Because there are so many companies selling car insurance, sorting through all the choices to find the right policy for you and your family can be a challenging task. With each carrier claiming to offer the best value, it's easy to feel confused. At first glance, all of the policies may look the same, but there are important differences you may need to consider. Your goal should be to find one that includes all the benefits you need at a competitive price.
Follow these four steps for finding the best car insurance policy for you:
1. Determine the Level of Coverage You Need
The cheapest policy may not be the one you need. Inexpensive plans may not provide collision coverage, which pays to fix your own car following an accident. They may not offer comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your car not caused by auto accidents, such as natural disasters, theft or vandalism.
The nonprofit Insurance Information Institute notes that all states except New Hampshire require property and bodily injury liability coverage.1 A policy that offers only the minimum amount of liability protection required by law may save you money, but it probably won't cover the legal claims that can stem from serious accidents involving property damage or injuries.
Remember that not everyone's insurance needs are the same. For example, if you're leasing a car, you may need gap insurance. If the car is totaled, gap insurance covers the difference between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the outstanding balance on your lease.
2. Review the Financial Health of Car Insurers
Everyone wants a good deal on their auto insurance policy, but low rates won't do you any good if the company you choose isn't around to pay its claims.
Each ratings agency uses its own standards for evaluating insurance companies and their financial health.
3. Compare Several Car Insurance Quotes
You can shop for insurance working directly with insurance agents. A report says getting multiple quotes is important because prices for the same level of coverage vary greatly.3 That happens because insurance prices are based on risk. Each carrier has its own formula for measuring the policyholder's risk for filing claims.
Some insurers rely heavily on insurance scores to determine how likely policyholders are to file claims. Other companies may give more weight to the type of car you drive and how expensive it would be to repair following an accident.
Where you live also can be a factor in determining what you pay for car insurance. If your ZIP code has a higher-than-average rate of car accidents, your insurance costs could be higher.
4. Ask About Discounts
Many insurance companies offer discounts, notes. If you have a teen with good grades on your auto policy, he or she may qualify for a reduced insurance rate. Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who meet annual low-mileage thresholds or take driver education classes. If your car has an anti-theft device, that also could qualify you for a discount.
Be sure to ask to request a list of all available discounts. It could make a big difference in how much you pay for your policy.
Find Out the Benefits of an Annual Check-In
Do you have the right amount of property coverage?
This question is an important one to ask each year. Life changes and the passage of time can affect the cost of rebuilding your home or replacing your vehicle.
Want to make sure you’d be covered in the case of an unexpected event? Take a quick look at these examples and reach out if you’d like to check in.
Say you’ve been driving since you were 16 and have never needed to file a claim. Then, one day you accidentally hit a pole in a parking lot in a moment of distraction.
Even a minor incident like this could end up causing thousands of dollars in damage. If you have collision coverage with a manageable deductible as well as rental car coverage, you’ll most likely end up facing far less financial strain than if you were underinsured.
Here’s another example: Imagine that an ongoing lumber shortage has increased homebuilding costs by thousands of dollars. If a natural disaster were to severely damage your home, you want to make sure your policy would cover the rebuilding costs no matter what.
Upcoming or Recent Changes
Remember, life events like getting married, moving, gaining or losing income, and when a teen starts driving can all affect your coverage needs and options. Knowing you have the right policy can help bring peace of mind as well as better financial security.
As 2021 gets going, reach out to make sure you’re adequately covered this year.
Send me a Home Insurance Quote Cape Cod Massachusetts -How to Get the Most Out of Your Car
Whether your car is brand new or getting up there in mileage, you probably want it to keep running smoothly for as long as possible.
You already know that maintenance tasks, driving habits and more can all affect your vehicle’s overall health. But are you doing everything you can?
Here are a few obvious and not-so-obvious ways you can give your car the attention it needs to keep you safe and comfortable for another few years of driving.
1. Stick to the right maintenance schedule.
Regular maintenance, including basic oil changes and brake, fluid and filter checkups, can help keep your vehicle running strong. Your trusted mechanic and your owner’s manual can help you follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
2. Avoid short trips.
Frequent, short drives may not give your engine a chance to reach optimal operating temperature and can be hard on your vehicle. When you can, group your errands and other short trips as much as possible.
