What is gap insurance and do I need it for my car?

If you're buying a new car, you might want to consider gap insurance.

If you're buying a new car, you might want to consider gap insurance.Buying a car is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ve ever made or will make. It’s a pretty big deal. Beyond choosing which model and make you like – not to mention which paint color – you also have to think about which insurance coverages to choose for your new ride. One insurance coverage that might have you scratching your head is gap insurance. What is gap insurance? And, well, do you really need it? We’ll explain what you need to know about gap insurance.

What is gap insurance?

So, plenty of people think that if they’re in an accident, their car will be replaced for either the amount they paid for it or the amount they owe on the lease. But that’s not quite the case. The vehicle will be likely be replaced for what it was worth at the time of the accident or total loss.

And a new car’s value depreciates quickly (depending on the vehicle), and the value drops by quite a lot the second you drive off the lot. That means that if you’re in an accident a short time after getting the vehicle and the car is totaled, you might find yourself in the rather awkward situation of owing more money on the loan than the car was worth at the time of the accident.

That’s where gap insurance comes in. (It’s “real” name is guaranteed asset protection, but it so happens that the acronym is quite apt.) It’s an optional auto insurance coverage that can protect you if you owe more on the vehicle than the vehicle is worth at the time it was totaled. It will help you cover the difference between what the car is worth and what you owe on your loan. It covers the gap – get it?

Gap insurance can protect you financially.

Pro tip: If you’re taking out a loan on a car, your lender might require you to have collision and comprehensive insurance.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you take out a $30,000 loan to buy a car (we’re assuming the vehicle costs $30,000.) After a year, the car is worth $24,000. But you still owe $27,000 on the loan.

So, these are the circumstances when you accidentally total your new ride.

You’ll come up $3,000 short when it comes to the balance on your loan, but gap insurance could step in and cover that amount. And then that $3,000 won’t be coming out of your own pocket.

Do I need gap insurance?

There are a few situations in which you might want to think about getting gap insurance to protect yourself against being “upside-down” (meaning you owe more on your loan than the vehicle is worth.)

If any of the following apply to you, you might want to give gap insurance some thought:

  • You took a zero percent down payment option.
  • You put a small amount down on the vehicle.
  • Your loan will last beyond three years.

In any of these scenarios, you could find yourself owing more on your loan than your vehicle is actually worth if it’s totaled.

What if I’m buying a used vehicle?

If you’ve decided to buy a used vehicle, you will most likely not be able to get gap insurance. It’s typically for new vehicles. However, you can cover your risk by making a sufficient down payment on the car and financing the vehicle for the shortest timeframe possible.

Do I need gap insurance if I leased my vehicle?

If you’re planning on leasing a vehicle, gap insurance is often considered crucial because there is no trade-in and little cash to put down on the vehicle to lease it. You could end up owing the difference between what you’ve paid and what you still owe on the balance of the lease if the car is totaled, just like if you bought a new vehicle.

So, it’s definitely something to think about.

How much does gap insurance cost?

Gap insurance is usually available for a nominal fee. It’s not super expensive considering the added protection it gives you for your new vehicle.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to ask your agent about car insurance discounts to save money on your auto insurance premium.

So, that’s the deal about gap insurance. It’s designed to protect you when you buy a new car and could potentially owe more on your loan than your vehicle is worth. If you’re buying or leasing a car, you might want to give some thought to adding gap insurance to your car insurance plan.

And if you’re buying a new car, we can help you get the insurance you need. We know that car insurance can get overwhelming, which is why our goal is to make car insurance as easy as possible. We can help you get quotes for your car insurance, and all you have to do to get started is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.

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.

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.




5 reasons auto insurance premiums are rising

Auto insurance premiums have been rising lately.

Auto insurance premiums have been rising lately.

Over the past few years, the auto insurance market has been hardening. Policyholders have noticed this in the form of increased car insurance premiums (or expensive auto insurance premiums.) From about 2011 to 2016, insurers were competing against each other, and this competition led to a soft market in which car insurance prices were lower. However, carriers are now either leaving the market or raising their rates to make a profit and stay in business. This can be attributed to several different factors, which all contribute to the trend of rising auto insurance premiums.

5 factors that have caused car insurance prices to rise.

More people are driving…and they’re driving more.

There are a lot more drivers on the road due to low gas prices and strong employment rates, and those drivers are putting a lot of miles on their cars. However, that also means there are more accidents (more cars on the road means more traffic and more crashes.) This means that the average driver has a higher chance of being in a wreck when they drive. (There are also more accidents due to an increase in unsafe driving habits on the roads, such as distracted driving.)

