Ten questions to ask your agent
By Ryan Furmick, business auto product manager, Progressive Commercial
Your vehicles are the backbone that keeps your business up and running. So when it comes to insurance for those vehicles, make sure that you’re covered by an insurance company that fits your business needs – because the last thing you want when you have a claim is to find out you have insufficient coverage.
When you’re working with a local agent to build your policy, make sure to ask these ten questions to help you decide which carrier is right for your business.
1) Are all of my drivers covered, even if they’re not listed on my policy?
Ask your insurance company what their policy is for covering employees who drive your business vehicles. Some vehicle insurance companies will only extend coverage to drivers who are specifically named on the policy. So, every time you give the keys to one of your vehicles to a new driver, you would need to call your insurer and add them to the policy or else they wouldn’t be covered in case of an accident.
Some insurers, like Progressive, allow “permissive use,” which means that all of your drivers are covered as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.
2) Are my employees’ personal vehicles covered if they get into an accident while running a business errand? What about rental cars?
In many cases, rental cars and employee vehicles aren’t covered under a standard commercial auto insurance policy. And if one of those vehicles is damaged in an accident, you could be liable.
If your business often uses rental vehicles, or if you send employees on business errands in their personal vehicles, consider adding Hired Auto, Non-Owned Auto or Any Auto Coverage to your policy.
3) I’m a seasonal business and don’t need full coverage in my off months. Can I move to a Comprehensive-only policy in slow months?
Absolutely. A Comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for businesses that don’t need liability coverage during certain months, but want basic protection against incidents, such as vandalism, theft, falling tree branches, hail, etc. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during off-season.
Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance. If you were to drop your insurance completely, you might pay significantly more to purchase a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.
4) What can you recommend to increase the safety of my drivers and to lower my premiums?
Many larger independent agents that specialize in fleets can recommend driver training programs specifically designed for your industry. These programs can help increase the safety of your drivers and, in some cases, lower your insurance premium.
5) What kind of service can I expect if I have a claim?
Find out how quickly, on average, your insurer resolves claims. The faster they take care of your claim, the faster you can get your vehicle back to work.
One thing that can affect turnaround time is whether your insurer uses full-, part-time or contract claims adjusters. Some companies use part-time or contract adjusters to handle commercial vehicle claims, which can slow down the process.
Progressive handles 100 percent of commercial vehicle insurance claims, even heavy trucks, with its own staff of in-house commercial insurance experts, making sure claims are processed faster than other insurers that outsource this work.
6) When I have a claim, is there anything I can do to get my vehicle back on the road quickly?
Even if the accident isn’t your fault, report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible. They can work with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to help resolve the claim and get your vehicles repaired quickly.
Additionally, carry an accident information kit in each of your vehicles to make it easy for your drivers to capture insurance, driver and witness information following an accident. Most fleet safety companies and local agents have these readily available.
7) Do you provide help with state and federal filings?
Some commercial auto insurers won’t cover vehicles that require filings, while others simply don’t have the capability to help you get the filings your business needs.
Insurers like Progressive can leverage their truck insurance expertise to provide customers with filings assistance, which can save you time.
8) Do you offer 24/7 service?
Many insurance companies are only available during regular office hours, which can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.
9) Will you shop my policy on a regular basis?
Although it’s easier to stay with the same insurance company than shop around for new coverages, ask your agent to regularly quote your policy with other carriers to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.
In addition to vehicle insurance, you may need a wider range of additional coverages to protect your business, from general liability to workers’ compensation. While it might be easier to buy all of these products from the same company, you could save big bucks by buying your policies from separate providers.
10) What are my payment plan options? Do I have to pay my entire premium up front?
Some insurers have significant finance charges associated with their bill plans or don’t offer flexible payment schedules. Look for companies that offer flexible pay plans, including low initial payments and no finance charges. For example, Progressive offers plans that start with as little as 8.3 percent down.
Have a few questions of your own? We are here for you. You can reach us by phone at 1-877-503-8543. Email us at email@example.com you can also connect with us through our facebook page.
Ryan Furmick is a business auto product manager for Progressive. Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance. For more information on Progressive’s coverages or to find a local independent agent, go to http://www.progressivecommercial.com.
Like all drivers, senior citizens (or as I like to call them “seasoned citizens”) want to get the best rates on their auto insurance policies. Following a few simple tips and taking these measures will ensure that you are getting the lowest rates possible on your auto insurance policy.
1. Avoid more Accidents by Paying Close Attention at Intersections.
2. Follow the flow of traffic, Drive at the at or near the speed limit.
3. Many violations include failure to yield right-of-way, improper turning or incorrect lane changes, so keep current on the traffic laws relating to new traffic designs.
4. Sit high enough in your seat so that you can see at least 10 feet in front of your car, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If your car seat does not adjust to allow this, add a cushion.
5. Do not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses when driving at night.
For many older drivers, night vision is reduced, so safety dictates not driving at twilight or after dark.
