4 auto insurance discounts you may be missing

With gas prices soaring in the summer heat and families heading off on vacation, auto insurance clients are looking for any savings they can get. And while a new report pegs satisfaction with car insurance at an all-time high, Bankrate.com notes that there are still many discounts both clients and agents sometimes overlook. That means agents are missing out on the opportunity to develop better client relations, and consumers are missing out on the bargain, says Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman. “You can’t assume that your insurance company knows that you added an anti-theft system to your car or that your alma mater offers an alumni discount,” Whiteman says. “It’s your responsibility to tell your provider and ask for the discount. This simple step could save you hundreds of dollars per year.” Four of the most commonly overlooked discounts include:

–Daytime running lights. This discount was rare last year, but now, four out of the top 10 insurers offer a discount for daytime running lights. This is now standard equipment on most new cars; drivers should make sure they’re receiving this discount if it applies to them.

–Low mileage. This discount is almost twice as common now as it was a year ago. Eight of the top 10 insurers offer this discount (up from six of 10 last year). This discount often ties in with the onboard tracking devices (called telematics or pay-as-you-drive programs) that monitor driving habits.

–Newer vehicles. A discount for owning a newer vehicle (typically 3 years old or newer) is becoming increasingly popular with insurers. Five out of 10 are currently offering this discount.

–Affinity/occupational. Half of the top 10 insurers offer this discount. It rewards people who belong to a certain group (such as a professional association, a college alumni group or a fraternity/sorority). Bankrate.com noted that many of these discounts hide in the “nooks and crannies” of carrier sites, policies, and Q&A sections making familiarity with auto insurance discounts that much more important for producers struggling to grow business in this highly competitive class.

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Are You Getting All of Your Insurance Discounts?

Ok this is a big one, are you checking to make sure you are getting all your discounts on your auto insurance? Right now I’m going to encourage you to do this once a year preferably at renewal. With auto insurance there is a list of discounts that you could be getting and most people do not even know it. Frankly I like to tell people whenever you go through a change in your life inquire about how that change might affect your insurance. Most changes will affect your insurance rates in some manner either with an increase or decrease in premium (It’s all about risk).

Let’s begin with a change in work scenario. You just changed jobs and only drive 2 miles to work instead of 30 miles, you just earned a discount. Maybe you just retired and now you use your car for pleasure, putting less than 6k per year, you get a short mileage discount. Also you now may be eligible for a 55 or older discount or a retired discount.  Another situation might be your job gave you a company car. Now the only car on your policy is a pleasure use only vehicle. Call your agent because he or she may be able to force a multicar discount on your policy, lowering your rates a couple hundred dollars.

How about teen driver scenarios? You just added a young driver to the policy, make sure the agent knows exactly how many months or years that driver has been licensed. If you put your young driver on the policy 2 years after licensed for whatever reason, they now have 2 yrs driving experience which probably gives them an extra discount. Also driver training behind the wheel and in the class room certification will give you a discount.  Some companies offer a good grades or B’s or better discounts. Some companies offer youthful driver discounts where no one in the household has had at fault accidents in the house for five years as well as no surcharge able moving violations. Did you know you can add discounts for being over 100 miles away at school with no vehicle?  Lastly when your young driver is older 23 or above and has a job, you may find that putting a young driver on their own policy is cheaper than being on your policy.

Here is a list of some other discounts you may want to inquire about.
1. Pay in full discount and Auto withdraw discount.
2. Accident prevention or 55 alive discount.
3. AAA member discount.
4. Home owner discount.
5. College degree discount.
6. Life Multi-policy discount.
7. Multi-policy discounts, umbrella ins, Home ins, inland marine etc. …

As an Independent Insurance Agent I deal with many insurance companies. I will tell you that all companies offer different discounts so they do not offer the same ones. But always know the discounts that are available to you through your current insurance company. Please if you’re not happy with the company you are with ask your Agent to shop you around with other companies, that’s what we always do for our clients.  Let me know if we can help in anyway.

AIS Insurance Group, INC.

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4th of July Safety Tips

The 4th of July is a time when families can gather and enjoy grilling out, laughing, and brilliant fireworks.

Every year, more than 7000 people are injured in 4thof July related activities.

Preventing these injuries involves taking a bit more time ensuring the safety of others and understandingthe simplest safety precautions are often the best advice.

10. Keep pets indoors during the hottest parts of the day. At night, pets should be secured to prevent injury from fireworks.

9. Food borne illness can be a big concern with family and friends arriving at different times throughout the day. Cold foods should be kept cold and hot foods hot. When proper temperatures are not used, foods can quickly breed bacteria that may cause food poisoning.