And those claims have to be paid for – by insurance. And insurers can’t necessarily sustain those kinds of losses and payouts, so they’ve had to pass off some of the expense to policyholders in the form of higher premiums.

Accidents are more severe.

Accidents have also become more severe, meaning that the average cost of a claim has gone up. This increase in accident severity has happened because the cost of medical care is going up. Also, the costs of auto repair have been going up, as has the cost of auto parts. The technologies in newer vehicles are expensive, and on the repair end, it requires special equipment and training for the professionals who are working on the vehicles. All of these things contribute to larger claims and a bigger “fallout” from accidents. Simply put, accidents are costing more. And that means insurers are charging higher insurance rates because of the increased risk.

Lots of motorists are uninsured.

Many motorists do not carry enough insurance – or any insurance at all. And when they cause an accident, it’s the insured driver’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage that will pay out for the damage. But these claims have been going up by quite a bit recently too, so that means that premiums have also been increasing. Insured drivers are paying more to offset the trend of increased uninsured motorist claims.

Autonomous vehicles.

Self-driving cars are a trend that is soon to be upon us, and that means that insurers are going to have to learn how to cope with the changes autonomous vehicles will bring to the car insurance industry. The prediction is that self-driving cars will lower accident frequency and make the roads safer, leading to fewer claims (and thus lower auto insurance premiums.) It’s also predicted that the car insurance market will shrink. Insurers are seeing these trends and predictions and they’re trying to get ready for the inevitable change to come, so they are gradually raising rates to compensate for the future when rates could drop by a lot and the personal car insurance market will decrease.

Insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud is yet another factor that has contributed to rising auto insurance premiums. Whether it’s staged accidents or faking an injury to pin the blame on a third party (and collect the insurance money), insurance fraud is always a concern within the industry. It costs the country billions every year. And once again, this cost is transferred to the policyholders.

How policyholders can manage their rates.

Even though these trends are happening and they’re causing car insurance premiums to go up, there are a few things that policyholders can do to keep their rates down and offset the price increase. They can:

  • Raise their deductible if they are financially comfortable doing so.
  • Maintain a good driving record by driving safely. (Tickets and accidents can cause rates to go up.)
  • Choose a safe vehicle to drive.
  • Consider bundling their home and auto insurance.
  • Explore the car insurance discount options available to them.
  • Work on improving their credit score.
  • Get multiple quotes for car insurance.

Even though car insurance rates have been rising, we can help you get the coverage you need to protect yourself financially at a great rate. Our agents can help you get multiple quotes so you have options to choose from, and we’ll make the insurance process as easy as possible. You can get in touch with us by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.

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.



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.





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.



10 tips to prepare your car for another Atlanta winter

It's important to get your car ready for the winter weather.

It's important to get your car ready for the winter weather.

Okay, it’s true that Atlanta isn’t the coldest or most severe climate in the country as far as winters go. However, our winters can still get pretty cold. We even occasionally see snow! (Or, well, flurries.) Anyways, the point is that when a “winter weather event” swoops in, it can happen with little warning. That’s why it’s important to take steps now to get your vehicle ready for the winter. Check out these ten steps to get your car all set for the cold.

Preparing your car for the winter

1. Take your car to the mechanic.

Yes, going to the mechanic might not be your favorite thing to do. But they’re the pros, and they can check the following things:

  • The battery
  • The antifreeze
  • The thermostat
  • The brakes (Kind of important, right?)
  • The heating system (So you don’t turn into a popsicle while you’re on the road)
  • The defroster (Since having a clear windshield is helpful for driving)

So, get a trustworthy, reputable mechanic to give your car a quick check-up. The cold weather can do weird things to a vehicle, and you can hit the road with more confidence knowing your car is (hopefully) ready to take it.

2. Make sure your tires have the proper tread depth.

If your tires look like they’ve seen better days, it might be time for new ones. Your tire tread depth needs to be at a safe level so that the tire can grip the road properly (which is especially important in winter, when it rains a lot.) Bald tires plus winter does not equal a safe ride.

3. Check your tire pressure.

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your tire pressure. It can actually cause the pressure to drop, meaning that you might need to add a little bit of air. Make sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure and pay attention to your tire pressure light.

