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I Filed Bankruptcy Can I Get A New Auto Insurance Policy?

Auto Insurance & Bankruptcy

Auto Insurance & Bankruptcy

When you inquire about a new auto insurance policy the insurance company might run a consumer report check. During a consumer report check the three major credit bureau’s will report your individual scores and also your FICO score to the insurance company. Many insurance companies consider a driver with a score considered to be poor, a score under 600, to be a high risk. Some insurance companies will not offer a driver with this type of score a quote for auto insurance; however, some will but these companies will not give a driver with this type of credit history the lowest possible rates offered by this company.

Sometimes if a person files Chapter 13 which is a debt reassignment form of bankruptcy where the person pays back all or a portion of the debt the insurance company may look at this situation differently than any other form of bankruptcy. Many people who file Chapter 13 have more assets to protect and want to continue to stay in their house.

Bankruptcy does not mean the end of the road for you. Bankruptcy is more like a new beginning. When you first file for bankruptcy and are in the middle of the process no one will offer you a line of credit and it may not be a good time to open a new insurance policy; but when your bankruptcy is complete you will immediately begin to be offered credit. If you are going to open a revolving credit account your only option might be to put a security deposit down on a credit card. Your limit will match the security deposit. After several timely payments made on this card and on your first installment loan-which might be a vehicle loan-your credit score will begin to increase. If you feel as though you did not get the very best rate possible with the policy you purchased during or immediately following your bankruptcy case this is the time to again begin asking for quotes from other companies.

Many people are considering bankruptcy today and the insurance companies know this. The insurance companies are being a little more understanding of this and offering quotes to nearly everyone. Your best option might be to shop around and ask for several quotes. Every insurance company is different and therefore has different criteria on how they factor your credit score into your premium’s total. This is why it may be better for you to ask around to at least three carriers before making any commitments with an insurance company during and immediately following a bankruptcy.

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Understanding Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage Explained

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is usually required for cars that are being leased or purchased through a bank loan. With comprehensive coverage, you are protected against almost any kind of damage that can happen to your car due to an accident. It also provides special coverage options like rental car services or roadside assistance. Different insurance companies have different policy features depending on the level of insurance you purchase. Comprehensive insurance costs more, but it will save you quite a bit of money if you ever need to file a claim.

Complete Protection for your Vehicle

If you own a car that is three years old or newer, a comprehensive policy will make it easier to keep your car in good condition. Most policies offer complete coverage of broken glass and other cosmetic problems that can result from daily driving. You will also enjoy engine protection and some discounts on regular maintenance through a comprehensive policy. Many insurance companies require that you perform specific maintenance on cars that are covered comprehensively so that the cars are always in top condition. These types of repair or maintenance can be extremely expensive on a new car that is not covered comprehensively.

Dealing with Natural Disasters

Not every comprehensive auto insurance policy provides coverage for natural disasters. You will need to make sure that you understand exactly what is covered when you sign up for a policy. If you are not covered for natural disasters, you could end up paying for damage due to falling tree limbs, hail, or flooding out of your own pocket. It is important to shop around and find a policy that will cover you if you live in an area that is prone to severe storms or other extreme weather patterns.

Belongings Inside the Vehicle

Most comprehensive plans do not provide coverage for belongings that are damaged while they are in the vehicle. Stereos, mp3 players, and other valuable cargo needs to be insured through a separate supplemental policy to be protected. Comprehensive coverage also does not extend to batteries and tires in most cases. Since these parts tend to wear down quickly, the insurance company does not consider them under a comprehensive insurance plan. Although these are general rules, there are always exceptions. You may be able to find an insurance company that will cover your belongings and your battery and tire, but you will most likely pay more for the privilege.

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Tips for Decreasing Your Car Insurance Rates

Tips for Decreasing Your Car Insurance Rates

Tips for Decreasing Your Car Insurance Rates

There are many things that you can do to decrease the amount you pay for car insurance. Almost anything that makes you a lower risk driver will have a positive impact on your insurance rates. If you have managed to avoid moving violations or auto accidents for three consecutive years, you will receive a discounted rate from most insurance companies. Drivers who have students living with them can receive discounts if the students are able to maintain a B average at school. You can also save on car insurance if you have multiple cars on the same policy. There are a number of discounts that are offered by many different car insurance companies.

