Business Vehicles and Your Personal Auto Policy

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Personal business car

It has become more and more popular that people are owning and running their own business these days. I mean, who doesn’t want to be their own boss? Though, what does that mean for your vehicles and auto insurance? Depending on the type of business, who drives the vehicles, and what they’re used for, you may be able to keep your vehicles insured under your personal auto policy.

The types of businesses that are typically considered acceptable when keeping your business vehicle on your personal auto policy are:

  • Real Estate Agents
  • Consultants
  • Lawyers
  • Sales Representatives
  • Doctors

Most any business where you (or family members in your household) are still the sole operator of the vehicle, and you are not transporting any goods for delivery, is considered an acceptable exposure for your personal auto policy. If you have employees that regularly operate your vehicles, then that is more suited for a commercial policy.

The weight of the vehicle also plays into the equation – vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight do not qualify for a personal auto policy.

If you are using your vehicle for any type of delivery, like pizza, postal, floral, hazardous materials, etc., it would need to be insured commercially. Also, any type of transportation for hire, such as a taxi, daycare, elderly care, etc., would need commercial insurance. An exception to the transportation for hire rule might exist when you are working for a transportation network company, such as Uber or Lyft. You should consult with your auto insurers to make sure you still have coverage.  Many auto carriers have developed personal auto policy endorsements specifically for these ridesharing activities that clearly provide coverage for these type of situations.

Finally, many people are provided with a company vehicle to drive for business and personal use. In this case, you typically have coverage under the company’s commercial policy. Depending on your employer’s requirements, it is never a bad idea to cover yourself on your own personal auto policy, as well, which can be done easily with an add-on endorsement.

Check with your independent agent to find the best-suited policy for your needs.

Click here to learn more about Insurance 101: Personal Auto Coverages.

The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

Products underwritten by Central Mutual Insurance Company and affiliated companies.
Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

4 Tips for Buying Car Insurance

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Like most things in life, a one size fits all policy doesn’t exist when buying car insurance. State minimums are a good place to start but those often don’t provide enough coverage to protect you and your family. Depending on your car’s make, year and model, a car insurance policy containing full collision coverage and all the bells and whistles may be too much. So how do you go about buying car insurance that offers the right amount of coverage at the best value? The key — talking openly with your insurance agent.

Tip #1: Shop Early

The best time to shop for a new car insurance policy is before your current policy expires, when a new driver is coming on board, or when you purchase a new vehicle. You can typically get a discount if shopping before your current policy expires. Start looking 30 days ahead of your policy’s expiration to ensure you have everything lined up in time. Likewise, different carriers provide better rates for new drivers and certain luxury car brands. If you have a new driver in the house or purchase a new vehicle, a SelectQuote agent can shop a full network of carriers to find a policy that meets your needs at the best price available.

Tip #2: Be Prepared

When buying car insurance, follow the Boy Scout motto and be prepared. Before you jump on the phone with your agent, have your old/current car insurance policy, driver’s license and VIN number on hand. Your SelectQuote agent will ask you a series of questions before searching their database of 18-20 A-rated insurance carriers to find the best policy for your needs.

Basic Information Needed for a Car Insurance Quote

Your agent will need to know:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Vehicle VIN
  • Driving record
  • Requested coverages

Tip #3: Ask Smart Questions

You can also ask your SelectQuote agent questions to ensure they have all the needed information to find the best policy for you.

Questions to Ask When Talking to Your Car Insurance Agent

Consider asking:

  • Are my coverages up-to-date? What should I modify or change?
  • Do I have enough coverage to protect me and my family?
  • What add-ons are available? How much will it cost to add on rental car reimbursement, roadside assistance and other add-ons that can help me should I have an accident?
  • What discounts are available for multiple cars and drivers insured through the same carrier?
  • Do I qualify for any discounts if I bundle my home and auto insurance?
  • Are discounts available for lower mileage and how do I qualify?
  • What accident forgiveness options are available? (If needed)

Be upfront with your agent and provide all of the needed information. Having an open and honest conversation about your needs and driving history will allow your agent to find the best car insurance quote for you. The entire process will last around 10-15 minutes.

