Monthly Archives: October 2011

Coastal Guidelines for Auto Insurance

Are there coastal guidelines for auto insurance?

Not really. It’s been shown that in states like Texas (where devastatingly large natural disasters like hurricanes occur with some frequency), insurance companies will simply shut down and not issue new policies on homes or cars until a particular natural disaster has been cleaned up and things are back to "normal." That’s not really something automobile owners can control, though.

The CARCO inspection

In some coastal states, there’s something automobile owners have to submit to called the CARCO inspection. What this means is that you may have to agree to have your car visually inspected for damage on a regular basis in order to get insurance. Many insurance companies for states like Texas and Florida will not insure cars until they’ve undergone that CARCO inspection and have passed.

What else should you know?

Beyond these two possible exceptions, coastal guidelines for auto insurance are the same as those for cars that are housed off-coast. If you live in Texas, you have to carry at least liability insurance on your car in the amount of $30,000 personal injury coverage per person, or $60,000 per accident. You also have to carry at least $25,000 in property liability insurance.

If your car is newer than 10 years old, it’s a good idea to also include comprehensive and collision insurance coverage. Comprehensive insurance coverage covers your car if it’s damaged in a non-accident event, such as through theft, vandalism, "falling tree limb" damage, and so on. Collision insurance covers repair or replacement of your car at its current value if you’re in an accident and you are deemed at fault. If your car is older than 10 years old, liability-only coverage is generally advised, since premiums are going to cost you more than the replacement value of your car is worth.

Should I Keep Home Insurance on My Paid Off Home?

It’s a happy day when the home mortgage is finally paid off. Those big monthly payments are over, right? But there is one very important thing to remember if your home insurance payments were rolled into those large mortgage payments: You need to continue home insurance coverage; it is too important to lose. If insurance was part of the mortgage, as is normally required by many mortgage lenders, the insurance coverage will automatically be terminated soon after the final payment is made. Your home and its contents will no longer be insured, and you may also lose liability insurance that was included in that policy.

Here’s what to do shortly before the home is paid off:

  1. Contact your insurance agent to arrange for continuation of all insurance policies for the home, contents and liability. Insure for the cost of rebuilding, not market value.
  2. Make sure your new policies begin at the same time the old one terminates.
  3. If you want to save money on premiums, switch to a large deductible. This is much better than trying to go without insurance on your property.
  4. Be sure you receive discounts for applicable improvements, such as smoke alarms, dead-bolt locks, sprinkler systems, and so forth. If you belong to a fraternal organization, there may also be a discount available. If you insure vehicles and your home with the same company, a discount for multiple policies may apply.

Protect yourself and your paid-off home by continuing insurance coverage on the buildings, contents, and outbuildings and include a comprehensive policy. Comprehensive insurance covers damage from natural disasters like fire, lightning, hail, ice, falling trees, explosions, earthquake, vandalism and other situations. Liability insurance is a must to avoid expensive legal situations that evolve if someone slips and falls on your property or is otherwise injured. Consult with your agent for exact recommendations.

Three Things You Should Know Prior to Buying Colorado Homeowners Insurance

Colorado homeowners insurance is a necessity for you if you own a home in Colorado. Here are three things you should know before you buy your Colorado home insurance policy:

Make sure you buy the right policy

All home insurance in Colorado is not created equal. Your policy should cover four things in order to be fully protected:

  1. The contents of your house (your possessions)
  2. The structure of your house
  3. Your liability to others in the event you are found responsible for injuries or accidents that occur on your property, and
  4. Your living expenses if you are forced out of your house in the event it becomes unlivable, such that you must live someplace else

Buy replacement value insurance

This is a mistake many people make when they buy home insurance in Colorado. You should always buy replacement value insurance so that your possessions will be replaced at "new value" levels; in other words, that’s what you’ll spend to replace current (used) possessions with new ones. If you opt for insurance coverage that only covers "current value" levels of your possessions, you may not have enough money to replace everything you need to.

Make sure you understand the claims process clearly before disaster strikes

Your Colorado home insurance agent should clearly explain what you need to have in hand in order to have a claims process go smoothly. Make sure you understand the claims process before anything happens, and put the agent’s instructions in a safe place, along with your inventory and other documentation.

Colorado Car Insurance Requirements

Colorado car insurance laws require all drivers/owners of motor vehicles to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. If you are the cause of an accident, liability insurance will cover you for any physical property damage or bodily injury to another person that was a result of your negligent actions. If you are found responsible for the damage, your insurance will pay up to settle any claims up to the limits of your policy. There are minimum mandated amounts of coverage in the state of Colorado for both bodily injury and property damage liability.

