General liability insurance, also known as commercial general or business liability, is a base level coverage that is commonly held by small and large businesses alike. It covers quite a few areas where you may need insurance coverage, so it is considered very standard across all industries. Many forms of injury and property damage are covered by general liability insurance.
How much does general liability insurance cost?
The cost of general liability insurance can be very wide, from hundreds per year to thousands. Many factors play into the pricing of premiums, including the size of the company and the levels of coverage. Here, we will discuss what is covered by general liability insurance, the factors that affect the cost of coverage, as well as the amount of coverage that is available.
What is covered?
General liability insurance covers a wide range of problems that could come up while operating your business, such as:
Bodily injury of employees or non-employees when business practices are being performed
Personal injury when someone’s reputation in harmed in cases such as slander, libel or other situations
Property damage of the business location or a customer’s property while business is being carried out
Legal defense in the event of a lawsuit to cover legal and court fees
Some of these coverage are more important to certain businesses, while others are not as necessary. A construction business, for example, would want a lot of bodily injury coverage to cover themselves in the event of an employee or visitor injury at the worksite. However, even a graphic design company with low risk of physical injury will want to have some bodily injury coverage in case of carpel tunnel syndrome or other office related injuries.
How are premiums calculated?
A lot of different factors go into the calculation of insurance premiums. Some of these include:
The number of employees that work at the company
The types of products or services the business provides
How long the business has been operating
How many (and what type of) claims have been filed by the company in the past
Business owners must consider these when looking for an insurance policy and see if there is any way to improve their chances for a better rate. Companies that offer higher risk products and services, such as car rental companies or construction firms, can find themselves paying higher premiums due to the risk of harm or damage to their products or their customers. If a business has been open for many years with a long track record of safety, the insurance rates tend to be lower.
How much coverage is enough?
This is another question that really depends on the business and its needs. Most organizations opt for $500,000 to $1,000,000 in general liability insurance coverage. This level of coverage tends to be plenty for most companies, but higher risk industries will want to obtain more coverage. Higher coverage, of course, commonly will cost more in annual premiums, so any business owner must consider what they need with what they can afford.
How much does coverage cost?
Coverage costs range widely, but some reports state that the median cost is between $425 and $921 and the annual cost ranges between $483 and $2,758. These numbers are very general, but can give a sense of how much insurance could cost for a business.
Considering all the different factors that go into calculating premiums, it is best to speak directly with an insurance agent to find the exact rates. Business owners who go to multiple insurance carriers and ask for quotes can also find the best combination of cost and service that fits their needs. Sometimes these quotes can even be used as a bargaining tool for obtaining a better rate or better coverage from another insurance carrier.
Things to remember
General liability insurance is very important for any business to hold. Some states even require it by law, although many do not. While coverage is sometimes costly, it can be well worth it if a company finds itself on the wrong side of a lawsuit or finds itself with injured employees. It is better to have the general liability insurance when you need it than to not be covered.
General liability insurance is just one form of insurance that a business can obtain, and only covers certain situations. Other insurances include coverage for Workers’ Compensation, Vehicle Insurance, and Business Interruption Insurance, among others. You can learn more about these in our article on types of business insurance.
There is a wide variety of insurance for your company, and it can be confusing trying to figure out which ones you need. All insurances will cover different items and situations, so it is important to learn the different types before making a purchase. It is always a good idea to sit down with an insurance agent who specializes in business insurances to discuss your specific needs.
Depending on your line of business, you may or may not need certain insurance coverages. A business that has a higher risk of injury, for example, will want to have more coverage for injuries than a business that tends to feature a safer working environment. It all really depends on what your type of company needs and can afford.
In addition, some coverages are required by law. Depending where you business operates, or what kind of work you do, there may be federal, state or local laws that require you to obtain specific types of business insurance. Be sure to do your research on this before skipping any certain coverage, or buying coverage you do not need.
Here are some of the most common forms of business insurance:
Professional liability Insurance
Also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, this coverage takes care of situations of negligence, such as when a product causes an injury or fails to function properly. This could also include cases where a client bought a product or service that ended up hurting their business rather than helping.
