Tips for driving in the rain during one of Atlanta’s rainiest months

Driving in the rain can be hazardous.

Driving in the rain can be hazardous.

When we think of the rainy season, we usually think about the summer. Or April. But one of Georgia’s rainiest months is actually February, with March also receiving a good deal of precipitation. So, it seems like a good time to go over some tips for driving in the rain. Driving in the rain puts many people’s nerves on edge, but with these tips, you can take care and stay safe in the rain.

1. Check your car before you depart.

Make sure that your car is ready to take a trip in the rain. Check that your brake lights, turn signals, and headlights are all functional – it’s really important that you’re as visible as possible in the rain. Replace any windshield wiper blades that aren’t doing their job very well. Lastly, check your tires. They should have a good tread depth; bald tires do not get as much traction on the road as newer tires with proper tread depth, which makes them dangerous. Tire tread depth should be no less than about 3/32 of an inch. It’s also a good idea to check your tire pressure once a month, especially when it’s cold.

2. Slow down.

When it rains, you need to slow down and take it easy. Slower speeds make it less likely that you’ll hydroplane. Hydroplaning is when the tires of a car actually rise off the asphalt and coast on top of the water; a car can hydroplane at speeds as low as 35 mph. Even 1/12 of an inch of water on the roads requires your car’s tires to move an entire gallon of water per second just to keep their grip on the pavement.

Anyway, all of this is to say that it’s important to take it slow when it’s raining. It’s also a good idea to slow down early and gently if you’re coming to an intersection, a turn, or another traffic stop. Give yourself time to come to a stop safely.

3. Increase your following distance.

Leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front of you. When the roads are slippery, it takes more time for your car to come to a stop, so you need to give yourself some personal space. Rain can lead to more traffic, too, which makes it especially important to leave lots of room in front of your car. Handling Atlanta traffic is not easy sometimes.

4. Avoid braking hard and turning sharply.

If you jam on your brakes, you could cause your tires to lock. Your car could skid. When you come to a turn, slow down first, then take your foot off the brake and gently turn the vehicle.

It's important to slow down if you're driving in the rain.

5. Drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you.

Follow the path of the cars in front of you. The road will probably be less slick along the tire tracks.

6. Turn on your headlights and windshield wipers.

Headlights help other drivers see you when you’re driving in the rain, and windshield wipers help you see other drivers. It’s hard enough to see clearly in the rain – help yourself out by activating your headlights and wipers.

7. Try to avoid pools of standing water.

It’s easy to hydroplane if you go through a puddle too fast. If you can, try to safely avoid driving through standing water on the roadways by changing lanes. At the very least, slow down before reaching the water. But remember – don’t slam on the brakes.

8. Know how to handle hydroplaning.

If you get into a situation where your tires lift off the road, it’s important to do a few things:

  • Don’t slam on the brakes. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, but try to resist it.
  • Take your foot off the gas.
  • Hold the wheel steady and gently steer in the direction you’re skidding if that’s what the car needs to do.
  • Wait for the tires to catch on the asphalt.
  • Regain control.
  • Pull over to take a minute to and breathe and recover.

9. Postpone any trips that aren’t strictly necessary.

If it’s bucketing down rain and you don’t have to be out on the road, try to reschedule your trip or postpone it. Of course, there are times when it can’t be helped and you have to drive in the rain, or maybe you’re already on the road and it starts pouring. But if it’s at all possible, you may want to take a literal rain check.

Driving in the rain takes extra care.

Driving in rain is not something most people like to do. Slick roads and poor visibility are definitely not ideal driving conditions. It’s important to remember to slow down, increase your following distance, and turn on your headlights and windshield wipers. Stay calm and keep your attention on the road – definitely no texting and driving in the rain. Remember, there are many benefits of being a safe driver, and that means knowing how to handle the rain.

If you want to save money on your car insurance, we can help. Our team of insurance experts are pros at helping people shop for the best rate on their auto insurance. All you have to do to get car insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call.

Sources:

https://driving-tests.org/beginner-drivers/how-to-drive-in-rain/ 

https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/wet-weather-driving-tips/#.Wnmu85M-eWs

How to save money on Atlanta car insurance

There are a few things you can do to save money on your auto insurance.

There are a few things you can do to save money on your auto insurance.

