Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Top 10 Ways to Save $$$ on Auto Insurance

Looking for ways to keep your auto insurance premiums manageable?  Here are the Top 10 ways you can save on your insurance (without sacrificing coverage.)

1. Your Driving Record
Your driving record plays a big role in how much you pay for insurance. By keeping a clean record for 3-5 years, you can save hundreds of dollars! Be a cautious driver, don’t speed, and you'll lower your premiums.

2. Defensive Driving Course
Defensive driving courses are an easy way to achieve an extra discount. They can also help keep a ticket from showing up and messing up your clean driving record. Make sure to call us before taking the class if you're using it for a discount so we can verify that your policy qualifies.

3. Good Grades
Most insurance companies reward students with a “good student discount”. They have found that students who concentrate on their studies and work on achieving good grades are also more conscientious when behind the wheel. So, if you maintain a high GPA, in many cases you can save on your premiums!

4. Anti-Theft Devices
Installing an alarm or other anti-theft device can lower premiums on your vehicle. Make sure to discuss all the features with us, sometimes even power locks and a remote can count!

5. Your Credit Score
While insurance uses a different formula then the credit bureaus, your credit still affects the rate you pay. Good credit can save you hundreds (even thousands) on your premiums! Make sure to review your report on a regular basis and have any mistakes corrected.

6. Where You Live
Rural areas pay less for insurance than the big cities do. It's all about risk and with a large population, there is more chance for an accident. Therefore, where you choose to live can impact your rates. Consider visiting with us before purchasing a home if you’re concerned about the costs (it is based on the zip code).

7. Your Vehicle
The vehicle you choose to purchase also makes a difference! Some vehicles cost a lot more to repair than others, which drives up their rates. Easy way to avoid buying a money-sucker? Call us first and let us quote the vehicle before you sign on the dotted line.

8. How Often You Drive
If you take public transportation and only drive on the weekend, you'll pay less than someone with a long commute. Make sure to review your annual mileage and daily commutes with us (especially if they change) so that you can receive the extra savings.

9. Raise Your Deductible
A higher deductible (your out-of-pocket cost in a claim) means a lower monthly rate. If you have $1,000 in savings and could afford to use it if you had an accident, then you’ll save on your insurance cost by having a $1000 deductible instead of a $250. We can help you review the costs and benefits in your specific situation.

10. Your Agent
And the best way to save? Work with a local SAV-ON agent! You'll get the coverage you need, plus you'll have an advocate working on your behalf to find the best rate, all the discounts, and an easy explanation of any gaps in your coverage. It's the #1 way to control your risk, maximize your savings, and protect your family.

We want to be your agent. Call us at 888-867-2866 to discuss your policy today, or visit www.sav-on.com.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How Do Insurance Claims Work?

Have you ever had an insurance claim?  Many people worry because they just aren’t sure what to expect or how the process works.  Today I want to walk you through it so you’ll know exactly what to do if you experience a claim as a SAV-ON client.

Make Sure It's Worth Reporting

If you think you have an insurance claim, the first thing to consider is how much damage you have compared to what your deductible is.  You don’t want to file a claim on your policy if there isn’t enough damage to pay out -- it can hurt your claims-free discounts or effect your future rates.

If the damage to your auto or home seems relatively minor, call us first to determine what your deductible is. You may even want to take your car to a body shop or have a roofer come look at your home BEFORE you file the claim if you’re unsure of the cost of repairs.

Filing a Claim

Once you’re positive that the damage exceeds the deductible, you’ll need to report the loss.  You can call our office at 888-867-2866 or call the insurance company’s claim number directly (this can be found on your policy). 

A representative will take the information over the phone, asking for details about when, where, and how the claim occurred.  Make sure to write down any critical information like dates, the other party's name and phone numbers, or any other relevant information you might need to provide.

Once your claim is reported, it will be assigned to a claim handler.  This person is typically the point of contact for all matters of your claim.  They will schedule a time for your home or vehicle to be looked at by a claims adjuster.

The adjuster will look at your auto or property, review the damage, and estimate the cost of the repair.  Depending on the scale of your loss, the adjuster will assign the payment and finish up your claim quickly.

What If Something Goes Wrong?  

Maybe you don’t agree on the amount of damage, or feel that the information isn’t accurate.  Call us!  Your agent is your advocate during the claims process.  While we typically aren’t involved in the regular process, we’re ALWAYS available to help you get your questions answered and speak to the company on your behalf as needed.  Most of the time things will run quickly and smoothly without issue.  But if you do experience a problem, we want to help.

And if you need a personal local agent to work with you during your next claim, call us for a quote today! 888-867-2866.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Can My Friend Drive My Car?


This is a question that we hear a lot around here:  Can I let my friend drive my car and still be covered?

