Does My Auto Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

One of the better questions I have heard asked, “Does my auto insurance cover other drivers?”  Far too often there is an assumption that it does, and they give little heed to the possible ramifications. Existing in an ever increasing litigious society, more and more people are concerned about lending their cars to friends.

You should be!

You could be liable and if you agree to allowing someone to drive your car, it’s important to know if you’re protected.

Different states have laws and insurance rules that vary drastically.  If you are new to Arizona, as an Independent Insurance Agent, I can explain what specifically applies to you here. In the meantime, should you not have time for that visit, you can consider the following “general rules of thumb” concerning who’s covered by your policy when driving your car.

Permissive Use Drivers (PUD)

PUDs have permission to borrow your car occasionally. For example, if a friend borrows your car to run to the store, are you covered?

Yes, but note that in a PUD accident, you and the PUD could face lawsuits to cover remaining accident costs if your policy’s liability limits are exhausted and your PUD has no coverage of his own. If the PUD does have vehicle insurance, the not-at-fault party can make a claim on this policy.

Household Members

Each state and insurer has different laws about household residents with drivers’ licenses who drive another household member’s vehicle.

Are your household members covered?

Maybe, depending on your state, insurer, and whether the household member is an excluded driver, nondriver, or driver on your policy.

If a household resident owns a vehicle and has his or her own insurance, he or she may be excluded from your policy; claims won’t be covered under your policy if this person has an accident while driving your vehicle.

If a household member classified as a nondriver has an accident driving your car, your claim would likely be covered. But nondrivers with licenses are rated on your policy as drivers, so if they have a bad driving record, this will impact your premiums.

If you don’t disclose household members, your insurer can deny claims and cancel your policy, and you could be sued and/or possibly charged with insurance fraud. When it comes to insurance, honesty is the way to the best policy.

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years
http://www.lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com/
JanVitale@lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com

 

Five Essential Tips When Buying Auto Insurance

 

Five Essential Tips When Buying Auto InsuranceChances are buying auto insurance isn’t on your top ten list of fun things to do this weekend. Don’t worry – it’s easy to purchase the right kind and amount of auto insurance when you follow these simple steps:

Plan Ahead

Review your current coverage at least 30 days prior to the renewal date. Not only will you have a current copy of your renewal notice, but it allows you plenty of time to make necessary changes to your renewal policy. Depending on the changes or events that may have transpired since the last policy, you may require a different product or level of coverage. Starting early avoids potential problems and possibly gives you a wider selection.

Make a List

Make sure you understand current limits and exclusions in effect on your policy then ask about any changes or modifications that may impact the premium. For example, if you have recently had a change of marital status or employment it could impact your rates. Inform your agents of all changes to find out if you qualify for better rates. I have a phrase I use to constantly remind me of the quality of service I choose to provide my clients, “Without me… all you have is insurance.” What this means is that I have deep conversations with clients, which reveals things to me you may not consider important, but could have a huge impact on what I can help you secure as a viable and affordable.

Discounts

When I search the best in price and products for you, I always ask for discounts! I have found by going the extra mile for my clients, it is often possible to reduce premiums by 5 to 25% by combining common discounts, including special rates for organizations and memberships, as well as safe driver and multiple policy discounts. This is a situation of where what you don’t know can have a significant impact on your outcome; a situation where you can count on me as an Independent Arizona Insurance Agent to work to your best benefit!

Shop Right

Many car owners are just not aware of how different makes, models and safety features can save thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle. The same applies when it comes to customized features; everything from the stereo to security systems dramatically influences insurance rates. Perhaps before you decide on your next purchase you want to call and visit with me about these considerations.  Remember, the car will be a one time purchase; the insurance coverage will continue for as long as you own it! Prior to making modifications to the vehicle ask me for a quote related to additions or modifications  you are considering for the vehicle.

Eliminate and Don’t Duplicate

You are probably very good at your job, but that doesn’t mean you have developed the same skills as I have in my industry, and it is possible you may inadvertently pay for coverage you already have on your vehicle, but because the language is something you don’t quite understand, you may duplicate insurance on rental or supplemental medical coverage.

If you want to spend a few minutes with me, we can take time to coordinate your auto insurance with other policies you may own to get the best coverage possible at the most affordable rates; in many cases you might find auto insurance provides superior coverage at a better rate than credit card provided rental policies or supplemental medical coverage.

Tools You Need to Wash Your Own Car

Taking your vehicle in for a full detailing is great, but it is also expensive. However, you don’t need to do that every time it comes to washing your vehicle. Instead, you just need to have the right tools on hand to ensure a quality wash with a showroom shine. At Lifetime Investments, we want your vehicle to last a lifetime. That is why we recommend having these tools with you whenever you decide to wash your vehicle. 

Microfiber Rag

Some people use old dish towels or clothing rags to wash their car. In Mesa, AZ you’ll be washing your vehicle a good amount to rid it of all the desert dust. A rag is just going to collect this and push it around, which can scratch the paint job. A microfiber cloth/rag is soft, works well with moisture and doesn’t push dirt around. The softer, the better when it comes to your paint. 