3. Keep it clean.
Help protect your car’s interior and exterior from wear and decay by cleaning both regularly. Remember, the tires and undercarriage should also be washed regularly to prevent corrosion and other issues.
4. Practice smart driving habits.
Everyday careful driving can also go a long way toward prolonging the life of your car. Follow the speed limit, avoid sudden braking and acceleration, and of course, avoid distracted driving.
5. Stay observant.
Use your senses to look out for anything out of the ordinary and be sure to follow up with your mechanic if you notice any strange sounds, smells or problems with your tires.
Have questions about your vehicle coverage or anything else? Reach out anytime.
The economic shifts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic likely mean that your business has changed; it may have shrunk or grown substantially since the onset. This may mean changes in operations, staffing and transportation schedules, all of which may change again as social distancing restrictions ease and your business returns to a new normal. Whether you transport cargo or have employees driving regularly for work, some adjustments are likely as you respond to the crisis and adapt to new ways of doing business.
One of the most important things you can do is to engage your employees in the process of restoring operations. Review employee standard operating procedures (SOP). As needed, update procedures, including your employee handbook. Provide training to employee groups on new SOP and include supervisors in the training. Reinforce any new SOP through ongoing supervisory communication and utilize existing corrective action programs to ensure compliance. Consider organizing a COVID response committee, which can help connect management and employees to gather feedback on coordinating both reopening and future concerns.
Before operations ramp up, make sure you review any instructions or requirements from state or local authorities that may be applicable to your business. If reopening, you may want to consider a thorough disinfection of your facility and any tools, vehicles or equipment that are used by your employees. Be sure to include desks, washrooms and break rooms. Product to be delivered may need to be sanitized as well. Consider establishing a program to continue an ongoing cleaning and disinfecting process.
Consider a process for wellness checks and procedures for employees reporting or displaying signs of illness. Work with legal counsel to make sure you are complying with laws and regulations related to employees' health and privacy. Develop social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) policies, taking into consideration state and local public health guidance and overall employee safety.
Consider limiting visitors to your facility.
Driving and Transportation
Just as it is important to disinfect your facility, be sure to clean and disinfect all vehicles. This includes cleaning between shifts and drivers. Make disinfecting supplies available to your drivers and vehicle maintenance staff, and stock these supplies in every vehicle.
Your pool of drivers has likely changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. If commercial drivers were furloughed or laid off, review the hiring requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to determine if new applications or drug and alcohol testing are required. Many organizations are revisiting hiring decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure new drivers meet company hiring standards.
Carefully review staffing levels as your operational pace increases. While it may be tempting to try to do more with fewer drivers, over time, fatigued drivers can lead to increased motor vehicle crashes and workplace injuries.
Customer or Delivery Sites
Coordinate safe work practices with your customers before beginning deliveries. Ask about changes to delivery procedures or physical controls at locations where you make deliveries. Work with each customer and supplier to establish a new practice that can help limit contact between delivery employees and customers' employees. For example, delivery employees may need access to a safe waiting area or restrooms within a customer's facility. Also, there will likely be a shift to e-signatures over wet signatures for delivery confirmations. Make sure employees are trained in new delivery practices.
Review routine activities, such as updates to licensing, certification renewals or medical screenings, that may not have been completed as normally required. Revisit any scheduled training or maintenance on vehicles or equipment that may have lapsed.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to review and update policies for cleaning and disinfecting your facility, equipment and vehicles. It is recommended that you increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, which may include door pushes, handles, touchpads, elevator buttons, faucets, sinks and electronic devices, as well as common areas, such as entryways, lobbies, hallways and restrooms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers steps for properly cleaning and disinfecting facilities.
If infected persons have been in your facility, the CDC provides additional considerations:
How to Clean and Disinfect
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
Non-porous surfaces should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
When cleaning and disinfecting soft (porous) surfaces like carpets, drapes and other woven fabrics, first clean these surfaces with soap and water or other suitable cleaners. Avoid shaking drapes to make sure you do not make the virus airborne. Then, if possible, launder these items following the manufacturer’s directions. When laundering items, use the warmest water setting appropriate for the items and dry completely. Otherwise, use EPA-registered disinfectants for SARS-CoV-2 for porous surfaces.