Auto insurance is not cheap. It’s a fact of life. If you feel like your auto insurance payments have gotten a bit out of control, you’re probably trying to scheme ways to save money on your car insurance. And maybe it seems like you’re not making much headway with that plot. Before you lose hope with saving money on your Atlanta car insurance, take a look at the following tips for lowering your auto insurance premiums.

1. Raise your deductible.

Quick definition: a deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a loss or claim. Basically, you’re responsible for a portion of the loss and the insurance company is responsible for the rest.

Anyways, this is significant because there’s a connection between your deductible and your premium. Think of it as a teeter-totter. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium and vice versa. This is because if you have a higher deductible, you’re accepting more risk and you’re less likely to make a claim (since you would have to pay that higher deductible, it might not be worthwhile to file a small claim.)

Here’s the thing: you need to balance your teeter-totter. Okay, what we mean by that is you don’t want to set your deductible so high that it would be burdensome or ruinous if you did have a claim. However, if you take a look at your finances, evaluate how much you could comfortably afford in the event of a claim, and decide that you could stand to raise your deductible a little, you could save money on your premiums.

2. Keep up a clean driving record.

Accidents and speeding tickets cause your insurance rates to go up. That’s because these things are seen as indicators of risk, and insurance companies don’t exactly love risk. The “riskier” a driver you are to insure, the more you will end up paying for your insurance. So, to get lower car insurance rates, respect the benefits of being a safe driver. Focus on the road – don’t text and drive or engage in any other activity that could distract you. Don’t speed. Drive safe. Your insurance will be cheaper.

3. Go on a discount mission.

Who doesn’t love a good discount? For your car insurance, there’s the possibility that you could save substantial sums just by meeting certain qualifications. There are scads of discounts for auto insurance, although they do differ depending on what company you’re insured with. Maybe your company has a multi-vehicle discount if your family has insured more than one car with them. Or they might have a Good Student Discount if you’re a high-schooler, college student, or young adult with good grades. You could also get a low-mileage discount if you don’t do too much driving.

Discounts are a great way to save money on auto insurance.

Anyways, if you’re looking to score some savings on your car insurance, go on a quest for discounts. Google your insurance company and check out their website. Give your agent a call. You never know what might come of it.

4. Bundle your home and auto insurance.

And while we’re on the topic of discounts, you could also get a discount if you purchase your car insurance and home insurance from the same company. This is usually called bundling. Do some research or call your agent to find out if you could get a discount for getting multiple policies from them. If it makes sense to do so, you might consider switching your home insurance to your car insurance company, or your car insurance to your home insurance company.

5. Boost your credit score.

Some insurance companies see your credit score as an indicator of risk. If you have a better credit score, you’re seen as being a lower risk. That means that those with better credit scores may get better insurance rates.

To give your credit score a boost, you can…

  • Be sure to pay your credit card bill on time and set up automatic payments if you need to.
  • Try not to apply for too many credit cards.
  • Don’t use your credit cards too much and try not to get too close to your limit.

6. Choose a safe car.

Lower insurance rates may be granted to drivers of cars with safety features like anti-lock brakes and good airbags. You may also get lower auto insurance rates if you have an anti-theft device installed. If you’re thinking about buying a car, try to do some research on its safety ratings and how much it will cost to insure. While you may really, really want an expensive, sleek car with a super engine, you will have to prepare yourself for the probability that the insurance will be very expensive.

7. Shop around for car insurance.

When you’re on a mission to get car insurance, you may not want to just settle for the first policy and price you find. It’s important to look at the different coverage options and policies available from different companies. Since insurance companies all evaluate risk differently, you could get quotes that are quite different from each other. So, it may take some elbow grease and some patience, but if you stick with it and put on your “shopping” hat you could find a great rate for great coverage.

Shopping for auto insurance quotes can help you save money.

If you feel that you’re paying too much for your car insurance, there are steps you can take to lower your auto insurance rates. You can go on a mission to find discounts, bundle your home and auto insurance, or improve your credit score. And of course, you can shop around for the best coverage at the best rate. Our team of agents can help you with that – we’re experts at helping people save money on auto insurance. All you have to do to get car insurance quotes is fill out our online form or call us today.

Source:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/car-insurance-basics/save-car-insurance 

Why you should think twice before texting and driving

You can easily travel the length of a football field without seeing the road if you're texting and driving.

Texting and driving greatly increases your chance of having a car accident.