Install Safety Features

An easy way to earn a car insurance discount is to install extra safety features on your vehicle. Many insurance companies offer substantial discounts for cars that are equipped with driver and passenger side air bags. Anti-lock brakes will also earn you a discount. When your car has the latest safety devices installed, the risk of you or your passengers being seriously injured during a car accident is greatly reduced. That means that you will not have to make large claims for serious injuries if you are ever involved in an auto accident.

Anti-Theft Devices

Insurance companies also appreciate it when you install anti-theft devices to your vehicle. Something as simple as a steering wheel lock can deter criminals and keep your car safer. Electronic alarms are even more effective in deterring theft. Insurance companies spend thousands of dollars each year replacing stolen vehicles or repairing recovered vehicles that were damaged during a theft. If you can reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen, it will potentially save the insurance company quite a lot of money. That savings can be passed on to you in the form of lower car insurance rates.

Driver Training Classes

Many insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who attend driver training classes. The classes can be in general driving strategies or defensive driving techniques. A driver who successfully completes a training class will be less likely to cause an accident because they will be more aware of their driving habits. The reduced risk of an accident makes it easier for an insurance company to offer a lower premium because there is a reduced chance that the driver will need to make a claim. Some insurance companies host their own special driving classes for customers.

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Back to School Time: Get Discounts for Your Teen Driver

Find Back to School Car Insurance for Your Teen

Find Back to School Car Insurance for Your Teen

Getting your teen ready to go back to school evokes images of buying binders, notebook paper, and bookbags. What many parents over- look is the advantage of shopping around for car insurance at this time as well.

A great deal of insurance companies are running back to school dicounts for teen drivers right now, and it is a good oppotunity for families looking to save some money this year to see what types of deals are available. The last thing any parent wants to do is short- change the insurance policy covering their teen, but with rates going up with many of the insurance companies, some are looking into cutting back on the coverage. This is not a good way to go since coverage for young drivers is so important.

No one wants to think that their teen driver will cause an accident, but the reality is many do. Having good and reliable coverage at an affordable rate is eough to make any parent breathe a little bit easier. Looking into the available coverage as part of the back to school to do list is a simple way to look out for your teen driver and the whole family.

If you have been feeling the belt tighten around the family budget, and have concerns over your teen getting behind the wheel this school year, instead of making cuts to the coveage look into the back to scool rates being offered at this time. It’s a decision you won’t regret.

No one wants to think that their teen driver will cause an accident, but the reality is many do. Having good and reliable coverage at an affordable rate is eough to make any parent breathe a little bit easier. Looking into the available coverage as part of the back to school to do list is a simple way to look out for your teen driver and the whole family.

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Staying Safe While Riding Your Motorcycle

For those who love motorcycles, there is nothing more liberating and enjoyable than taking a ride on the open road.  At the same time, there are certain dangers that are associated with riding a motorcycle.  After all, you are far more vulnerable to injury if you are involved in an accident.  Therefore, it is important for you to follow a few safety precautions in order to keep yourself safe while on the road.

Wearing Safety Gear

Although some states do not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet, you should take responsibility for your own safety by making sure you wear one every time you ride.  According to motorcycle safety statistics, you are five times more likely to suffer from a critical head injury if you are involved in an accident and you are not wearing a helmet.

In addition to wearing a helmet, there many other pieces of protective equipment you should seriously consider using.  For example, to further protect your face, you should look for a helmet that includes a face shield or you should purchase protective eyewear separately.  Boots with non-skid soles, leather clothing and gloves can also help protect your body.

Making Yourself Seen

One of the main causes of motorcycle accidents is the fact that other drivers on the road simply don’t see the motorcyclist until it is too late.  Therefore, you should also take steps to make yourself more visible to other drivers.  If you attach reflect tape to your clothing, for example, other drivers will be better able to see you at night.  Furthermore, you should always ride with your headlights on, even if it is during the day.  You can also make certain other drivers are able to see you by taking care to stay out of their blind pot and by flipping on your turn signal a little earlier. This way, the other drivers will be better prepared for your change in direction.

Keeping Your Mind and Motorcycle in Good Shape

Of course, you will also be much safer on the road if you make certain to follow all traffic rules, to complete a formal motorcycle riding program, and to avoid consuming alcohol before riding.  In addition, you should make certain your motorcycle is in proper running order before you hop on.  Check the tires for cracks, bulges and other signs of wear, look for gas and oil leaks, check the headlights to make sure they are working properly, and check on all of your fluid levels.

