How does a car insurance deductible work?

How does a car insurance deductible work?

How does a car insurance deductible work?

When you’re talking to your agent about car insurance, they may mention a little thing called a “deductible.” You may be a little confused about this amount you may have to pay in addition to your monthly premium, but it’s vital to the way that insurance works and what can make your policy and your rates work for you. Here’s how.

What is a deductible?

If something happens to your car, your auto insurance deductible is the amount you’ve agreed to pay – your insurance has its part, you have your part. For example, let’s say you have a $500 deductible. You’re in an accident where the damages total $2,000. You would have to pay the $500 deductible, and your car insurance would pay the rest of the money to fix your car ($1,500) so long as it’s a covered claim.

We say your car because a car insurance deductible typically applies to collision and comprehensive coverage. If you only have bodily injury and property liability coverage, your insurance company will probably just pay the other driver’s fees. However, the claim could make your rates go up for next year.

Why do I need collision/comprehensive insurance?

While Georgia requires bodily injury and property damage liability, these coverages are only to cover your responsibility to the other driver in an accident. Collision and comprehensive coverage are the types of coverage that can help you repair damage to your car. Without those, you’ll have to pay the entire amount of your car repairs out-of-pocket. So, a deductible, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that bad.

What is a car insurance deductible?

Is it worth going through my car insurance for a repair?

Additionally, some things aren’t really worth going through your car insurance because of your deductible. For example, let’s say you have a $250 repair bill for your car. If you have a $500 deductible, you would have to pay out-of-pocket for the total amount of the repair anyway. Because the repair isn’t more than the deductible, it might not be worth it to file a claim for something you’d pay for out-of-pocket anyway.

Similarly, if you had a $600 repair and a $500 deductible, you may just want to take care of the repair yourself instead of making your insurance pay the extra $100, potentially raising your rates next policy term. However, if you have a much higher repair bill than your deductible, by all means, let your insurance help you out!

How does my deductible affect my car insurance?

The thing about deductibles is that they can affect your premium. So, if you’re already paying more for your monthly premium, you can have a lower deductible because you’ve, in a sense, already “paid (part of) your dues” on a monthly basis.

On the other hand, if you choose a higher deductible, your insurance company can see it as you taking more financial responsibility if you have to repair your car. So, they can lower your monthly premium/payment into the risk pool. It’s all a balancing act.

How do I choose my deductible?

So, what does all this mean for you? Well, it means you can be a little more informed in the deductible you choose. That way, you can customize your auto insurance policy for your needs. A good place to start considering the deductible you want is by asking yourself these questions:

How much would I be able to pay if I filed a claim?

Budget for how much you could reasonably pay if you had to repair your car. What amount could you put into your car without being significantly set back in your finances? Your insurance is there, ultimately, to help you. Don’t let it hurt you.

Am I willing to have a higher monthly payment or higher repair costs later?

If you believe you’re able to pay out more every month for your car insurance, and you don’t think something will happen later, go ahead and choose a lower deductible. Accidents happen, even to safe drivers. Still, if you’re not in a high-risk situation that could affect your auto insurance rates, you may be comfortable taking the chance that you won’t have to pay a deductible later on.

However, if you think you won’t be able to afford higher monthly payments, but you would be able to save up gradually for your deductible, choosing a higher deductible and a lower monthly payment may be for you. Remember, though, that your car insurance deductible doesn’t build on itself like health insurance. Each claim that you file means that you have to pay that deductible for that claim. So, if you have a $500 deductible, and 2 claims throughout your policy term, you would have to pay $500 for each of those 2 claims.

Do I still have to pay a deductible if I’m in an accident, but I’m not at fault?

It depends on the direction you want to take. If you want to ensure that your rates won’t go up, you could go directly through the other driver’s insurance policy to have your car repaired. However, going through another carrier may take longer than expected.

If you have collision coverage, you could go through your insurance to have your car repaired more quickly. In this case, you may end up paying your deductible while your insurance takes care of their part of the repairs. Then your insurance would subrogate (ask the other driver’s insurance company for money) and reimburse you for your deductible.

Overall, deductibles and premiums are a fine balancing act between your premiums, your coverage, and your budget. It can be tough to navigate. That’s why our car insurance experts are here to help you every step of the way. We’ll walk through your risks so that we give you quotes and discounts on auto insurance that fit your needs. To get started, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today!

7 things to know about car insurance if you’re moving

Changing your car insurance if you're moving

Changing your car insurance if you're moving

Moving can be quite the hassle, especially when handling important paperwork like your insurance. Transferring your home insurance plan may seem like a no-brainer, but your car insurance may seem like another beast. After all, one of the factors that contribute to your car insurance rates is your address, or where you park your car normally. So, what do you need to know when that address changes? Let’s look at these 7 things that you may need to know about your car insurance if you’re moving.

