Classic Cars: Elements of Classic Car Insurance

Have Fun at a Classic Car Show

If you have a vintage vehicle, you want to make sure that you’re protecting it as much as possible. This ride signifies a massive investment on your part, so you have to make sure that you’re getting the coverage you need. 

When picking out a policy for your classic car, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Agreed Value

With most auto insurance plans, the policy covers the cost of a replacement. However, for a classic car, you can’t just go to any dealership and buy a new one. Thus, you will want to talk to your agent and make sure that you’re both on the same page about what the car is worth. 

Another thing about agreed value is depreciation. Most vintage models get more valuable over time, meaning that you’ll want to reassess its worth on an annual basis. Keeping this figure up to date will ensure that you’re fairly compensated in case something happens. 

Low-Mileage Coverage

Do you drive your classic car? If so, how often are you on the road? In most cases, these vehicles are usually driven on a minimal basis, which means that you’re not putting it at risk. Most insurance companies will give you great rates because the chances of getting into a collision are minimal. Be sure to track your mileage and provide an estimate when drafting a policy. 

Roadside Assistance

If you are driving your classic car and it breaks down, you want to make sure that you can tow it to a qualified auto shop for repairs. Since most mechanics don’t specialize in vintage models, you may have limited options. Thus, when adding roadside assistance to your policy, talk to your agent about coverage for longer towing distances if necessary. 

Getting insurance for your classic ride is crucial. Because this car is not like any other, you have to be sure that your policy covers everything. We understand what components to include in this type of plan, so contact us today to get started. 

Identity Theft

Identity Theft Series

Identity theft is no laughing matter.  It can strike nearly anyone at any time. It is important to protect yourself as well as know how to deal with it.  This series can help.


Supplemental Articles

Identity Theft: What to Do If It Strikes You

Identity Theft Series

Most identity thieves work quickly, because they know they have limited time to act before being found out. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, you need to work just as fast. 

Lock Down Accounts

The first thing to do if you notice a problem with one of your accounts is to contact the institution that handles the account. Let them know there is suspicious activity. You will need to start the process of disputing the charge or charges, but you should also take measures to lock the account at least temporarily or possibly even close the account. 

Your financial institution can walk you through the process of changing your account numbers and issuing new checks, ATM, debit or credit cards as necessary. If the account in question is a bank account that is linked to other accounts, like maybe you have set up automatic bill pay or maybe you have direct deposit, you will need to make any necessary updates.

Once you have secured the problem account, check all of your other accounts. Even if they are not connected in any way, still make a point to double check. You do not know how the thief was able to access the initial account, so you don’t know what information he or she has, and what else they can access. If you notice any suspicious or out of the ordinary activity on your other accounts, go through the same process of contacting the managing institution or company to sound the alarm and secure the account.

File Reports

After you have done your best to minimize the damage and prevent further theft, you will need to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. You will receive information regarding next steps, and even tips to help you dispute any fraudulent charges. Filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission will also generate an identity theft report, which you can later use to repair your credit report.

You will also need to file a report with your local police department. This can be tricky, because some agencies require crimes to be reported in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. If you know who stole your identity and where that person is located, you can file a complaint with their local police department. Reports can be filed over the phone if necessary. If you do not know the location of the crook, go ahead and file a report with your local police department.

Freeze Your Credit

You may decide to freeze your credit after your identity is stolen. This is not mandatory, but it will prevent the three major consumer reporting agencies from releasing information about your credit history should any requests come in. This can be beneficial, because if a thief attempts to open any new accounts using your information they will likely be unsuccessful. The agency that issued you the freeze may provide a PIN you can use to grant access to your credit report should you need to open new accounts while the freeze is in place. You can choose when to lift the freeze; although, some states specify the length of the freeze.

Getting Your Money Back

All banks and credit card companies have policies in place to deal with fraudulent charges. Once you have disputed the charges, it is up to the institution to determine if you will be reimbursed or if any charges and fees will be dropped. If the thief is brought to justice, stolen money may be recovered or the individual may have to pay restitution. 

Fix Your Credit Report

Your credit report is used to generate your credit score, essentially a number financial institutions use to determine how much of a risk it is to lend you money. Good credit scores enable you to take out loans when you want to purchase a new car or a home, or open credit cards. Landlords typically run a credit check before renting apartments, and even some companies check the credit score of applicants before offering a job. Identity theft can trash your credit score and cause long-term damage. Fixing your report and score will take some effort, but can prevent a bad score from standing in your way when you want to open accounts, purchase a home or do anything else that requires a good credit report.

Protect Your Identity

We are here to help. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us to learn more about identity theft and how identity theft insurance might be a good choice.