We’ve all heard the dire warnings about distracted driving. Maybe part of us knows that texting and driving is wrong and dangerous, but do we ignore our instincts and do it anyways? When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important that your full attention is on the road and not anything else. Texting and driving isn’t something to take lightly, as the consequences are far-reaching and severe. We’ll outline five reasons not to text and drive.

1. The statistics don’t lie.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving (including texting and driving) killed 3,477 nationwide in 2015. Over 390,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted driving in 2015. They estimate that at any given moment during the day, 660,000 people are using electronic devices while driving.  

The CDC adds to these statistics that every day in the US, nine people are killed in car crashes that involve a distracted driver and over 1,000 are injured in distracted driving accidents every day.

The numbers are very sobering. It’s important to remember and keep in mind that you’re not on the road alone. There are innocent drivers and pedestrians all around you, and they could get hurt if a lapse in your attention results in a car accident.

2. Texting and driving is illegal in Georgia.

In Georgia, texting and driving is illegal. It’s also considered a primary law, meaning that a police officer can pull you over for texting without having to see any other offense. If you get caught texting and driving, you’ll have to pay a fine and you’ll get one point against your driver’s license. Points are not good, so it’s best to put the phone away while you’re driving.

For the record, “texting” as defined by the law is writing, reading, or sending text data using an electronic device (and yes, that includes emails.)

3. If you’re texting and driving, you travel farther than you think without looking at the road.

Reading or sending a text takes your attention off the road for about five seconds. Let’s say that you’re driving 45 mph. At that speed, you’ll travel 330 feet in five seconds. That’s over the length of a football field. At 55 mph, you’ll travel 403 feet in five seconds. That’s pretty terrifying to think about if you’re not looking at the road.  

You can easily travel the length of a football field without seeing the road if you're texting and driving.

Imagine if someone asked you to put on a blindfold and drive the length of a football field. You wouldn’t do it, right? There are way too many risks – you could hit another car, strike a pedestrian, veer off the road. If you text and drive, you’re essentially driving blindfolded. Even looking away for two seconds means that you’re not watching the road for 132 feet. That’s about one and a half basketball courts. When you’re driving, reaction time is critical. And you can’t have a decent reaction time if you’re wasting precious seconds looking at your phone. You have to know what’s coming and act as quickly as possible – that’s part of being a defensive driver. Sure you might have collision coverage for your car, but it’s best to not have to use it. 

4. Texting and driving involves multiple forms of distraction.

There are three main types of distraction while you’re driving. There are manual distractions, which take your hands off the steering wheel. There are cognitive distractions, in which your mind is not focused on the road. And then there are visual distractions, which take your eyes away from the road. The thing about texting and driving is that it involves all three types of distraction, which makes it super dangerous. If your hands aren’t on the steering wheel, your mind isn’t focused on the road, and your eyes aren’t looking where you’re going, how are you supposed to operate a vehicle? All three of those things are kind of important when it comes to driving.

5. Car accidents make your car insurance rates go up.

When you’re getting a quote for car insurance, chances are that the agent is going to check your driving record. Car accidents that are on your record can count against you when it comes to your insurance rates because being involved in accidents means that you’re a higher risk to insure. And insurance companies really don’t like risk, so they charge more the higher a risk you are. Car insurance is expensive enough as it is, but it pays to be a safe driver. If you haven’t been in any car accidents or gotten any speeding tickets, you’re seen as being less of a risk, meaning that you could save money on car insurance rates. So, there’s another reason to not text and drive

Texting and driving puts both your safety and the safety of others on the road at risk. Thousands of people die each year because of distracted driving accidents. By simply putting your phone down and not looking at it while you drive, you lower your chances of causing a car accident. Driving and distractions just don’t mix. So, don’t take your chances – put the phone away and wait until you’re safely at your destination to text.

Do you want to save money on your car insurance rates? We can help you with that. We can help you shop around for the best possible care insurance rate by getting quotes from some of the top carriers in the country All you have to do to get car insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Sources:

https://www.drivinglaws.org/georgia.php   

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/Distracted_Driving/index.html

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

5 reasons to drive safely (Hint: You could save on Atlanta car insurance)

Driving safe can help you save on your car insurance.

Driving in Atlanta is always a bit of an adventure. Narrow streets, roadwork, limited parking, and, of course, figuring out how to survive Atlanta traffic! Perhaps even more intimidating than driving in the city is car insurance. It’s important to learn about car insurance so that you can answer common car insurance questions, but you might dread thinking about auto insurance because the rates can be so expensive. But there’s a simple, easy way to save on your car insurance – driving safe. We’ll give you five car-insurance-related reasons to be a straight-A driver.