Wheel Brush

Wheels collect all sorts of debris. Your microfiber rag is often not strong enough to remove this crud. That is why you need to pick up a wheel brush designed specifically for the material your wheel is made out of (such as steel or aluminum). This way, you maintain that chrome look and reflective beauty of the wheels. 

Wax Buffer

Applying wax helps not only add a new level of shine, but it also protects your vehicle against dirt and debris. However, there is only so much that hand rubbing wax into your car can do. A wax buffer made specifically for your vehicle provides a smooth application without scratching your paint. It also helps avoid streaking and applying too much wax in one location, which can eat away at the paint if there is too much in one spot. 

Talk to one of our independent insurance agents at Lifetime Investments today to review your current auto insurance policy or to begin a new one. 

Commercial Insurance is Critical to New Business Ventures

Commercial Insurance is Critical to New Business VenturesCommercial insurance may be the farthest thing from your mind when you decide to start your own business. The process in itself is a challenge; there’s so much to learn, and finding answers isn’t always easy, but one item you’ll want to investigate immediately is commercial insurance for your new business. As you launch a new venture, you’ll be making a sizeable investment, and insurance will protect it.

Many otherwise savvy business owners have lost their companies by being unprepared for the unexpected: Hurricanes, product recalls or an injured worker could put your company at risk without the appropriate insurance coverage. Your primary question should be, “How much will I need?” As a rule of thumb, buy sufficient insurance to cover your assets. However, in many cases, the insurance coverages you need – while technically up to you – are required or recommended by others with whom you engage.  The following are some considerations that predicate the need.

If you’re an employer

If you plan to employ workers, most states require you to have workers’ compensation insurance, which pays for medical care and replaces lost wages for employees injured in your employ. In exchange, your employee generally relinquishes his or her right to sue you for negligence.

As an employer, you’ll also be required to buy unemployment insurance and disability insurance.

Most states also require commercial auto coverage if you’re using a vehicle for business purposes. As well, your lender may insist on you purchasing life insurance, certain kinds of disaster insurance and business interruption insurance.

General liability

Most importantly, and no matter what business you decide to create, you’ll require general liability insurance. This will cover you in case of a legal problem resulting from accident, injury or negligence claims.

Depending on the liability exposures associated with your business, you may also need an umbrella policy, which is a liability coverage that protects your company’s assets over the liability limits you purchase on your primary policies.

The business you’re starting helps determine the types of coverage you should consider. For example: companies manufacturing or distributing a product will need product liability insurance in the event of a defective product that causes injury.

E & O

Perhaps your venture focuses on providing certain professional services… vendors, environmental consultants and tax preparers need professional liability or errors and omissions (E&O) coverage. An error or omission is quite simply a mistake that causes financial harm to a business or a person.

If you have an office or factory, commercial property insurance is critical. This type of insurance covers loss and damage to your property caused by a number of events, such as fire, vandalism and wind storms.

Perhaps your goal is to work without a brick-and-mortar property… you might be wise to investigate property insurance, as the definition of property also includes equipment and cash.

Home businesses

You might be surprised to learn home-based businesses generally are not covered by homeowners’ policies, as many people believe. In some cases you can add riders to cover damage of business property, but, depending on your home business, you may need to invest in additional general liability and/or E & O coverage.

Since new ventures require specific coverages tailored to their unique business operations; I encourage you to visit with me, to help you select the coverages you need. If you feel you want additoinal information before we talk, the Small Business Administration has a very useful website with business insurance information at: sba.gov/content/business-insurance.

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years
http://www.lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com/
JanVitale@lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com

Safe Driving Habits Have Changed. What You Need to Know

Unless you recently attended driver’s education classes within the last few years, chances are recommended driving habits and techniques have changed. Understanding these new techniques and implementing them into your own daily driving habits not only can keep you safe with today’s modern vehicles, but help keep others on the road safe as well. At Lifetime Investments, we know the importance of staying on top of safety trends. That is why, whether you’re driving through Mesa, AZ or anywhere else in the Grand Canyon state, we want you to follow through with these safe driving habits. 

Hand Placement

Chances are, you were taught to keep your hands placed at 10 and 2. This hand placement technique has been taught for decades. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and research conducted by AAA, it is actually better to hold your hands at 9 and 3. This gives you better control over the entire wheel so you can make sharp turns with less reaction time when necessary. 

Avoid Hand Over Hand Turning

Before the advent of the airbag, driving educational courses taught hand over hand turning. However, in the event of an accident, the airbag will cause you to lose control over the wheel completely, not to mention potentially injury your hands while also pushing your arms back into your face. Instead, you need to pull with one hand and push with the other. This maintains contact with the wheel and avoid blocking the air bag. 

The "Fast Lane"

This isn’t necessarily new, but it is a driving habit many do not follow. When driving on the highway, the left lane is the passing, or "fast" lane. Remaining in this lane congests traffic and makes it difficult for police, ambulance and fire trucks to move quickly through traffic. Always remain in the right lane except when passing.