Identity Theft: Protect Yourself

Identity Theft Series

Prevention is your best line of defense against identity theft. Be mindful of where your wallet, credit cards, ATM or debit cards, checks and anything else with identifying information is at all times. Take special care to protect your social security number, because if this falls into the wrong hands a lot can go wrong. Properly dispose of receipts, or better yet, if you do not need a receipt do not request one at ATMs or gas stations. Do not tell people your PIN, pass codes or passwords to any of your accounts.

Mind Your Digital Presence

Take precautions online to protect your information. Use different and unique passwords for all of your accounts, and try to use passwords that are hard for others to guess. Only shop at secure websites that start with ‘https.’ Even if you are on a secure site, avoid online shopping on public or work computers. When using your own laptop or smartphone, avoid making online purchases or paying bills when you are on public wi-fi.

Be Careful About Giving Information Away

Some would-be criminals will go to great lengths to obtain your information. They may go through garbage to retrieve credit card offers you received in the mail or pose as employees of financial institutions and offer to sign people up for accounts either in person or over the phone. It is best to shred credit card and other offers you receive in the mail to prevent thieves from opening accounts in your name. When you encounter solicitors, be sure to ask questions. It is best to just walk away if you have a bad feeling about it.

Be Aware

On average, victims of identity theft lose a combined amount of  $1,343. This includes the amount stolen, plus any overdraft fees and other expenses tied to the theft. The best thing you can do to minimize the damage caused by identity theft is be aware of your finances. Noticing suspicious activity means you already have a problem, but the sooner you identify you have a problem, the sooner you can take action to fix it.

Be Vigilant

Monitor statements and accounts to look for unusual activity. Withdrawals from your accounts that you did not make, charges for items you did not purchase, and even medical statements for care you did not receive are all indications of identity fraud. Keep an eye on your digital accounts, too. Indicators of potential problems include receiving an email indicating you recently changed a password to one of your accounts when you did not do so, or if are unable to log in to an account.

Check Your Credit Report

Make it a habit to regularly check your credit report. A credit report is a rundown of your credit history. This report contains a running list of every bank account, credit card and loan opened in your name. A credit report also indicates if you typically pay your bills on time, or if you are late.

Reviewing all of this information, from monthly and quarterly statements to an annual credit report can alert you to possible identity theft. The sooner you notice the problem the better, because you can stop things before they get worse. There are services that offer credit monitoring and identity theft protection, which can help guard and protect your information and immediately alert you to trouble.

Bob Johnson Insurance Can Help

We are here to help. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us to learn more about identity theft and how identity theft insurance might be a good choice.

Identity Theft: What is It?

Identity Theft Series

Identity theft is a problem more than 8 million Americans face each year. If left unchecked, identity theft can be devastating, but if caught early it is possible to make a full recovery. When the proper steps are taken, it is even possible to prevent identity theft from occurring. Learn more and find out how to best protect yourself, what to do if you fall victim to identity theft and how Bob Johnson Insurance can help.

What is Identity Theft

Identity theft is when some steals identifying information about you and uses this information to access your accounts or to open new accounts in your name. This type of theft can range from accessing and stealing money from your bank accounts, to opening credit cards or taking out loans in your name. 

Valuable Information

Your name and address are some of the easiest information a thief can use to steal your identity. Other types of information identity thieves can use to commit crimes include credit card and bank account numbers, your social security number and even medical insurance account numbers.

Types of Identity Theft

The most common occurrences of identity theft involve financial fraud. A thief may use your information to access your bank accounts and steal money. Thieves may also open accounts in your name, like credit cards or take out loans. The crook will use a different address for any accounts they set up, so you will not even realize these accounts exist. After the thief has charged or withdrawn money, they simply ignore the account, and sooner or later the lender will track you down, thinking you are the one who opened the account, and demand payment.

Impact of Identity Theft

Unraveling the mess caused by identity theft can take months and possibly even years to resolve. If a thief clears out your savings, you may be unable to pay your bills, which may cause you to end up in collections. In addition, taking out lines of credit in your name and not making payments on those bills and statements can damage your credit score.

Bob Johnson Insurance Can Help

We are here to help. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us to learn more about identity theft and how identity theft insurance might be a good choice.

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

Although most high-school graduates aren’t lucky enough to get a car for finishing school, you may be in a position to offer your child a sweet ride for getting around. However, while this can be an exciting time for him or her, it’s imperative that you search for the right vehicle for your grad. 

Today, we want to go over some of the crucial details to pay attention to when buying (or helping finance) a car for your teenager. Because he or she is still new to driving, you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice. 

Safety

You want your teenager to be safe behind the wheel, so look for cars that have high crash test ratings. These are publicly available on sites like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You can also look up other safety features such as:

  • Airbags
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Assist
  • Car Alarms/Anti-Theft Devices

Fortunately, modern cars are only getting safer, so getting something newer for your grad can help provide both of you with peace of mind. 