1. Your car insurance premium is directly related to your driving record.

When an insurance company goes to give you a quote on your car insurance, they look into your driving record. They’ll most likely check your record for accidents and tickets from the past three to five years. From your record, they’ll determine how much of a risk you and your family are to insure. The higher a risk you are, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance. Insurance companies consider accidents and tickets to be risky because statistically, drivers with tickets and accidents will have more tickets and accidents in the future.

2. If you have no tickets or accidents, you might be able to get lower quotes when you shop.

If you have good driving habits and have a clean record, your premium will reward you and you’ll end up paying less for your auto insurance. The quotes you’ll receive from auto insurance companies will be lower – you may even be pleasantly surprised!

3. After a few years of good driving, you may be able to get a discount on your rates.

If you go for a good amount of time with no tickets or accidents, you could qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates (depending on your carrier, of course.) Insurance companies like to reward drivers who drive safely. The fewer claims you have, the better. You want to present as little risk as possible to the insurance company, and that means no accidents. And that means no distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving, or other risky driving behavior. Sure, we can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, but we can control our own actions. And that means making conscious choices to be a safer driver and avoiding distracted or unsafe driving.

4. By driving safe, you might be able to qualify for accident forgiveness.

Usually, having a car accident would make your rates go up – insurance companies don’t like risk, remember? If you’ve had a clean driving record for a good amount of time, your carrier might allow you to have accident forgiveness. That means that if you do happen to have a car accident, your rates would not go up. Ask if your carrier has accident forgiveness.

5. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to lower your deductible.

The deductible is the amount that you agree to pay if you have a claim before the insurance company will step in to help you cover costs. Of course, this all depends on your insurance company. But if your company does allow you to lower your deductible for having a clean driving record, that means less money out of your pocket if you ever have a claim.

Being a safe driver and keeping your full attention on the road is important to help you avoid a car accident. This is your health and life that we’re talking about, along with the safety of other drivers on the road. Apart from preventing accidents and injuries to yourself and others, being a safe driver can help you save on your car insurance. So, as you can see, there are many reasons to be a careful driver and avoid risky driving when you get behind the wheel.

Looking for a car insurance quote in Atlanta? We would love to help you get the car insurance you need so you can hit the road with peace of mind. All you have to do to get in touch with one of our insurance agents is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today – we’d be happy to help you with all of your insurance needs!

Did you know the answers to these ten Atlanta car insurance questions?

There are a lot of details that go along with car insurance.

Auto insurance can get confusing. You just want to be able to drive and get yourself to where you gotta go. It’s easier to put insurance out of your mind and assume that you’re covered for the what-ifs, but there are a few questions that you should know the answers to when it comes to car insurance. Knowledge is power, especially when you start talking insurance.

So here we go: ten questions about auto insurance and the answers – in fun-sized packages!

1. Is the minimum level of car insurance enough?

Probably not. The limits of car insurance that states require, called minimums, do give you some protection for your car. They might seem like a lot – for instance, Georgia requires $100,000 of bodily injury liability and $25,000 of property insurance. But if a serious accident happens, chances are that those limits will be exhausted quickly, leaving you to take the fall for the remaining amount. So, it’s up to you as far as what limits you want on your insurance, but you may want to consider going above the minimum.

2. Will bundling my home and auto insurance help me save?

Yes, it very well might! Insurance companies often offer a significant discount if you get both your home and auto insurance from them (this is called bundling.) Insurance companies love it when their customers like them so much that they get multiple products from them.

3. If a tree or branch falls on my car, am I covered?

Only if you have comprehensive auto coverage. This is different than the liability insurance required by the state, so it’s important that you know what comprehensive car insurance covers and if you have it. Comprehensive insurance covers your car if it’s damaged by something other than an accident. So, if a tree squishes your car into a pancake, you’d be covered if you had purchased comprehensive insurance.

4. Do I still need to keep my teen on my auto insurance when they go to college?

Yes. Your college student will still be driving when they’re home on breaks – chances are they’ll be begging you to borrow a car, so yes, they need to be on your insurance. You need to make sure your college student is properly insured.

