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Car and Home Insurance

Combining car and home insurance is often called bundling. It means you use the same insurance carrier for your home and auto insurance in order to take advantage of additional discounts.

Bundling is one of the things you can do to help control the rise in cost of insurance policies. Many of the bigger insurance companies like State Farm and Allstate, and some of the smaller carriers, are happy to help you combine policies and reduce your insurance rates.

Insurance companies like to bundle policies for many reasons. For one thing you are less likely to change insurance companies on one type of policy, like for car insurance, if you are with the same company that holds your house insurance, and sometimes even your life insurance. Also providing a reduced rate for bundled policies can protect the insurance company because the risks of a claim are reduced and yet the insurance company will still generate a profit.

Finding a Bundled Insurance Policy

You shop for a bundled insurance policy just like you would for a separate home or auto insurance policy. You need to research individual policies for car, and others for home, and then see what their discount is for combining the two policies together. Before you ask for comparison quotes decide what types of insurance you want, what limits and levels you need, what deductibles you want quoted, and then ask for the same thing from several companies so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison.

Once you get the quotes you can check payment options. Some companies will give another discount for automatic payment. You can also check their service options and make note of any extra coverage options. It makes since to start with your auto insurance as this will be the most expensive component of bundled service.

Comparing Auto Insurance

Make sure the company’s you compare for car insurance also carry home insurance and offer discounts for combining them. Collect the information from existing automobile policies to make sure you have the year, make, and model of all the vehicles you own.

Understand your state minimum car insurance requirements, and if you have a lender on any vehicles make sure that you know what the lender requires you to carry on the car. Typically the bank will require collision and comprehensive to cover replacement or repair of the car. Depending on the value of the car they may also require you to carry theft, full glass, and fire. If they don’t require this type of insurance, you might consider adding the coverage. When considering insurance for your car you should remember that if it is totaled you will have to make up any difference between what the insurance company pays and what is left on the loan.

Comparing Homeowners Insurance

Once you’ve narrowed the car insurance providers that you are interested in to two or three companies, you can get quotes from these companies for homeowner’s insurance. Each insurance company may require you to do this in a different way. Some will allow you to request a quote online for homeowner’s insurance, others will require you to speak with an agent over the phone or via an in person appointment.

Again for an apples-to-apples comparison you need to get the quote on the same deductibles and the same options, levels, and limits. Then you can highlight any differences or added benefits to each policy offered. Typically homeowner policies are less complicated and more generic than car insurance. While standard auto insurance doesn’t generally cover theft of personal items that are stored in your vehicle, RV, or boat, some homeowner policies will. Because of these differences you should compare not only the cost of the homeowner policy, but the types of additional coverage options for the difference in cost.

When you consider the savings in bundling both car and home insurance, consider the savings not just monthly and annually, but over the life of a thirty year mortgage.

Summary

Bundling car and home insurance can save you money. Once you’ve done the work, you shouldn’t just take the savings for granted each year. It is a good idea to review the coverage and cost of your insurance every few years if you don’t compare them each year. About a month or two before it is time to pay the annual premium on your home insurance you should take out your policies, review the coverage and the costs and get a few online quotes to see if the insurance coverage is still cost competitive.

It is also a good idea to check to see if the coverage you have meets your needs. Have you purchased jewelry or artwork that needs higher limits added to your homeowner’s policy? Do you have a home office for a business that you didn’t have last year? Have you paid of a car loan or has the value of your car decreased so that you can increase deductibles or drop collision and comprehensive car coverage? It’s a good idea to review your car and home insurance occasionally to ensure it still makes sense for your life.

Average Car Insurance

Having average car insurance typically means that you have more that what is required by law, and less than premium coverage. If you are searching for car insurance one of the first things you need to do is determine what you have to have in order to drive in your state, and if you don’t own your car you need to figure out what the lender (the person you are making payments to for the car) requires you to have so you are not in default of your loan.

To check your states minimum car insurance requirements, see here.

Full coverage car insurance often combines accident or collision insurance, liability insurance, uninsured motorist, no-fault, and comprehensive coverage into one insurance policy. The limits for each of these and applicable deductibles will separate an average insurance policy from premium coverage.

Full Coverage or Not

If you have full coverage you are covered if the car is stolen, or if anything happens to the car up to the policy limits. Typically a person is required to have full coverage anytime there is a loan on the car. Bank and other lending institutions have specific requirements as to the level and type of full coverage required to have the loan. If you own the car, depending on how much it would take to fix or replace the automobile, you may not need full coverage.

Full coverage on the vehicle means the lender for the car is covered if it is totaled or wrecked. Having collision and comprehensive insures will allow the bank to get money back if something happens to the car. The car owner is covered as well. If your $20,000 car is totaled and can’t be repaired, you don’t have to pay for a car you can’t drive. Before granting a loan, the bank verifies worth of the vehicle, so insurance would pay off the amount of the loan and if you had equity in the car you would get the balance of the money to use towards a replacement vehicle.

Required Liability Insurance

Whether or not you choose to carry collision and comprehensive for the vehicle if you have the choice, you have to have liability insurance in order to license a car in most states. Each state sets the minimum amount required and it will be shown like this: 25/50/15. These numbers represent thousands of dollars in coverage.

If these are the minimums for your state it means that you are required to carry $25,000 of Bodily Injury Liability for one person outside of your vehicle that is injured in an accident due to your fault. The 50 stands for $50,000 maximum to cover all injuries that occur for each accident due to your fault, and $15,000 is the maximum paid for property damage in one accident.