This covers a wide range of physical damage that could be done to the business, such as damage to the office building, company vehicles, or other property owned by the company. Property insurance tends to cover damage due to vandalism, fire, and storm damage, but usually does not include major disasters like earthquakes and floods. This coverage may also take care of instances when a customer’s property is damaged while services are being rendered, such as a contractor damaging a customer’s home while doing repairs.
Product Liability Insurance
If your product or service injures a customer, product liability insurance can cover the costs of health and legal fees. This could be a very important coverage to have, especially if your company sells many units of an item which ends up being defective. Class action lawsuits could arise in a case like this, where every customer will be awarded damages for the defective item.
Just as with individual life insurance, businesses can also buy a policy for any employee that is deemed essential to the survival of the organization. This is especially important for very small businesses, like family owned companies. If one of the few people in charge were to suddenly die, the company may struggle very much to stay in business.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ Compensation insurance covers some of the salary of an employee who gets injured on the job and can no longer work for a time. If an employee is injured on the job, it can be very costly to pay their salary out of pocket while not obtaining any benefit from them while they recover.
Home-Based Business Insurance
For companies that are primarily located in one’s home, a home-based business insurance policy may be useful. This would cover office equipment and inventory stored in the home. Homeowner’s insurance may not cover these items if damaged or broken.
Just like insurance for your personal car, vehicle insurance is essential for any business that delivers goods to their customers. This one can be a bit complicated, however. If your business utilizes employee vehicles, their personal car insurance may be good enough, depending on the situation and the services being rendered.
Business Interruption Insurance
Just as it sounds, business interruption insurance will take care of financial lost when business is interrupted. A company may be forced to close temporarily due to a major storm, weather damage, or fire, among other reasons. Another business within the same building could have a fire, causing all offices within the building to be closed down for a time, making this a very important coverage.
Data Breach Insurance
In the information age, data breach insurance is becoming more important. Coverage from issues related to computer hacking can be covered with this insurance. If your company loses business due to a hack, or worse yet, customer financial data is stolen, data breach insurance will usually cover damages.
Directors & Officers Insurance
Also known as D&O, this coverage will take care of any personal financial responsibility on the part of any directors or officers in a company. This can be necessary if a scandal hits the company and all higher ups are considered liable for damages. However, this insurance does not cover in situations of personal negligence or purposeful deceit.
These are the major types of business insurance. Some of these are not needed for some businesses, while others are essential. Be sure to speak with a professional insurance agent, as well as fellow businessmen in your field, to determine what you need.
There’s nothing worse than unexpected, expensive car repairs. Most of us rely on our vehicles heavily to get to work, shuttle kids around, run errands and more. There are some circumstances that are beyond our control and can be the death knell for vehicles if not properly planned for. Winter, and all of the challenging conditions that come with it is one of those circumstances. Here are some of the most important car maintenance tips to help your vehicle and wallet survive the winter season.
8 Important Car Maintenance Tips for Winter Season
Even the most well-maintained vehicles can suffer an unexpected breakdown. This means you need to make sure you are ready, just in case. Your vehicle should be stocked with food, water, flashlights, blankets and a hand-held radio in your vehicle. Road salt and flares can also be handy to have on hand. While the tips below are all designed to ensure you don’t find yourself broken down on the side of the road in a winter storm, make certain you have all the necessities stocked and available, just in case.
Check Your Tire Tread and Pressure
Your tire tread is what helps grip the road. If you are driving in snow and ice with worn tires, your vehicle will have a much harder time staying on the road. Winter tires are built with deeper tread and more flexibility to maintain traction on winter and icy roadways. While not every winter will require winter tires, you should ensure that your tires have enough tread and grip to help you travel safely.
In addition, your tire pressure will typically fluctuate during the cold season. When the temperature drops so does your tire pressure. Cold temperatures can compress the air in your tires and cause your tire pressure indicator light to come on. Make certain to check your tire pressure often to ensure there is not another underlying issue and keep a small emergency car repair kit that includes a portable air pump and pressure gauge in the vehicle.