5. Do I need to get rental car insurance from the agency?

Well, that depends on your personal auto policy. You may or may not need to get insurance from the agency – you’ll have to check your auto policy and see if your own insurance carries over to the rental vehicle, and you’ll have to decide what levels of coverage you’re comfortable with.

Rental car insurance will often be offered by the rental agency.

6. If I’m in an accident and have to rent a car while mine is being repaired, am I covered?

You would have to add rental reimbursement to your policy for a small additional charge for the rental car expenses to be covered. Cars are often in the shop for two weeks following an accident, so it might be worth it to think about getting this extra coverage.

7. What happens if an uninsured driver hits me?

Your uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage would take care of it if you’ve purchased either of these coverages. Again, these are not included in the minimum liability insurance coverages required by many states, so you’ll have to make sure that you’re fully covered.

8. If I drive a friend’s car, am I covered?

Their insurance would follow the car and kick in if you’re in an accident, but you have to be extremely careful because if their limits of coverage aren’t high and the damage goes above them, your own insurance would come next.

9. And if a friend borrows my car?

The same goes if your friend borrows your car. If they’re just borrowing it a few times, your policy should cover them. However, if they start driving your car more than you do, your premiums could be affected – the premiums are based on the primary driver and the vehicle itself. If they’re borrowing your car and using it more than you are, you should have them added to your policy to prevent any coverage mishaps.

10. Will car insurance cover things stolen from my car?

No. The belongings that you have in your car may, however, be covered by your home insurance or renters insurance, which should follow your possessions regardless of where they happen to be. So, if you have a suitcase in the trunk and it gets stolen, your home or renters insurance would be the best place to start. But you’ll have to check your policy.

Now, as far as things like sound systems or radios go, those are not covered. So, if you’ve tripped out the stereo system in your car, you may want to consider purchasing additional insurance to make sure that it’s covered in case of theft.

Your home insurance, not your car insurance, may cover items stolen from your car.

Phew. Auto insurance can be tiring. You may have noticed that a lot of the above answers include a fancy form of saying “it depends.” You need to make sure that you’re familiar with your auto policy and the coverage you’ve purchased to know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for. Don’t take any chances when it comes to insuring your vehicle – accidents can become very costly, and you don’t want to find out the hard way that you don’t have as much coverage as you thought.

If you’d like to get some free quotes for auto insurance, we’d love to help you out with that! We can help you do your car insurance shopping. To get started with your car insurance quotes, all you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today!

Atlanta car insurance: Collision coverage vs. comprehensive coverage for your car

Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage are both very helpful financially if something happens to your car.

What kind of coverage does your car have? Do you know what your auto insurance does and does not cover? A car is a pretty big investment…perhaps second only to the insurance! Insurance can get confusing, especially when it comes to vehicles. Today we tackle several questions relating to the car portion of your car insurance – meaning the segment that protects your personal vehicle, not you or other drivers (that’s liability insurance and a story for another day.) If you get into a car accident, your vehicle is going to need some hefty repairs before you’re ready to hit the road again. And that’s where collision and comprehensive insurance are helpful. Together, they are physical damage coverage.

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How to make sure your college student is properly insured

Make sure that your college student is properly insured.

Make sure that your college student is properly insured.

The moment has arrived. Your baby is headed off to college. They’re all grown up and ready to venture into the world. You know that it’s time for them to spread their wings. And you’ve got a lot on your mind, too, with your student heading off to college – dorm room decor, last-minute shopping, making sure that your student has all of their textbooks. The last thing you might want to think about is insurance, but it’s essential that your student is covered. We’ll give you some things to think about insurance-wise before your grown-up child starts their first semester and answer some of the questions you might have.

1. Will your home insurance cover your student’s belongings if they live on-campus?

That depends on your policy. Most policies will cover your students’ belongings if they’re in a dorm, so you might have coverage for disasters like theft and fire. You’ll need to do a review of your home insurance policy and think about the particulars of where your student will be living. Make sure that you know what is covered and what the limits of coverage will be for your students’ belongings.

2. What if my student lives off-campus? Will my home insurance still cover them?

If your student lives off campus in an apartment, your policy will most likely not cover their belongings. You may need to consider getting a renters’ insurance policy to make sure your student has the coverage they need. Make sure to spend some time talking about apartment safety before your student moves out.

If your student is living off-campus, you might have to consider renters insurance.

This will protect them from disasters like theft and fire, but it will also add liability coverage in case anyone gets hurt at their place. Renters insurance is not terribly expensive, so it might be worthwhile to look in to.

