Thursday, December 22, 2016

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record?

We hear questions like this a lot.  Tickets and accidents can cause spikes to your car insurance rates and no one wants that.  In some cases, it can even lead to your policy being cancelled!

The good news is that they eventually drop off and your rate goes back down, as long as you keep your record "clean" after that. "Clean" means no tickets or at-fault accidents until it stops affecting your driving record. The bad news is that it typically takes 3 years for that to happen.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

If you get a ticket, you may be able to avoid having a surcharge on your policy by taking a defensive driving course and getting the ticket removed.  This will depend on your past record and what the court offers, but it is a good option! You'll only be able to do this once in that three-year span, however. If you get another ticket within that time, you will see your rates go up.

Utilize Insurance Discounts to Offset Costs

If your rates do go up, make sure you are taking advantage of all other discounts to offset the increase.  Bring all of your insurance to one company so you take advantage of multi-policy discounts.  Raise your deductible for a while so you pay more out-of-pocket in the event of an accident, but have a lower monthly rate.

Have questions?  SAV-ON Insurance is always available to help!  Just give us a call at 888-867-2866 and schedule a free review to see what is available and how we can keep your rates manageable even after an accident.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Who Needs Life Insurance the Most?

Life Insurance is an important coverage that many people don’t understand or prefer not to think about!  While most people could benefit from life insurance, there are certain people that need it more than others.  Let’s take a look:

Family Breadwinner:  If your family depends on your income each month, then you need life insurance.  If you have a dual income household, then BOTH of you need life insurance.

If a breadwinner were to die unexpectedly, it would cause severe financial hardship for most families.  Research by the non-profit organization Life Matters shows that 60% of American households would feel the financial loss of a breadwinner in less than a month!  This coverage is an easy, inexpensive way to prevent that from happening.

Stay-At-Home Parent:  Even if you aren’t earning an income, you may still need life insurance coverage.  Stay-at home-parents provide for the family in a different way, but it would require more income if their role had to be replaced.

For example, if a parent stays home with the children, and were to pass away, the surviving spouse would need to pay for child care in the future.  This previously unneeded expense would cut into the family budget quickly. Wouldn’t it be better to have life insurance so that if the unthinkable happened, the surviving parent could stop working for a while and be with the kids? 

Adult Who Cares for Elderly Parent:  Frequently we only think of parents needing life insurance, but in reality it’s necessary for anyone who supports or takes care of someone else. 

If you have an elderly parent who depends on you to provide financial support or even just day-to-day care, then you need some life insurance protection. 

Personal finance expert Suze Orman says, “if a child, a spouse, a life partner, or a parent depends on you and your income, you need life insurance.”  This is a great rule of thumb! 

If you fall into one of these groups and would like to discuss life insurance for your situation, give SAV-ON Insurance a call today for a no-obligation quote.

Call us at 888-867-2866 or go to to setup an appointment.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When Should I Drop Full Coverage on My Car?

Lots of people want to know when the magical date will arrive that they can drop full coverage on their vehicles and save some money on their insurance.  Today we’ll share some information to help you make the right choice.

Definition of 'Full Coverage'

We use the term “full coverage” to refer to having both collision and comprehensive coverage for your vehicles.  Collision coverage repairs or replaces your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident you cause.  Comprehensive coverage repairs or replaces your vehicle from damage caused by other factors – like wind, hail, road hazards, or vandalism. 

These two coverages together are the only things that repair YOUR vehicle.  Liability coverage only repairs damage that you cause to others

So when is it okay to quit covering your car? 

First of all, if you owe money on the car, you are required to carry full coverage.  The lienholder (or lender) won’t allow you to drop the coverage because they want a guarantee that the car will hold value if they need to repossess it.  Most lenders also require that you keep no more than a $500 deductible at all times.

Once the car is paid off, you may decide to keep the full coverage, but raise your deductible to $1000 in order to save a little money but still have full coverage.

Find out your car's worth

If the car is much older and higher mileage, it may not be worth a whole lot.  You can use a website like (Kelley Blue Book's website) to find out the value of your vehicle.  The insurance company will generally pay around this amount if your car was totaled in an accident.  (This is not exact and will vary depending on location and resources that the insurance company uses, but it’s a good tool to estimate.)