The minimum requirement under Colorado law for property damage is $15,000. That simply means if you get in an accident that was your fault, your insurance company will pay up to $15,000 to repair or replace the vehicle that was damaged.

Bodily injury liability minimum coverage is $25,000 for any single individual injured in an accident and $50,000 for all individuals injured in an accident. If you are in an accident where 4 people are injured, your insurance company will pay up to $50,000 to settle all claims, but will not pay more than $25,000 to any one individual.

It is important to consider purchasing more than the minimum amount of Colorado auto insurance mandated by state law. Be smart and buy enough insurance to protect yourself against a personal lawsuit in the event you cause more damage than the minimum amounts cover. Any amount of damage above your insurance limits can become your personal responsibility. If you have substantial assets such as a home, stocks and bonds or anything else, you could put them at risk if you do not have adequate liability insurance.

Colorado Homeowners Insurance Made Easy

Need of Colorado car insurance and Colorado homeowners insurance? Follow these tips for the best deal on your coverage!

Obtain price quotes from a variety of Colorado car insurance companies

It pays to shop around when looking for car and homeowner insurance quotes. Colorado insurance companies may quote widely different prices from their competitors so it pays to get quotes from 4 or 5 difference insurance agencies. Need help finding Colorado insurance agencies? Ask a friend for a recommendation or see if your local mechanic has any favorites.

Research each company before you request a quote

The Internet has made it very easy to check out companies that offer car insurance in Colorado and/or Colorado home insurance before you even request a quote. It’s often true that top-ranked companies in your search results will also have good reputations, since a company’s higher search rankings often go hand in hand with happy customers. However, it’s still a good idea to check several of them out before you request a quote. Check with the Colorado or Denver Better Business Bureaus or chambers of commerce to see if there have been any complaints filed against the firms.

Bundle Colorado auto insurance and Colorado home insurance to save money

When you request quotes from the companies you choose, ask for separate auto and home insurance quotes, and then ask for bundled rates as well. In general, companies will give you lower rates when you bundle your insurance, meaning that you get policies in both home and auto insurance from the same company. Choose the lowest priced policy that still gives you the coverage you want.

Types of Colorado Liability Insurance

Those who need Colorado car insurance and Colorado homeowners insurance need to consider several different scenarios before they choose their policies. For the best and most comprehensive protection, it’s wise to consider liability insurance with both Colorado auto insurance and Colorado home insurance.

For your automobile

If you’re in an automobile accident, liability Colorado auto insurance will cover you in the event you are at fault in a car accident. In Colorado, you must have minimums of $25,000 in coverage for the injury of one person and $50,000 coverage for the injury of more than one person. You also have to carry $15,000 in coverage for property damage. These are minimums, and many experts recommend that you carry more. In Colorado, you can’t even register a vehicle, much less drive one, until you can prove that you have it insured to the minimum standards.

For your house

Although you are not legally required to have homeowners insurance in Colorado, it’s important to have because you’ll want to protect yourself in the event you have property damage from some kind of disaster and need to repair or rebuild your house or replace your possessions.

In addition, even though Colorado homeowners don’t think of it, liability coverage is also important if you’re a homeowner. That’s because if someone should slip and fall or otherwise have an accident while in your home or on your property, you can be sued for damages. It’s suggested that you carry at least $100,000 in liability coverage for your homeowners policy, although most experts recommend that you up that amount to $300,000, to be safe.

The Consequences of Not Having Colorado Car Insurance

Getting caught driving without Colorado car insurance can have very serious consequences. Colorado, and every other state, requires all vehicles and their drivers to be insured if they are responsible for causing injury or property damage to another party. Driving is a privilege and not a right and if you want to drive you need to show that you are willing to accept financial responsibility for your actions while operating a motor vehicle. Following are some of the consequences you might face if you are caught driving without insurance in Colorado.

Impound – Your car could be impounded if you are involved in an accident and have no insurance. If you are stopped for a moving violation or other infraction and have been driving without insurance for an extended period of time, your car may also be impounded.

Driver’s License Suspended – Your driver’s license may be suspended for a period of time if you do not have Colorado auto insurance. To get your license reinstated you may be required to file an SR-22 which is a rider to a standard insurance policy where the insurance company guarantees you will keep your insurance coverage in effect for a certain period of time. A second offense will result in a minimum 4 month suspension of your driving privileges and a third suspension will mean a minimum of 8 months without a valid Colorado driver’s license.