Check your battery
Extremely cold weather can impair a marginal batteries ability to start. Low temperatures can put a strain on a battery that is not in tip-top shape. To better protect yourself, and prevent being stranded, make sure to have your battery inspected before the winter weather comes.
While your windshield wipers may seem small they can make a big difference. Too often, people don’t realize they need new wipers until the rain or snow is pouring from the sky and visibility becomes zero. The cold winter weather can damage the rubber of your vehicles windshield wipers. The relatively small expense of new wiper blades is well worth the ability to see what’s ahead when driving in difficult conditions.
Belts and hoses
Winter weather takes a toll on your car’s belts and hoses and if they are not in optimal condition, they can snap and break. Taking the time to replace any parts that are not pristine will help you and your vehicle make it through the winter season in one piece.
Don’t be afraid to fill up
Driving with an almost empty tank can allow moist air to crystallize and possibly lead to ice in the fuel lines. Make sure that you stop regularly to fill up and keep gas in the tank to prevent this from happening.
Take care of your windshield
Just like your wiper blades, it is important to take proper care of your windshield to ensure safe visibility. While you may be tempted to thaw the ice on your windshield with a hot cup of water, don’t do it! The difference in temperature of the cold windshield and the hot water may actually crack your windshield causing inconvenient and possibly expensive damage. A much safer alternative is a sturdy ice scraper. They come in many different makes and models and can safely remove the ice from your windshield without damaging your car.
Wash your vehicle regularly
While it can be annoying to get your car washed and then have it rain a few hours later, regular washing is a long-term investment. Salt on snowy roads can damage your car’s paint and wheels. To prevent this, wash your car regularly and remove any salt that could be the culprit of damage over time.
While every person that reads this may think it doesn’t apply to them; overconfidence is all too common. Whether you have driven in the snow your whole life or you have a vehicle that is designed to drive in the snow, use some common-sense tactics and defensive driving to make sure that everyone makes it to their destination safely: slow down, give yourself plenty of time, and be mindful of others on the road. Ice can be hidden under a layer of snow and can quickly spin your vehicle out of control if you are going too fast. If you encounter someone driving dangerously, move over and allow him or her to pass.
While this list may seem like a lot, general car maintenance and a few preventative measures can keep your car running and on the road all winter long. An upfront investment in your vehicle’s car can prevent inconvenient and potentially expensive damage. If you would like to add or review your insurance coverage for towing, glass repair or roadside assistance, please give our office a call.
For many years, speeding has been proven to be a leading factor in traffic deaths throughout the world. According to statistics from the department of transportation, one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States have been affected by speeding. The effects of traffic deaths also go beyond the loss of life and grieving by the family. Studies have shown that countries can lose 3-5 percent of their GDP due to car accident deaths through insurance claims, loss of work, and other financial factors. Speeding is a cause of death that can be easily solved without any new technology or cure, yet it still happens on a regular basis.
So why is speeding such a major factor in accidents and deaths on the road, compared to any number of other factors? Speeding while driving provides a higher risk of causing an accident for a wide variety of reasons. Drivers who speed have less time to react to changing conditions, such as changes in road quality, weather, or other driver’s movements on the road. Speeding makes for worse accidents when they happen due to the faster velocity of the impact. Its effects can also be multiplied by distracted driving or tired driving.
Fortunately for drivers, steps have been taken by many countries around the world to curb the danger created by speeding drivers. Most nations have implemented reduced speed zones in areas near schools and on narrow roadways. Speed bumps and speed tables have been added to areas where speeding has been known to be an issue. Higher fines have been put in place for speeding in sensitive areas such as construction zones and school zones to keep pedestrians safe. All of these factors further incentivize drivers to drive slower and drive more carefully.
In a world where others are speeding, what can someone due to keeping themselves safe from the danger? There are many actions a common driver can take in order to protect themselves on the road. The obvious first step is to not speed yourself. While others may choose to speed on the road, you do not have to speed with them. When you drive the speed limit, you bring a bit more safety to everyone on the road.
