Buying a Used Car for the Family? Here are a few Tips

You’ve decided to invest in a new vehicle for your family, but you already know going to the lot and buying a brand new one is not an option. Good news is that you can easily go to the lot and buy a used car for much cheaper, and they often feature the exact same technology used in today’s latest cars.  Not only will buying used help lower your insurance premiums, but it will also lead to a lower monthly car payment than you would have if you purchased new.

The first thing you’ll want to think about when buying a car for the family is the amount of seating it has. After all, if you have four or more kiddos, your vehicle options will include vans, trucks, and SUVs.  After you have decided how many seats you want the car to have, you can then move on to taking into account the safety features.  Some of the best are:

  • Adaptive headlights
  • Adaptive cruising
  • Air bags

You will also find it helpful to conduct a bit of online research before you head out car shopping.  Asking friends, family, and co-workers for their recommendations on buying a car can also be valuable to the buying process. The more information and reviews you read about the cars you’re thinking about buying, the better.

If you have any questions about buying new or used, including inquiries about insurance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to LG Insurance Group in Marietta, GA today. With a qualified agent on the other end of the phone, you can take comfort in knowing you’re being provided sound advice.

Does your Personal Auto Insurance Extend to Rental Cars?

2013 Fall 033Generally speaking, the answer to this question is yes.  Of course, nothing can ever be as simple as yes or no, so there are key considerations as well as exceptions to this answer.

First, the broadest coverage on your auto insurance is what will apply to a rental vehicle.  So, if you do not have Comprehensive or Collision coverage on any of your insured vehicles, then these coverages will not extend to a rental vehicle.

Second, the vehicle you are renting needs to be considered a private passenger auto.  Typically, this would exclude any commercial vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, boats, etc.  So the next time you rent a U-Haul truck for moving across town, you should add their insurance coverage.

Third, there are territorial restrictions on your auto policy.  Most auto policies will cover you while you are in the United States or Canada.  However, outside of these countries, your auto policy will not apply.

Fourth, for your personal auto policy to extend coverage, then the vehicle needs to be rented for personal use, and not business use.  If you need to rent a vehicle due to your job or for any business reason, your employer or a business auto policy would need to extend coverage to your rented vehicle.

Lastly, of course, always check with your insurance agent or carrier.  Each company has a slightly unique policy so you want to ensure you are covered before you start driving the rental vehicle.

So what if you run into one of the exceptions and your auto policy will not extend to a rental vehicle?  Here are some possible alternatives to explore.

First, research your credit cards.  Many credit car companies offer a benefit to provide auto insurance to a rental vehicle if you use their card to pay for it.  Be sure to call your credit car company for their exact requirements and specifications before you rent the vehicle.  For example, if you are traveling to Ireland, the insurance requirements are more unique than in other countries, so only a limited number of credit car companies offer coverage necessary to cover rentals there.

Second, consider travel insurance.  Travel insurance providers can include rental vehicle insurance as part of their overall coverage package.

Finally, you always have the option of purchasing the insurance directly from the rental car company.  Though we would all like to avoid the additional hefty fees for this, there will be times when this may be your only option.

Northern Exposure: Is Road Rage Different By Region?

Unfortunately, the Southern hospitality that our region is known for does not extend to the road.  According to a study by AutoVantage , Atlanta was the only city to be in the top 5 cities for the highest incident of road rage in 2013 as well as 2014.  We earned the angry driver reputation by being most likely to hit another vehicle on purpose, as well as being home to the most speeders and tailgaters.

Motorists all over the nation are at risk to be the victim of a road rage incident.  The study did find that road rage was not specific to one region of the country, though links can be found to heavy congestion and long drives.  These occurrences are becoming more and more common and more and more dangerous. As smart drivers, it is imperative that we do not let an instance of being cut off by an over-zealous driver escalate to a life or death stand-off.

Quiet as it is kept the overwhelming majority of us have engaged in some level of this deadly culprit. Whether it be a glare, a toot on the horn or a menacing tail for a few seconds many of us have found ourselves on the offensive within a road rage engagement. Add the inclement weather variables for the northern part of the country and the elixir can be toxic.

The overall slower pace and courteous gestures that make the South noteworthy needs to transition to our road manners. The line is drawn here at the outset, and the road rage door cannot be opened. You never know what someone else has gone through in that day, and it is safer to chalk the encounter up to the great stroke of luck that no one was injured.

Knowing that you are fully insured is a load off that helps to keep all motor vehicle encounters in the proper light. So even if an accident occurs you are covered. Consulting with the knowledgeable staff at LG Insurance Group is a great step in the right direction. Serving Marietta GA as well as all of northern metro Atlanta with valuable insurance packages for Personal, Life, Home and Auto we have your peace of mind at our fingertips.