Fines – Depending upon the situation, you may be forced to pay a fine or penalty before being allowed to drive again. Generally, the more egregious you have been in neglecting to carry auto insurance, the higher the fines and penalties will be to get back in good standing and be able to legally drive in Colorado.

How to Compare Colorado Auto Insurance

An educated consumer will be much more likely to get a better deal for their money. That applies to everything from shopping for groceries, buying an airplane ticket or purchasing auto insurance. In Colorado, there are numerous companies ready, willing and able to sell you Colorado auto insurance. Just how do you know which company you should choose?

There are several important factors you should consider when comparing different Colorado auto insurance companies including the premium you will be required to pay, the history and reputation of the company and how well they handle claims.

At the top of most people’s list when comparing Colorado auto insurance policies is the amount that it will cost to insure their vehicle. All companies measure and assess risk in determining the premiums that they charge. Categories of risk might include age, sex, type of vehicle, how many miles the vehicle is driven annually, the neighborhood where the car is garaged and a number of other factors. A Denver car insurance company may assign a different amount of importance to a particular category of risk than a Boulder auto insurance company and that can affect the premium they charge to a particular individual. In addition, some insurance companies are run more efficiently and can charge lower rates while others spend heavily on advertising and have more overhead costs that they pass on to their customers. Still others simply charge more because they feel it will lead to greater profits.

Shop around and get quotes for the same coverage from a number of different Colorado insurance agencies. Do not base your decision solely on the lowest price you can find.

Make sure the Colorado car insurance company you are considering has been in business for a long time and has a good reputation of being fair and honest. No one wants to find out their policy is not worth the paper it is printed on because their insurer is less than reputable.

The best way to compare Colorado auto insurance companies is to find out about their claims payment policy. You can ask an agent specifically to explain how they handle claims or, better yet, talk to some clients and ask them about their claims experience.

How to Obtain a Colorado Insurance License

If you wish to sell insurance in the state of Colorado, you will first need to get a license permitting you to sell various types of insurance. There are several different types of licenses that an insurance agent might need or want to be able to sell a wide range of products such as life, medical, homeowner and auto insurance. Some agents specialize in just one area and only require a single license, while those that cover a broad area often will have two or more licenses.

The first step to getting a Colorado insurance license is to take a pre-license insurance education course. You will learn all of the terminology and other related information and, upon completion of the course, receive a certificate acknowledging that you successfully completed the training.

Next, you will be required to demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency of the subject matter by taking and passing a test in the particular line or lines of insurance you wish to sell. If all goes well, you will be issued a license that certifies you as an agent or producer authorized by the state of Colorado to sell one or several different lines of insurance.

There are separate requirements if you are going to sell to both individuals and businesses. For personal lines of insurance, such as selling individual homeowner policies or auto coverage to private citizens, you need one type of license. If you get a license with Property and Casualty authority, you are permitted to sell to both individuals and businesses.

So, if selling insurance in Colorado is going to be your choice of professions, be prepared for some intense study so that you will gain the knowledge and be able to pass the state exam and get your license. Once you have the license, you will need to refine your people skills so you can get them to buy insurance from you.

Getting the Right Colorado Insurance Coverage for Your Home

If you live in Colorado and you own a home, you need homeowners insurance in Colorado. Here are some things to consider to make sure you choose the right insurance coverage for your needs:

Choose the least expensive policy to meet your needs

For many people, a relatively inexpensive and basic Colorado home insurance policy will provide plenty of coverage for structural damage to the home and loss of possessions if disaster strikes, but it will provide little to none for things like expensive jewelry. Don’t pay for extra coverage unless you actually have those possessions.

Take a thorough inventory of your home

Before you choose your policy, take a thorough inventory of your home and document everything. This will give you a good idea of what you’ll need to replace in the event you do have structural damage to your home and/or loss of possessions from disaster.

Opt for replacement value coverage

If you do have a disaster, you’ll need to pay for the reconstruction/repair of your home and replacement of your possessions based upon what they’ll cost you new – more than what your possessions or home are actually currently worth. Therefore, do not base Colorado home insurance coverage on today’s value of your possessions or home, or you’ll likely find yourself without enough money to replace them.

Regularly review and revise your policy as needed

Anytime you make major purchases or significantly remodel (and therefore increase the value of) your home, revise your Colorado homeowners insurance policy. You need enough coverage to rebuild that new addition or replace that just-purchased plasma TV in the event of disaster, things an outdated policy may not cover.