Driving defensively is the best way to go. Avoid common distractions such as using your cell phone or constantly changing the radio settings while driving. Be mindful of other drivers, where they are around you, and their speed in relation to your own. Practice the 3-4 second rule, which states that you should stay at least 3 to 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, and no closer than that. There are many aspects to (link)defensive driving(/link) that can keep you much safer on the road, no matter how anyone else drives around you.
Also be sure to take care of your vehicle in terms of maintenance. While this may not seem to relate directly to speeding drivers, it is good practice to regularly maintain your car so nothing goes wrong with it while you drive. If you ignore issues like weak brakes or a bad engine, you could find yourself causing a hazard on the road, making it all that much more likely that you can cause an accident. Combine this with speeding drivers trying to avoid you as your car breaks down, and your chances of an accident are multiplied greatly. Always be sure you take care of your (link)vehicle maintenance(/link).
Despite all of these facts on the dangers of speeding, things are improving. In 2003, the United States saw approximately 13,000 deaths related to speeding. By 2012, that number had reduced to approximately 10,000. Awareness of speeding as a cause of death is growing, as more Driver’s Education classes emphasize the dangers, as well as the driving tests. Car manufacturers also have upgraded the quality and number of airbags in their newest vehicles, and are now building vehicle frames and windows with stronger materials.
The best way to keep yourself safer on the road is to simply not speed yourself. Plan to leave earlier for your destination so you don’t need to hurry. Anticipate the traffic you will be in and drive accordingly. Every step you take to change your own driving habits keeps you just a bit safer no matter what the other drivers may be doing. If these aren’t good enough reasons, save yourself the cost of the accident, the loss of fuel economy, and the price of a speeding ticket, too.
You may have heard of defensive driving, but what is it? Defensive driving is all about doing what you can to limit your risk of accidents while driving. Paying attention to the road, being mindful of other drivers, and maintaining your vehicle are all essential to having a safe trip. No matter your age, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your defensive driving techniques. Here are a few good tips to keep in mind for the next time you hit the road.
Defensive Driving Tips
Follow the 3-4 second rule
The 3-4 second rule says that you should always stay at least 3 to 4 seconds behind the driver in front of you. Some say it is good practice to drive behind other at least 1 second per 10 miles per hour. So if you drive at 60 miles per hour on the highway, you should have at least 6 seconds worth of buffer between you and the next car.
This rule makes it safer for you in the event that you need to stop quickly. You never know when the driver in front of you may hit their brakes, and you need to be ready. The more time you have to react, the better for everyone.
There are plenty of things vying for your attention all day, and the distractions don’t stop while driving. Music from the radio, a ringing cell phone and billboards on the road are just a few things that could pull your attention from the road. When your focus is off of your driving, you run a higher risk of accidents.
It is best practice to not use your cell phone in any way while driving (in fact, it’s illegal in many areas). Set your radio before starting to drive and leave it alone, or adjust it from the wheel. Don’t try to read every sign and billboard you pass by if it’s going to take your eyes off the road. Always remember the most important part of driving is the driving part.
Be aware of your surroundings
With all of these distractions, it can be easy to forget to keep track of things around you. How many cars are near you? Are they slowing down? Is there a construction zone up ahead? Know what’s going on so you can react quickly and efficiently. Conditions are constantly changing due to vehicles, weather, and quality of the road itself. The more you know about your immediate surroundings, the better.
Watch out for the other guy
More specifically than being aware of your surroundings, be mindful of the other drivers. Some drivers will switch lanes suddenly without using a signal. Others will speed up or slow down just as quickly. Others could sway in their lane and come to close. Just because you are driving defensively does not mean they are, too.
Even when you are surrounded by good drivers, something unexpected can happen. Car issues can arise for the other drivers and you will have no idea why they cut you off. If you are driving safely, you will have time to react to these kinds of problems.
Watch out for changing road conditions
In addition to distracted drivers, changing road conditions can cause problems, too. The road can become very slick when it begins to rain. Heavy downpours can start suddenly. Even leaves in the autumn can cause tons of issues on the road. Beyond this, you can find yourself in a construction zone, in a neighborhood with tight roads, or at an intersection with a broken traffic light.
