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. 

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #2: Vehicles

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we are discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  This second tip deals with your vehicle. There are different things to consider depending on your situation.

Coverage Without a Car at College

Even if the student is not driving a car while at school, he or she should still be kept on the policy if driving during breaks or while at home. A distant student discount may apply if the student is attending a school far away from home.

Coverage With a Car at College

Usually a car that is registered to the parents and listed on the policy will still be covered if used by a listed student who is away at college. It’s still important that you verify that the insurance carrier writes coverage where the car will be located and understand that a change in location of the car could change the premium as well.

Driving a Friend’s Car at College

As long as a student is not regularly using the friend’s car and is listed on the parents’ auto policy, he or she should still be covered. However, you should speak with your agent to make sure.

Discounts

You may be able to get a couple of different discounts for the college student. If a student is enrolled in at least four courses per term, is full-time and meets academic qualifications, he or she may qualify for a good student discount. Those under 21 who complete a driver education course could also be eligible for an auto insurance discount.

Auto Questions for Your Insurance Review

Choose the questions that apply to you:

  1. My student will not have a car while they are away at college in [city, state]. Do I qualify for a discount or does that change my rate?
  2. My student will be taking a car/vehicle registered to me with them to college in [city, state].  Are they covered adequately by my policy?
  3. If my student drives someone else’s car while they are at college in [city, state], will they be covered?
  4. Am I eligible for any discounts based on my student being at college in [city, state]?

How Long Will It Take to Get Answers to My Insurance Questions?

You should be able to get most (if not all) of your information with a phone call or two.  At Bob Johnson Insurance, we are always ready to provide the answers to your questions.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.

Summer Travel Safety: Do You Have Sufficient Insurance?

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

We want to finish out our Travel Safety Series with a quick tip about insurance.

Getting your car and yourself ready for a vacation should involve more than just packing a bag and filling the tank. Do you know what will be covered if something happens along the way? What if you get into an accident in another state or country? What about your home while you’re gone? Do you have traveler’s insurance?

One of your pre-vacation steps should be to check with your insurance agent to ensure that you have sufficient coverage in case the worst happens while you’re out and about on your adventure. Do a thorough insurance review of your policy and let your agent know what your plans are to ensure that you will be covered in case things go awry along the way.

Don’t wait until you’re stuck on the side of the road to find out whether your coverage is sufficient. Give us a call (865-922-3111) or use our contact form.  Doing a review doesn’t take long and our experienced agents can help you understand the coverage you have and what you might need as well as answer any questions you may have.

Driving Tips: Being Prepared with Adequate Insurance Coverage

This month, we’ve been discussing all types of driving tips.

While following these tips will help you stay safe out on the road, you can’t always prepare for the future. As such, it’s imperative that you do an insurance review on a regular basis to make sure that you’re covered from various occurrences while behind the wheel.

For example, if you’re caught by a red light camera, does that count as a moving violation? Will that make your premiums go up?

What if you want to add a new teen driver to your policy? What kind of rates and coverage can you get? What happens if he or she attends a driving course?

When it comes to insurance, never assume that you’re covered. It’s always a good idea to review your policy with your agent to make sure that you have the coverage and protection you need. Don’t wait until you get into an accident to make changes or update your policy. Do it today, and you’ll have peace of mind next time you’re out on the road.

Contact us today, and we can do an insurance review with you at your convenience. Whether you want to come into the office or do it over the phone, we’re happy to go over your policy and make adjustments as needed. Remember, as insurance agents, we’re here to serve you.

What If… My Car is Getting Old?

What if...

Cars get older every day they’re removed from the factory, and that age carries some serious liabilities with it. Older cars are harder to repair, and they need more frequent maintenance as the parts start to break down and fail. There comes a point when it’s time to ask yourself, what should I do with my old car?

If the maintenance costs per year are becoming more than the monthly payments for a new vehicle would be, then replacement is the best option. Why spend more for less, when it’s clear that you are already going to have to put the money out there one way or the other.

If the car has been well maintained and isn’t costing much from one year to the next then it may be worth it to fix those little issues that could use some attention. The old adage of “if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it” can be applied to cars by saying “if it isn’t broken then don’t replace it.”

Another aspect of car ownership that has to be considered is registration and insurance. These bills pile up every year, and in some states the registration fee can get worse with older vehicles than with newer ones. Likewise, if you’re paying for additional insurance that may not be necessary or worthwhile in the case of an accident then you may be throwing money away as well. (This is something your agent can help you determine during your annual insurance review.) If your car is paid off, you should give your insurance agent a call without a doubt to see if there is somewhere you can save money or determine if it may be more worthwhile to upgrade to a newer model after all.

While many cars become classics as they age, there are many more that just become scrap. While it’s tough to know what will become a valuable vehicle when it ages, sentimental value may be a reason to hang on to the car.  If you’re lucky then that sentimental value could turn into a return on value for that car you cared for.