Drivers, Local Authorities Deal with Tough Winter’s Potholes

Trusted Choice® survey shows about 50% of U.S. car owners report vehicle pothole damage.    

Poor road conditions have cost consumers and the insurance industry at least $27 billion over a five year period, according to a 2014 survey commissioned by Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”). The survey also reveals that from 2009 to 2014 half of car owners experienced damage to their vehicles as a result of potholes. As millions of Americans encounter potholes as the rough winter wraps, Trusted Choice® urges drivers to be cautious now and as repairs continue.

The snow, ice and freezing rain during the rough winter months left their mark on our roads in metro Atlanta and across the country.  Severe potholes have led to accidents which may impact insurance rates, as premiums are determined by past claims, accidents and driving violations. Potholes and poor road conditions aren’t just an inconvenience, they are an expensive and dangerous result of harsh winters.

The pothole survey also found that 31% of car owners who reported pothole damage to their vehicles filed a claim with their insurance company. A surprising 65% of respondents who needed repairs said they (or a third party) paid out of pocket for the vehicle to be fixed. Only about 3% said local authorities stepped in to foot the bill. For about 40% of respondents, that bill was more than $500.

This survey highlights how widespread the pothole problem is on our roadways and that the costs are enormous to both the insurance industry and to consumers.  And now, local authorities are struggling to keep up with the extensive road repairs.

While motorists in the Midwest, Northeast and North Central regions of the country reported the most pothole damage, surprisingly the numbers were not that different even in the Southern and Western regions which typically experience milder winters.

Trusted Choice® independent agents offer the following tips to motorists to help avoid costly damage from potholes and stay safe as they hit the roads after a tough winter:

Pothole safety tips:

  • Keep an eye on traffic patterns. A number of cars that slows down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.
  • Avoid the urge to swerve out of the way of a pothole at the last minute. You may swerve into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Risking damage to your car is wiser than risking the loss of your life or that of another person.
  • Report potholes to your state or local transportation department. Some states and localities have pothole hotlines. Motorists who think their state or local government will pay for damage to their cars may be out of luck. Laws in this area vary by jurisdiction and, even where such remedies are available, conditions may apply such as a requirement that the jurisdiction had notice of the pothole.
  • If you hit a pothole and suspect damage, pull over as soon as it is safe. If you notice damage, record details and specific damage—just as you would in the event of a collision with another motorist—in case you need to file an insurance claim.
  • Check in at least annually with your independent insurance agent to ensure that you have the right coverage.

The pothole survey was conducted for Trusted Choice® and the Big “I” by MFour Mobile Research, Inc. using MFour’s Surveys on the Go® Smartphone Application Panel which includes Apple and Android mobile device users. MFour is an independent research company headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. Interviews of a nationally representative sample of 2,565 U.S. car owners were conducted in June 2014 and weighted by age and gender to represent the general U.S. population over age 18. More information about MFour can be obtained at www.mfour.com.

How long do you have to add a newly purchased car to your auto insurance?

Generally speaking, most insurers provide either 14 or 30 days, for a current policyholder to notify them of a newly purchased vehicle.  This coverage extension, however, only applies for the broadest coverage which is applicable to one of your currently insured vehicles.  Therefore, if none of your vehicles currently have physical damage coverages (comprehensive and/or collision), then you should be sure to notify your insurer before you drive that brand new car off the dealer’s lot.

The majority of policyholders do have at least one vehicle with physical damage coverage, so then you can rest easy if you make that new purchase over a weekend and wait until the next business day to notify your insurer.

Since you have up to 30 days to notify  your insurer, does this mean you should wait this long?  No.  First, all insurers have slightly different policies.  There have been smaller or regional companies that may only give you 3 days to notify them of a new purchase.  Second, if given proper notice, your insurer should add the vehicle as of the purchase date, otherwise, you could receive a penalty from your lender or your State for being uninsured.  So, you will not save any money by delaying the notification.  Finally, it is always best to avoid the more complicated scenario of having an accident or loss with a car that your insurer has not yet added to the policy.

Knowing Your Rights Abroad

LG Insurance Group can help you to get coverage for driving in the US, and there are insurance providers out there who can even offer liability on rental cars when you’re overseas. However, you will also need to learn how to navigate the legal realities of visiting another country. Most importantly, you need to know your rights should you be ticketed, fined or even arrested.