7 things to know about car insurance if you’re moving.

1. How to change the information on your car insurance

Changing your car insurance policy to fit your new location might be as simple as calling your insurance agent and going through a quick filing process. However, if you’re moving to an area that’s outside of your carrier’s area of coverage, you’ll need to shop for a new car insurance carrier all over again. Luckily, our experts have access to multiple insurance companies nationwide. So, we can help you determine the specific risks you’ll face in your new location and find similar carriers with the best rates around.

2. You have a certain amount of time after you move to change the address on your policy

Different states have different requirements for when an insured needs to have their car insurance policy registered with a new address. You’ll need to find out that exact timeframe, but it’s a good idea to go ahead and have your policy switched over as soon as possible.

As a rule of thumb, most states require you to register your car to your new address within 30 days of your move. So, it could be a good idea to go by this timeframe for your auto insurance as well.

3. You may have new state-required minimums if you move

Each state has its own minimum requirements for car insurance. If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need to know which coverages your new state requires and how much your coverage limits need to be. Some states require more coverage. Some states require less.

It’s important to note, though, that even though a state may require less coverage than your previous address, you could be putting yourself in a sticky situation by not having enough coverage if something does happen to your car.

More often than not, state minimums only require a certain amount of bodily injury liability and property damage coverage. In addition to the state-required limits not being enough, these coverages only cover the other person’s injuries and property. If you want to be able to protect you and your car in an accident, you may want to look into collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and medical payments insurance.

Car insurance when you're moving

4. Your car insurance rates may change if you’re moving

On the same token, since your car insurance coverage limits may change, your rates may change along with them. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your rates will be more expensive. Car insurance rates depend on a lot more factors than just your address or what your location requires for auto insurance. It can depend on your deductible, your coverage limits, your age, your marital status, and more.

Plus, if you have to change carriers, there may be an entirely different market of insurance companies in your location that offer lower rates. So, just take the move as a blank slate for your insurance as well, and shop for what you need!

5. If you’re being removed from a policy, you may have to provide your new proof of insurance or proof of residency to your old insurance company.

If you’re a bit younger and moving out on your own, or you’ve just been taking advantage of a multi-car discount and are moving to a separate address, switching car insurance can be kind of tricky. There are certain documents that your old insurance company may need in order to take you off the original policy without putting you at risk for a lapse in coverage.

One way that you could change policies is by giving your old carrier proof of new residence for your new home. Showing multiple forms of official mail (i.e. a water bill, a copy of your signed apartment lease/house deed, etc.) could be enough to switch you to a new policy that’s all your own. However, be prepared to ask if your carrier needs additional documentation. Another method could be to give your old insurance carrier proof of new insurance. This way, they know that you’re canceling your car insurance with them while still being covered.

6. Know your new policy’s effective start date

Before you pull the trigger on canceling your old insurance policy, make sure that your new car insurance policy picks up exactly where your old one leaves off. Even if you sign the paperwork for a new policy on one date, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re covered from the signing date forward. And even if it’s just a one-day lapse in car insurance coverage, it still counts as a lapse.

That means that if you need proof of insurance while being pulled over or after an accident, you’ll be out of luck for any coverage that you need, and you may have to pay for damages out-of-pocket. Additionally, it’s illegal to drive without insurance in every state. So, check out your declarations page or even read your car insurance policy all the way through to make sure you know that you’re covered no matter what.

7. Know that you may be able to get a refund in the middle of your policy

Life doesn’t usually line up perfectly with your plans. So, moves don’t typically line up with the end of your policy date. Still, you don’t want to pay for an old car insurance policy if you already have a new one. Luckily, if you need to change your insurance in the middle of your plan, your carrier can refund you according to the number of days still left on your first policy.

Even if you pay for your policy on a month-by-month or a semi-annual schedule, a carrier can usually prorate the amount you’ve already paid and refund you the rest. That way, you don’t have to pay for what you don’t use!

These are just some of the things to keep in mind about car insurance if you’re moving. A new journey doesn’t have to mean a whole new set of problems, especially if you’re working with our specialists. Our agents are experts in getting the auto insurance you need for a great price, no matter where you are in the U.S. To start getting free, customized quotes on car insurance, give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an expert today!

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Does car insurance cover your belongings if they’re stolen from your car?

What if your belongings are stolen from your car

What if your belongings are stolen from your car

If you drive around a lot and tend to keep your life in your car, you might keep a lot of your stuff in your vehicle. And since you keep a lot of treasured possessions in your car, you might be wondering if your car insurance would protect your stuff. What if your car is broken into and your belongings are stolen? You’d want to be able to replace your possessions. Well, you may be a little surprised at the answer, but we’ll explain what you need to know about insurance for this unfortunate situation.