Ultimately, knowing what to do with an older car comes down to understanding the cost of that car. If the car is becoming more costly to maintain and register than it should be, then the choice is clear. If you want to preserve your car and keep it as it reaches classic status then it’s important to care for it correctly. Either way, knowing all the costs from registration fees, maintenance costs and insurance costs are critical to making the right decision. Your next step should be to check in on those fees with the DMV and your insurance agent so you can start planning what to do with that old car.

Be Prepared for Common Winter Vehicle Insurance Claims

Preparing for Winter

As you can imagine, icy roads lead to a spike in auto insurance claims. Here are the ones to watch out for the most.

Collisions

Even if you’re driving carefully and diligently, someone else could veer off due to ice and slam into you. Depending on the road conditions, you could wind up with a minor fender bender or a severely damaged vehicle.

Tree Damage

Branches don’t just fall onto roofs. If your car is parked under a tree and it collapses, then you’re looking at some significant damage and repair.

Pothole Damage

Winter weather can lead to a lot of problems with the roads, which usually take the form of potholes. In some cases, these can be quite large and deep, which means that they could damage your suspension or axles if you’re not careful.

Are You Covered?

Hopefully, you will not experience any of these circumstances. However, all kinds of damages can occur during extreme weather.  Is your coverage sufficient?  For example, if you had to abandon your car due to severe ice and snow and it was towed, will your insurance cover it? Usually, you’re on your own in that case, but some cities will waive fees due to extenuating circumstances.

Don’t be caught unprepared.  Let us help you with an insurance review.  It’s easy and provides great peace of mind.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact BJI.

 


Preparing For Winter Series

3 Types of Insurance You Need

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Insurance is necessary, as well as confusing and sometimes complicated. Understanding the types of insurance available and the coverage that best serves your needs can be difficult to decipher. In some instance specific types of insurance are mandatory. To help simplify things here are three types of insurance you need.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance protects property and structures on the property from damage and complete lose. This type of insurance also provides coverage for liability against accidents that happen on the property. Essentially, if you have a house fire and the home and personal items are destroyed, or if a tree limb falls on the house and damages the roof homeowner’s insurance will cover all or some of the cost. Each homeowner’s policy is different and only disasters listed in the policy are covered. In some instances if a guest at your home is injured your homeowner’s policy may cover some or all of their medical expenses.

Many mortgage lenders require a homeowner to carry homeowner’s insurance. It is often necessary to have a policy in place before a closing.

Auto Insurance

Most states require drivers to have auto insurance. This coverage will cover all or part of the cost to repair your car if you cause an accident. An auto insurance policy will also foot the bill for damage to other vehicles damaged in an accident you caused. Many auto insurance policies also provide roadside assistance packages for an additional fee.

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance can save a lot of money in terms of routine care and especially emergency care. Coverage is available through most employers. When coverage is not offered you can obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Failure to secure medical insurance or a policy that does not provide Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) will result in a penalty. The fee is calculated based on the total number of months you go without coverage and it paid when you file your federal income taxes.

Ensure You Have Adequate Coverage

Insurance protects your interests in the event of a problem. Lots of different types of insurance exist and there are different coverage options for each type that can make zeroing in on what you need a challenge. Ensuring you have homeowner’s, auto and medical insurance is the basic types of coverage you need. If you have questions about the type of insurance coverage you need or you are interested in setting up a policy call us at 865-922-3111 (local) or 800-624-3339 (toll free) or click here to contact us.

 


Series: What Kinds of Insurance Do You Need?

Part 1:  3 Types of Insurance You Need
Part 2:  3 Types of Insurance You Might Need
Part 3: 3 Types of Insurance You Probably Don’t Need

Why is Car Insurance Important

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Some people choose not to get it for financial reasons or perhaps because they consider themselves to be “good drivers.”  However, there are reasons why it is important to carry adequate car insurance.

It is Required by Law

Getting caught without car insurance can impact your ability to drive.  You might get your driver’s license taken away.  If you are pulled over or in an accident and you do not have insurance, there can be a high likelihood that you could lose your license for up to a year.  For repeat offenders, it could be longer or even include jail time.  There’s often a fine involved.

It Protects You and Your Family

Another reason to carry car insurance is because it protects both you and your family as well as other drivers and their families.  If you are involved in a wreck or property is damaged, insurance can provide for property repair and/or medical expenses.  It helps you save money when you need it most.  No one expects to get into a car accident, but they happen.  Consider it like an umbrella.  You may not need it, but it’s great to have one when it rains.

 

Save Money on Rental Insurance

Do you go on trips during which you rent a vehicle?  You might be able to avoid having to pay for the insurance offered by the rental company.  Check with your agent.  Your vehicle insurance may cover you while you are driving a rental.

Roadside Assistance

It’s not uncommon for an insurance policy to provide some type of roadside assistance.  Whether you run out of gas, hit some black ice and slide off the road or just have a flat tire, you should be covered by the roadside assistance in your policy.  Help is just a phone call away.  Be sure to check with your agent to see what is covered in your policy.