3. Do I need to keep my student on my auto policy?

Yes. Let’s be real – when your student comes home for winter and summer break, they’re going to want to borrow the car. And they need to be insured if they’re going to be cruising around town.

However, if your student goes to school over 100 miles away and does not take a car with them, you might qualify for a discount on your premiums. Discounts are always nice!

4. What if my student takes a car with them to college? How will that affect my auto insurance?

You’ll have to talk to your agent and tell them that your child is taking a car to school with them. It could impact your rates and the coverages that you need. It depends on your particular auto policy.

Your auto insurance might change if your student takes a car with them to school.

5. What about health insurance?

There are a few things to consider here. Your child can stay on your health insurance until they’re 26, so chances are you can keep them on your plan if that works for you. But if there aren’t in-network providers nearby, you might want to consider alternatives for getting health insurance for your student. It could get tricky if your student is going to college out-of-state, too.

Most universities offer their own health insurance plans for students, so that could be an option to explore. You can also think about getting an individual health insurance plan. There are also college student plans that are specifically for students. It all depends on the coverages that are offered, the cost, what you need, and the network of providers. Do some research on your options and figure out what makes the most sense for you.

Before your child goes off to college, make sure that they have the health insurance they need for if they get sick or hurt, especially if they’re going to be playing sports.

There are different options for health insurance for college students.

This is an exciting time in your child’s life, but it can also get stressful with all of the insurance details to consider. But just take it one day at a time. Check on your home insurance, auto insurance, and health insurance and figure out what’s best for your family, and you’ll breathe easier knowing that your student is covered while they’re at school. You’re about to be the proud parent of a college student, but they still need your help to make sure that they’re properly insured while they’re studying.

We can help you review your options for covering your student, and we can help you make sure that they have the coverage they need. All you have to do is give us a call or fill out our quote form – we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and help you find some great rates on your insurance. Our goal is to help you protect your family.

What is personal umbrella liability insurance and why should you consider it?

Umbrella insurance provides additional coverage.

Umbrella insurance provides additional coverage.

You know how important it is to be insured. You have home insurance and car insurance. You’re happy with your coverage and your premiums. But have you ever considered if your limits of coverage on those liability policies are enough? What if there comes a day when you have a claim that blows those limits out of the water? That’s when you’d need a personal umbrella insurance policy.

What’s an umbrella policy?

Indulge us for a moment in a corny analogy.

Picture your home insurance (for example) as a raincoat. You wear it to protect you from any surprise rainstorms that could happen, so you’re covered. But what if it starts to pour all of a sudden and you’re trapped in a rainstorm that’s heavier than any you’ve ever experienced? Your raincoat might not be enough to keep you dry, and that’s why you’d want an umbrella to go along with it. It’s an added layer of protection against the unforeseen storm.

Okay, corny analogies aside, let’s give an example.

You host a neighborhood get-together at your place. You’re looking forward to it. You invite your guests for a good, old-fashioned barbecue and fire up the grill, employing all your grill safety skills. Everyone’s having a great time until one of your neighbors trips on an uneven board on the deck and falls into someone. They both go tumbling down the stairs and onto the concrete patio below. They’re both badly hurt, and they press charges.

You’re found responsible, so you’re now looking at medical costs and either a jury-determined award for damages and pain and suffering or an out-of-court settlement. The expenses quickly rise above what the liability portion of your homeowners policy will cover. The situation isn’t good. It means that your personal assets are at stake, including your wages.

Umbrella insurance can protect you against big losses.

What would umbrella insurance do?

Umbrella insurance kicks in where your standard policy (homeowners, auto, boat, etc.) left off. Instead of you having to cover all of the expenses from that lawsuit, your umbrella insurance would take care of it. You’d be protected. Don’t underestimate how expensive court costs and liability situations can be – the costs can skyrocket into the millions. Your umbrella insurance is there to take the fall for you. It fills the gaps in your coverage.

In the case of the falling neighbors, your homeowners liability would cover expenses up to its limit, and then the umbrella policy would take care of the rest (up to its limit.)

How much umbrella insurance do you need?

To determine how much umbrella insurance is right for you, you have to consider your assets and your risks. For example, do you have a teenaged driver? Run a home-based business where people visit your property frequently? Have a dog that could bite someone? Have a pool? Own a boat? (By the way, dogs and home insurance don’t always get along. Umbrella policies can help dog owners mitigate their risk.)  Basically, think of things that could put you on the receiving end of a lawsuit – in other words, personal risks that you face in your day-to-day life.