8. Drink responsibly. Injuries from fireworks can be attributed to mishandling of fire and explosives, but drinking also comes into play. Drinking has become a huge part of many 4th of July festivities, but a designated group of people needs to stay sober for the safety of children and adults.

7. Douse grilling coals with water after use. Grilling out with charcoal creates the smell of summer. When foods are cooked and the grill is no longer needed, douse the coals with water to put out the fire. Coals left unattended may cause fire or injury to unattended children.

6. Drive safely even if you are not the one drinking. Designated drivers are deemed the saviors of any party where adult beverages are served, but not every party allots designated drivers. Sometimes, other drivers are the ones to worry about. If possible, stay at a location near the party site. Another option is to suggest tents be staked in the yard for a bit of late night fun and driver safety.

5. Never drink and drive. Drinking one bottle of beer or mixed drink is enough to alter visual perception of the road and ability to make decisions. At no time should drinking and driving be considered safe. When in doubt, call a cab or ask a sober friend to drive.

4. Review fireworks laws. Many cities, towns, and communities do not allow fireworks that leave the ground. Sparklers and other smaller ground level fireworks may not be included in those prohibited. Before planning any 4th of July party, call or visit the local law enforcement office and ask for a list of legal fireworks.

3. Keep water nearby. Fireworks can cause fire. Keeping a large tub of water or water hose nearby is crucial for fire safety during the 4th of July party. If the fire grows quickly, remove all people from the area and dial 911.

2. Children should never light fireworks. Children may seem like miniature-grown adults, but they do not have the adult responsibility that comes with growing older. Children should never light fireworks and should be kept as far away from fireworks as possible. Even sparklers can cause a devastating burn, so review sparkler safety with all children at the party.

1. Have safe fun. Safe fun includes planning for the best and preparing for the worst. With family, friends, and neighbors all enjoying one space, time can move quickly and decisions can be altered by alcohol. Designated hosts can help to ensure everyone is having a safe and fun 4th of July

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Know How to Stay Safe in a Lightning Storm

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How to Make Sure you are Getting the Best Deal on your New Car

Whether it’s your first time buying a new car or you’ve owned a few in your day, choosing a new vehicle is a big commitment. When it’s time to buy a car, here are some helpful tips to put you on the right track!

  • Stick to your budget. Before you decide what kind of car you would like to own, know how much you have for a down payment, and what you can afford each month. As a general rule, you should earmark no more than 20% of your monthly income toward your car payment and related expenses (like insurance, gas, and maintenance).
  • New or used? Weigh out the pros and cons of buying either a new or used vehicle.
  • Narrow down your options. Decide if you’re looking for a truck, compact, sedan or SUV, then research the top makes and models in the class you’re looking for. Independent guides like Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book can be great resources in your decision-making process.
  • Keep an eye on interest rates. Sure, that 0% interest rate the dealership is offering might sound great – but very few new car buyers actually qualify for it. Check around – you may get better financing somewhere else.
  • Look for discounts and incentives. Students and military members may qualify for discounts, while some dealerships offer cash back rewards.
  • Take your time. Don’t rush in to buying a new car! Take a thorough test drive. Be sure the seats are comfortable, there’s adequate trunk space for your needs, and enough leg room for passengers in the back seat.

With a little preparation, buying your next vehicle will be an exciting experience! And if we can help you with your car insurance needs, give us a call today.

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Car Insurance Tips for Young Drivers

Auto insurance companies calculate the risk of insuring each driver based on a number of factors that are not to the advantage of drivers under the age of 20. Clean driving records and experience are developed over years, and the associated discounts are meant to reward safe driving habits that prevent insurance claims. Higher insurance rates for young drivers can be justified by the insurance companies since the statistics back up their beliefs that young drivers take more risks. Reducing the annual premium for a young driver can be achieved if the following tips are followed.

Complete driver training – Many levels of driver training are available for drivers who wish to develop skills more quickly. Basic driving classes will be rewarded by modest discounts on the insurance premium, but advanced driving courses where many defensive driving and crash-avoidance techniques are taught will yield substantial discounts. The insurance company expects the risk of insuring more skilled drivers to drop substantially.

Establish personal credit – Maintaining a high credit score can be achieved by applying for a credit card and paying every bill on time. Building credit and understanding how to manage credit in a budget are valuable financial skills that can be built while living at home. Responsible credit use is rewarded by insurance companies as a sign of maturity.

Maintain excellent school grades – Most insurance companies have a “good student” discount that is meant to reward good performance at the only job most teenagers have. Since grades are earned by hard work and discipline, the insurers have developed discounts for the best students. Honor roll members will be rewarded with insurance premium discounts.

