I am often amazed by the reckless driving I see on my way into to the office. So many accidents could be easily avoided. We handle the “after” effects in our business every day…
So, I thought I’d send you a quick “reminder” this month. PLEASE … read through this short list of safety reminders. It won’t take long, and it could save your life!
We drive so much it becomes sub-conscious. So, let these safety reminders dwell in your sub-conscious, too…
- Back off. Odds are, if you can clearly read the bumper stickers on the car in front while moving- you’re too close!
I wish I had the statistic of how many car accidents are rear-ending collisions. It’s a lot. I realize in heavy traffic it’s sometimes impossible to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front. But try.
A safe distance is determined by a 2 second gap – that is, when the driver in front of you passes a road marker, you shouldn’t get there for 2 seconds. That means the faster you’re going, the bigger the gap between you and the driver in front should be.
- Slow down. I know its cliché, but speed kills. It really does. Plus, speeding tickets are expensive. And if an insurance carrier finds out about it – and they do check – you could get a rate increase, too.
- Put on that seatbelt. Why fight the odds? Statistics prove that seatbelts save lives. Not to mention in most states being caught without your seatbelt on means a hefty fine. Be safe – put it on!
- Are you too close to the airbag? Make sure you’re more than 10 inches from the steering wheel. If you’re too close, an inflating airbag could hurt or kill you.
- Pay attention to road conditions … and slow down! If you lose control of your vehicle on a wet road, you might blame the road, but the cops and the insurance company won’t. They’ll blame you! Remember, you’re responsible for controlling the car you’re driving in ALL conditions.
- Check all around before changing lanes. Never assume another car isn’t there. Look. It only takes a few seconds for a car to move into a dangerous position.
Of course, there are tons of safe driving tips, these are just the top ones…hope this short list sticks in your sub-conscious mind and keeps you safe.
From everyone here at Hejny Insurance Agency, we thank you for your business and may the roads you travel always be safe ones!
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) announced that as early as Spring of 2010, non-compliance notices will be mailed to owners of uninsured vehicles. The notice will provide a warning for those driving uninsured – the situation will need to be corrected immediately. The notice will list the potential fines for driving uninsured and advise repeat offenders they face suspension of driving privileges.
The non-compliance notices are going out as part of the TexasSure Uninsured Motorists Verification program passed by the 79th Legislature. The law requires insurers to submit their active policyholder information to the state, who in turn matches the submitted VIN numbers with the VINs contained in the registered vehicle database at TxDMV. Of the VIN numbers submitted by insurers, 99 percent were successfully matched to the vehicle registration database.
One in Four are Uninsured
While TDI will not release specific statistics, it is estimated at a minimum, one out of every four vehicles on Texas roads is currently not insured. In June of 2008, access to the TexasSure program was provided to DPS officers and all 254 county tax offices. The program was an immediate hit. “Motorists have overwhelmingly embraced the TexasSure database, especially given its 99 percent success rate of matching vehicles to their insurance coverage,” said Rebecca Davio, TxDMV’s Director of Vehicle Titles and Registration. “It’s proving to be a tremendous resource for identifying those without insurance.” Notices are currently being mailed to the one percent of policyholders whose insurer reported coverage, yet their VIN number was unable to be matched to a current vehicle registration.
Ongoing Monitoring of Uninsured Vehicles
“Texas agents and citizens alike have long awaited this time.” comments Christine Huddleston, President of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas (AIAT). The AIAT played a significant role in the passage and implementation of the TexasSure program.
“Law enforcement throughout our state have praised the system and appreciate the ability to verify whether a vehicle is insured by just running their license plate number. However, it has always been our top priority to prevent the uninsured from getting behind the wheel in the first place. These notices will serve as a proactive approach in reducing the number of uninsured drivers and we commend the TDI for all of their efforts in getting us to this point.”
TDI advised auto insurers the non-compliance notices will begin in Spring of 2010. All registered vehicles will be tracked on an ongoing basis to monitor their insured status. After a vehicle is listed as uninsured for nine (9) consecutive weeks, a letter of non-compliance will be mailed to the registered owner. A sample of the letter can be viewed at here.
Pet owners spend a whopping $40 billion on their furry friends each year. That’s enough to buy a gallon of gas for every man, woman and child in the United States … 44 times.
Insurance companies haven’t always viewed pets with the same passion as their owners. If you’re in an accident, generally everyone in the car – except your four-legged friend – is covered.
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies now recognizes Fido and Fifi as family members. A Progressive policy with Collision coverage now extends to cats and dogs. The coverage pays up to $500 if your dog or cat is hurt or dies as a result of a car accident.
And, best of all, the coverage is free.
“We know how much our customers love their dogs and cats. Many of us have pets, too, and we feel the same way,” said Geoff Souser of Progressive. “Progressive has a long history of product and service innovations that prove you can teach an old dog new tricks. Knowing that most people think of their pets as family members, it felt like the right thing to do.”
Progressive’s pet injury coverage is available in most states. To find out more, contact us today!
MSN Money’s Liz Pulliam Weston has a great article about gap insurance – what it is, who needs it, and where to get it. Here’s a hint: Hejny Insurance has it!
Some of the top search phrases for this site have been about paying off the remaining balance on your vehicle, and whether homeowners insurance covers that. Long story short, no, your homeowners insurance will not cover your vehicle itself. You have to have an auto policy that has comp & collision coverage to repair your vehicle. If your vehicle is a total loss, the check the company writes you may be for less than what you owe on your vehicle, depending on how you’ve financed it. Gap insurance, which is usually available from the financer or your auto insurance company, pays the difference between what the insurance company pays for the vehicle and what you owe on it. Homeowners insurance never comes into play in this scenario.