Tip #4: Avoid The Biggest Pitfall of Buying Car Insurance

Sue Callis, a regional coaching manager for SelectQuote, warns the biggest mistake people make when purchasing a car insurance policy it comparing their rates to their neighbor’s. Your rates are based on your vehicle’s year, make and model, as well as your personal insurance score. Your insurance score takes into account many factors, including your insurance carrier and how long they’ve insured you, your driving record and your credit. Therefore, your neighbor could be the same age and drive the same car as you, but qualify for a different insurance rate.

In the end, finding the right insurance carrier and policy comes down to a mix of coverage, value and experience. Look for a car insurance carrier who not only provides the best rates and coverages but provides professional, A-rated service. You only use your insurance when you have a claim. And it’s at those times when you most need someone who is responsive, compassionate and quick to help. Your SelectQuote agent will help you discover the best car insurance policy to ensure you are not under or over insured, but that your policy is just right. Start your free car insurance quote today and see how you can save.

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How to Successfully File a Car Insurance Claim

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No one likes thinking about being in a car accident but with more than 140,000 million Americans on the road daily, many of them drowsy, texting or otherwise distracted, the odds are you’ll experience at least one accident during your driving career. 

We’re not suggesting every time you get behind the wheel you dwell on the idea of an auto mishap but knowing ahead of time what you need to do if you’re caught in one can make all the difference when it comes time to file your car insurance claim.

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Steps for Filing a Car Insurance Claim

Whether it’s a fender-bender or major mashup, the idea of dealing with insurance adjusters and claim forms can be nearly as stressful as an accident itself. Take these steps before and after a collision and you’ll be able to handle the experience like a pro.

First, be prepared by keeping the following in your car’s glove compartment and/or on your phone.

  • Registration and auto insurance policy number and agent contact info
  • Roadside assistance information
  • Medical information for you and your family members. An ICE program on your phone in case police and paramedics need it is recommended

If you’re in a collision, pull over to a safe area and check for injuries and car damage. Use your phone’s camera to take photos of all cars and collect the information you need for calling your agent and making a claim:

  • Name and contact information of all parties
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • License plate numbers and registration for other cars
  • Make and model of all involved vehicles
  • Location where accident occurred as well as time of day, weather, and road conditions

Basic Steps of Filing a Car Insurance Claim

Once you exchange information, file a police report, and leave the accident site, it’s time to contact your insurance agent. Don’t put this off: your policy may require prompt reporting and your memory of what occurred will be fresher the sooner you place a call. Be prepared to tell your agent:

  • Which vehicle covered under the policy was involved in the accident
  • Who was driving and the location and time of the accident
  • A general description of what happened and the severity of damage to all vehicles
  • The name and insurance company information for the other driver
  • Any witness names

Your agent will also want a police report number. If a report was not done at the scene, you can still get one at the local police station. 

You’ll then have an adjuster assigned to your claim and she or he will likely contact you for more information. Stick to facts and provide any photos you took. You may be required to take your car to a certified repair shop for inspection. The adjuster will then consider and evaluate your claim and decide what compensation, if any, you should receive.

If the claims process is not a smooth one and you’re unhappy with how the carrier is handling it, you may decide to look for a new car insurance company. 

Does Making a Car Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates?

Whether filing a car insurance claim makes your premium go up depends on things such as previous claims, the state you live in, and the insurance company’s rules and regulations. Some states allow insurers to add a surcharge to rates after an accident and they typically last 3 to 5 years before decreasing.

You may not realize it but you’re entitled to switch your insurance provider at any time, including while you have an open car insurance claim. Because car insurance companies often raise premiums for drivers who’ve recently been in a collision, making the switch after an accident can end up saving you money. Not to mention, there’s little downside to shopping around for the lowest price.

A Simple Way to Get Multiple Quotes

Even if your rates don’t go up after filing a car insurance claim, when it’s time to renew your policy it’s a great idea to compare quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. SelectQuote makes it easy to compare multiple highly rated insurers and get the insurance coverage you need for the lowest price. 