4. Check the car’s lights.

Do a check of your vehicle’s lights. That means headlights, taillights, brake lights, hazard lights…Basically, just check all the lights and make sure they work and no bulbs are out. All of your lights need to be fully functional so that other drivers can see you. You’ve probably noticed that Daylight Saving Time and winter means it’s getting darker a lot earlier these days. You’ll probably need your headlights more in the winter, and you’ll need other drivers to be able to see you.

5. Think about your windshield wiper fluid and wiper blades.

You can also consider swapping your windshield wiper fluid for on that’s specially designed for winter and its freezing temperatures. (Normal wiper fluid can actually freeze when the temperature takes a nosedive.)

6. Consider your wiper blades.

Yes, it might not snow too often in Atlanta, but we do get frost and ice. You might want to think about switching your wiper blades for winter ones that are made to combat snow and ice. Being stuck with snow, frost, or ice on your windshield can make for a frazzled morning if you’re trying to defrost your car and you’re running late for work.

7. Check your windshield washing system.

It’s really not fun to drive with a dirty, grimy windshield that you can’t see through very well, especially when the sun hits it just right and plays tricks on your visibility and eyes. Make sure your windshield washing system is ready to go so that you can clear off your windshield if needed.

8. Pack an emergency kit for your car.

Just in case you get stuck somewhere or your car breaks down, it’s a good idea to have an “emergency kit” packed and loaded in the truck. Include items like:

  • Blankets
  • Extra clothes and sweaters
  • Nonperishable snacks
  • Water
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • A snow/ice scraper (Yes, this is a useful item to have even in Atlanta.)

9. And don’t forget to clean the car off before you drive.

If there ever is snow or ice and it coats your car in white powder, make sure to take the time to brush it off and clean off the car. Clear the windshield, the hood, the roof, your headlights, and your taillights. It might be cold and it might take a little while, but it’s safer to plan to spend those few extra minutes than to have your visibility obstructed.

10. Check your auto insurance.

Okay, okay, we don’t want to sound pessimistic…but if you do have a little snafu with the car, it’s important to know what your Atlanta car insurance will cover. Check your limits of car insurance and your coverages so you know how your insurance will protect you. What are your limits of liability insurance? Do you have collision and comprehensive coverage? What’s your deductible? Are you prepared for what the winter could bring?

Another winter is upon us, which means that it’s time to make sure that your car is ready for the cold weather and the possibility of snow. Yes, even in the South it’s important to make sure your car is winter-ready and safe for the entire season.

Looking for car insurance quotes? We can help. Our agents are here to help you get multiple quotes for Atlanta car insurance so you can look at different coverage options and prices. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.



Tips for car insurance when you get married

You can combine car insurance when you get married.

You can combine car insurance when you get married.

So, you’re getting married! That’s great – congratulations! There’s so much to look forward to and so much happiness in your future. In getting swept away in all of the wedding plans, you’ve been off in your own little world. As you should be! But then something brought you back down to earth with a thud – Atlanta car insurance. You both have vehicles and you both have insurance. But when you get married, what’s the best battle plan? What should you do? We’ll explain what the scoop is with car insurance for newlyweds.

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Atlanta insurance tips for Halloween ghosts and ghouls

Home insurance protects your house - even on Halloween!

Home insurance protects your house - even on Halloween!It’s that time of year again where ghosts and ghouls roam the night. That’s right – Halloween can bring along some unsavory characters and some weird happenstances. But did you know about the kinds of Atlanta insurance coverage that can help you deal with even the most supernatural of situations – and more everyday concerns? Here are some tips on how to handle a few other-worldly worries.

Poltergeists (Or Vandals)

Perhaps the most well-known creature to cause spooky disturbances, a poltergeist can cause some major mayhem and destruction. Some tell-tale signs of an angry spirit in your home can be doors mysteriously opening and slamming shut, hot wind in a normally cool room, and oddly aggressive bumps in the night. Their activities can get especially out of hand on All Hallows Eve, though. During this time of year, you may also find new wall marks and a few fragile items thrown across the room and shattered.

Luckily, the personal property portion of your Atlanta home insurance, renters insurance, or condo insurance can help you replace any broken or damaged items due to vandalism. If you’re covered for the Replacement Cost Value (RCV) of your items, your policy will give you the full amount it will take to replace any valuables your angry spirit is not too happy with.

On the other hand, if your policy only specifies coverage for the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your items, your insurance will only cover the depreciated cost of your belongings. So, make sure you review your declarations page for the type of personal property coverage you have. You should also make a home inventory of the items you want to cover. Otherwise, you could end up paying out of pocket for a new set of fine china.