What your homeowners policy WILL cover is the stuff in your car that isn’t installed. It won’t cover your stereo system or your built-in DVD player, or to repair your broken in windows. It will cover your purse if it’s stolen after the windows are broken in. Check your homeowners policy for the amount of coverage provided. There will most likely be a limit to the cash covered in your purse – how easy would it be to claim that you had $10,000 in that stolen purse? Also, there may be a limit on the amount that’s covered when it’s “off premesis.”
In summary, your auto policy covers your auto, as long as you have comp & collision coverage. Your homeowners policy covers your home and your “stuff.”
Moses and I were getting ready to go in to the office on Saturday for an appointment. As usual, I was ready about half an hour before him, so I turned on the television. Since we live in the boonies and still only have a rabbit ear antenna, my program choices were limited to a cartoon in which sushi comes to life and fights bad guys with their ninja skills, or courtroom shows. I went with Judge Joe Brown. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to watch this kind of show, but I was really surprised at how many of the cases could have been avoided if these people had simply had proper insurance coverage.
In the first case, a young woman went to a birthday party and asked her friend to be the designated driver. The friend, though sober, managed to hop the curb and demolish the vehicle. The first young woman’s mother, who owned the car, was seeking about $2,500 in damages to replace the car. Insurance was never mentioned in this scenario, but if the vehicle’s owner had purchased comprehensive & collision coverage, she’d have been okay. She’d have had to come up with $500 or $1000 on her own to cover the deductible, but she’d be able to take her daughter’s friend to small claims court to get that back. That would be a smaller headache, and she’d have her replacement vehicle sooner.
In another case, a woman was sitting on her patio and watched as another woman side-swiped her Camry. The driver claimed to have had a sneezing fit and lost control of her vehicle while reaching for a box of tissues. The driver’s insurance had lapsed for two or three weeks. The owner of the Camry claimed that her vehicle was worth about $9,000, but the driver claimed that it was worth much less and was only willing to pay about half that. There are a couple of ways that this court case could have been avoided. First, the owner of the Camry could have had comp & collision coverage. Like the previous case, she’d be out the deductible and could take the other driver to small claims court. She could have also been protected by uninsured motorist coverage. In this case, she’d have a much smaller deductible – around $250. Also, her insurance company would be the ones taking the other driver to court, and they have a lot more attorneys than she can afford on her own. Gap insurance would also cover the difference between the value of the vehicle and the amount she owed on it.
These are the two main examples that really stand out in my memory, but I’m certain there are a lot of unnecessary cases showing up on these shows. And, quite frankly, getting rid of these types of cases would make room for more entertaining cases. Remember, just because a type of coverage isn’t required doesn’t mean you don’t need it!
Say you’ve been driving without auto insurance. You know you’ll probably get a fine if you’re caught, but do you know how much it will be?
The minimum fine for driving without insurance is $175. That’s assessed by the State of Texas, and your city or county can charge an additional penalty.
You’ll then be charged $250 a year for the next three years. That’s another $750.
If you don’t pay these fines, your drivers license can be suspended.
After paying at least $925 in fines, you still have to purchase auto insurance. And that premium will now be 30% higher (or more!) because driving without insurance counts as a violation.
Obviously, the simplest solution is to just carry auto liability insurance in the first place. But let’s be honest: most uninsured drivers simply don’t think they can afford coverage. But it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. Contact us today for an auto liability quote.
Most people also know that they should exchange insurance information after a fender-bender. But just because the guy that ran into the side of your car has proof of insurance doesn’t mean that his policy is in force. All too often a person will take out a six-month policy, make their downpayment in the office, and then conveniently “forget” to pay the bill for the second month. But the insurance police don’t show up to their house to destroy their proof of insurance, do they?
Until recently, the only way to be certain that a policy is in force is to call the insurance company or the agent listed on the proof of insurance. (And believe me, it happens!) Now Texas law enforcement officers have instant access to the insurance database. Officers can verify your coverage during a routine traffic stop or at the scene of an accident. The average citizen, however, doesn’t have the means to verify another person’s coverage due to privacy issues.
Sometimes the parties involved in an accident don’t want to wait for the police, or the police won’t come to the scene unless there’s been an injury. If it turns out the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you could attempt to sue them, assuming the contact information they give you is accurate. That can be a lengthy process, though, and your vehicle is still damaged in the meantime. And let’s face it, you can’t get blood out of a turnip. If the other doesn’t have the money to pay for auto insurance, they’re not going to have a few thousand dollars laying around to fix your car.
The best way to protect yourself is to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and comprehensive & collision coverage. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, your insurance company would pay to repair your vehicle, and would then use its own considerable resources to recover damages from the other driver. Make sure you get the following information to help the claims process:
- Name, address, and phone numbers of the other driver and any witnesses. Don’t just assume that the contact information listed on their driver’s license is correct.
- Driver’s license number of the other driver.
- Name of the insurance company and policy number of the other driver, and the phone number for reporting claims. This should all be listed on their proof of insurance card.
- License plate number of the other vehicle.
- Name, address, and phone number of the owner of the vehicle, if different from the driver.
- Photos of the vehicles before they’re moved.
Jerry Hejny Insurance Agency was recently appointed with Progressive, an industry leader in automobile insurance. We’re very pleased to offer our customers another company known for its competetive rates and ease of use. We recently provided a quote for one family and were able to save them over $1200 with Progressive!
Progressive doesn’t cover just cars. Customers can also purchase coverage on their motorcycles, ATVs, boats, personal watercraft, motor homes, travel trailers, and snowmobiles. Even though there may not be a lot of people who need snowmobile coverage in North Texas, we can find coverage for almost anything with an engine.