What to Do Next

 

As you can see, car insurance is not just an annoyance.  It is important to have adequate coverage from a company you can trust.  If you wonder about your coverage and you live in Tennessee or Kentucky, Bob Johnson Insurance is glad to help.  Please give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here and fill out our contact form.

How Much Car Insurance is Enough: Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

In Parts 1 and 2, we talked about deductible and liability coverage.  There are two other coverages that you should consider.

Collision & Comprensive Vehicle Insurance

You may remember that liability car insurance covers the medical and property damages to others. Collision Car Insurance covers your vehicle such as if you hit an object like a fence or pole.  It also covers damage to your car if someone else hits you, and they do not have liability insurance. Collision car insurance also covers your vehicle if you are at fault.

Comprehensive covers other damages.  If your vehicle is stolen and not recovered, that is covered under comprehensive.  It also covers damages from weather (tornado, hail, etc.), floods, fire, falling objects, explosions, crashes with an animal (such as a deer) and even riots and civil disturbances.

Do I need Collision or Comprehensive vehicle coverage?

This decision is really up to you.  Our experience has been that most people drop collision or comprehensive (or both) when their car’s value drops below $2,000-$3,000.  It is simply a matter of value.  Add the premium to the deductible if you should have an accident.  If the total is greater than the value of the vehicle, some people choose not to get collision and/or comprehensive coverage.

There are some situations where we recommend getting collision and comprehensive coverage.  These include:

  • If you take out a loan to buy your car, the lender may require these coverages.
  • If you lease your car, the leasing car may require these coverages.
  • If you cannot afford to replace or repair your car if you crashed or it was stolen.
  • If your area has a high incidence of car theft, vandalism or the other situations described above.

I’m just not sure about all these coverages. What do I do?

This question is why we are here for you.  Click here to contact us or give us a call at 865-922-3111 or 800-624-3339.   We can provide the information to help you make the best decision for the right coverage at the right price.  In addition, because we are an independent agency, we can show you quotes from many different insurance companies so that you can choose the right one for you.


How Much Insurance Do You Need?

Low vs. High Deductible
Liability Insurance
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

How Much Car Insurance is Enough: Liability Insurance

In Part 1, we discussed deductibles and what you should consider regarding a low vs. high deductible.  A second very important part of your vehicle coverage is liability.

What is Liability Insurance?

Liability car insurance covers damages to another person that result from an accident you cause.  It is one of the most base types of coverage and is also mandatory in every state.  The actual minimum limits of coverage can vary state-to-state.

Understanding Liability coverage

Liability coverage is represented by three numbers.  It might appear as 25/50/15 or 100/300/100.  Knowing what these numbers mean is very important.

The first number is maximum paid for “bodily injury” to the other person per accident. (Think in terms of medical expenses for this one.)

The second number is the “maximum paid per accident.” Add up all the costs the insurance pays, and it cannot exceed this amount.

The third number is the maximum paid for “property damage” to the other person’s vehicle as well as any other property damage done (such as fences, guardrails, buildings, etc.)

How much Liability Insurance Coverage do I need?

Although the minimum limit may be lower, a very common liability amount chosen is 50/100/50.  However, we recommend that you make your liability coverage as high as you can afford.   It’s in your interest to do so.

Let’s consider if you were in an accident in which you totaled the other person’s vehicle.  Costs might include:

  • The vehicle
    According to USA Today, in 2014 the average used car price was almost $17,000.
  • Ambulance to the hospital to get checked
    Ambulance rides can cost from $500-$2000 depending on where you are and what is required.  The L.A. Times reported that one lady’s insurance company covered $750 for her ambulance ride and she had to pay over $1500 for the rest of the cost.
  • Medical Costs (emergency room, hospital, x-rays, tests, etc.)
    One of our customers spent just one night in the hospital last fall.  By the time all the costs were added up, the bill was over $9000.  That’s just for one night to get checked out and monitored.

While all of these are very general numbers, they add up quickly. Liability costs from an accident can quickly reach $25,000 or more.  If you are carrying the Tennessee minimum (25/50/15), all those expenses would be covered.  However, what if it was a new car worth $35,000?  What if there are extensive injuries requiring a several nights stay in the hospital followed up by physical therapy and other doctors visits.  With the minimum coverage, the maximum the insurance pays is $50,000.  You are liable for the rest.

Being Realistic

We are not trying to be scary here.  It’s important to be realistic about what liability can mean. Your budget may determine how much coverage you carry. However, if you have the ability to carry more, we recommend that you do.

Our hope, of course, is that none of us has an accident.  How much Liability Coverage should you have?  Talk to your insurance agent about the right amount for you.  They can answer any questions you have about it as well.  If you would like, contact Bob Johnson Insurance.  We have several experienced agents who can help you decide what is right for you.


How Much Insurance Do You Need?

Low vs. High Deductible
Liability Insurance
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage