra letter, combined with the padlock symbol before it, means that the website you’re on is located on a secure connection.

There’s a lot of tech-speak and processes involved with explaining how websites make their connections secure. Basically, a secure connection means that all the information you share with that website is encrypted. Encryption is kind of like a secret code that only the owner of that website has the tools to crack.

4. Know how your bank handles fraud cases.

Do a bit of research on your bank and how they handle suspicious charges. Do they alert you? When do they alert you? How do they alert you? Do they have you set up travel notices? If you are the victim of fraud or stolen identities, is there a hotline to call? How responsive is your bank? How do they handle the stolen funds? How will they handle your account and cards connected to that account? What is their customer service like? Are they able to stop the charge or get your money back? How are they protecting you now and in the future?

Keep track of which payment method you're using on which site while online shopping.

These are some of the vital questions you should know about your bank’s fraud process. You should also make a mental note of the steps you’ll need to take in your bank’s fraud process to make your case as smooth as possible.

5. Use More Credit and Less Debit

It can be scary to ring up a big bill on your credit card, but it’s a lot easier to argue and resolve a balance on a credit card than to restore lost money in a bank account. Plus, if you do already have the money to buy your gifts with your debit card, you can just pay off the credit card bill that you run up immediately after you’re done shopping.

6. Do Your Research!

If you don’t know or haven’t purchased from a retailer or their site before, check out their reputation. You can do a quick Google search for the retailer’s name + scam, look for online reviews, or search the shop in the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website.

7. Don’t use Public Wi-Fi.

Think about it – password protecting your internet connection at least puts an extra obstacle in front of a hacker. Without that protection, your Wi-Fi connection can be an open gate for a hacker to put all kinds of malware into your computer. It can also be a lot easier for them to openly see what sites you’re using, what you’re doing on those sites, and any personal information you input or send through those sites.

8. Don’t Skip the Privacy Policy.

Look, we get it. Privacy policies, terms and conditions, terms of use, and all of the other mumbo-jumbo that comes along with using a website can be a pain to read. So, most of us just don’t bother. However, knowing how a website, even if it’s the site of a well-known retailer, uses and protects your information can help you fill in any gaps that their policies let slip through. So, at the very least, give it a quick skim before you click “Accept” when you’re online shopping.

9. Trust Your Gut.

Finding an online shopping website can be very similar to finding the perfect gift. If you’re not sure about it, don’t buy (from) it. If a link, ad, or website looks sketchy, it probably is. If the price on a perfect gift is too good to be true, it probably is. If you feel like a website is asking for more than the required amount of information for a purchase (like your full SSN), it’s fine to go elsewhere. The internet is filled with tons of retail websites. So, more than likely, you’ll be able to find the same thing from a different, reputable seller.

If you’re looking for Atlanta home insurance quotes, we can help. Our agents can help you get quotes for your insurance so you can get the coverage you need to protect yourself from risk – and save money on home insurance. You can give us a call or fill out our online quote form.

Sources:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/internet-security-101-six-ways-hackers-can-attack-you-and-how-to-stay-safe/articleshow/61342742.cms

https://www.instantssl.com/ssl-certificate-products/https.html

Atlanta home insurance terms to know

Check out these helpful home insurance terms.

Check out these helpful home insurance terms.

Buying a new home can be a scary prospect. Sure, it’s great to finally have a place to call your own, but you want to make sure that everything is protected. In fact, most mortgage lenders will want you to have proof of home insurance before you buy the house. So, how do you know what types of coverage you need? How do you know you’re not being gypped? What do all of those words floating around the home insurance space mean? Here’s are 7 basic home insurance terms to help get you started.

What is a Premium?

Of all the home insurance terms in our list, this one may be the one you’re most concerned with. Your home insurance premium is the amount you have to pay monthly just to have insurance coverage. Some premiums may seem a bit expensive, but your monthly payment amount usually depends on the amount of your deductible as well (more on that in a minute). It also depends on a few factors about your home, such as:

  • Location
  • The amount it will take to replace your home (again, more on this later)
  • Your claims history
  • Your credit score
  • The age of your home
  • How close you are to a fire department (nope – we’re not kidding.)
  • Your roof (still not kidding)
  • If you have a pool or a trampoline

What is a Deductible?

The deductible for your homeowners’ policy is the amount that you’ll have to pay out of your pocket before your carrier will start covering your claim.

But wait, why am I paying for insurance if I still have to pay for the damages to my house?

Say a tree falls onto your roof, and the combined cost to fix your roof and remove the tree is $8,000, BUT your deductible is only $1,500. Yes, you would have to pay the full $1,500 deductible for the first part of the repairs, but you won’t have to pay for the other $6,500 (which is pretty nice!).

When talking about how your deductible relates to your premium – it’s a bit of a balancing act. Usually, if you have a high premium, you’ll have a lower deductible; and if you have a high deductible, you’ll usually have a lower premium.