Know How to Contact the US Embassy

Make a note of the address and phone number of the US Embassy hosted by your destination. Do this before you arrive. If you get into trouble, the US Embassy is there to help. Visit the US Embassy once you arrive, learn the names of the people you’ll need to talk to if you get into trouble, and get a list of English speaking lawyers in the area.

The First Amendment is Not Universal

In Ethiopia, a journalist is currently spending eighteen years in jail for speaking out against the government’s detainment of suspected terrorists. If you get a ticket or are fined or have other legal issues, you might want to be careful about how, when, and to whom you choose to speak out unless you know that you’re staying somewhere where you are allowed to criticize the government and law enforcement.

Nobody Wants an International Incident

If you feel that you are being mistreated by your host country’s government over a minor traffic violation, the next best thing to the US Embassy is the global media. People who are subjected to abuse by foreign governments are usually people who are seen as political opponents, you’re not likely to be targeted for rights violations because you didn’t use your turn signal. But, if a situation gets out of hand, using the media to draw attention to your situation may benefit you.

So You Need (or Want) to Take a Defensive Driving Course

Whether you were caught speeding (or worse), you’re looking for a discount on your car insurance, or you simply want to be a better driver, there are a wide range of defensive driving and driver improvement courses available in Georgia these days.

 

But, which is right for you? Here are five tips to help you decide:

 

  1. Check with your state or municipality. If you’re taking training to avoid a traffic infraction, not just any course will do. You’ll need to take an approved course – ask for a list before signing up.

 

  1. Check with your insurer. The same goes if you’d like to potentially save on your car insurance. Your carrier may only offer a car insurance discount for completing certain courses. Also ask how much your discount will be — this will help when it comes time to choose a course.

 

  1. Choose the type of course. There are online and classroom options, typically ranging from 4-12 hours depending on the course material. And, there are advantages to each. Online courses offer convenience (and sometimes a lower cost), while in-person settings can provide more interaction.

 

  1. Determine how much you want to spend. If you’re trying to avoid a ticket (and a potential increase in your insurance premiums), the cost might not be much of an issue. If you’re taking a course to receive an insurance discount, however, make sure the total discount you’ll receive is greater than the cost of the course.

 

  1. Check out the reviews. Online review sites, such as Yelp, can show you what others thought of a course. Keep in mind, people who felt “forced” to take a course might have a biased opinion, especially compared to someone who took the course willingly.

 

No matter why you’re considering a defensive driving course, we’re happy to help you weigh the pros and cons. The biggest pro being, once you complete your training, you’re likely to be a little more careful the next time you get behind the wheel. And, that always pays off!

Night Driving Dangers

A little extra caution can go a long way while driving at night

Summer has ended, and while fall and winter have their own pleasures — including high school or college football games — longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.

You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).

Because we’re big advocates for safety at LG Insurance Group, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at why night driving is more dangerous, and what you can do to decrease that danger.

What’s dangerous about night driving?
1. Decreased vision. We won’t go into all the biological details, but different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.
2. Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.
3. Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.

So what do you do?
Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip — whether you’re just running to the store, or you’re headed all the way to the Georgia mountains.
1. Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
2. Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
3. Be more aware of your surroundings. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway — and distractions are even more deadly at night.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!

(Content provided by Safeco Insurance)

How To Look For Hit & Run Coverage On Car Insurance

Hit and run accidents are always the worst. Someone hits you and then they run off, leaving you to deal with everything. When you’re in Georgia, there are some precautions you can take on your auto insurance to minimize what you would pay out of pocket.

When you look for coverage, you want to have what the state requires, as well as a few other forms of coverage.

Uninsured Motorist

Uninsured Motorist coverage applies if another party hits you that does not have insurance, or if a verifiable at-fault party leaves the scene of an accident. Uninsured Motorist is a no-fault coverage which includes separate limits for both bodily injury and property damage. The bodily injury will cover medical bills for you and your passengers while the property damage can cover issues with your car as well as any other property that may have been damaged as a result of the accident.

If you are involved in a hit and run accident, if at all possible, attain as much information as you can from the scene of the accident.  This includes documenting a license plate number from other vehicle(s), attaining names and contact information for all witnesses at the scene and getting a police report.  It is also important to take multiple pictures of the accident scene.

Collision Coverage

Collision is another form of optional coverage, though if you are leasing a car or it has not been paid in full, the finance company may require this form of coverage anyway. If you don’t want to pay for the repairs of the car on your own, this is the coverage that is likely going to pay for all of the repairs.

At LG Insurance Group, we are committed to helping protect against hit and runs and more. Call today to learn how one of our agents can help you find a policy for auto insurance that you can count on in Marrietta.