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

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.

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.

Insurance for your Classic Car

grandfather and grandson cleaning restored classic car

Did you know?

If you have a classic that’s been collecting dust because you haven’t wanted to pay for the insurance, you have low-cost insurance options to get it on the road. Get a competitive classic car insurance quote.

If you own a “classic” car, which could be considered anything over about 25 years old, you could save money on your car insurance by buying specialized classic car insurance.

There are two ways to find insurance for your older vehicles. The first is to check with your current insurance company to see if they have a rating classification for classic or antique autos. This rate will be significantly less than a pleasure use rate, but it may also come with some mileage or usage limitations.

The other way to insure your classic car is to use an insurance company that specializes in insuring restored vehicles. Their policies have unique coverages that may not be available with an ordinary car insurance policy. Here’s a breakdown of some of the categories of classic vehicles for which you might want special coverage:

  • Antique & Classic Cars – Consist of stock vehicles built from the turn of the century through approximately 1969. Examples include a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, 1901 Oldsmobile and a 1930 Model A.
  • Exotic and Special Interest – These are rare or limited production vehicles such as specific models of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Dodge Vipers.
  • Lowriders – Cars modified with hydraulic or air bag suspension systems can often be insured as classic cars, but underwriting guidelines are strict.
  • Modern Classics – These are vehicles of modern production that are considered collectible such as a 1976 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1978 AMC Pacer or a 1979 Trans Am T-Top.
  • Motorcycles and Scooters – Motorcycles are becoming increasingly expensive and thus collectible. Examples of motorcycles insurable as collectibles are a 1948 Indian Chief and a 1952 Harley Panhead.
  • Muscle Cars – Typically late 1960’s and early 1970’s U.S. models that include larger V-8 engines. Examples include a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 1970 Dodge Charger and a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.
  • High Quality Replicas – The are home-built or professionally constructed replicas of older vehicles.
  • Street Rods – Street rods include vehicles that have been extensively customized for performance. Examples include a 1932 Ford Highboy or a chopped 1951 Mercury Coupe with custom paint.
  • Trucks or Pick-ups – Older models of trucks can be insured as a classic vehicle just as a car can be. Examples include a 1922 Model T Truck, a 1951 Chevy Pickup or even a 1975 Ford Pickup.
  • Vehicles Under Active Restoration – Even if you haven’t gotten the primer and paint complete, you can insure your classic while being restored.

Advantages of Classic Car Insurance

The typical classic car insurance policy offers better coverage at a reduced premium than a typical auto insurance policy. This is due to the fact that most classics are not driven as much or under the same circumstances as your regular vehicles. The policies may allow only a certain number of annual miles driven, but the return is a greatly reduced premium for insuring your classic car.

Typical benefits of the classic car insurance policy include:

  • Lower premiums
  • Agreed value coverage – this means your car is insured for a specific value that you will be paid in the event of a total loss
  • No deductible – many classic car policies do not have a deductible, so you will not have to pay anything out-of-pocket in the case of a claim

If you have a classic that’s been collecting dust because you haven’t wanted to pay for the insurance, you have low-cost insurance options to get it on the road. Get a competitive classic car insurance quote.

What You Need to Know About Auto Insurance of College Students Away From Home

Coverage without a car at school

If the student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on an insured’s auto policy.  If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a  distant-student discount.

Coverage with a car at school

In most instances, a car registered to the parent and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school.  However, insureds should make sure that their insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location.  It’s important for agents to know if the insured’s child is taking a car, because the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.

Driving a friend’s car a school

Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if they are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle.  The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.

Coverage discounts

In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount.  To qualify, a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications.  Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course my be eligible for a policy discount.

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.

3 Tips to Save Money on a Rental Car

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

With vacation season in full swing, you may be in the process of planning an annual getaway. While most people spend lots of time looking for ways to maximize their budget, one costly decision is often left to the last minute — whether to buy the optional insurance offered by a rental car company.

Your rental car may already be covered.

“Deciding whether to buy ‘damage waivers’ or insurance at the rental car counter can be a confusing experience — especially if you don’t know if you’re already covered by your personal auto insurance policy,” said Rick Crawley of the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies. “Optional rental car insurance can cost between $7 and $25 per day, depending on the rental car company, vehicle make and model and type of waiver. Those daily charges can significantly add to the cost of your rental.”

Follow these three tips, courtesy of  Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc., to help you decide whether or not you should buy the coverage:

Consult with an independent insurance agency…

…like Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. As licensed insurance professionals, independent insurance agents and brokers can review and evaluate your policies to find out if the coverage you have on your personal vehicle provides protection for you in a rental car.

Check with your credit card company.

Some credit card companies provide coverage at no charge if you use their card to charge the cost of the rental. However, some restrictions may apply so be sure to ask for a description of the exact coverages provided.

Take your personal auto insurance policy and details of your coverages with you to the rental car counter.

You may be asked a question that these papers can help answer — or, if you’re in doubt, you’ll have your agent’s name and phone number readily available. “We want people to have the information they need to make more informed decisions about car insurance,” said Crawley.

“Knowing whether you need to buy additional coverage can save you money and give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your vacation. Don’t start off your trip questioning your decisions — take control by talking with your independent agent or broker and knowing the answers to those inevitable questions.”

To learn more about all your independent agency can offer you, contact Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. at 865-922-3111.