Clean and disinfect electronics regularly, especially if they have been used by an infected person. Electronic devices may include cell phones, tablets, touchscreens, keyboards, remote controls and ATMs. Remember to focus on frequently touched surfaces. When cleaning and disinfecting electronics – both shared and personal – follow the manufacturer’s instructions on appropriate products to use. If there are no cleaning and disinfecting guidelines provided by the manufacturer, consider using disinfectant products such as wipes or sprays with at least 70 percent alcohol.
Develop and consistently follow cleaning and disinfection procedures for vehicles, with a focus on commonly touched surfaces. Conduct these procedures at the beginning and end of each driver’s shift. Maintain adequate ventilation of the vehicle while cleaning and disinfecting. Refer to the sections on PPE and hand hygiene below.
Wash or sanitize hands immediately after cleaning and disinfecting, removing gloves or other PPE, or coming into contact with an infected person. To thoroughly wash hands, use soap and water for 20 seconds. When washing hands is not possible, and as long as hands are not visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer made of at least 60 percent alcohol. Other key times to clean hands are after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or using the restroom; prior to preparing food or eating; or after public visits or interactions.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
It is important to develop and implement procedures and policies that address the use of PPE.
What should you keep in your car?
Are you taking a road trip this winter? Do you just need an excuse to get rid of all the random stuff that has accumulated in the trunk and backseat?
Here’s a weekend project idea: Clear out anything you don’t need and stock your car with a few actually useful items instead.
Whether you buy a premade emergency kit or gather a few things separately, here’s what to consider tossing into your trunk as a way to stay prepared and safe on the road.
Flashlight or Headlamp
A light source is great to have when you break down in the dark. With a headlamp, you can keep your hands free while changing a tire or checking under the hood.
First-Aid and Comfort Supplies
Band-Aids and other first-aid tools can be useful anytime, not just in an emergency. A blanket can protect you while on the ground working on your car. It can also provide warmth if your vehicle breaks down in cold weather. If you have kids, water and snacks will come in handy while waiting for a tow truck.
Stay safe on the side of the road with reflective triangles, flares, a fire extinguisher and a multipurpose tool like a pocket knife.
Keep working jumper cables in your trunk to help revive your own vehicle’s dead battery or someone else’s.
Portable Phone Charger
If your car battery dies, you won’t be able to charge your cell phone in your vehicle’s USB port or cigarette lighter. Keep a functioning portable charger just in case.
Have questions about your coverage or anything else? Reach out and we’ll be happy to help.
Have you ever looked over a vehicle repair estimate and felt a sinking feeling in your stomach?
Maybe you have reason to believe that something isn’t right, but due to a lack of knowledge, there’s not much you can do about it.
Is it possible to avoid this moment altogether?
There are lots of trustworthy mechanics out there, so you just have to find one. Here are a few tips for connecting with someone reliable.
Ask for Recommendations
While online reviews can be helpful to your decision-making process, they shouldn’t be the only factor. Ask friends, family, co-workers and neighbors if they’re happy with their current mechanic.
Check for Certifications
Many reputable mechanics have been certified by particular vehicle manufacturers or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Ask the shop if they have any certified mechanics on staff and check the website or waiting area for any other licenses or certifications.
Be an Active Participant
Show up informed about the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle as well as any major repairs you’ve already completed. This will help your mechanic be the best possible partner to you. It will also alert you to any red flags, such as a recommendation for a repair that you just had done.
You also want a mechanic who is willing to answer your questions and explain why a repair is needed. The best technicians can also tell you when the repair isn’t urgent but should be completed within a specific timeframe.
Have questions about your insurance coverage? Reach out anytime.
More than 40,000 Americans died on the roads in 2016, the most significant increase in deaths over a two-year period in more than 50 years.1 Whether someone you love has been known to text and drive, or you have found yourself distracted behind the wheel, these tips can help avoid dangerous activity on the road.
If a repair is urgent, use these safety guidelinesUnless your car needs repairs immediately, skip the shop — at least in the short term.
That's the advice of Pat Carroll, M.D., chief medical officer of the San Francisco–based telemedicine platform Hims and Hers.
