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 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.

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.

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.

5 Ways to Save on Your Car Insurance

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

It can be easier than you think to put the brakes on high auto insurance rates. As an independent agency, Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. can help! We can review your policy and possibly help you find a variety of illuminating ways to save money. Here are some things you may want to consider.

Ask us to check several companies’ rates.

This is the single most important thing you can do to get the best possible rate, and we can do it for you quickly and easily. The difference between the highest and lowest rate available to you from different companies could vary by hundreds of dollars.

Reduce or drop physical damage coverage on an older car.

Depending on your car’s age and where you live, comprehensive and collision coverage may not be worth keeping. We can give you advice on whether it makes sense to reduce or drop this coverage altogether.

Raise your deductible.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive cost by 15 to 30 percent. In addition, because the average driver files a collision claim only once every ten years, odds are that over the lifetime of your car, a higher deductible will save you money. We can show you how raising your deductible will lower your premium.

Look for discounts.

Many insurance companies reduce premiums for certain driver traits or car features. For example: being a homeowner, students with good grades, senior citizens who have taken an approved defensive driving course, people who only drive for pleasure, antilock brakes, antitheft devices, air bags, etc. Ask us to check.

Don’t assume having your car and home insured by the same company is the best option.

Because auto insurance rates vary so much from company to company, it may make sense for you to have your car and home insured by separate companies. Let’s talk about it.

To learn more about all an independent agency can offer you, call Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.

Four Questions to Get the Right Auto Insurance

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Using the right tool for a job is key to success in any profession. Experts say the same principle applies when selecting an auto insurance policy. Having the right type of policy can help ensure that you, your employees and your business are all protected in the unfortunate event that one of your vehicles is involved in an accident.

If you’re a business owner and you or your employees use a vehicle for business-related deliveries or to carry certain materials to and from a job site, you may need a commercial auto insurance policy that’s tailored to more closely suit the needs — and risks — of a business vehicle operator.

Here are some questions that can help you determine if you might need a commercial auto policy instead of a personal auto policy.

1. Do you need more liability coverage than your personal auto policy provides?

Generally, a commercial auto policy provides higher limits of liability, but less or no coverage in areas that are typically not associated with commercial auto risks.

2. Do you need special coverage for situations associated with con-ducting business?

Commercial auto policies also usually offer certain coverages — such as hired and non-owned auto coverage and coverage for towing a trailer for business use — that are not available with personal auto policies.

3. Do you need to list any employees as drivers?

You can do this with a commercial auto insurance policy.

4. Do you use your vehicle for business purposes?

If you use your vehicle for things like pizza or newspaper delivery, catering, door-to-door consulting service, landscaping or snowplowing service, logging business, day care/church retreat van service and/or farm-to-market delivery, you might need a commercial auto policy.

Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. is an independent insurance agency — trained, licensed insurance professionals who offer personal service and advice. We can help match you with the type of policy that best suits your needs and those of your company.

Do you have an insurance question or would you like more information about which coverage is right for you?  Click here and fill out our contact form or give us a call at 865-922-3111.

Blowing Away Auto Insurance Myths

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Like a teenager eager to try a new video game, playing before reading the rules, many drivers buy insurance without really understanding what they’re buying. In the rush to feel “covered,” they can skip the details. That can lead to frustration.

Following are five insurance myths heard by some of the more than 13,000 claims people at Progressive, one of the country’s largest auto insurance companies:

Myth: I bought “full coverage” so everything’s paid for.

Reality: There is no such thing as “full coverage.” In most states, only liability insurance is mandatory. There are a lot of other coverage options out there, so select what you need and can afford based on your personal situation.

Myth: I need three estimates before my wrecked vehicle can be repaired.

Reality: Not necessarily. Very few insurers actually require this, although some might. If you decide to use a shop that’s in an insurance company’s “network” of pre-approved shops you may just have to get an estimate from that shop.

Myth: My insurance premium always increases if I’m involved in an accident.

Reality: It depends. Your rate can increase, decrease or stay the same. The information about your accident is combined with other information about you, your car and your driving history to determine your rate.

Myth: If I lend my car to someone and he/she crashes it, I’m covered.

Reality: Not so fast. If you or your friend don’t have optional physical damage coverages, damage to your vehicle generally won’t be covered.

Myth: If I buy a new car, my auto insurance company automatically knows; and my new car is covered.

Reality: No. Most insurance companies require that you notify them or your agent within a specified number of days. Generally, you have 30 days to add the new vehicle to your policy.

“Insurance can be complicated,” says Chuck Crist of Progressive. “It’s not something people deal with every day. So the more informed you are, the better choices you’ll make.”

To learn more, click here to contact Bob Johnson Insurance Inc. or call us at 865-922-3111.