Car conditions can also lead to problems. Be sure to keep up with car safety maintenance so as to not break down. If your tires are not properly inflated, you could have a hard time controlling the vehicle. If you haven’t had an oil change in a long time, your engine could stall. If your brakes are old, you could lose the ability to stop quickly. Taking care of your car maintenance is an essential aspect of defensive driving.
Follow the law
It may seem obvious, but following the law is a good idea when driving. Speed limits are there to keep drivers safe from moving too quickly in areas where they may need to have time to react and slow down. Driving drunk will obviously make it harder to stay focused. Driving without insurance is also against the law for your own good, as the cost of car repairs and injuries can be overwhelming. Always follow the laws of the road, even the ones that don’t directly affect your driving.
Be sure to use common sense
We all know our own abilities and limitations behind the wheel and we should always act accordingly. Know when you are too tired to drive. Know how much music you can handle while driving. Know what types of roads you are confident with driving.
In addition to these, be sure to use your turn signals whenever you change lanes or make a turn. While traveling through a green light, take a quick look to ensure no one else is ignoring their red light. Generally, you should have an awareness of what’s going on within a 50-foot radius around your vehicle at all times.
A lot goes into defensive driving, but every bit is well worth it. You’ll have fewer accidents (major or minor), lower car insurance rates, and lower car repair bills. Most of all, you’ll be able to enjoy your vehicle for years to come.
As the old saying goes, driving is a privilege and not a right. Only those who can pass the driving tests are allowed to drive, and certain expectations must be met. The world has entrusted you to be responsible for your license and your vehicle, and it can be taken away if you break that trust. The last thing you want to do is go through all the work of taking the tests and buying a vehicle, only to lose access.
So, how do you avoid taking this privilege for granted? Here are just a few ways to ensure that you drive responsibly and are allowed to keep doing so for many years to come.
Defensive driving is a common term going around, especially in the Driver’s Ed world. It refers to a number of things that boil down to the basic concept of “watching out for the other guy”. It’s hard to tell what someone else will do on the road at any given time. While you don’t want to live in constant fear that the worst is about to happen, you need to be very mindful that anything could happen.
Always be mindful of other drivers and their location. Some drivers will signal before switching lanes while others won’t. Some drivers will drift in their lane and come too close. Some will cross many lanes suddenly, or slow down quickly, or speed past you. If you are mentally ready to react, you will be much safer. Keep your focus on the road and the situations around you, including construction areas, pedestrians, and changing road conditions.
Follow the law
Never taking your car for granted also involves following the rules of the road. While they can seem to be limitations to your driving style, they are there to keep us all safe. Speed limits stop us from going too fast in areas where we may need to react quickly, and traffic lights ensure that everyone passes through safely. DUI and DWI laws are in place to convince people not to drive while impaired, as it’s not only bad for those around them, but could be fatal for the driver themselves. Even being pulled over without insurance is against the law, as it is for your own good to be insured in case of an accident.
If you’re caught breaking a driving law, a range of punishments could be dealt out. Sometimes it’s just a fine (which can be a lot of money, and very inconvenient), or you could get points on your license, or get your license revoked. Even worse, you can cause a wreck, be liable for injuries and damages, and also be charged with breaking a law that led to the accident. It’s a lot better to just follow the rules that are there to keep us all safe.
Get those repairs
Probably the most obvious aspect of not taking your car for granted is to be sure to stay up on your car maintenance. There are tons of different parts in your car, and all of them need to be taken care of on a regular basis. There is no part of a car that lasts the entire life of a vehicle, except maybe the engine and transmission. Eventually, everything else needs repair or replacing.
Some aspects of car repair include replacing tires, belts, brakes, rotors, batteries, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. The most common maintenance is the oil change every 3,000 miles. Skipping this one a few times can cause major damage to the engine, leading to much bigger repairs.
Never ignore a light or an odd sound. While sometimes the light that appears on your dashboard may be nothing to worry about, sometimes it is very important. Odd sounds can be the same way: some are nothing to worry about while others are a sign of big problems to come. The best thing to do is to take it to a shop to figure out what’s wrong and get it fixed.