Keep in mind that umbrella policy limits start at $1 million and go up to $5 million.

How much does umbrella insurance cost?

When you think about how much extra coverage umbrella provides, the extra cost to your premium is very reasonable.

Two factors that contribute to the cost are:

  • The value of the policy (premiums will usually go up by about $50 or $75 for each million)
  • Your personal risk factors. For example, do you have driving tickets on your record? What does your credit score look like? (Yes, your credit score has an effect on your insurance.) The cleaner your record, the less of a risk you are to an insurance company.

Pro tip: To save money on your umbrella policy by possibly getting a discount, get your umbrella policy from the same company that writes your standard policies.

Get peace of mind with umbrella insurance.

Even though homeowners and auto insurance provide a certain level of liability protection, there are many disastrous situations that might completely exceed the coverage you currently have. Imagine the unimaginable. Would your current policy be enough to cover all the expenses? Or would you be left to foot a hefty portion of the bill? An umbrella policy will protect you from a major loss.

If you’re interested in getting a personal umbrella insurance policy, let us know! Just fill out our quote form or give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs. We want you to be able to enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re protected from any big disasters that come your way.

Four tips to choose the best tow truck company

In an emergency, how would you pick the best tow truck to help you?

Nobody ever plans on breaking down on the side of the road, do they? After all, who wants to get a flat tire? Run out of gas? Have a broken ball joint? Get into an accident? Nope, no one looks forward to having to call a tow truck. It might seem like they’ll never get there to rescue you. But when they do, there’s no sweeter sight in the world!

So, how do you go about choosing the best tow truck company? Well, first of all, it depends on why you need a tow truck in the first place.

1. Why do you want a vehicle towed?

Being stranded on the side of the road is only one reason to call a wrecker. There are a bunch of other situations in which a tow truck could come in handy.

For instance…

  • Jump starts
  • Running out of oil and needing an oil delivery
  • Getting locked out of your car – oops
  • Battery installation
  • Flat tire
  • Transporting a vehicle to another state
  • Flatbed towing
  • Equipment towing
  • Off-road recovery
  • Private property impounds
  • Boat towing
  • Motorcycle towing
  • Heavy truck towing

Did you know that some tow truck and wrecker services specialize in a certain area? That’s why it’s important to choose the right company for the job. They’ll have the proper equipment and experience to help you out with your specific need.

For example…

  • It’s 2 am and you run out of gas. You’ll need a 24-hr roadside assistance service.
  • If you’re moving out of state but have more than one car to move, you’ll run into a bit of a problem because you can only drive one car at a time. But an interstate long-distance car carrier will be able to help you out!
  • If you drive a semi-tractor trailer, you’ll need a company that moves heavy equipment.
  • Someone has illegally parked their car or abandoned their car in your restaurant’s parking lot. You need to call an impound service.

How can you tell who specializes in what areas? You can look up the company’s website and check out their About or Services page for details. You can also call and speak to the dispatcher and they will let you know if they are equipped to assist you.

2. Choose your towing service wisely.

There are good guys and bad guys in every industry, and tow trucks are no exception. Thankfully, there are plenty of tow truck heroes out there to help us when we get stranded.

Our suggestion is to choose wisely. There are a few things you can do to help you narrow your search.

  • Talk to family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. They might have a suggestion for you if they’ve ever had a tow-truck-worthy mishap on the road.
  • If you’re out of town, the local police department might be able to give you some recommendations.
  • Look for reviews on sites like Yellowpages, Angieslist, Yelp, Google, and Yahoo. People just like you have used the towing service and left honest reviews of them on these websites. Take your time and read some reviews. You might want to focus only on 4 or 5-star customer service ratings.
  • Pick an annual service like AAA so that you’re already set.

The last time you thought about hiring a tow truck was probably during an emergency or another mishap. If you wait until you face your next disaster to do some tow truck research, you’ll wind up having to decide under duress. So do the research and find a reliable tow truck operation now. Yes, it might take some time, but it’ll pay off the next time you’re faced with car troubles.

3. Consider the true cost of towing your vehicle.

Beware of choosing solely on price. We say this because while the majority of tow truck operators are reputable, nobody likes to overpay, do they?