This is because your insurance company assumes that you’re willing to take on smaller issues yourself and leave the bigger stuff to them, instead of filing a claim for each little thing. For example, if you have a $1,600 claim and your deductible is $1,500, you’re more than likely just going to foot the cost of the bill instead of processing it through your insurance.

What is My Declarations Page?

I do declare! – that your declarations page is the general summary of what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers. It tells you the who, what, when, and why something is covered, from structures on your property to the belongings inside. However, your declarations page only offers a general idea of what your insurance covers. If you want to take a deep dive into your entire policy, you’ll have to look at your Insuring Agreement (which is next on our list of home insurance terms.)

It's important to know a few home insurance terms when you're looking for insurance.

What is an Insuring Agreement?

The insuring agreement of a homeowner’s policy is the more detailed list of the ways your coverage can handle losses. For instance, your declarations page may tell you that your policy can help cover storm damages, but your insuring agreement may outline certain types of storms that are covered. In this example, the types of storms listed would be considered a “peril.”

What is a Home Insurance Peril?

A peril in insurance terms is simply anything that can cause damage to your home. Perils will usually be natural disasters, but they can be anything that is making you file a home insurance claim. It’s important to take the definition of “peril” seriously, though. Filing a bunch of home insurance claims for small damages to your home, like a single broken pipe that’s didn’t cause any larger damages, can raise your rates when you renew.

There are two main types of perils plans that can be a part of your homeowners’ policy: Named Perils and Open Perils. Named perils policies can help you repair or replace items and fixtures in your house, but only for the perils specifically listed in your home insurance policy. Usually, named perils policies can help you cover damages due to:

  • Fire
  • Windstorms
  • Lightning
  • Rain damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Vehicles & Aircrafts

However, named perils policies usually don’t list and won’t cover things like flood and earthquake damage. For those types of damages, you could either add an endorsement to your policy, or you could opt for an open perils policy.

Open perils policies can help you cover the repair or replacement costs of your belongings in any perilous event, as long as it doesn’t explicitly exclude that event. For example, say your home is a part of the Marvel universe and the Hulk happened to smash through your walls. If you have an open perils policy, your insurance plan can help you pay to repair your home if superhero damage isn’t specifically listed as something that your carrier won’t cover.

What is ACV or RCV?

When replacing the items in your home, your policy will either cover it for ACV or RCV.

ACV stands for Actual Cash Value, which means that your insurance can help reimburse you for the value of the items at the time of the loss – meaning that you would get the depreciated value of the items. For example, say you bought an oven 5 years ago for $900, and it was damaged by a covered peril. An ACV plan could only reimburse you for $500 because the value of the oven has depreciated since you’ve been using it.

RCV stands for Replacement Cost Value, which means that your insurance could reimburse you for the cost of replacing the items you lost with similar models at today’s prices. So, you would be able to replace that oven you lost with a similar model without having to worry about how much your original oven depreciated in value.

What is an insurance endorsement/rider?

In the insurance world, an endorsement or rider is just a fancy name for a plan add-on. They’re pretty handy if you want to increase your coverage or add something on to your insurance policy, but you don’t actually want to increase the entirety of your coverage.

However, endorsements can also limit your policy. For example, you can add an endorsement to your plan to cover an engagement ring, but the insurance company can add an endorsement that says they won’t cover the ring if it’s older than 60 years old.

What is a limit of coverage for my homeowners’ insurance policy?

This is a very important one on our list of home insurance terms. Like with all things, there are limits and boundaries to your homeowners’ insurance. The limit of coverage for your home insurance plan is the maximum amount of funds that your insurance company can provide for you during a policy period (or the amount of time that your policy is effective).

Some insurance policies may have overall coverage limits while others may have certain coverage limits for certain parts of the plan. Coverage limits will depend on your home, but most home insurance policies have limits of thousands and/or millions of dollars. Limits of coverage also vary from carrier to carrier and from plan to plan, so it’s important to take a look at your declarations page if you want to know an exact dollar amount.

These are just some of the basic home insurance terms you may hear when talking about insurance with your agent. There are tons of other insurance names and phrases to consider, and it can be daunting to try to navigate them all on your own.

That’s why our insurance experts are here to make things easy. They’re the best at breaking down any other home insurance terms you want to know to best protect your house. They’re also masters at breaking down the risks that you face, finding multiple quotes for the policies you need, explaining clearly why these plans fit you, and saving you money through it all!

Call us today or fill out our online form to start speaking with an expert about the easy, affordable, customized homeowners’ insurance you deserve.

Sources

https://www.naic.org/consumer_glossary.htm#P

6 Group Health Insurance Terms You Need to Know

We'll explain 6 group health insurance terms.

We'll explain 6 group health insurance terms.

If you’re worried about choosing a group health insurance plan, you’re not the only one. Finding the right health insurance plan for your employees can be especially tricky, and all of the terms involved in healthcare don’t make the choice any easier. Figuring out health insurance lingo like premiums, coinsurance, copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums can seem like learning a new language. In many ways it is, but we’ve broken down some of the basic terms to give you a starting point. So, let’s start your group health insurance 101.

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