If your car is worth very little, you may decide to take the risk and not pay for full coverage, knowing that you’d be out-of-pocket in an accident.

What if the car is totaled? 

Do you have money in savings to go out and buy a new car?  Would you end up stuck with a new car payment, too?  Really consider what would happen if you dropped the coverage and totaled the car tomorrow.  For many people, it’s better to pay a few dollars extra and know they have options if there is an accident.

If you’re unsure or just want to get more information, call SAV-ON today @ 888-867-2866 to review your policy.  We can tell you the price with and without full coverage, as well as give some personalized options in between.  We want to keep you protected for the best price possible!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Find Out the Cost of Insurance BEFORE Buying the Car

Don't let this happen to you: You make the decision to purchase a vehicle, get it home, call to add it to your insurance, and then find out that your monthly insurance premium just did a big jump UP?

This can be stressful if you’re not expecting it!  Here are a few things to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line:

One important thing to remember when purchasing a vehicle is that the salesperson wants to make a sale.

Unfortunately, they might lead you to believe that this model of car has cheaper insurance than your old one, even if they don’t know for sure!  For a long time, there was a myth that red cars cost more than other colors to insure, but it’s just not true. 

Some dealerships will offer car insurance at their location and may give you a general “quote” on the cost, but this can be unreliable as well.  The information may assume a better credit rating or driving record than you have, leading to an unexpected rate hike after the sale. 

You need to research the vehicle costs on your own first and verify them.  Don’t just go by the information you receive at the dealership. 

If you’re making a huge jump in vehicles, prepare to pay more for insurance.  If you have an older vehicle that currently is insured for liability only, and you’re upgrading to brand new vehicle with a loan on it, you’ll also be looking at higher insurance costs. 

Some lienholders also require that you carry a $500 deductible on your new vehicle, which can make a difference if you’ve had a higher deductible in the past.

Here’s the best advice we can offer!  BEFORE you purchase the vehicle, write down the year, make, model (and even VIN number if available) and call SAV-ON Insurance at 888-867-2866.  We’ll go into your current policy and put in the vehicle you're interested in to give you an EXACT cost.  If you’re trading in another car, we’ll remove that one, too.

We won’t officially make the change until you confirm it, but this will take away any surprises.  You’ll know exactly what your pro-rated premium will be and can make an informed decision on if that vehicle is the right choice for you.  If you’re comparing several, feel free to call with them all! 

That’s the benefit of having a local insurance agency like SAV-ON!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Is 'Liability Only' a Bad Idea?

Most people think there are only two kinds of auto insurance – full coverage and liability only. But, there's more to it than that.

Full coverage typically means that someone has liability PLUS collision and comprehensive coverage.  That means that they are covered if they cause damage to someone else (liability), if their vehicle is damaged in an accident they cause (collision) and for things like hail damage (comprehensive). 

“Liability only” is the bare bones option that ONLY covers damage that you cause to another person.  It means that there is NO coverage for your vehicle included.  Why would someone want that? It depends on your financial situation and your car's value.

Mandatory Coverage  

Liability coverage is what is required by the state in order to operate a vehicle.  You don't have a choice on that.

Without it, you can get a ticket or even lose your license. This protects others from getting in a collision with someone and not being able to collect for damages.

However, collision and comprehensive are only required if you have a lienholder that requires them.  Most lienholders do require it, but if your vehicle is paid off then it is up to you to cover the vehicle or not.

Here are things to consider before choosing to carry liability only:

How much money do you have in savings?  If your car was totaled tomorrow, would you have enough to purchase a vehicle to replace it?  If you only have enough for a down payment, could you financially handle car payments?

How much is your car worth?  If the car is worth $10,000, then you would be more likely to want to insure that value.  If it’s worth only $1,000 or less, you might feel it’s a risk you’re willing to take.

The key here is to think about what would benefit you the most.  Look at the insurance cost of liability only or full coverage.  (We can run this comparison for you.)  Personal finance expert Dave Ramsey says “It may save you a little money to drop collision insurance on your car, but it usually isn’t worth the risk.”

Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 for a quote to look at what coverage is right for you!

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

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.