What happens if your stuff gets stolen out of your car?

So – would your car insurance cover your belongings if they’re stolen out of the vehicle?

The response to that completely reasonable question is no. Your car insurance would most likely not cover your stolen belongings. If you have comprehensive coverage, it may cover the car itself if it’s stolen…but no, car insurance won’t cover your stuff if your window gets smashed and someone swipes your belongings.

But wait – listen to the rest of the answer to the question.

Your car insurance won’t cover it, but don’t despair. The bright side is that your home insurance or renters insurance might. The thing is that these policies typically come with personal property coverage that protects, well, your personal property. The nice thing about this coverage is that it typically follows your belongings, whether they’re tucked away neatly in your home or tossed across the backseat of your car.

To recap – does car insurance cover the items stolen from your car? No. Are these items covered? Quite possibly yes, but by your home insurance or renters insurance. See, you just have to know which insurance company/policy to ask for money.

Don’t forget your deductible.

The catch is that your home insurance or renters insurance comes with something called a deductible. Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim. For example, you might have a $500 deductible. If you have a covered $2,500 claim, you’d pay $500 and your insurance would pay $2,000. However, if you experience a car break-in and your stuff is stolen, you might not meet your deductible amount…which means your insurance may not be terribly helpful. You really have to consider the amount that the claim would be as it compares to your deductible.

What does car insurance cover?

So, this might leave you wondering about what exactly your car insurance will do for you in this situation. Shouldn’t it do something to help you? Well, yes, it can. If you have comprehensive coverage, your car insurance could help you cover the costs of repairing the broken window if it was smashed. (Comprehensive coverage is the one that can help you repair your car if it’s damaged by a covered loss such as fire, vandalism, theft, falling objects, and so on – basically, damage not caused by an accident.) And like we said, if the car itself is stolen, your comprehensive coverage could also help you cover that.

(If you only have liability coverage for your car, however, it isn’t going to help much in this situation. You’d be out of luck. You’d need to have comprehensive coverage.)

There is that little catch called your deductible once again, though. You have to consider the amount of your deductible and the cost of the damage to evaluate whether it’s worth filing an insurance claim.

Anyways, it’s super frustrating to have your car broken into, and it might leave you feeling shaken. But if necessary, you could go through your home insurance or renters insurance to replace your belongings, and you could go through your comprehensive coverage to repair the window if it was broken.

Get started with car insurance quotes or home insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

Liability vs. medical payments coverage in car insurance

Auto liability vs medical payments

Auto liability vs medical payments

So, there are a lot of different car insurance coverages out there. They all have different (often confusing) names and they all do different things. The thing is that these coverages all work together to protect you from the various risks you face when you get behind the wheel. It’s important to understand how each coverage differs from the next so that you know what risks you’re protected from. Two coverages that might seem similar at first glance are your liability coverage and medical payments coverage. We’ll explain each of these coverages and why they’re different.

What is liability insurance?

When you drive, you’re sharing the road with other drivers. What happens if you hit another driver or cause an accident? You’d have some legal responsibility to the other driver. That’s where your liability insurance comes in.

Bodily injury liability can cover the other driver’s medical bills and their pain and suffering. It can even cover the wages they lost while unable to work due to the accident.

Property damage liability can help cover the expenses of repairing or replacing the other driver’s car. (It can also cover other property that you happen to take out, such as a fence.)

It’s also important to note that your liability insurance can help cover your legal expenses if you’re sued because of the accident.

Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance to legally be able to hit the road. Georgia requires drivers to have $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 of property damage liability. Again, this is to cover your obligation to the other driver if you hit them and cause an accident. With medical expenses being what they are, it’s easy to see why this is such an important coverage.

It’s important to have high enough limits of insurance to truly protect yourself if you’re involved in an accident. You want to be able to cover the expenses you’re obligated to pay to the other driver without putting your assets in jeopardy. Serious accidents can come with some very serious expenses.

What is medical payments coverage?

Medical payments coverage, on the other hand, is a no-fault coverage that can help you cover your own medical bills – and those of your passengers – if you’re in an accident. It may also help you if you’re riding in someone else’s car and get into an accident. Plus, if you’re walking or biking and you get hit by a car, medical payments might help you cover those medical bills.

However, you need to be sure that you understand how your medical payments coverage works with your health insurance. If you have health insurance that would be there for you in the event of an accident, you might not need medical payments coverage. Make sure that you check out your health insurance to see what would happen if you’re in a car accident.

The difference.

So, the main point we’re making is this: bodily injury liability doesn’t help cover your medical bills following an accident. That’s not what it’s designed to do. (Likewise, it won’t cover your own car following an accident. You would need collision coverage to help you out in that case.) Medical payments, however, can help with those medical bills.

The other point we’re making is that it’s important to understand the coverages you have for your car and how they work. Are you covered for all the risks you face? Do you have coverages like collision and comprehensive that can help repair your car if something happens to it? Do you have coverage like rental reimbursement that can help cover the costs of renting a car if yours is in the shop following an accident?

It might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our team of insurance agents can help you get the car insurance you need to make sure you’re protected when you hit the road. We strive to make insurance easy, too, so that you don’t have to worry about getting stressed out when you get auto insurance. Anyways, all this is to say that you can get in touch with our team by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. We’re happy to help with your insurance needs.

8 things you need to know about maintaining your car

Maintaining your car

Maintaining your car

Whether you’ve had your car for a few months or a few years, sooner or later, you’re going to have to service all its little moving parts. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and just generally unpleasant if you’re not an auto enthusiast. But there are tons of benefits to maintaining upkeep of your vehicle. These are some of the core reasons why maintaining your car is so important.

The importance of maintaining your car.

1. You’ll have a smoother drive

The funny thing about cars is that they give you warning signs of the slightest issues, and we’re not talking about just your “Check Engine” light. There are tons of sensitive parts working together to keep your car going. If even one of these parts isn’t performing at its best, you could hear grinding, squeaking, or simply the sounds of your car working harder than usual. You might also feel a shake in the steering wheel, excess heat from the hood, or a new, weird way that your engine turns over.

In any case, regular car maintenance can catch small problems like these quickly so that you have less of a rough ride on the road.

2. It saves you money in the long run

Maintaining your car can also save you from more expensive vehicle repairs later on. If something seems expensive to repair now, the replacement cost of the malfunctioning piece is usually a lot more. For example, not getting an oil change can cause parts of your engine to fail due to a lack of lubrication between parts or warping due to temperature control.

It’s important to note that your car insurance probably won’t cover damages due to neglecting vehicle maintenance. So, if something like that does happen, you’ll need to come up with the money yourself.

3. You’ll get better mileage

Think about it like this: you would run a marathon much more slowly and with greater strain if you weren’t at peak condition than if you were, right? That’s kind of how your car works. If something is wrong with it or its parts aren’t at their best, it takes a lot more effort to run like it normally should – which means it needs more fuel to run at the same pace as a “healthy” car. So, think of maintaining your car as being good for its health.

Regular vehicle maintenance can make sure that there are no loose or cracked hoses leaking vital fluid everywhere. It can also help keep your filters and tanks clean and using all the respective fluids possible in the best way. That way, you can get the most out of each gas fill-up (which, these days, are not cheap).

4. It helps you keep control of the car

Your ability to handle a car can depend on everything from power steering fluid to alignment to certain gears. If you take your car in for maintenance, even just an oil change and tire rotation, your mechanic should be able to tell you about these issues before start struggling with your steering wheel. Some auto shops will even offer you a free diagnostic check if you tell them about your car issues, so maintaining your car can be really helpful.

5. Your tires last longer

In a regular maintenance check, a mechanic can usually tell you if there’s any uneven wear on the inside or outside of your tires. They can tell you if your air pressure is low, if your alignment is off, and if it’s time to get new tires.

You may also be able to diagnose this part for yourself. There’s a small notch of rubber that looks like it links between certain treads. It’s raised to the point just before any more friction on your tire would pop it. On new tires, you won’t be able to see this easily. However, on worn tires or nearly bald tires, if you can see this notch, it’s time to get new wheels.

The treads on your tires are especially important for maintaining a safe stopping distance as well as driving and braking safely in the rain. So, this is definitely not a type of vehicle maintenance you want to put off.

6. Your car will last longer

Let’s turn back to our body analogy. If you feed your body the right fuel and keep your parts working well, then you’ll generally live longer. If you give your car the right fuel and keep its moving parts working properly, you’ll have the car longer. A mechanic is like your vehicle’s doctor. They check what may be wrong with your car, what you need to keep an eye out for, and how to keep its “body” healthy for the future.

7. Your car is safer overall

Even minor car issues can negatively affect the way your car drives. However, it can also affect your ability to stay safe on the roads. Of course, you want to get regular oil changes to keep the moving parts of your engine from grinding against each other. Of course, you want to replace your brake pads before they stop working while you’re driving. Still, some people neglect another vital part of their car’s maintenance that can keep you safe – how clean the car is.

Keeping your car clean, dusted, and vacuumed can help keep your cabin filters clearer, your windshield and mirrors crisper, and generally make your driving experience more comfortable. In turn, this gives you a clearer view of your surroundings, a greater sense of alertness, more attentiveness, and greater reaction times while you drive.