Drive responsibly Every driver realizes the added risks of certain activities, including texting and talking on the cell phone while driving. Young drivers must voluntarily use the good skills taught in the driving courses and embrace wise practices that will reduce the risk of an accident. Statistics prove that young drivers experience higher accident rates when other teens are in the car when they drive. Some localities have banned young drivers from granting rides to other kids who are not their siblings.

Choose a safe vehicle – Driving the coolest car with all of the latest gadgets and additions might seem like a great way to be noticed, but unfortunately the insurance companies will notice the more expensive set of wheels that must be covered by your insurance policy. The insurance premium will be raised because of the expense of replacing additional features on the car. Drive the safest possible car that can be replaced without much expense.

Stay on parent’s insurance – If at all possible remain as a secondary driver on the insurance policy of your parents. Their driving experience, credit scores, and perceived maturity will offset some of the cost of insuring a young driver. While this is not always possible, most young drivers are less expensive to insure as a part of a multiple-vehicle and multiple-driver insurance policy.

Leverage discounts – Each insurance company offers different discounts to encourage young drivers to adopt safe driving habits. Investigate the discounts offered and ask for all the possible discounts. If the insurance agent makes a recommendation, like taking a class that could offer discount, do whatever it takes to qualify for the discount.

Insurance rates will begin to moderate with just one year of accident-free driving. Parents care about the health and safety of their young driver above all else, so being a good driver is an important way to say thank you for their support.

If you have any other questions about feel free to contact.



Source: www.freeinsurancequotes.org

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What Should You Do During a Hurricane

Its hurricane season. If you area is getting hit by a storm and you were not ordered to evacuate, here are some tips that can help you stay safe:

  • Listen to your portable radio for important storm information and instructions.
  • If you remained at home, stay inside and keep away from all windows, skylights and glass doors. Go to a safe area, such as an interior room, closet or downstairs bathroom.
  • You should never go outside the protection of your home or shelter before there is confirmation that the storm has passed the area. The “eye” of the storm could create a temporary lull, with big winds still on their way.
  • If power is lost, keep the refrigerator closed to keep cold air trapped and delay perishable food from spoiling.
  • If you use a portable generator, take extra precautions. Generators should be properly grounded and should never be operated indoors, in garages, basements or near windows or doors. Since generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), make sure you have a working CO detector in your home.

By making safety your number one priority, you can better protect your family and your property

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Ten Ways to Cut the Costs of Homeowner’s Insurance

Get the Coverage You Need Without Paying More Than You Should

Have you noticed that the cost of your homeowner's insurance coverage has increased significantly over the last several years? Policies that cost $325 just a couple of years ago are often two to three times that amount now, putting the squeeze on many homeowners' budgets. Here are ten ways to minimize the cost of your homeowner's insurance.
  1. Raise Your Homeowner's Insurance Deductible- Your deductible is the amount of risk you agree to accept before the insurance company starts paying on a claim. With the cost of homeowner's insurance escalating, it no longer makes sense to let the insurance company assume all the risk. If you have a low deductible of $50 to $100, consider raising it to at least $500 to $1,000. You could save up to 25% on your premiums.Some companies are offering deductibles equal to 1% of the insured value of your home ($1,000 deductible on a $100,000 home). It that seems like a lot of money to pay in the event of a claim, consider this: the trends in homeowner's insurance are for insurance companies to severely penalize customers who file one or more small claims. Often the premiums are jacked way up or the policy is cancelled, and when the customer looks elsewhere for coverage, they may find it costs them three times what they were paying. We should change our perception that insurance of any type is intended to cover all of our expenses when we incur a claim. Those days are over. Think of insurance as risk sharing. How much risk are you willing to assume?
  2. Combine Your Homeowner's Insurance and Auto Insurance Policies- Consider buying your homeowner's and auto insurance policies from a company that offers both. Some companies offer discounts of 5 to 15% if you buy both types of coverage from them. Check around and make sure the price is lower than buying the two policies from two different companies before making this move.
  3. Ask About Other Homeowner's Insurance Discounts-Make sure you're receiving all the discounts for which you're eligible. For example, discounts exist for smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, security or fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers in the home, etc. If you're over 55 and retired, you may qualify for an additional 10% discount.
  4. Don't Buy Homeowners's Insurance Coverage You Don't Need- It makes no sense to buy insurance to protect yourself against risks you are unlikely to encounter; for example, earthquake coverage in a non-earthquake zone, or a jewelry floater to your policy if you don't own expensive jewelry.
  5. Make Your Home a Better Insurance Risk- Ask your insurance agent what you can do to make your home less expensive to insure. Making changes that reduce the risk of damage in windstorms and other natural disasters is one example. Another is updating old wiring or heating systems, which may reduce your risk of fires and therefore reduce your premiums.
  6. Know What Your Homeowner's Insurance Policy Covers- Your home is your biggest investment. Make sure it's adequately protected from risks you cannot afford to cover yourself and that it covers any home improvements you've made, major purchases, and increased costs of rebuilding.
  7. Keep Your Insurance Coverages Up To Date- Once a year, before your homeowner's insurance policy is due to renew, dig out the current policy, read through all the details, and call your insurance agent to discuss any changes in your situation that occurred during the year.
  8. Avoid Risks That Insurers Shun- Insurers are shying away from some risks. For instance, owning certain types of dogs (Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls), can limit or void your policy. Owning a swimming pool or a trampoline can increase your cost of coverage. Read all the fine print in your policy under the "Conditions and Coverages" sections so you know all the things that are excluded from coverage. You may opt to buy additional coverage to protect yourself from certain exposures.
  9. Improve Your Credit Score- Insurance companies are increasingly using credit information to price insurance policies. Don't have too many open credit accounts, don't charge close to the limits on your credit cards, and pay all your bills on time to keep your credit score healthy.
  10. Shop Around for Homeowner's Insurance- Shop around for homeowner's insurance rates but keep in mind that you may be receiving a longevity discount if you've been with your current insurer for several years. Typical discounts are 5% if you've been with the company for three to five years, and 10% for six years or more. Get quotes from three agents, and take any longevity discounts with your current insurer into consideration when you compare prices. Your state insurance department may have rate comparison information available for your state. See www.consumeraction.gov/insurance.shtml. Before you switch insurers, heck out their financial health at www.ambest.com or www.standardandpoor.com.
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Hand-held Laws in the US