"This pandemic is a significant and serious health concern,” he said. “As people are postponing their own routine health care, you should most definitely postpone routine car care."
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Of course, some vehicle maintenance can't wait. To determine if yours can, call your repair shop and ask, says James Garnand, owner of Hi-Tech Car Care in Phoenix and president of the Network of Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals. “The service technician can also explain how you might be able to make a simple repair yourself,” he says. “We appreciate your interest and would like to help you."
How to keep the virus at bayBut you can protect yourself if you need service because of a coolant leak, faulty battery or other serious malfunction. Don't rely entirely on the quick-service centers, even those that work under your car from pits, suggests Brian Haggerty, owner of Cross Island Collision in Floral Park, New York. Ask before you go. “If you don't have to get out of your car, then that's great,” he says. “I think they do want to drive the cars in themselves. They don't let you do that due to liability."
Need roadside assistance?
Many towing companies are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Expect tow truck operators to wear gloves and masks; they'll expect you to do the same. But prepare for the worst before you get behind the wheel.
• Keep antiseptic wipes, gloves and a mask in your car.
• Assume you won't get a ride home from the tow truck driver.
• Ask the towing company to help you arrange for transportation home if you don't have it.
• Wash your hands and face as soon as you can afterward.
"Caution is the operative word,” says Patrick Carroll, M.D., chief medical officer of the San Francisco–based telemedicine platform Hims and Hers. “It's probably a time in our lives when it's good to be a little bit obsessive-compulsive and just assume that [the virus] is deposited in a lot of the hard surfaces."
Even if you find a shop that allows you to drive in and out, Haggerty recommends wearing gloves and a mask. And make sure the technician does the same. Roll the window down only slightly to pay, and disinfect your credit card before you put it away.
No matter what shop you frequent, Haggerty, Garnand and other experts suggest the following precautions.
Follow CDC guidelines and expect others to do so.
“Wear a mask and gloves, and choose a facility that will [mandate employees] do the same,” Haggerty says. “Call and ask if the facility is doing that. We only greet customers when we have gloves and masks on. And we do six feet of social distancing."
Don't touch unsanitized items.
Keys and paperwork are dropped onto counters and sanitized before Haggerty's customers touch them.
Make sure the repair shop sanitizes your car.
"Do not be afraid of asking, ‘How did you make sure my vehicle is safe?’ “ Garnand says. Even better, ask technicians to disinfect the car while you watch.
Wipe down your car, too. Don't rely on others, Haggerty recommends. Disinfect your vehicle even if the technician did so.
Clean hidden spots. Wipe down dashboards, gear shifts, seat belts and any other exposed surface, advises Ragina C. Ali, public and government affairs manager at Wilmington, Delaware–based AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Although cleaning is vital, take care not to use alcohol or bleach on leather or vinyl, she warns, as it could crack and discolor your seats and steering wheel. Check your owner's manual for products that thoroughly but safely clean car surfaces. The Environmental Protection Agency also has a list of criteria for effective cleaning products.
Stay alert at the pumpCustomers with vehicles in service bays aren't the only ones who could be exposed to the coronavirus; rather, those who perform routine actions, such as pumping their own gas, increase their risk of infection.
"Assume that all the surfaces have droplets,” Carroll says. “You should wear protective gloves. If you can, [use a disinfectant] to wipe down the pump surface and handle.” Also, take care not to let your hair or clothes come in contact with the gas pump, he says.
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"Those are portals of entry for the virus,” Carroll explains. “As soon as you get home, thoroughly wash your hands, your hair and anything that might have come in contact with the pump."
He also recommends washing your face and around your ears. Yet that's not enough. Most of us reach for our wallets and credit cards after pumping gas. Even if you wear rubber gloves when handling those items, they still could transmit the virus to you. So wipe down gloves with antiseptic and wash them or throw them away.
"You have to be fastidious about limiting your exposure to other individuals except when it's absolutely necessary,” Carroll stresses. “Those over 50 are at increased risk, and there's even more risk for those over age 65. You really should be minimizing your contact with people outside of your immediate household."
Travelers has launched the Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program, which automatically gives customers a 15% credit on their April and May premiums. Call (800)479-2601
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