8. It’s the law

In some states, certain types of vehicle maintenance are required. Emissions testing has been a huge example of this in the past few years, and for good reason. Besides preventing the pollution of the environment, your emissions system can keep vital parts under your car from getting dusty, dirty, and therefore potentially damaged or not running optimally. So, check your state and city laws regarding how frequently you need to test your emissions and other systems.

There are tons of other ways that maintaining your car can benefit you in the long run. But if you keep these major reasons in mind, your next trip to the mechanic might not seem so bad.

If you’re looking for lower rates on the car insurance you need, talk to our experts today. We love making insurance easy, and we’re masters at finding the discounts that fit you. To start your free quotes on affordable auto insurance, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today.

What do I do if I hit someone’s parked car?

What do you do if you hit someone's parked car?

What do you do if you hit someone's parked car?

Even the best and most experienced drivers may hit a parked car in their driving career. You may think, “How could someone possibly hit something that’s not moving?” But it’s more common than you think. In fact, a study showed that around 69 percent of hit-and-run accidents happened to parked cars. But how can you be the responsible party if you’ve made this small oopsie? Let’s take a look.

Read moreWhat do I do if I hit someone’s parked car?

Am I covered if someone hits my car in a parking lot?

Are you covered if someone hits your car in a parking lot?

Are you covered if someone hits your car in a parking lot?

Imagine this – you’re in the grocery store. You’re pretty pumped because they had your favorite ice cream on sale. You walk out to the parking lot and to your car…only to have any thoughts of sundaes vanish. The rear end of your car is pretty smooshed. Someone hit your poor car. Now instead of debating topping choices your question is this – are you covered if someone hits your car in a parking lot? We’ll explain.

If the other driver left you a note with their information…

Well, it would be nice if the other driver left a note on your windshield with their name and contact information. That would be helpful – and it’s also common courtesy. If you have the other driver’s information, you can give them a call and see about getting the damage repaired through their property damage liability coverage. That could be a viable option for getting the damage repaired. (In theory, the other driver should have property damage liability insurance – Georgia requires drivers to carry $25,000 of coverage per occurrence.) Then you could get your car all fixed up.

Pro tip: Take pictures of the damage.

What if the other driver took off after hitting your car in a parking lot?

What if the other driver is nowhere to be found? They might have backed into your car in the parking lot and split. (Which is pretty rude.)

You could get the damage to your car repaired through your collision coverage. (This is the coverage that can help repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in an accident or by a, well, collision with something.) If that’s what you want to do, you might want to give your insurance company a call and let them know what happened. They can give you some guidance on how to proceed.

However, you have to consider your deductible. Are the costs of the repairs going to be higher than your deductible? If they aren’t, your insurance might not be too much help. (Your deductible is how much you agree to pay if you have a claim – you have your deductible and insurance helps take care of the rest up to the policy’s limit.)

Pro tip: Call the police and have them file a report. This could help with the insurance claim.

But – if you don’t have collision coverage and you can’t locate the other driver…that’s unfortunate. Your liability insurance won’t help cover the repairs because, quite simply, that’s not what it does. Your liability insurance can help you cover your legal obligation to the other driver if you’re at fault in an accident, but it doesn’t cover your car. Bodily injury liability can help cover the other driver’s medical bills and pain and suffering while property damage liability can help cover repairs of the other driver’s car – and possibly other property you happen to damage.) It can also cover your legal expenses if the other driver sues.

Long story short – if you only carry liability insurance, your insurance isn’t going to be super helpful. That’s not its job.

So, that’s how you could get your car repaired if someone hits your car in a parking lot. You might be able to go through the other driver’s liability insurance. Or you could go through your own collision coverage if there’s no way to get ahold of the other driver. So, you have options! Your poor car will not have to stay damaged forever.

And another option you have is choosing what car insurance you want. We can help you get quotes for your car insurance to help you get great insurance at a great rate. All you have to do to get started with your auto insurance quotes is fill out our online form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat.

What to do if you get a speeding ticket in Atlanta

Speeding ticket

Speeding ticket

Getting a speeding ticket can put a lot of stress on your mind, your wallet, and your car insurance rates. On top of a fine or worse punishment, your insurance can take quite the hit, depending on the offense. So, what steps do you need to take after a police officer gives you that little printed sheet? Here are some tips.

What to do if you get a speeding ticket.

1. Pull the car onto a shoulder, side road, or parking lot as soon as possible.

The instant you know that the officer is pulling you over, look for a safe place, out of the way of traffic, to bring your car to a complete stop. Not stopping in a timely manner could give the officer the impression that you are trying to evade them or a negative outlook of your situation before they even speak to you. When you do stop, put the car in park and turn off the engine.