In just minutes, we match you to multiple reliable carriers who provide accurate, personalized coverage options, rates and discounts all in one easy-to-navigate place. To learn more, contact a licensed SelectQuote agent today

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What are the Benefits of Bundling Home and Auto Insurance

What Impacts the Price You Pay for Auto Insurance

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your Premium Discounts?

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As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to watch any sort of television program without seeing an insurance advertisement at some point. I also have already expressed my views on the commercials that attempt to be cute, so we won’t go there.

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However, while some of the commercials bring up legitimate points regarding discounts that are available, I’ve yet to see one that really explores the breadth of available discounts that are available on homeowner insurance policies. So, let’s go there instead.

For starters, every insurance company offers a package discount. This means you will receive a certain percentage off of your home and/or auto policies by having the same insurance company write the coverage.

Next, there are discounts that are available for various protective devices. This includes discounts for centrally-monitored burglar and/or fire alarms, automatic water shut-off systems, water leakage detection systems, gas leakage protection systems, lightning protection systems, whole house permanent backup generators and more. In short, if you have any type of system in place to prevent a small issue from becoming a large one, check with your independent insurance agent to see if it is eligible for a discount!

Finally, there are discounts that accumulate over time. These include claims-free discounts along with loyalty discounts (insert vinyl record screeching to a stop sound). Yes, that’s right – loyalty discounts! Despite what some insurance companies make you want to believe, changing insurance companies from year to year isn’t always the best way to save premium. Many insurance companies reward their policyholders by giving them loyalty discounts, or in some cases, diminishing deductibles. Therefore, it can certainly pay to remain with the same insurance company for an extended period of time!

While saving money is always a good thing – and I encourage you to explore all of the discounts for which you are eligible – keep in mind that insurance is there for a reason: protection against loss. The cheapest policy isn’t necessarily going to do what you would like it to do when the unthinkable happens and you face financial disaster. As we recently saw with the tornadoes that devastated the greater Dayton area, those who were affected wanted their insurance policies to respond, as cute commercials and cut-rate policies weren’t going to replace everything that was lost.

Take the time to not only review your available discounts with your trusted insurance agent, but review your available coverage options with him or her as well!

Home and Auto Insurance Policy Basics

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Summer is a busy time when people are on the move. But even if you aren’t getting a new address, it’s the perfect time to review home and auto insurance basics to make sure you have the right insurance coverage for you. 

Before you get started, it’s helpful to understand home and auto insurance basics. We’ve outlined them for you below so you will be in-the-know when you talk to your SelectQuote licensed agent. 

Auto Insurance

Comprehensive Coverage

Sometimes accidents happen. Maybe it’s a natural disaster, such as a flood, tornado or earthquake. Or maybe your car was damaged while parked at the store, stolen or vandalized. Whenever damage occurs, such as non-impact physical damage, theft and unoccupied accidents, comprehensive coverage covers your loss

Liability Coverage

Liability only is when a policy only includes coverage for bodily injury liability and property damage liability. It protects the people in the other car when you are at fault. This SQ Blog post has liability requirements for each state so you can figure out how much coverage you will need. 

Collision Coverage

More than 6 million car accidents happen each year in the U.S. The average cost of repair is $7,500. Collision insurance covers the insured’s vehicles losses involving impact. 

Bodily Injury Liability

If you’re found responsible for an accident, this type of coverage pays for the costs associated with the treatment to others. This plan will pay legal and settlement fees if a lawsuit occurs as the result of an accident you caused.