No one wants to feel like they’ve been taken advantage of. Here’s something to be aware of – you have to consider both the hook-up fee and the price per mile. 

Hook-up fees: The hook-up fee covers the cost of attaching your vehicle to the tow truck. Here’s the thing to watch for – some tow truck companies will offer a really cheap hook-up fee in order to get your business. Many people mistakenly assume this is the only fee they have to pay. But you also have to pay the…

Price per mile: Do you want your car towed around down the street to the nearest station or do you want it taken to your favorite mechanic many miles away? Or maybe you want the car brought all the way home. The point is that miles add up quickly when your car is being towed.

While some operators offer a cheaper hook-up fee, they often charge a higher price per mile to make up the difference. Take the time to find out the hook-up fee and the price per mile fee beforehand. Also, ask if there are any hidden or additional charges.

In case you’re wondering, Angieslist tells us that the average nationwide cost for a tow is $109.

What else could impact the cost, you might ask? There may be additional towing costs during nights, holidays, and weekends. If you’re stuck in a ditch, off road, or perhaps somewhere in the mountains, then be prepared to pay a little extra as these all require a lot more work and time to help you.

4. How do they treat you over the phone?

Is the dispatcher knowledgeable and helpful about your problem? Remember that bad customer service on the phone is usually an indication of what’s to come once you hire them. Listen to your gut instinct and look for someone else to help you if you’ve got a bad feeling.

There you have it – four ways to help you choose the right towing company. We hope you’ve found this article on how to get the best tow truck service helpful! Although we hope that you never find yourself stranded on the side of the road, with these tips at least you’ll be prepared to find a reputable towing company. 

Need insurance for your car, home, or life? Let us know – we can help you out! We’ll even get you a free quote if you fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Looking for a new way to get around Atlanta? Try the Relay Bike Share Program!

For all bicycle lovers living in the Atlanta area, we’ve got some great news! Relay, Atlanta’s bike-sharing service, recently expanded in a big way.

Earlier this month, the program went from having 100 bikes at 22 locations scattered around the city to having 500 bikes at 65 locations! The program has been able to expand into new locations and different parts of the city, bringing convenient access to bikes to more people. There are now bike stations spreading through the eastern parts of the city, West End, Vine City, and Midtown.

This is only continuing a trend of growth that the program has enjoyed. When the project launched in Downtown Atlanta less than a year ago there were only 100 bikes at 10 locations. The program has really taken off, which is great for Atlanta’s citizens and the environment!

There was even a celebration of the expansion on Wednesday, April 19th. An article in the AJC reported that the event took place at Piedmont Park and that Mayor Reed was in attendance, eager to spread the word about the bike share program. According to a Patch Atlanta article, Reed and his administration are “committed to making Atlanta a top bicycle-friendly city in the nation.”

If you’re interested in trying it out, there are different ways to go about getting a Relay bike.

Option 1: You can visit their website and find a station on the map. The site will tell you how many bikes are available at that station. You tell it that you want to rent a bike from that location, then carry on from there—it’ll prompt you through the rest!

Option 2: Or you can download the Social Bicycles app (available through Google Play and through the Apple Store) that will help you find a Relay bike and manage your account.

Once you have located and secured a bike, you will use a 4-digit PIN code to unlock your bike and away you go! You cruise around the city and when you’re done you return the bike by locking it into a station. Pretty simple!

Now, how much might this cost? Getting a bike from Relay is affordable. There are different plans that you can choose. If you’re visiting the city or you’re just out for a ride to enjoy the beautiful day, you can choose a Pay as You Go plan. If you live in the city and want to ride, you can choose either a Monthly Pass or a Yearly Pass. There’s also a student plan, a corporate plan, and a low-income plan. Check out more about the payment options on Relay’s website.

So, bottom line, the Relay bike program could be an option for you to get around town—and avoid the headache of sitting in Atlanta traffic! You might even consider using Relay to bike to work. If you’re looking for a way to beat traffic and get some exercises, Relay’s something to explore.

Need insurance for your home, business, car, rental property, or life? We’ve got you covered! Fill out our quote form or call us today and we’ll be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs.

Sources:

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/city-atlanta-expands-relay-bike-share-program/ymjG1RinYFiEIS26Q4oYUL/

https://patch.com/georgia/atlanta/atlanta-expands-bicycle-sharing-program-65-locations

http://relaybikeshare.com/#findbike-anchor