Keeping Boat Insurance Afloat in the Off Season

expensive pleasure boat safely stored under canopy on a hyrdolic lift in a dock

Summer is over, and you’ve taken your boat out of the water. To save a few dollars, you cancel your boat insurance. After all, what could possibly happen to your baby while it’s hibernating? A lot, according to Progressive.

“You’d be shocked at the number of claims filed in colder months,” says Dominic Mediate of Progressive. “Nearly two out of every 10 Progressive boat claims filed in northern states happen between Labor Day and Memorial Day.”

Don’t take a gamble on nothing bad happening.

Common off-season claims:

Fire, theft, vandalism and flooding

Most claims are filed for one of these reasons, which can occur anytime of year. Without coverage, boats damaged by fire, theft, vandalism or flooding aren’t protected.

Injuries that occur on or around your boat

Some boaters don’t realize they could be responsible for injuries that occur on or around their boat — even if the injured person was there illegally. Without liability coverage, you could be responsible for the damages or the injured person’s medical bills.

Keeping your policy all year round might also save you a few bucks.

Progressive’s disappearing deductibles reduce your Comprehensive and Collision deductible 25 percent for every claim-free policy period. Four policy periods in a row without a claim equals a $0 deductible. Canceling your policy could mean paying more or the entire deductible, generally $500 or $1,000.

Check your policy and consult Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. Click here to contact BJI or call 865-922-3111.

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.

The Difference Between Types of Insurance Agents

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Those insurance commercials on TV can be so amusing, but when it really comes down to it, which kind of insurance agent do you want?  Let’s take a look.

There are three types of insurance agents:  independent, captive and direct through the internet.  Our post “Why should you choose an independent insurance agent over online insurance?” explains why getting insurance online may not be your best choice.

A “captive agent” works for just one insurance company.  The benefit is that they are very well-trained in their company’s products, and they usually will know fairly quickly if you qualify for a particular product. They also generally offer good customer service as well. They will be able to answer your insurance-related questions and help guide you through purchasing a policy. On the other hand, they are limited in options that they can provide to you, because they can offer products from only one insurance company.

Why an Independent Agent is the Best Choice

An independent agent stands out from the rest. Because they do not have an exclusive relationship with one company, they do not have the limitations of online insurance or a captive agent.  The result is you get more from an independent agent.

  • They can provide quick quotes across multiple insurance companies to help you find the best rate.
  • Based on their experience and knowledge, they can advise you about the differences between companies as well as the benefits of each insurance company so that you can choose the one that balances the coverage you want with the rate you can afford.
  • You get personalized service centered around your needs and wants.
  • If you need multiple policies (such as auto, home, and life), you are not limited to one company for all your insurance needs. Your independent insurance agent can provide you with information about your options so that you can make the best choice for which company or companies will provide your insurance.

We would like to help you!

We would love to answer any questions you may have or to provide a quote for you. For questions, please give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here and fill out our contact form. One of our experienced agents will contact you as quickly as possible.  If you prefer, you can click any of the links under “Quotes and Information” (in the upper menu bar) to receive a free quote.

Progressive Boat On-Water Towing

Getting ready for summer on the water?  Don’t get “caught without a paddle.”

Progressive offers unlimited on-water towing, no out-of-pocket expense for PWC (Personal Watercraft) or jetskis. You can get coverage up to $2,500 of towing and labor costs per occurrence and it has no deductible.

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

How Much Car Insurance is Enough: Low vs. High Deductible

Many questions come to mind when you are getting your car insurance.  Questions like:

  1. What do all these numbers like 100/300/100 mean?
  2. What is an umbrella policy and do I need it?
  3. How much coverage do I really need?

That third question is one that we all face.  We know how much we want to pay — as little as possible so it doesn’t hurt the budget too much. We know how much the highway patrol requires — hopefully.  However, that might not be enough.  Let’s take a look.

Low Deductible vs. High Deductible

The most commonly chosen deductible for vehicles is $500.  We recommend, however, that you should do a break-even analysis.  You might consider raising your deductible to save money. The national average for car claims is 7 years.  Divide the change in deductible by the amount of savings. If it is greater than 7 years, it’s probably not a good thing to do.

The actual savings of raising your deductible can vary from one insurance company to the next and it depends on too many variables for us to actually use accurate numbers here.  However, let’s make up some numbers.