Property Damage Liability

Like bodily injury liability, this type of coverage is in effect when a car accident is your fault. Property damage liability covers parts and labor for car repairs, property inside the other party’s vehicle, and any items that you may have hit. While this plan will also pay certain legal expenses, it does not cover damages to your own vehicle or property

Medical Payments Protection

This insurance pays out regardless of who is at fault in an accident resulting in injuries. It covers medical expenses, and in many cases, lost wages due to injury from a car accident. Whenever damage occurs beyond a driver’s control, comprehensive insurance covers the loss. In most states, it is an optional addition to an auto insurance policy.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection

Covers the cost of repairs to your vehicle and medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have liability insurance. It also covers your costs if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have sufficient coverage to pay for damages to your vehicle or the medical expenses you may incur if you’re injured in the accident

Home Insurance

Dwelling

This type of insurance covers you from damage resulting from a covered hazard, such as fire, wind, lightning, hail, explosions, vandalism and a few other dangers. It helps pay for rebuilding or repair of your dwelling. Any attached or detached structures on your property, like a shed, are also covered.

Contents

This type of policy covers furniture, clothing, sporting goods, electronics and other noted household goods of value that are damaged or destroyed by a covered cause, like a fire or theft/break in. 

Personal Liability

Coverage from lawsuits for property damage or bodily injury that may result from an accident someone has in your home or on your property. This insurance protects you from legal fees and pays court awards that may follow such events.

Additional Living Expenses

If a fire or natural disaster prevents you from staying in your home, additional living expense coverage will help you pay for expenses while away from your home. It can cover items such as your hotel, animal boarding and restaurant meals.

Renters Insurance

Protecting what you own while you rent is valuable, it covers liability, same as a standard homeowners policy. 

And when you bundle both home and auto insurance, you really maximize your savings. When you’re ready to get a new policy or switch from your existing carrier, SelectQuote is here to help you find a plan that will give you the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

Still have questions about home and auto insurance basics? Your licensed SelectQuote agent will work with you to make sure you have the right kind of coverage by shopping multiple highly rated carriers to find the best coverage available at the best price. Contact us today for your free quote

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Does Auto Insurance Cover Items in the Car?

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Auto insurance covers a wide range of things aside from only medical bills and the cost to repair your car. It also covers a range of items within your car, both specific and named, and those items that you may have in your car when you are driving around. For those that live in the Dripping Springs, TX area, the agents with Ty Lawrence Insurance Agency can help you find the policy that protects your car and the things you drive around with.

For the most part, your auto policy is going to lean heavy on the side of insuring things like the car itself and covering the medical bills of those involved in an accident. It does, however, cover some other things too that you may not even realize. If you have car seats inside your car, for instance, your auto policy will help with the cost of replacing those car seats so that any children riding with you have new, accident-free seats. Your auto policy may also cover things like purses and expensive items you are carrying in your car at the time of an accident.

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Say for instance you have just been to an expensive shop and you have the items you purchased in the car with you. The car catches on fire and everything is destroyed, your auto policy will help with the cost of replacing some of those items. It is important to note that auto policies have a certain cap of sorts on the price of contents unless you can prove that there was something in the car that was destroyed. This means you cannot simply claim you had a $200,000 watch in the car that was destroyed without some sort of proof.

For those in the Dripping Springs, TX area, the agents with Ty Lawrence Insurance Agency can help you find the policy that fits all your needs.

Everything You Need to Know About Bundling Home and Car Insurance

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Doesn’t the word “bundle” just make you feel cozy? Being all bundled up next to a roaring fire. Rocking your little bundle of joy. And there’s another bundle that can evoke that wonderful feeling … and that’s a home and car insurance bundle. Not sure if it’s for you? Here are five things you might not know about home and car insurance bundles, so that you can determine whether or not it jibes with you.

1. You can save money.

Not to brag, but we offer savings for customers who trust us with all their things. Esurance offers a multiple-policy discount — in states where we offer both car and home insurance. You can check out whether your state is part of the fun here.

2. Less. Paperwork.

We all know what a hassle it is to fill out multiple forms, set up multiple accounts, and make sure that you have all your bills paid when needed. Going with one insurer lets you simplify your life — making insurance surprisingly painless. It means having just one online account and knowing that one single company is at your beck and call.