Distracted driving laws regulate the use of cell phones and other hand held devices while driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving is the number one cause of distracted driving, which results in hundreds of thousands of car accidents each year. Most states prohibit drivers from using cell phones, but these laws vary from state-to-state. Some states have laws banning any use of a cell phone while driving where others allow hands-free devices such as Bluetooth or headsets.

Hand-Held Ban

A hand-held ban refers to talking on a cell phone while holding it in your hands or using any other hand held electronic device such as an MP3 player or GPS. Additionally, drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held cell phone for navigational purposes. Most states allow the use of such devices in emergency situations.

GPS Bans

Programming a GPS while driving is usually banned in all states where using an electronic handheld device is banned. Laws in the following states specifically mention the ban of using a GPS system: Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington. These laws allow GPS devices to be attached to a car’s dashboard or windshield but may not be used to enter information while driving. The state of New York does not allow hand-held GPS systems but may be used if affixed to a dashboard.

Primary and Secondary Enforcement

Distracted driving laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. A primary law means that an officer may pull you over if they notice that you are violating a cell phone use ban, even if you haven't committed another traffic violation prior to that. The chart below outlines all primary laws in each state and will note if the law is secondary. A secondary law means that an officer has to witness a driver committing another violation first, so that they can pull you over, and if you are seen violating a secondary ban after you've been pulled over, you may be ticketed for that, as well.