If you raise your deductible to $1000 per year, let’s say that saves you $50 per year.  Your break-even:

$500/$50 each year = 10 years to break even

The national average of having an auto claim is 7 years, so that’s probably not a good thing to do.  But what if raising your deductible saved you $150 per year?

$500/$150 each year = 3.3 years

Raising your deductible might be a good idea in this case.  You should contact us to get actual rates.  In addition, our experienced agents will be able to help you choose exactly the best coverage for YOU.  (And we’re also happy to answer all the questions you may have about it!)


How Much Insurance Do You Need?

 

Low vs. High Deductible
Liability Insurance
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

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.

Tips to Ensure Your ATV is Properly Covered

Tips to Ensure Your ATV is Properly Insured

The winter has been very mild in the Southeast this year, so you might be breaking out the “outdoor toys” a little early!  Before taking out your all-terrain vehicle (ATV), but sure that it is properly covered.

When it comes to your ATV, it pays to keep your feet on the ground when it comes to insuring it. You may think it’s covered by your home-owners policy, but are you really protected? Your “toy” wasn’t cheap, and lacking the right type of insurance coverage could lead to a sticky financial situation.

“Owners should think of ATVs the same way they think of motorcycles,” said Rick Stern, product manager, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies. “You’d never consider getting on a motorcycle without the proper insurance, and you shouldn’t ride an ATV without the right coverage either.”

If you’re not sure what to do about your ATV insurance needs, here are a few things to consider.

Your homeowners policy might not be enough.

Most likely, your homeowners policy only covers your ATV if trouble occurs on your property. Anywhere else and you’ll be exposed. Look for an affordable ATV insurance policy that offers coverage no matter where you are. Trail riders should be aware that many states require ATV insurance for vehicles operated on state-owned land.

What about theft?

ATVs are portable and can be easy targets for thieves. You should consider ATV insurance that provides coverage for things such as theft, fire and vandalism just like the kind you can get for a motorcycle. Theft, fire and vandalism are covered by Comprehensive coverage, an optional physical damage coverage.

Consider uninsured and underinsured coverage.

You never know what can happen in the great outdoors. This relatively inexpensive coverage protects you if another rider causes damage to you and he or she lacks adequate coverage.

Keep your rates low.

You can do a number of things to save money on your ATV insurance, including maintaining a clean driving record, staying free of claims or choosing a less “sporty” ATV. In addition, most insurers offer a discount if you insure more than one vehicle on your policy, or have more than one policy with the company. This could mean additional savings on your car, motorcycle, boat or RV insurance.

For more information about ATV insurance or to find an independent agent, call Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.

8 Tips to Gear Up to Motorcycle Season

mechanic tightening the wheel nut on a motorcycle

To steer this riding season in the right direction, you’ll want to make sure your motorcycle — and your motorcycle insurance policy — are in good working order before hitting the open road.

While you should always check your owner’s manual for specific guidelines, here are some general tips for getting ready:

Change the oil and filter.

Many manufacturers recommend changing the oil and filter before storing a bike for any extended period of time and again when you bring it back out for riding season. Be sure to first start up the motorcycle to warm the engine and then shut it off before changing the oil and filter.

Check the belt or chain.

Make sure it is set to the manufacturer’s recommended tension. If you have a chain, lubricate it.

Check nuts and bolts.

Start off the riding season with a solid bike. Make sure everything is tight. “A well-maintained motorcycle not only assures a fun time, it can save you money by avoiding accidents, which helps to keep your insurance rates down,” says Rick Stern, motorcycle product manager, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies.

Inspect tires.

Look for any damage and also make sure each tire is inflated to the correct pressure. You’ve only got two tires, so for maximum stability it is very important to avoid underinflation as well as overinflation.

Look for fluid leaks.

The easiest way to check for this is to look at the floor under the motorcycle. Leaking oil or brake, radiator or clutch fluid can cause their own special problems. For example, being low on brake fluid could make it hard to stop your motorcycle. You don’t want to find that out after you’re already on the road.

Check all lights.

Make sure headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are all functioning properly.

Brush up on your riding skills.

Find a safe place to practice riding skills such as fast stops, figure eights, U-turns, etc., so you’re ready for the season. You’ll be glad you did.

Update your policy.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do at the start of the season is review your insurance coverage to be certain you, and your bike, are covered. Talk to your local independent insurance agent.

Independent agents represent many companies and they can help you to understand the coverages you need. An independent agent can also help you find the combination of price and service that’s right for you. Call Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.