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Covering Mechanical Breakdowns with Your Car Insurance Policy

Are you looking for a car insurance policy that provides you with a little something extra?  If you are interested in a policy that will keep your vehicle fully protected, you might want to consider adding mechanical breakdown coverage to your policy. 

What is Mechanical Breakdown Coverage?

Mechanical breakdown coverage helps protect your vehicle against more than just theft, accidents, fire and other problems that are typically covered by an auto insurance policy.  In fact, it is similar to the type of coverage you typically receive from an auto warranty.  If your auto warranty is expired or it does not provide you with enough coverage for the mechanical failures you may encounter, you might want to add mechanical breakdown coverage to your policy.

Is Mechanical Breakdown Coverage Right for Me?

Whether or not mechanical breakdown coverage is right for you depends upon a number of different factors.  Of course, the most important thing to consider is how much the coverage will increase your premium costs as well as the deductible.  If your deductible is $1,000 or more, for example, having the coverage in place may not be worthwhile because most mechanical problems will cost less than $1,000 to repair.  Similarly, if your premiums are increased by a significant amount of money, adding the coverage to your policy may not be a wise economic choice.

When deciding whether or not mechanical breakdown coverage is right for you, you should also take a closer look at what is covered by the policy versus what is covered by the manufacture’s warranty.  In many cases, the policies offered by insurance companies actually cover more parts and services than what is covered by the warranties you can purchase.

How Do I Qualify for Mechanical Breakdown Coverage?

Most insurance companies that offer mechanical breakdown coverage have certain limitations and restrictions in place.  For example, you may be required to initiate the coverage while your vehicle is still fairly new or has a fairly low number of miles.  At this point, you may have sufficient warranty coverage in place.  Nonetheless, the initial investment may be worthwhile because it will guarantee your eligibility to continue the coverage as the vehicle gets older or takes on more miles. Or, you can save yourself some money when purchasing your new vehicle by bypassing the warranty coverage and getting mechanical breakdown coverage from your insurance company instead.

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Tips for Cutting Car Insurance for Your Teen

Car Insurance for Your TeenAre you getting ready to add a teenager to your auto insurance policy? Many parents worry about the potential cost of adding a teen to their car insurance policy, but there are a few steps you can take to help reduce your expenses and make your policy more affordable.

Look Into Discounts

There are many discounts that you and your teen may be eligible to receive, such as the good student discount. If your teen is a full time student and maintains a B average, many insurance companies will extend a discount of up to 15%. If your teen completes a driver training program, he or she may be eligible for additional insurance discounts.

Get the Right Type of Car

Just as the type of car you purchase has an impact on your rates, the same is true for your teen. A teen who drives a high-performance car can expect to pay a higher insurance premium, so look for a more conventional vehicle without a lot of extra bells and whistles for your teen driver.

Make Some Policy Changes

Making a few modifications to your insurance policy can help to severely cut back on the premium costs. Consider increasing your deductible or dropping some of your coverage in order to save on your premium. If your teen is driving an older car, for example, carrying collision and comprehensive coverage may not be necessary.

Preach Safety

When all is said and done, the easiest and most effective way for your teen to help keep insurance costs down is to be a safe driver. Getting into just one fender-bender can be enough to increase the rates and to negate any special discounts you may have received. So, be certain to give your teen plenty of practice behind the wheel with you at his or her side and then gradually allow your teen to take on more solo driving time. This way, your teen will be more likely to be a safe driver.

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Getting What It’s Worth When Your Vehicle is Totaled

totaled carHave you recently been involved in an automobile accident? If so, your vehicle may have been damaged to the point that your insurance company considers it to be "totaled," but what if you don’t agree with this assessment or if you want to keep your car? Are there any steps you can take to help improve your financial standing after you are involved in an accident? The reality is that you do have rights that you may not be aware of having, but you have to decide whether or not it is worthwhile for you to take advantage of these rights.

What Makes My Car "Totaled?"

Put simply, your vehicle will be considered totaled if repairing the damage to the vehicle will cost more than replacing the value. For example, if the insurance company deems that your vehicle was worth $12,000 before the accident, but estimates that it will cost $13,000 to repair it, the company will pay out the $12,000 rather than the $13,000 and will take the vehicle in exchange. Essentially, the insurance company chooses to purchase the vehicle rather than pay to repair it, as repairing the vehicle is not a sound investment. The insurance company will then sell the vehicle in an attempt to recoup some of the expenses. In many cases, this involves selling the vehicle to a salvage shop where it will be sold off for its parts.

Debating the Insurance Company’s Decision

In some cases, you may feel as if the car should be valued at a greater price than what the insurance company is willing to pay. In this case, you may want to negotiate a higher price with the company. In order to accomplish this, however, you will need to demonstrate that the vehicle was more valuable than the insurance company is claiming. Therefore, it is a good idea for you to take photos of your vehicles on a regular basis and to keep any receipts that can be used to show the money you have invested into the vehicle. You may also need to hire your own independent appraiser to determine the pre-accident value of the vehicle. Of course, this will require some investment on your part, which means you need to consider this cost as well as the amount of extra money you anticipate getting in order to decide if this is a good step for you to take.

If you are interested in keeping the vehicle after the insurance company has deemed it totaled, you may be able to negotiate that as well. Whether or not this is possible depends upon the laws in your state. If you are able to keep the vehicle, however, be prepared to receive a smaller payout from the insurance company because you will have to reimburse the insurance company for the money it could have received from the salvage yard.

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Identifying the Sections of Your Insurance Policy

When it comes time to compare auto insurance policies, it is easy to become a bit confused by what you are looking at.  As a result, accurately and fairly comparing the policies to one another can be difficult.  Therefore, it is important for you to understand the various sections that are included within a standard auto policy and what you will find within these sections.

Declarations

You can take a quick look at the basics of your auto insurance policy in the declarations section.  This section is usually only a page long and contains information about the vehicles that are covered by the policy, the drivers in your household, the amount of your premiums and the basic coverage limits within your policy.

Insuring Agreement and Definitions Sections

The insuring agreement section is where all of the details of your policy are covered.  This section can be somewhat difficult to understand because it may contain terminology that you are not familiar with.  To help you with understanding this section fully, you should consult with the definitions section.  Here, you will find definitions to the terms that are commonly used within the auto insurance field.

Exclusions

The exclusions section includes information about specific situations that are not covered by the policy.  Reading and understanding this section is just as important as reading and understanding the insuring agreement section, as you certainly don’t want to be caught off guard when you file a claim and discover the situation is not covered by your policy.

Conditions Section

Within the conditions section, you will find information regarding the conditions that must be met in order for your policy to remain active.  This section will also describe the conditions that must be met in order to successfully file a claim with the insurance company.

When comparing auto insurance policies, be certain to consider all of these sections and to compare what each policy has to offer.  This way, you can be certain to get the coverage you need without paying too much for coverage that you don’t actually need.

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Do You Need Gap Insurance Coverage?

If you are like many people who took out a loan in order to purchase a vehicle, you have probably discovered that the value of your vehicle is now less than what you still owe on it.  In some cases, the gap between what you owe and the value of your vehicle can be quite large, which means you will be left in a terrible financial situation if your vehicle is totaled in an accident.  While this possibility is disturbing regardless of your financial situation, if you are one of the thousands of people who has been left without a job or who is otherwise struggling to make it by, getting stuck with paying on a vehicle you no longer own is even more frightening.  Therefore, if you don’t already have it, you might want to consider adding gap insurance coverage to your auto policy.

What is Gap Insurance?

As the name implies, gap insurance is coverage that is meant to fill the “gap” between what you owe on your vehicle and the vehicle’s current value. For example, if you are involved in an accident and your vehicle is damaged to the point where repairing it will cost more than replacing it, the insurance company will consider it to be a total loss.  Instead of paying for repairs to the vehicle, the company will reimburse you for the cost of replacing the vehicle.  If the vehicle is valued at $10,000, but you still owe $15,000, you will be stuck with having to pay the $5,000 difference.  This means you are still stuck with making a car payment, but you don’t have a car to show for it.  With gap insurance, the insurance company will pay off what you owe on the vehicle if it is totaled rather than only paying the value of the vehicle.

How Do I Get Gap Insurance Coverage?

You may be surprised to learn that there are actually a couple different options available for obtaining gap insurance.  When you purchase your vehicle, the lending institution may offer gap insurance coverage to be included with your lending agreement.  Or, the car dealership may sell gap insurance coverage to you with your purchase.  Another option is to contact your insurance company and to have gap insurance coverage added to your policy.  Regardless of where you purchase it from, gap insurance coverage usually does not cost a whole lot.  Therefore, it is a good idea to add this coverage to your policy, just be sure to compare offers in order to select the least expensive option.