Bans For Bus Drivers

Most states ban school bus drivers from text messaging and hand-held cell phone use while driving. In Texas, bus drivers are prohibited from text messaging if there is a passenger aged 17 or younger in the bus. Go here for a chart showing distracted driving penalties
State Ban on Use of Hand-held Electronic Devices Ban on Text Messaging Novice Driver Ban on Texting Novice Driver Ban on Cell Phones(1) Novice Driver Definition
16 and 17 year old drivers who have held an intermediate license for fewer than 6 months
Drivers between 18 and 20 years old
✔ (secondary)
Drivers younger than 18
Drivers younger than 18
Drivers younger than 18
Learner or intermediate license
Learner's permit
Drivers younger than 18
Drivers younger than 19
Drivers younger than 18
✔ (secondary)
Restricted or intermediate license
Learner or intermediate license
Drivers younger than 18
Drivers younger than 18 or within one year of first license
Drivers younger than 18
✔ (secondary)
✔ (secondary)
Drivers younger than 18 or with learner/provisional license
Drivers younger than 18
Level 1 or 2 License
Drivers younger than 18 or with learner/provisional license during the first year after obtaining the license
Learner or provisional license
Drivers younger than 21
✔ (secondary)
✔ (secondary)
✔ (secondary)
Drivers younger than 18 or with learner/provisional license
New Hampshire
New Jersey
Permit or Provisional License
New Mexico(9)
Drivers younger than 18 or with learner/provisional license
New York
North Carolina
Drivers younger than 18
North Dakota
Drivers younger than 18
✔ (secondary)
Drivers younger than 18
Learner or intermediate license
Drivers younger than 18
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
Drivers younger than 18
South Carolina(10)
South Dakota
✔ (secondary)
✔ (secondary)
Learner or intermediate license
Learner or intermediate license
Drivers younger than 18
Drivers younger than 18
Drivers younger than 18
Virgin Islands
✔ (secondary)
✔ (secondary)
Drivers younger than 18
Learner or intermediate license
West Virginia
✔(12) (secondary)
Drivers younger than 18 or with learner/provisional license
Learner or intermediate license
Drivers younger than 18
  1. Includes ban on hands-free devices such as Bluetooth unless otherwise stated
  2. Additional bans on distracted driving are in effect in Birmingham, Decatur, Huntsville, Montgomery, Madison, Vestavia Hills, Gadsden, Jacksonville, Roanoke, Scottsboro, Fairhope, Spanish Fort, Florence
  3. Arkansas has banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in school zones and highway work zones
  4. Drivers over 18 may use hands free voice integrated systems for text messaging in California
  5. In Hawaii, there will be a ban in effect on July 01 2013 for all drivers using hand held devices while driving. Novice drivers (younger than 18) will not allowed to use hands free devices as well.
  6. Illinois has banned using cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone.
  7. In Louisiana, drivers who still have their first driver's license, are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving for one year. This is a secondary law for drivers over the age of 18
  8. There is an exception for hands-free voice-operated systems in Michigan
  9. There is a hand-held ban for drivers in state vehicles in New Mexico
  10. South Carolina has a distracted/inattention attribute under contributing factors. This means it may be listed as a cause to an accident. There are also local laws in place for distracted driving in Camden, Columbia, Walhalla, Clemson, Sumter and West Union.
  11. Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones. Texting while driving is prohibited in several cities in Texas, including: Alamo, Arlington, Austin, Bellaire, Brownsville, Conroe, El Paso, Galveston, Harlingen, Magnolia, McAllen, Mission, Missouri City, Mount Vernon, Nacogdoches, Palmview, Penitas, San Antonio, Shoreacres, Stephenville, Tomball, Universal City, West University Place.
  12. The hand-held ban in West Virginia will become primary after July 1st 2013
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Car Alterations That Can Lower Insurance Costs

Insurers cringe at the prospect of car modifications because it usually means alterations like aftermarket spoilers, high-performance engines, and hydraulic lift kits. Of course, modifications like these invariably result in higher premiums for the driver. On the other hand, there are a select few insurer-approved alterations that can earn you discounts on your auto insurance premiums. For car modifications to positively affect your car insurance rates, they usually have to enhance the safety of the vehicle or deter theft. For the most part, insurers only accept safety equipment that was installed by the manufacturer, so most of the modifications we’ll discuss are related to theft prevention. In what follows, we’ll describe the vehicle alterations that can save you the most money on your car insurance rates.

Alarms and Vehicle Immobilizers

If you add an aftermarket electronic alarm system to your vehicle, most insurers will provide a discount on your auto insurance rates. Before you choose an alarm, verify that your carrier actually gives a discount for anti-theft alarms and, if so, what alarm systems are approved. A far more effective anti-theft device that will likely get you a heftier insurance discount is a vehicle immobilizer anti-theft system. With an immobilizer, an electronic device shuts off part of your car’s fuel or electrical system when it senses a breach or tampering. This makes it almost impossible for a car thief to start your vehicle without the key.

Stolen Car Recovery Systems

Many auto insurers will also provide large discounts on your comprehensive coverage if you install a stolen vehicle recovery system in your car. Installation is very simple and non-invasive. A small transceiver that operates via radio frequency is hidden somewhere in your vehicle. If the vehicle is stolen, this transceiver will emit a signal that law enforcement officers equipped with LoJack tracking devices can trace. LoJack has equipped most police officers with LoJack tracking systems, so the chances that your stolen vehicle will be recovered are good.

Pay-As-You-Drive Devices

Depending on your car insurance company and the state where you live, you might be able to lower your car insurance costs with a pay-as-you-drive insurance tracking device. Pay-as-you-drive insurance monitors how, how much, and when you drive and sets your premiums accordingly. Some carriers provide high-tech electronic devices that policyholders can simply plug into their vehicles. The information the device collects is automatically sent to your insurance carrier. Other carriers require a more intensive installation of the device in your steering column. Certain drivers could save as much as 25%-50% on their car insurance premiums by installing pay-as-you-go devices.  2014 © www.ez-insuranceportal.com
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