Even though there will only be a half moon this Halloween, there are tons of different types of werewolves that could show up at the end of the month. (And tons of havoc your pet pooch could cause throughout the year.) Here’s how to handle their specific brand of destruction.

They could jump on your car roof (Or a rogue tree branch could fall).

Even though there’s no full moon, when has a canine ever needed an excuse to howl? Werewolves are fast, furious, and most of all, heavy, whenever they transform. If one decides to leap onto your car’s roof, it’s going to leave a dent (and maybe some broken windows). So, you’ll need to look at your Atlanta car insurance policy to see if you have comprehensive coverage should a Lycan (or a falling tree) crumple your vehicle like a tin can.

The werewolf (or your dog) could bite someone on your property

When the creature comes to, they probably won’t remember nibbling on someone’s foot or gnawing on someone’s arm. Plus, they’ll probably be a little too strapped for cash from buying new clothes after they’ve ripped out of theirs so much. So, for them, covering an injured person’s medical bills is completely out.

Even if it’s not your werewolf, you could be found liable for their actions if they cause harm on your property. Luckily, your homeowners insurance will usually include personal liability, which can help you cover the victim’s medical costs and your legal fees should they decide to sue you. (This type of coverage can also help cover dog bites if your Halloween hound gets a little too excited around kids.)

Our agents know exactly how hectic the holiday season can be, especially one that starts off with a few Halloween spooks. We also know that finding the right insurance for your home or vehicle can be more than a little terrifying. That’s why we’re here to help. Call us at 770.497.1200 to talk to an insurance expert who can help protect your household – haunted or not.


And of course, we have the potential Halloween zombie infestation. Logistically, if the undead were running around (or limping, depending on what type of zombies we’re talking about), your local police department, SWAT team, or militia would neutralize the situation before it turned into a national epidemic. However, there would be a few casualties to the zombie virus before any of the authorities are called into action.

Car Insurance for a Zombie Apocalypse (or if I hit an animal like a deer)

While you’re putting the pedal to the metal to get you and your loved ones out of town, you may have to plow through a few of the undead to safety. If the impact dents your front bumper, you’ll fortunately be covered by the collision portion of your car insurance. (Or, you know, if you hit a car or a fence or telephone pole to escape the zombies, collision coverage could help with repairs or replacement too.)

However, this does depend on how your insurance carrier categorizes zombies. If your insurance classifies the creature as a corpse, collision insurance will cover damage caused to your car by hitting an object. If your insurance company defines the zombie as an animal, though, you’ll need to have comprehensive insurance to cover damage that’s out of your control. (Comprehensive coverage would also cover you if your car caught fire or if someone stole it to escape said zombie apocalypse.)

Will My Homeowners Insurance Help If I Can’t Live In My House?

So, after you’ve finished fighting through your undead neighbors and you’re driving into the sunset, how do you wait out the small infestation? You’ve had to abandon your home, so how will you afford to eat for the next few weeks? Where will you sleep?

If you have the right homeowners policy, your Atlanta home insurance will help cover living expenses while you’re away. If you don’t have a relative a few towns outside of the corpse-covered area, the Loss of Use/Living Expenses portion of your homeowners can help you pay for things like hotel rooms, restaurant bills, and even essential supplies like soap and drinking water.

But Take Heed…

Keep in mind that this coverage will only apply if the loss that drove you from your home is covered under your policy and if the home is uninhabitable. (So, if your policy doesn’t list zombie infestation as a covered peril…you may be out of luck. But you’re probably covered for something like a fire.)

Living expenses insurance can also be found in renters and condo insurance, but you will want to keep an eye on how much you spend each day. Most carriers have a limit on the amount they’ll provide for your expenses, and they’ll only help out with the additional amount of money you’ll need to survive. So, ask your insurance agent how much you’re covered for, budget wisely, rescue as much of your cash as you can, and keep your shopping trips short to avoid those pesky corpses.

Whether you’ve been a victim of a vengeful Halloween spirit or an angsty teen, a fire or a freak of nature, a fluffy wolfman or a fuzzy deer, it’s important to have the right type of insurance coverage. We want you to have total confidence in how your policies will protect you in the scariest of situations. We also want to help you save money while doing it! Call our insurance experts, who will help you compare affordable quotes on Atlanta insurance to address even your wildest fears, or fill out our online quote form.

Happy Halloween!