Ideally, check these things on your own from time to time. Check the oil dipstick occasionally to see if you’re low or if the oil is darker than usual. Check your tire pressure weekly to make sure the tires aren’t losing air. Use gas treatment from time to time to keep the fuel line clean. Take note of how well your car reacts when pushing the gas or pushing the brake. All of these preventative maintenance tasks will help you find problems early and fix them for less cost.
Pitfalls of taking your car for granted
All kinds of problems can arise when you take your car for granted. Break a law and you can have your license revoked. Drive unsafely and you could cause an accident and lose your car. Ignore maintenance issues and your car can break down beyond repair.
For your own good, never take your car for granted. There was a time in your life when you did not have a vehicle, and now that you do, it’s easy to get used to the privilege. It’s very tough to readjust to life without a car once you have had one, especially if there is little to no public transit in your area.
There are many resources out there that offer information on preventative maintenance, driving laws, and safe driving for teens. Take a look and learn how you can treat your car like the privilege that it is rather than a right.
Safe driving can literally be a life saver but it can also save you a ton of money and stress. Follow our 10 best driving tips to make the most of your driving experiences.
Maintain your vehicle
Your vehicle can’t take care of you if you don’t take care of it. This includes oil changes, tires and all regular maintenance. Deferred maintenance and repairs can prevent your vehicle from responding the way it should. Brakes are crucial for stopping quickly. Proper tires can help you stay on the road. Maintenance can be expensive, but it is a critical component in keeping you safe.
Follow best practices in the vehicle at ALL times
This goes for you and your passengers. Examples of good practices include wearing your safety belts each and every time as well as making sure passengers are wearing theirs. In addition, make certain your littlest passengers are secured in car seats or booster seats as their weight and height dictate. If you have questions about the best type of seat for your child, reach out to your local fire department and see if they have appointments for car seat installations.
There are a million different ways we invite distractions into the vehicle with us. Screaming children, a blaring stereo, phone calls, eating, and applying makeup are all contributors to dangerously distracted driving. Some people enjoy taking pets for car rides and end up with a dog or cat underfoot while driving. Other people think that they will take advantage of commute traffic to catch up on their reading. These activities all lead to a lack of attention and possible delayed responses which can cause a car accident.
Check the weather
While emergency equipment in the car such as water, blankets, and a radio are always a good idea, preparations should also always include checking the weather. Some states now have websites that allow you to access traffic cameras so you can see the condition of the roads in real time. Snow, fog, ice, high winds, monsoons, and haboobs are all important weather conditions that you should be aware of ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.
The best offense is a good defense
To truly drive safely you need to be aware of what’s going on around you. This includes looking ahead for traffic that may have abruptly stopped and checking your rearview mirror regularly to see what’s happening behind you. Also, be aware of people beside you. Driving in someone’s blind spot is never a good idea and if someone is driving erratically or aggressively, make a concerted effort to simply get out of their way.
With more drivers on the road than ever, it is important that you stay calm and collected. Some road rage incidents have had tragic outcomes. If you encounter someone tail gating you, yelling or otherwise being aggressive, get out of the way. Do not engage in these types of encounters. If necessary, get off the road somewhere public and safe, such as a local police station. While these types of situations can be scary, you need to stay calm and stay focused on safely removing yourself from the situation.
Some days, it is hard to get enough sleep in the best of circumstances. Regardless, you cannot be exhausted and be safe in the driver’s seat of a car. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause similar impairments to drunk driving. Speaking of which…
Don’t drink and drive – ever
This should not need to be said and yet, “every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016” (https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving). Driving while under the influence impairs your vision, reflexes and decision making skills making drunk drivers much the most dangerous people on the road. Drunk driving accidents are preventable and tragic. Please, don’t ever get behind the wheel while impaired.
Obey the law
Pay attention to speed limits and avoid careless habits like tail gating. Leaving enough space between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you will give you enough time to stop abruptly if needed. Maintaining a reasonable speed gives you the opportunity to stop or slow down as needed as well. Make sure that you have a valid driver’s license and enough insurance coverage and that you are following all the rules of the road as established by your state.
Give yourself enough time
Too many accidents are caused because people are in a hurry to get somewhere. Leave yourself enough time so that you are tempted to make poor choices on the road such as speeding or driving dangerously. Your life is simply not worth the extra five minutes.