3. In some circumstances, you’ll only have to pay one deductible.

What feels more painful than paying a deductible when something goes awry? Paying 2 deductibles. And yep, there absolutely can be incidents where both your car and home are involved in an incident. Like your teen accidentally hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake and cratering your garage door. Or, a freak storm riddling both your house and car with hail damage. If your insurance is bundled, then voila … you’re only paying the out-of-pocket deductible once before insurance kicks in.

4. You can keep the flexibility you need.

We get it: Your needs can change. Maybe you used to travel for work all the time so you added in rental car coverage, and now you’re sticking closer to home. Or maybe you were a renter, and now you’re a proud homeowner who needs an extra bump of coverage. Even with a home and car insurance bundle, you can make changes to your policy, subject to terms and conditions. But remember, if you decide to drop one part of the bundle, the savings and simplicity may go with it. So be sure to talk carefully about any changes with your insurer.

5. But … make sure bundles have quality coverage.

There’s always a “but” isn’t there? But this one is just a cautionary tale that you should be investigating anyway. And that’s realizing that not all companies’ bundles are created equal. For example, some might provide top-notch automobile coverage, but their home coverage is more sparse. That could leave you in the financial lurch after a claim.

At Esurance, quality coverage means quantity savings for both home and auto. For a bundled quote, give us a call today at 1-844-822-0488 … and find out how we’re making insurance surprisingly painless.

Car insurance 101 | Homeowners 101

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Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she’s not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.

16 Uh-oh Scenarios and the Auto Coverage that Might Apply

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We’ve all been there. Walking out to your parked car, you find it’s been side-swiped (and there’s no note!). Or driving on the highway, a pebble cracks the windshield. First thought: Will my car insurance cover this?

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There are 2 basic forms of coverage. First, you have liability, which is required in most states. It helps pay for the other guy’s bodily injuries or property damage if you’re found at fault. Second is coverage for your car.  Comprehensive insurance, for example, covers your car for stuff that’s not a “collision.” Things that are out of your control such as severe weather or your car getting stolen. Collision insurance covers your car for, well, collisions. Like if you slide into a telephone pole or accidentally rear-end someone.  

Let’s paint a clearer picture … check out these 16 Uh-oh scenarios and the auto coverage that apply.

  1. A dead tree limb falls on your car — Comprehensive.
  2. You hit a fallen tree limb — Collision.
  3. You accidentally hit a cyclist — Bodily injury liability.
  4. Oh dear. You hit a deer — Comprehensive. (Trick question! This is one type of “crash” covered by Comp.)
  5. A pesky pebble on the highway majorly cracks your windshield — Comprehensive.
  6. Rude. Someone keys your car — Comprehensive.
  7. You see that your car’s been dinged by someone’s door in the parking lot — Collision … Wait, why collision? Well, because the damage was caused by another car, some insurers … like Esurance … consider it “collision damage.” After all, their door did collide with your car.  
  8. Car gets rolled over during a protest — Comprehensive.
  9. A bear ransacks your car looking for snacks — Comprehensive.
  10. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature. A hailstorm ruins your paint job — Comprehensive.
  11. You sneeze while driving and crash into a fence — Property damage liability (for their fence) and Collision (for your car).
  12. You hit black ice and roll your car — Collision.
  13. You back out of a parking space and hit a car driving past, injuring the driver — Property damage liability.
  14. You have a seizure while driving and rear-end another car — Liability and Collision.
  15. What are the chances? Your car is struck by lightning — Comprehensive.
  16. Your car is charred in a forest fire – Comprehensive. 

If you’re hurt

In many of these scenarios, you or a passenger may get injured. But having the right coverages can make a trying situation WAY easier to bear … like Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Depending on your state, either can help foot medical bills for you and your passengers — no matter who’s at fault. They can even step in if you’re struck by a car as a pedestrian. 

If you’re stuck

After an accident, if you need a tow or just aren’t savvy with a jack, Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) can be a lifesaver. And once you’re towed to the auto shop, Rental Coverage can help pay for a temporary set of wheels while your car’s being repaired.