Mileage

As they say, it’s not the years – it’s the mileage. When picking out the right vehicle for your teenager, pay attention to the number of miles on it. Older cars can be in excellent condition if they’re lightly used, so don’t assume that newer cars are automatically better. Also, remind your teen that older cars are more cost-effective, and that they’re not paying for it. 

Cost of Ownership

While the sticker price counts for a lot, that’s only one aspect of owning a car. Consider everything that may increase the overall expenses for the vehicle. If your grad isn’t making substantial money, then getting a cheap car that requires more maintenance may cost you more in the long run. When calculating total cost of ownership, be sure to include:

  • Gas Mileage
  • Cost of Replacement Parts
  • Tire Condition

You will also want to get the vehicle inspected to discover any potential issues that may arise. Depending on where you bought the car from, there may be some nasty surprises waiting for you and your grad. Ideally, have an inspection done before you sign the paperwork to avoid any headaches. 

Don’t Forget the Insurance

You’re going to need insurance on the new (or new-to-you) vehicle. As an independent agency, we can provide you with rates for multiple companies so you can choose the one that best fits your budget and requirements. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. We’re glad to help.

Prepping for Spring: Your Home

Spring is almost here!  The outdoors is already calling us to come and have loads of fun.  It’s important to be ready.

We previously posted some tips about getting your vehicles ready for Spring:

Now that your vehicles are ready for the season you should turn your attention to your house. Your living spaces are primed for spring cleaning, so follow these tips and get your home looking its best so you can enjoy the better weather even more.

Clean Your Gutters

Over the fall and winter, leaves and other debris collected in your gutters, and they are ready to be emptied. If you live in an area that gets a lot of Spring showers, then it’s crucial that you keep your gutters clear so that they can work properly. Now that the sun is out, you can take care of it in a day and be ready for the next rainfall.

Change Your Filters

Chances are that you have several appliances that use filters. A range hood, a built-in water dispenser for your fridge – all of them need to be changed regularly. Don’t forget your HVAC system. Springtime should serve as a reminder to get you to inspect and replace any filters that are looking worse for wear. Having this be a seasonal thing will ensure that you don’t forget about them.

Wash the Windows

Now that the sun is coming out and the weather is nice, you will want to let in as much light as possible. If your windows are still covered in Winter gunk and dirt, now is the time to make them spotless. Just be on the lookout for birds who may not realize that there’s glass in the way.

Take Care of the Lawn

You’ve been able to use the weather as an excuse to avoid mowing and raking leaves, but now you can’t keep avoiding it. When Spring arrives, it’s time to pull the lawnmower out and start trimming your grass.

In addition to the lawn, you should be checking all of your shrubs and plants to see how they fared over the Winter months. If they need treatment or pruning, you should take care of that now so that they can bloom well in the Summer.

Check Your Home Exterior

Take a few minutes to walk around your home and check for any damage, wear or other damage.  Make a note of all items that need to be done and schedule a day that you will complete the tasks.  This will ensure your house stays in top shape.

Make Sure Your Homeowner’s Insurance is Adequate.

Keeping your property in pristine condition is the whole point of Spring cleaning, but you still want to keep them insured adequately just in case.  If you did your annual insurance review back in January, you already know for sure that your home is covered.  If not, contact Bob Johnson Insurance (865-922-3111 or 800-624-3339)to schedule your insurance review.  Our agents can help you understand your options and make sure that you have the coverage you need and want.

 

Spring Break Tips: Auto Coverage When Borrowing a Friend’s Car

Spring Break Tips: Auto Coverage When Borrowing a Friend’s Car

When you’re driving your own car, you know that you have auto insurance coverage in case of an accident or collision. However, what happens if you’re borrowing a car from a friend?  Also, what if you loan your vehicle to someone else? 

At the time, most people don’t even think about their insurance policy. Nevertheless, it will make a huge difference if something does happen, and you’re not the one behind the wheel. To help you have peace of mind, we at Bob Johnson Insurance want to shed some light on this issue. 

The Vehicle is Insured, Not Necessarily the Person

For the most part, the coverage you have is specific to your car, not the person driving it. Therefore, if your friend is involved in an accident and is not injured, your policy should protect both of you. While the insurance company will want to verify that you gave permission beforehand, there shouldn’t be any issues. 

That being said, if you don’t have sufficient coverage for the accident, then the insurance of the person borrowing the car may come into effect. Even though they weren’t driving their own vehicle, their policy may cover any gaps in your insurance. 

Secondary Borrowing

Please keep in mind that most insurance companies typically only permit you to loan your vehicle to one person at a time. If the person borrowing your car lends it to someone else without your knowledge, your coverage may become null and void. Therefore, you want to be sure you trust the person borrowing your car. 

Denial of Coverage

Other instances in which a policy may not pay out include if the borrower of a vehicle engages in criminal or negligent activity with the car. Also, if the insurance company believes that he or she was trying to commit fraud, the plan may not cover any damages. 

Long-Term Borrowing

If you have a friend who borrows your car regularly (or if you are that friend), it’s usually a good idea to get him or her added to your policy. This way, other circumstances (such as personal injury) can be covered, which will give both of you peace of mind. 


Overall, as long as the situation is considered “normal,” there shouldn’t be any issues with a friend borrowing your car (or vice versa). However, if you’re still not sure, feel free to contact your agent at Bob Johnson Insurance for further details. 

Spring Break Tips: Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

Spring Break Tips: Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

If you’ve ever rented a car before, then you know that one of the questions you’ll get asked is if you want insurance. For many people, this may seem like an unnecessary expense, but is that really the case? 

While there may be some situations when rental car insurance might be superfluous, it’s usually a good investment. Let’s go over some considerations you should think about before you automatically decline the extra fees. 

Understand Your Personal Auto Insurance

One of the primary reasons you won’t want to get insurance from the rental company is if you already have coverage. In some cases, your policy may include rental cars, which means that you’ll be paying twice for the same thing. However, you’ll want to speak to your agent to be sure that you’re getting the right protection for your trip. 

For example, some rental companies may charge additional fees if the car is damaged, so you want to make sure that you’re covered for those as well. 

Protection for Personal Items

Chances are that you’re bringing stuff along for the ride, which may include valuables like mobile devices and luggage. Are your items already protected by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy? If not, then you probably want to get covered by the rental company in case of loss or theft. 

Credit Card Protection

Did you know that your credit card company may be able to cover some of the repair costs of an accident? You’ll want to call them to see what situations they’ll protect against. In some cases, you may not need additional insurance because your credit card provider will handle the bulk of any expenses. Typically, though, they will usually reimburse you for your deductible, as well as handle any property damage, but not personal injury costs. 

Other Circumstances

If your car rental is not “normal,” then you may want to get some additional coverage. Some examples of unique situations may be if you rent an exotic car, or if you’re in another country. In these situations, you want to see if your current insurance will protect you. If not, then it’s worth the extra per-day expense. Also consider things like business trips, which may be covered by your company’s insurance plan. 

What Insurance Options are Available?

Finally, when considering whether to buy insurance from the rental company, you will want to see which options they have. Some examples include-

Loss Damage Waiver – covers damage to the car, as well as theft. It can also include expenses related to loss of use. 

Liability Protection – coverage in case you are sued by someone involved in an accident. 

Personal Accident Insurance – you and your passengers are protected, including any medical bills related to your collision. 

Personal Effects Coverage – if your stuff is lost, stolen, or damaged in the vehicle, you may be reimbursed. 

Overall, you want to take the time to figure these things out before making a final decision. Ideally, you’ll contact Bob Johnson Insurance before your trip so that you can see what type of coverage you have. This way, you’ll be ready to answer the rental clerk immediately and save money.

Insurance Tips for Adults Just Starting Out

Insurance Tips for Adults Just Starting Out

You keep your car filled up with gas so you don’t get stranded on the side of the road. You ensure your phone is charged so your loved ones can reach you. But, what kind of safety measures do you have in place for more extreme scenarios?

What if you lost everything you owned in a fire at your house or your apartment? What if your car were stolen? These situations are scary, but your insurance can help you through them, and much more, so long as you have the right coverage in place.

So, what’s right for you? Whether you’re starting out on your own or starting a family, these tips can help you begin to understand the level of insurance you may need.

Consider What You Own – And What It’s All Worth

Could you imagine having to replace all of your personal belongings at once? What about having to do so from memory and on your own dime? It would be both a difficult and a costly task. There are a couple of things you can do to be prepared.

First, make an inventory of your belongings and their value so that you know what is lost if they are lost in a fire or other emergency.  (The free Safeco Home Inventory app can help.) Want to know more about how to do one?  Check out Why You Need a Home Inventory.

Second, be sure you have enough insurance coverage regardless of whether you rent or own a home. It’s known as “personal property coverage,” and you want enough of it to replace all of your belongings if it were to come to that.  Checking your coverage is easy by doing an insurance review.  Check out Doing an Insurance Review: Why You Need It and What to Do.

Take Your Lifestyle Into Account

Drive an expensive car? Repairs are likely costly, so be sure to carry full coverage. Own a home with a lot of custom features? Be sure your homeowners policy takes them into account. The way you live can help you save, too. For example, if you take public transportation to and from work even though you own a car, you may pay less for your insurance.

Talk to Your Independent Agent for Ease, Choice and Advice

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we care about you and helping you protect the ones you love as well as the things that you need.  As an independent agency, we are able to offer a choice of carriers and options, plus personalized advice to help make sense of it all. And, we make it easy by doing the research and the work for you.

Remember, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 865-922-3111 with your insurance questions and needs.