Maybe you’re going on a trip, need a designated driver, or just want to help out a friend in need.  There are lots of situations where you might want to let someone else drive your car.

Fortunately, the short answer is that YES you are covered.  Here’s how it works:

If you give someone permission to drive and they are a licensed driver, then there is no problem.  If they have an accident while driving your car, your insurance will still pay out for liability damage and still cover your car (as long as you have collision and comprehensive coverage.)  If your friend has their own insurance, their policy may pay for damage to your vehicle as well. 

Of course you still want to make sure that your friend or family member is a safe and trustworthy driver.  Any claims made while they’re driving will still count against your policy and risk a rate increase or loss of discounts in the future. 

And if the person lives in your household or drives your car on a regular basis, you’ll need to add them to your policy as a covered driver.  This is especially important if they are a teenage driver in your home! 

Have questions?  Feel free to call SAV-ON Insurance at 888-867-2866 with questions about your specific situation and policy coverages! 


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Insurance Basics: How to Choose an Auto Deductible

Deductibles are a big part of your insurance policy and it’s important to know what they mean and to choose the right amount.  Let’s talk about the basics!

The collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle will each have a deductible listed. The deductible is the amount YOU will pay out of pocket if you have an accident before your insurance kicks in.

So, if you choose a $500 deductible and have an accident, then you are responsible for $500 and your insurance will cover the rest (up to your policy limits). If you don't already know your policy limits, ask us for specifics. Deductible options vary from $1000, $500, $250, to as low as $50 in some cases.

So how do you choose the right one for you?

First, it’s important to see how your deductible affects your rate. The lower amount you pay out-of-pocket after an accident, the higher your insurance premium.  This means you’ll pay more each month for insurance if you choose to pay less after a claim.  We can quote your policy with different deductibles to give you an idea of the cost range.

Second, you want to look at your savings.  If you have a good amount of emergency savings and could easily pay out $1,000 after a claim, then you would probably want to look at a higher deductible in order to save money very year on your premiums.  On the other hand, if you have very little savings and couldn’t pay out that much after a claim, you might want to look at a slightly lower deductible that stills fits in your budget.

And finally the best option - ask your agent for help!  We can sit down and explain ALL the options, rates, and discuss your personal situation in detail.  This way you know that you’ve got the best coverage at the best possible rate.  Call SAV-ON Insurance today at 888-867-2866 for a free rate quote!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What Does 'Full Auto Coverage' Really Mean? (You May Be Surprised)

Confusion abounds about what 'full coverage' means, especially with new drivers. Many new drivers aren't sure what constitutes full coverage, and they want to know if they have 'full coverage' or 'liability only' on their auto insurance policy.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as full coverage insurance!

Here’s the problem --  'full coverage' has become a common term in the insurance business, but it can mean lots of different things.  If a bank tells you that you need full coverage, they typically mean Collision and Comprehensive coverage.  But you might think that 'full coverage' means you have every kind of insurance coverage for your vehicle. That is not the case.

Collision and Comprehensive Insurance

Collision and Comprehensive are commonly used auto insurance terms, but they are only basic coverages. Collision is what fixes or replaces your vehicle if you have an accident. Comprehensive is what fixes or replaces your vehicle after storm damage, theft, vandalism, or other situations that don’t involve an accident. Both have deductibles that require you to pay a certain amount of the repairs.

These two coverages are usually required by lenders and are sometimes called 'full coverage'.  But there are other things you may THINK you have when you say full coverage, that aren’t included, but are very important!

One of those items is Rental Reimbursement.  This is the coverage that supplies you with a rental car while your car is in the shop for repairs due to a claim.  Without it, you pay out-of-pocket for a rental car all the while your car is being repaired. This could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

Another is Towing coverage, which tows your vehicle if it breaks down or even runs out of gas.

Another important coverage that is only pennies a day is Uninsured Motorist. If you are hit by a driver who has no insurance coverage, you may have to pay for the repairs yourself! Even though auto insurance is mandatory in Washington, many drivers either choose to go without it, have let it lapse, or cannot qualify for it due to previous accidents or citations. Without insurance, the other driver may not be able to afford the repairs on your vehicle. If there are injuries involved, that makes it even worse! If the driver doesn't have the financial ability to pay, your insurance company will not be able to collect and it will have to come out of your own pocket. With Uninsured Motorist coverage, you are covered (up to the amount of the policy).

So what should you do to make sure you’re protected?  The best recommendation is to work with your local SAV-ON agent, who can sit down and review your coverage line-by-line.  They’ll explain each item, make suggestions for gaps you may have in your coverage, and make sure that you know EXACTLY what you’ve got!  No more vague 'full coverage' nonsense.  Call us today at 888-867-2866 for a quote or to review your current policy!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Essential Winter Driving Tips

Now that we're in the grips of a particularly wet, cold winter, it's important to remember that it poses many driving challenges. Western Washington has lots of hills and steep grades, which cause treacherous driving conditions when combined with cold temperatures. Please slow down in these conditions!