Get a quote

There are A LOT of coverages and it can feel downright painful finding ones that are right for you — without breaking the bank. But an auto quote from Esurance can help you do just that. We’ll ask you questions and suggest car insurance coverage types based on your answers. Start a quote with Esurance … and find out how we’re making insurance surprisingly painless.  

Car insurance 101

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Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.

Customized Insurance Coverage Is No Laughing Matter

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My morning routine includes watching the local news while ironing my clothes so that I can look presentable to both the public and my coworkers. Several days ago, I was in the middle of this routine when the newscast cut to a commercial break. Of course, as is expected, the commercial lineup included an auto insurance ad featuring sophomoric humor.

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For reasons unknown, the commercial from this unnamed insurance company agitated me and, of course, my wife walked into the bedroom right as the situation began to unfold. I turned to her as the commercial came to a sad conclusion that made the idea of customized insurance coverage out to be some sort of novel concept.

“Why do auto insurance commercials try to be funny?” I asked her. She raised her eyebrows in anticipation, clearly knowing that I was about to go on a rant. “Auto insurance is a serious matter. Do you see health insurance companies using funny advertisements??? I don’t think so. Would laughing about health issues make people want to buy health insurance from a particular company?”

Her eyebrows were still raised and she quietly responded with a “nope.” Clearly the wheels were turning in her head, as she wasn’t sure if she should run out of the room right then and there or if I was almost finished with my mini-tirade.

“Will people be laughing if they don’t have proper auto insurance coverage when they get into an accident and either there isn’t enough insurance or the claim is denied altogether?”

That sealed the deal. She mumbled another “no” and quietly left me to finish ironing my shirt.

I shook my head in disgust (at the commercial of course, and not the fact my wife left the room) and began thinking about this topic. Yes, some auto insurance commercials are actually funny and incorporate real-life claims scenarios that can occur. Others are just plain silly and have nothing to do with auto insurance whatsoever.

This made me wonder why it became acceptable to make a mockery out of such a serious product that repairs our cars when they are damaged in collisions and pays medical bills for those who are injured in accidents.

While I don’t have the answer to this question – or the previous questions I asked my wife – what I do know is this: the value of an independent insurance agent cannot be underestimated. He or she will take the time to learn about your personal insurance needs and, when appropriate, will offer coverages that aren’t always mentioned on commercials. This may include full glass coverage with no deductible, gap coverage, and repair or replacement coverage for brand new cars.

Customized auto insurance coverage isn’t a new concept by any means. And it certainly isn’t a laughing matter. However, most consumers aren’t insurance professionals and don’t know what they need or what is even offered to customize their auto coverage. That’s why we independent insurance agents are here! Call your local independent agent to learn more!

For more on personal auto coverage, watch Insurance 101: Personal Auto Coverages.

The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

Are You Ready for Your Road Trip This Summer?

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Going anywhere the road takes you is just one benefit of having an RV. So many places including beaches, resorts, and camp grounds have an area for RVs to the park. It’s much more cost friendly than renting a hotel for a few nights. However, it’s important you know how to prep for your upcoming road trip, which includes getting the necessary RV insurance from Ty Lawrence Insurance Agency, serving Dripping Springs, TX and the surrounding area. 

Call Around for Locations of RV Hookups

Before you just decide you want to go to a specific place, you should conduct a search for locations in the area with RV hookups. You’ll want to know about what the site offers to make sure it includes everything you’ll need to stay there. 

Prepare Your RV 

You don’t want to break down while you’re on the road. Therefore, you should inspect your vehicle thoroughly before going on a trip. Make sure you change the oil, so you don’t experience your RV overheating while you’re trying to enjoy your vacation. You also want to take a look at your tires. You want to make sure they have enough tread on them, so you’re not at risk for them popping on the highway. Additionally, it’s important to check the air on all the tires.

Packing the RV

You obviously want to pack all the clothes you need for the trip and even some extra. Just in case you would break down, you may want to bring along extra money or a credit card to ensure you can get home safely. 

You need to have insurance on your vehicle just like you would if you were driving a car or truck. Call Ty Lawrence Insurance Agency, serving Dripping Springs, TX and the surrounding area today for a quote.