6. Make sure you learn how to operate a New Car.
7. Senior drivers can refresh their skills and knowledge — and get a discount on auto insurance in many states — by taking a refresher driving course, such as the eight-hour “55 Alive” course offered by AARP. More than two-thirds of states mandate auto insurance policy discounts for such courses, and many insurance companies offer the discounts voluntarily.
8. Look for cars with rear-view mirrors that automatically dim and filter out headlight glare.
9. Air bag technology has become more advanced
10. Consider fit and comfort in your new car.
11. Check to see which companies offer specific `Senior Discounts’.
By the time you retire, your accumulated wealth is probably at its height. The challenge now is to manage your assets so that they last as long as you do. Insurance still plays an important role at this stage of your life.
Mature drivers are some of the safest on the road. They have fewer accidents and tend to drive safer cars.
Unlike auto insurance, where the state sets minimum coverage limits, the bank that holds your mortgage usually requires you to have homeowners insurance. Once you pay off your mortgage, it’s still important to have protection in case of fire, burglary, and natural disasters. Some retirees stay active by working part-time. If you work at home, you may need a supplemental liability policy that covers your work-related activity. Consider also an umbrella policy to protect your accumulated assets. Real estate, securities, and savings could be wiped out by one lawsuit. Umbrella coverage adds another layer of protection above what is provided in your standard homeowners and auto policies. Generally, it is relatively inexpensive, and provides an additional million dollars or more in liability insurance.
Life insurance is cheaper the earlier in life it is purchased. Retirees can still get life insurance, but should be prepared to pay much more for it.
Most people under 65 get group health insurance through their or their spouse’s job. Group health insurance costs less than individual health insurance. Most people who are 65 and older get Medicare from the federal government. Those on Medicare without group coverage to fill in health care gaps can buy a Medicare Supplemental or Medigap policy, regardless of health.
Married retirees need to review their financial situation and determine how much income a surviving spouse would lose. Such income losses frequently result from reductions in Social Security payments. The investment strategy for seniors should emphasize income-producing and liquid instruments that can supplement retirement income and Social Security.
Life insurance is one of the pillars of personal finance, deserving of consideration by every household. I’d even go so far as to say it’s vital for most. Yet, despite its nearly universal applicability, there remains a great deal of confusion, and even skepticism, regarding life insurance.
To help, here are 10 things you absolutely need to know about life insurance:
1.If anyone relies on you financially, you need life insurance
2.Life insurance does not simply apply a monetary value to someone’s life. Instead, it helps compensate for the inevitable financial consequences that accompany the loss of life. Strategically, it helps those left behind cover the costs of final expenses, outstanding debts and mortgages, planned educational expenses and lost income.
- Life insurance is a contract (called a policy).
- There are four primary players, or roles, in a life insurance policy. These roles belong to the insurer, the owner, the insured and the beneficiary. The insurer is the insurance company, responsible for paying out claims in the case of a death. The owner of the policy is responsible for premium payments to the insurance company. The insured is the person upon whose life the policy is based. The beneficiary is the person, trust or other entity due to receive the life insurance claim—or death benefit—in the case of the insured passing.
5.Life insurance is a risk management tool, not an investment.
6.There are two broad varieties of life insurance about which you should become aware—term and permanent.
- Life insurance can be extremely expensive, but it can also be surprisingly inexpensive.
8.Determining the optimal life insurance policy for you doesn’t have to be complicated.
Therefore, consider this simple but effective strategy for determining how much life insurance your household needs. Multiply a wage earner’s income by 15 and purchase a policy with an equivalent death benefit for a term that extends until the person insured would presumably retire. Why 15? Because it works. But it works because it results in a number that should re-create 75% of a wage earner’s income if the death benefit was conservatively invested to earn 5% .
9. Consider using a live person to help in your death planning.
10.Know your options when cancelling an existing life insurance policy so you don’t leave money, or coverage, on the table. From Forbes
The One Thing You Should Do To Snag Cheaper Car Insurance
There’s a trick to saving hundreds on car insurance that most people aren’t doing. It’s taking the time to ask.
Sure, it’s a pain to call up your car insurance company and haggle over prices, when you’d probably rather be doing anything else.
Yet, that doesn’t stop making it true that just by inquiring with your car insurance company about whether you’re eligible to nab any new discounts, you could save hundreds of dollars a year. This seems simple enough. However, four out of five Americans say they haven’t done it, according to a new survey by insuranceQuotes.com.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you could qualify for some of the most common discounts on car insurance:
Have you tied the knot? Insurance companies charge less for married people than single people, so don’t forget to include your car insurance company on the list of people to share the good news with after you get engaged.
Are you driving less than you used to? In nearly every state, car insurance companies reward drivers who aren’t racking up miles.
So if you’re driving less than you used to — say you switched jobs and your commute was cut in half — let your insurance company know.
Does your job make you a ‘safer’ driver?
Are you a good student? Each of the ten biggest insurance companies offer discounts for students who are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate school program and are earning good grades.
Have you taken defensive driving classes?
So take the ten minutes and call up your insurance provider. Your wallet will thank you.