No-Fault Requirements

Some states also require that you have no-fault insurance. This means that your insurance policy has to pay the medical expenses for everyone in your vehicle, no matter who is at fault for the accident. This type of law is intended to help eliminate insurance fraud. It is important to note that even if your state has a no-fault requirement, you will still have to carry liability, even though technically no-fault insurance means that everyone pays for themselves in spite of of who is liable.

It is also important to understand that if you carry the minimum amount of car insurance that your state allows, but have an accident in a state with higher minimums or additionally required insurance, by design your coverage will increase to match the minimum insurance protection needed in the state where the accident occurred.

Bumping Your Coverage from Basic to Average

Car insurance minimums may not be enough coverage. The cost to fix or replace cars, the rising costs of medical care, and the risk of being in a multi-car accident mean that minimum levels will put you at risk. If your insurance doesn’t cover the costs involved in an accident deemed to be your fault, you can be sued for the difference, even in a state that is technically a no-fault state because if you are hit by an out of state driver, they can still sue.

Many agents and insurance governing associations will suggest that drivers have at least 100/300 in order to provide liability levels at $100k per person with $300k total per accident. This coverage would typically be considered average coverage in today’s world.

Summary

Average car insurance means that you carry more the minimum required by the laws of your state or your lender, and less than what would be considered premium car insurance coverage. Drivers should understand what insurance they have to carry in order to legally drive on US roads, and then assess their individual needs.

Truck Insurance

Unlike insurance coverage on trucks used for personal or recreational purposes, commercial truck insurance can offer unique coverage such as pollution liability, and even options to cover specific regional regulations for business vehicles. Commercial truck insurance can also be referred to as long-haul truck insurance.

Some coverage allows truck owners to base the cost of the policy on mileage or gross business revenues; however this type of pricing might mean that you will pay more for the insurance when business is doing better.

Trucks used for commercial reasons that are used on United States roads are required to be insured with commercial truck insurance. Whether the vehicle is a refrigerated truck, flat bed semi, dump truck, car hauler, or logging truck, it must have a commercial truck policy. The policy may be for owner-operators, or for corporate fleet vehicles.

Commercial truck insurance coverage can be tailor made for small companies and even single trucks. Or a policy can be written to cover large fleets of vehicles that can include commercial vehicles that are leased or subcontracted. It is important to carry this coverage as United States accident statistics show that every sixteen minutes an accident occurs that involves a big truck. These accidents often result in death, injuries, and sometimes include multiple vehicles. In order to protect your business you need to carry commercial truck insurance.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

This type of coverage insures what the truck is carrying and not the vehicle or driver. The policy will protect the truck owner, business, or client if the cargo is lost or damaged during transport or while the cargo is stored at a terminal. Often this freight insurance is limited by a maximum load value per vehicle. The cargo is typically appraised prior to shipment in order to assess the specific cost of replacement value in order to fully protect the trucking company or driver from loss liability.

Some motor cargo policies will also cover the cost of storage for the freight if something happens to the truck or there is another reason the cargo can’t be delivered. This option is often called Warehouseman’s legal liability.

Understanding Commercial Truck Insurance Types

Often called semi-truck insurance, commercial truck insurance offers several types of coverage including:

  • Primary Liability Insurance – required by law, businesses or owner operators have to have this type of insurance in order to legally put their truck on the roads. Commercial truck liability insurance covers those who are injured or their property damage because of an accident with the truck where the driver is at fault. US federal law requires $750,000 minimum coverage for each truck driver on the road. If the truck driver is at fault in an accident the policy would cover the amount up to the limit, then the truck driver or company would be liable for additional amounts. Often truck drivers and companies will choose to carry primary liability insurance in an amount that is higher than the minimum limits required.
  • General Liability Insurance – covers incidents that occur when you are not driving, including while stopped at a rest area, when loading or unloading the truck, and theft or vandalism any time the commercial vehicle is parked. The specifics of general liability insurance coverage can fluctuate between different insurance providers. Make sure you don’t make assumptions and know exactly what your policy covers. This type of coverage is typically to cover the truck and contents besides the cargo.
  • Motor Truck Cargo Insurance – protects the actual cargo or freight that is being transported in the commercial truck. While not required by law, your clients may demand that you carry this insurance and that it be at a specific limit before they contract for your services.
  • Non-Trucking Liability Insurance –is often called bobtail or deadhead insurance. This coverage specifically protects your truck while it is stored or parked and empty of cargo when you aren’t working.

There are also other options specifically intended for independent truck drivers operating vehicles they own, lease, or rent. Occupational and Accidental Injury Insurance acts as a type of workman’s compensation for the driver/owner, paying for medical and living expenses if they are hurt on the job.

Driver Requirements for Commercial Truck Insurance

Typically in order to drive and insure a commercial truck the driver must have a CDL or Commercial Driver’s License. Even if the type of vehicle doesn’t require this type of license, insurance carriers have the right to request specific driver requirements in order for the insurance coverage to be valid.

There are federal requirements that the drivers for vehicles over a certain size must have a CDL. For more information on Federal Requirements for long haul trucking see here.

The insurance company can impose additional conditions that may include:

  • Higher age limits than typical licensing requirements
  • Specifying driver history include a set minimum number of years experience driving a truck
  • They can also limit the number of at fault accidents, acceptable moving violations, or major violations that are accrued over a specific number of years

Summary

Commercial truck insurance offers several options and types of policies to provide liability coverage for personal injuries and property damages, the loss or damage of the freight you carry, and truck coverage if it is carrying freight, parked at a terminal, or in your driveway.