2. Have your information ready and both hands on the wheel when the officer gets to your car.

If you have time before the officer gets to your car, it can help to have your license and registration already out in the open. Use slow, even movements to retrieve your documents, roll your driver side window down, and place both hands on the wheel while the officer is approaching the car.

3. Answer the officer’s questions and respond respectfully.

The officer may ask you a few questions, and they’ll explain why they’re pulling you over. Respond to any questions honestly and respectfully. Don’t give any more information than necessary or argue. During the traffic stop, this could be construed as disobeying an officer, which could result in another charge. If you have any complaints or arguments against the tickets, save them for the court date that will be printed on the ticket (more on that later).

4. Listen carefully to the officer & be observant.

Make sure you clearly understand all of the information they’re giving you and what you’re being cited for. Note the road conditions and if there were any external factors preventing you from obeying the speed limit. The officer may also ask you to sign a document when they pull you over. The document isn’t an admission that you were speeding; it’s just an acknowledgment that you have received the speeding ticket.

What to do if you get a speeding ticket

5. After you’re given the ticket, drive safely to your destination.

You may be a little shaken up from an encounter with the police. Breathe slowly in and out before you pull off. After you’ve safely arrived at your destination, carefully read the information on your ticket. It’ll tell you how to proceed.

6. Read over the ticket carefully

Read over the ticket carefully and understand the noted reason for the stop. Make sure you know how far over the limit they registered your speed, and if they’re citing you for any other offenses. These factors can affect the number of points added to your license. In the state of Georgia, if you have 15 total points on your license within two years, you could have your license suspended.

7. Find the court date/due date of your ticket.

Every traffic ticket issued will have a court date noted on the document. This is the date on which you must appear in court if you have not paid the fine beforehand. Here’s where it’s important to understand your options:

  • Pay the fine

The easiest and quickest way that most drivers put a traffic ticket behind them is to pay the listed fine before the court date on the citation. Remember to read your ticket carefully when it comes to paying your fine. Some counties in Georgia may still require you to show up in court even if you pay the fine beforehand.

Paying the ticket may be an immediate fix, but depending on where you were issued the speeding ticket, the fine may be hundreds of dollars. Plus, the offense will be marked on your MVR, which may raise your insurance rates in the long run.

  • Take a defensive driving course.

In some cases, a speeding ticket may be dismissed if you agree to take a certified defensive driving course. You’ll need to call your local municipal court to find out if this is an option for your situation, where to take the course, and what type of documentation you’ll need to prove that you’ve attended.

  • Appear in court

You can also choose to fight your ticket in court on the date that’s printed on the citation. Before you appear, build your case noting what type of speed tracking device the officer was using, the time of day you were pulled over, and any legally justifiable reasons that you may have been going over the speed limit (i.e. a speed limit sign that was not clearly visible, a recent change in the timing of a speed limit in effect, a medical emergency, etc.) You’ll have to do some research on what a court may find to be a “legally justifiable” reason to speed.

Keep in mind that if the citing officer doesn’t show up in court on your court date, the ticket will more than likely be dismissed. But don’t count on them not showing up! Be prepared!

  • Do nothing

Of course, you could always choose to do nothing. You could choose to ignore the court date and not pay the fine. However, this would either result in your license being suspended and/or a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear in court.

Overall, it’s important to remain alert and drive at a safe speed whenever you’re on the road. Doing so can keep you and other drivers safe, save you from paying hefty fines, as well as keep your car insurance rates down. However, if you do find yourself being pulled over, it can help to know exactly what to do during and after you’re given a speeding ticket.

For other sticky situations, our experts are here to save you money on the right car insurance. We can give you quotes on the coverages that fit your specific situation at prices that fit your needs. To get started with your quotes, call us today, fill out our easy online form, or LiveChat with an insurance specialist today!

8 tips for buying a car in Atlanta

Buying a car

Buying a car

Buying a car is a big purchase. There’s a lot you have to consider when you decide to get a new vehicle, and it can be a time-consuming process. As evidenced by Atlanta traffic, many people in the city and metro areas need cars to get around. Public transit in Atlanta…well, they tried. Anyways, you want to make sure you’re completely happy with your new ride, after all, because if you’re not…well, that’s unfortunate. You might just be stuck with that car for a while. Anyways, we’ve got a few tips for buying a car in Atlanta.

8 tips for buying a car in Atlanta

1. Know your budget.

Well, first things first, right? You need to know how much you’re willing to spend on your car. It’s a good idea to know what your price range is when you’re going in. That way you might be able to avoid falling in love with a car, only to find that it’s not exactly realistic. That only leads to heartbreak. So, protect your heart – and your bank account – by knowing what’s going to work out for you money-wise.

2. Do your research.

When you’re buying a car, you need to make sure the car is going to suit your needs. Consider what you’re going to be using the car for. Are you going to be commuting a ways for work? Or are you looking for a vehicle to drive the kids around? Think about what kind of car will make the most sense for you.

This can give you a place to start when you’re thinking about what kind of car you want to get. Do you want a sedan? An SUV? A van? A crossover? (Or maybe start simpler – do you want a small car or a big car?) Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of car you want, you can start considering make and model.

Next is thinking about other details. What are the safety and crash ratings of the car you’re thinking about? Is the car a reliable one? (Since you probably want your car to last you a while, safety and reliability are kind of important.) Do some reading up on the types of cars you’re thinking about. You can also ask friends and family about the cars they drive – maybe they happen to drive a car that you like, or maybe they once had the same make and model of car that you’re thinking about.

Okay. If you have a general idea of the make and model of car you want, you also have to decide whether you want to buy a new car or a used car. Would you rather have a brand spanking new vehicle, or are you okay with one that’s gently used with a few miles on it? (This may make a difference in the price you’ll pay for the car – keep that in mind.) There are pros and cons to both a new car and a used car.

Phew. That’s a lot of things to consider…and it doesn’t end there.

Now comes the super fun part – price. Since buying a car is a big thing, you want to make sure you’re getting a fair price. And that means you need to do yet more research to find out what’s a good price for the year, make, and model of the car you’re considering. You’ll have an idea of how much you need to be prepared to pay when you go to actually purchase the vehicle. That way you know if the car salesperson is giving you a price that’s decent or a price that’s ridiculous. Even if you really want the car, you might need to be patient if it means saving some money. (You also might want to compare the price of getting a used car versus getting a new car – will you save a significant amount by getting a car that’s a year or two old?)

Pro tip: If you’re getting a used car, you might want to take it to a trusted mechanic to have a once-over to make sure everything’s okay.

If you're buying a car, do your research.

3. Consider how you want to finance the car.

Okay, unless you’re absolutely rolling in money or you’ve been saving up for quite a while, you’re probably thinking that you’re going to need to get a loan for the car.

Check out some different options to get the money to buy the car. Do you want to finance the car through the dealership, or do you want to take out a loan from your bank? What’s going to be the best game plan in the long run? There’s more than one way to finance a car.

4. Do some test drives.

It’s also important to test drive different vehicles. That way you can decide on the make and model that works best for you. Reading about a car online might give you an idea of what it’s like, but that’s not the same as actually being able to see the car itself – or taking the wheel and going for a test drive. You need to see how the car handles. (And more importantly – does it have enough cup holders? Just kidding. But not really.)

And when you’re ready to buy a car, you might want to test drive the specific vehicle that you’re going to purchase. (That way you can see if it has any issues and if it handles the way you thought it would.)

5. Consider going to different dealerships.

If you’re not finding what you’re looking for at the dealership you visit, go to a different one. Find out what dealerships are in your area and maybe plan to go to a few of them before you get your car. You never know – you might be able to get a vehicle with different features.

6. Be prepared to negotiate.

You’ve got to be prepared to negotiate when you walk into a dealership. It can be a little scary, so don’t let yourself get pushed around and don’t get pressured into buying a car that you’re not 100% sold on. It can be intimidating, so go into it knowing that you can walk away. (Also – don’t be afraid to walk away if it doesn’t seem like you’re going to get a good price.) The negotiation process can be a bit of a rigmarole and a little back and forth. Try not to get too flustered. And remember – they can’t force you to buy a car. It’s your money.

7. Don’t forget car insurance.

There’s another expense you have to remember when you’re buying a car: auto insurance. You can’t avoid it. The state of Georgia requires drivers to carry $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per occurrence, and $25,000 of property damage liability. At any rate, it’s important to have a game plan for insuring your new car and to familiarize yourself with the coverages you might need. We’ll give a brief overview of some different coverages.

  • Bodily injury liability: Helps cover the other driver’s medical expenses and pain and suffering if you’re at fault in an accident. (Can also help with your legal expenses if you get sued.)
  • Property damage liability: Helps cover the repairs or replacement of the other driver’s car if you’re at fault in an accident – and may help replace other property you might damage, i.e. a fence.
  • Collision coverage: Helps repair or replace YOUR car if you’re in an accident or if you hit something.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Helps repair or replace YOUR car if it’s damaged by something other than an accident. Losses covered typically include fire, theft, vandalism, animal strike, and falling objects, i.e. a tree branch.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist: Helps you out if you’re hit by a driver without insurance (uninsured) or without enough insurance to cover the damages of the accident (underinsured).
  • Rental reimbursement: Helps cover the cost of a rental car if your car is damaged in an accident and needs to be in the shop.
  • Medical payments: Helps cover your medical bills and those of your passengers if you’re in a car wreck.

Note: You may be required to carry collision and comprehensive coverage if you’ve got a car payment and a lender.

8. Think about gap insurance.

Now. If you’re buying a new car, you might also want to think about gap insurance.

Here’s the thing:

The value of a car depreciates rapidly. It’s just a fact. So, if you’ve taken out a loan to pay for your car, you might end up owing more on the loan than your car is worth. If your car is totaled, you’ll probably only get the Actual Cash Value of the vehicle at the time of the loss – meaning its depreciated value. And, as we said, that amount might be smaller than the amount you owe on your loan – in which case, you’d have a bit of a sticky situation on your hands.

But that’s where gap insurance comes in. It can help you out if you find yourself in the pickle of having a loan balance that’s greater than the value of your car.

For example, let’s say you take out a $28,000 loan to pay for your car. You’re paying it off. You owe $26,000 on the loan and the vehicle is worth $24,000 when you’re in a bad wreck and the car is totaled. That $2,000 is the “gap” we’re talking about here. (Well, it actually stands for guaranteed asset protection, but gap just makes sense.)

Okay. At this point, you might be asking yourself if you’re still set on buying a car. It seems exhausting. But it’s worth it. If you take your time and remember to be patient, you’ll be cruising along in your cool new ride in no time.

And if you need insurance for that new car, we can help. Give us a call, message us on LiveChat, or fill out our online quote form and we’ll be happy to help you get the coverage you need to protect yourself and your new baby.

Why do I need to get car insurance in Atlanta?

Why do you need to get car insurance?

Why do you need to get car insurance?

So, car insurance is a thing. It’s just something you can’t avoid if you want to drive on Atlanta’s streets. And the problem is that it’s a hit to your wallet when you have to cough over the money for your car insurance premium. So, why is that necessary? Why do you need to get car insurance? Well, there are plenty of good reasons, and we’re going to go over four of them.

Why do I need to get car insurance?

1. It’s the law.

States require drivers to carry certain amounts of car insurance. It’s just the law. Georgia, for example, mandates drivers to carry $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability per occurrence, and $25,000 property damage liability. These requirements for limits of insurance are meant to protect other drivers on the road from, well, you.

Bodily injury liability can help cover the other driver’s medical bills and pain and suffering if you’re at-fault in an accident, while property damage liability can help with the repairs or replacement of the car. (Basically, it helps you cover your legal obligation to the other driver if you injure them or damage their car in an accident.)

If you don’t have proper car insurance and you get pulled over or cause an accident, you could have some major trouble on your hands.

(Note that we didn’t mention anything about liability insurance protecting your car…because it doesn’t. We’ll get to that in a minute.)

So that’s one (but really two) good reasons why you need car insurance: because it’s the law and because it can help you help those that you could injure in an accident.

2. Car insurance can help you repair your vehicle if it’s damaged by a covered loss.

If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, your car insurance can help you repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged by a covered loss. (Remember, your liability insurance only helps you cover your obligation to the other driver if you’re at fault in an accident – it won’t cover damages to your car. It also won’t help you if your car is damaged by something other than a collision, like fire.)

So, that’s why you ought to consider having collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage – Helps you repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged in a wreck or by a, well, collision with something.

Comprehensive coverage – Helps repair or replace your car if something other than a collision damages it. Some losses that can be covered are: fire, theft, animal strike, vandalism, and falling objects (i.e. a tree branch.)

While Georgia technically doesn’t require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage, it’s definitely something to think about. It can be a real financial safety net if some sort of calamity befalls your car. Don’t overlook it – your car is a huge financial investment, after all. So, there’s another reason why you need car insurance.

3. Your lender/lienholder may require you to carry collision and comprehensive coverage.

If you have a lender or lienholder for your car (the people who ask politely for money for your car payment) they may require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage for your car. That makes sense – they want to make sure the car they helped you pay for is protected. It’s important that you know what their requirements are and that you get the insurance they want you to have.

4. With UM/UIM coverage, you can be protected if you’re hit by a driver without insurance or without enough insurance.

Let’s say that you’re involved in a car accident and the other driver is at fault. The only problem is that they don’t have enough insurance to cover all of your medical bills resulting from an accident – they’re underinsured. Or what if they don’t have insurance – they’re uninsured. With uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage), your car insurance can help you if the driver who hit you doesn’t have enough insurance (or any insurance) to cover all of your medical bills or the total cost of the accident. (Even if the driver has the legal, required limits of car insurance, those minimum limits might not be enough to cover all the costs of an accident.) As we all know, hospital and medical expenses can be quite astronomical. With UM/UIM coverage, you could get some help covering those bills.

So, those are four compelling reasons to get car insurance. Not only is it the law, but it’s also a financial safety net. Get started with car insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form, messaging us on LiveChat, or calling us.