While these tips are helpful and should be heeded for safety sake, there are simply no guarantees of accident-free driving. Make sure that in addition to driving as safely as possible you have all the necessary auto insurance in place to protect yourself in the event of an accident. With fines, the cost of repairs and plenty of uninsured motorists on the road, the risk of driving without car insurance simply isn’t worth it. The roads are getting more and more crowded; make good choices and drive with care.
Have you ever done any of the following: talked on the phone while driving, been forced to stop suddenly and almost rear-ended the person in front of you, found yourself in less than ideal driving conditions such as snow, fog, rain or dust storms, had a close call where you were almost in an accident? Car insurance is a protective measure to ensure your financial stability in the event of an accident. This coverage is not just prudent, it’s the law. The risks to your status as a driver and financial implications simply aren’t worth the penalties of driving without insurance.
7 Auto Insurance Risk
1. I can’t afford insurance
While we empathize with the financial challenges many people are struggling with the unfortunate truth that you can’t afford to NOT have car insurance. The financial liability you will incur in the event of an accident while driving without insurance can be staggering. Assuming you beat the odds, where _ people in YEAR were in car accidents; if you are pulled over without insurance you will incur financial consequences that far outweigh the cost of auto insurance. In the state of Arizona if you are caught driving without insurance you will face the suspension of your license and registration as well as a fine and most likely an increase in insurance costs.
2. The legally required minimums are all I need to meet my lawful obligation
The bare minimum coverage in Arizona is bodily injury coverage includes: bodily injury coverage in the amounts of $15,000/per person and $30,000/per accident, property damage liability coverage of $10,000, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage of $15,000/per person and $30,000 per accident. While the minimum amounts of coverage will keep you out of trouble if you are pulled over, they may not cover your expenses in the event of an accident. If any repairs or medical bills exceed your insurance amounts you may be held financially responsible for anything else left over.
3. My car isn’t worth very much
If you are not concerned about the cost to replace your vehicle we can customize your coverage to meet Arizona minimums and provide coverage in the event of damage to someone’s vehicle or property. The value, or lack thereof, of your vehicle is not a good excuse to forego auto insurance.
4. I am a great driver and won’t cause an accident
While we all appreciate your expert driving, there are simply no guarantees. Even drivers that adhere to every rule of the road may be found liable for an accident. Weather, other drivers, animals, and everyday distractions can all contribute to a car accident. In addition, car insurance is not just to protect others from you but is designed to protect you from other under or uninsured motorists.
5. I don’t drive very often.
The frequency in which you drive can be taken into consideration when pricing insurance. If you travel infrequently or live very close to work we may be able to get you lower rates, as this reduces your risk of an accident. That being said, every time you drive your vehicle it is a potential opportunity for an accident and is not a valid excuse to skip purchasing insurance. If your vehicle becomes inoperable, let your agent know right away so he or she can help you modify your policy and advise you of registration filing requirements.
6. Fender benders aren’t important
While minor accidents can be small annoyances that could be overlooked, this mentality doesn’t take into account the other party to the accident. Even if you were to simply scrape a guardrail or hit a road sign you are financially liable for the repair or replacement costs. This holds true for more traffic incidents of any kind. If you hit a road sign, pedestrian, vehicle or business without insurance you are responsible for the costs. These figures can add up quickly. If someone is injured you may also be on the hook for medical expenses. Your responsibility isn’t diminished just because an accident is “minor”.
7. I can’t get car insurance because of prior incidents such as DUI, tickets, etc…
While every ticket or incident such as a DUI makes you a higher risk to insure, it does not mean you can skip purchasing an insurance policy. In fact, many paths to reinstating your driver’s license not only require insurance but will also require an SR-22 certificate from your insurer proving you have adequate coverage. Coverage for people in these types of situations is available, and as an independent agency, we can quote your needs with multiple carriers to get the lowest price possible. The pricing for policies does go up with each incident but the good news is that you do get credit for good behavior. After a certain number of years, each incident impacts your pricing less and less provided there are no further tickets, etc.