Water from our frequent rains can turn to ice, and a thin layer on the roadway that can't be seen -- aptly named 'black ice' -- can, without warning, cause your vehicle to slide out of control. Since drivers don't see the danger, they're usually driving faster than the conditions allow.

Then, when we get even a thin layer of snow, roads quickly turn hazardous! Combining hilly roads with a lack of snow-removal equipment, snow gets packed down and becomes icy. Since drivers in Western Washington don't get much practice at driving in the snow and ice, you end up with a serious traffic problem!

But, you can make it through unscathed by adhering to a few important winter driving tips!

Top 10 Driving Tips:

1. Winterize your vehicle - Check your battery, front and rear defrosters, fill up the washer fluid and antifreeze, inflate your tires to the correct pressure, and keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid frozen fuel lines.

2. Clear your windshield - Never pour hot water over the windows to melt the ice and snow. This will typically shatter the windshield. Use a plastic scraper to avoid scratching the glass and use the front and rear defrosters to melt the ice. Avoid using your windshield wipers until after all the ice and snow have been removed.

3. Don't just clear your windshield - Don't forget to clear all of the other windows, as well as the roof, hood, mirrors, headlights and tail lights, license plates and the exhaust pipe. This will prevent accumulated ice and snow from becoming an airborne hazard for other drivers.

4. Keep a survival kit in the car - Blankets, water-proof boots and gloves, hats, and any necessary medications should be carried in the car. Keep a small shovel, jumper cables, and something that could be used for traction (e.g. cat litter, sand, etc.) in the car as well.

5. Test your limits in a safe environment - Take your car to a familiar, empty parking lot near your home after a rain, snow or ice storm. Practice emergency stops and turning at a safe speed. Be sure and watch out for light posts, curbs and parking barriers to avoid any damage to your vehicle.

6. Warm up the car the right way - To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, never attempt to warm up your car in an enclosed area. Even when outside, be sure to clear your exhaust pipe before running your car.

7. Pump your brakes at the right time - If your vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), you should depress the brake pedal completely and keep it depressed. The ABS will rapidly pump the brakes for you in most situations if at least one wheel is still turning. If all four wheels have stopped turning and the vehicle is still sliding on ice, you should pump your brakes as the ABS has failed.

8. Drive in the existing tracks - To help traction, try to stay within the pathway already dug by other vehicles' wheels. If you end up stuck, remember to keep your wheels as straight as possible and don't just continue spinning your tires. Spread sand or cat litter around your tires and along the path you plan on taking. In a pinch, you can also use your floor mats for traction.

9. Don't turn while braking or accelerating - In rain, snow and ice, attempt to slow down before a turn and accelerate slowly after the wheel has already turned.

10. Catch a skid - If you do start skidding, stay calm! Don't slam on the brakes, don't hit the gas pedal. Turn your wheel smoothly in the direction that you intend to travel. You should be able to regain control of the vehicle once it has slowed enough to regain traction. Don't turn the wheel too much, a little goes a long way and you don't want to be pointed in a dangerous direction if traction returns suddenly.

Whatever your predicament, SAV-ON Insurance Agencies is there to help. We'll work with your insurance company to make sure you get back on the road again as soon as possible! Call for a free rate quote today at 888-867-2866.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why You Need Renters Insurance

You finally moved out! Your new apartment or rental house is awesome, and you feel pretty good about living on your own. But, even though you don't own, you need to protect your belongings.  It’s time to learn more about renters insurance! 

Homeowners insurance covers the house itself and the items inside. If you don’t own the home, you don’t need insurance to cover it.  All you need is coverage for your actual personal belongings.

It might not seem like a lot, but all those little items add up!  When you think about the cost to replace your furniture, dishes, laptop, phone, sheets, clothes, books, and everything else filling up your home, it’s probably a lot more than you thought.

Renters insurance is an affordable way to protect what you’ve worked hard to acquire.  And it’s probably a lot cheaper than you’d expect!  In fact, many times the discount you receive on your auto insurance for having multiple policies can almost pay for the entire renters policy!

Renters Insurance will cover personal belongings within your home as well as a limited amount of property off premises (such as items in a storage building) or your laptop when it’s in the car. 

It also includes important liability coverage.  If you accidentally cause a fire that burns down the property, your insurance pays the landlord to replace it (protecting you from a damaging lawsuit).  In fact, many landlords now require that tenants carry a certain amount of liability insurance before they will approve the lease. 

So if you’re renting, it’s time to look at protecting your valuables.  Give SAV-ON a call today at 888-867-2866 and ask for a no-obligation quote on renters insurance.  And, while you're at it, find out how much you’ll save on your auto insurance, too!