It is important to be realistic about the responsibility and obligations that come with driving and avoid car insurance problems. Work with an established agency to ensure you have the coverage you need at a price you can afford. If you need insurance or would like a review of your existing coverage, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call.
While many people struggle to make ends meet or are living paycheck to paycheck, auto insurance may seem like one more expense you can do without. While it may be tempting to forego purchasing insurance, this can be a costly mistake. Some people may opt out of auto insurance due to financial hardship but that is a dangerous roll of the dice. If you are found liable for causing an accident without insurance, you could be held financially responsible for all the repairs and medical bills for everyone involved. The bills from a single accident could easily total tens of thousands of dollars. Keep reading for additional penalties and possible consequences of being pulled over with no insurance in Arizona.
Auto Insurance Requirements Vary by State
All states except New Hampshire and Virginia require drivers to carry some form of auto insurance. The two exception states have different requirements for their drivers and both hold individuals that cause accidents financially liable, so while drivers aren’t legally required to carry auto insurance, many do to financially protect themselves. Because carrying insurance and being able to show proof of insurance when asked by law enforcement officials is a law in most states, there are stiff penalties for foregoing insurance. It should be noted that if you have insurance but do not have the proof of insurance with you when asked by the police, you may be able to avoid penalties by submitting proof to the court prior to or at your court date. It is important to note that penalties increase based on the number of offenses so the more times you get caught without insurance the more it will cost you.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Arizona
Per the Arizona MVD, Arizona law requires you to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. This amount is $15,000 bodily liability for one person and $30,000 for two people. In addition, you are legally required to have coverage in the minimum amount of $10,000 property damage liability. If you do not comply with these minimum requirements you are subject to the following penalties:
1st offense: Fines and suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. In addition, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for two years.
2nd offense: Increased fines and length of suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. In addition, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for two years.
3rd offense: Further increased fines and length of suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. In addition, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for two years.
It is important to note that these are the penalties incurred by the state. You will also have financial penalties from other entities. In order to reinstate your license and registration, you will have to obtain adequate auto insurance. An insurance company may view you as high-risk due to your willingness to be an uninsured driver. This will drive your premium costs up significantly. Additionally, every ticket or incident you incur on your record has the potential to increase your insurance costs.
SR-22 (Statement of Responsibility – 22) certificates are another way in which you will have financial penalties. This type of certificate is often required if you are found guilty of driving without insurance and is issued by your insurance company. The SR-22 is a certificate from your insurer stating that you have car insurance. This certificate has to be filed with the MVD. While the actual cost of filing the SR-22 is nominal, you may again be viewed as a high-risk driver by your insurance company and your premiums will be adjusted accordingly. If you find yourself needing an SR-22, it is wise to shop around to find an insurer that will file this document with the least amount of increase in coverage costs.
The costliest penalty for a lack of insurance may be a civil suit. If you are found liable for causing an accident and you do not have insurance, you may be forced to pay for all damages out of pocket. You can also be sued for any damages assessed. If you do not have the money to pay for the damages you may be forced to sell any assets of value such as your home. Do not risk your financial security by neglecting to purchase insurance.
Some people either intentionally or unintentionally try to get away with driving without insurance. Aside from the possible penalties involved, this isn’t a good idea for another reason: the state of Arizona has safeguards in place to prevent you from getting away with it. By Arizona state law, insurance companies have to notify the Motor Vehicle Division of any cancellations or non-renewals within seven days. This means if you have a lapse of insurance coverage, your insurance company will report it to the MVD. The MVD also has systems in place to match you with the VIN number of your vehicle and the corresponding insurance. It is always best to follow the state laws and insure your vehicle as required.
Get Your Auto Insurance Policy Today
Whether you simply forgot, or are having trouble meeting the financial burden of monthly premiums, auto insurance is simply a must. If you need assistance finding a policy that meets your coverage and budgetary needs, please contact our office. We work with multiple insurance companies so that we can get you the maximum coverage at the best possible price. We will listen to your individual situation and respect your budget. Don’t risk your driver’s license, registration or financial health. Call us today and let us get you the insurance coverage you need.