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Russell F. Porter Insurance Services

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Auto Insurance - Personal and Business:


Auto Insurance

  1. If you have a brand name preference for an Insurance Company.
  2. If you have only the best price as your goal.
  3. If you have more than one point on your driving record. I also produce SR22.
  4. If you have a business and you and/or your employees use vehicles that they do not own, I can help with non-owned riders.
  5. I can help you get coverage with CAARP low cost program if:
    1. You have no more than one point on your driving record.
    2. You have been licensed for three consecutive continuous years.
    3. You are not earning above the poverty scale.
    4. You only want public liability and property damage to satisfy State driving requirements.
    5. You do not have a lienholder whom you owe for the vehicle.
    6. I would need to make copies of your drivers license, your DMV registration and proof of your income. The plan never costs more than $400.00 per year per vehicle with all the bells and whistles. There are a few additional rules that I can tell you about. If you choose to finance the plan, you pay a down payment of close to $55.00, followed by six consecutive months of around $40.00. The last five months of the policy is free and clear; the plan is a seven pay cycle. I have placed nearly three hundred of my clients with this low cost policy, so I have a very definite opinion: While it is true that "something of something is better than nothing of nothing". This policy only provides minimal property damage and bodily injury limits; the least that we can legally possess in the State of California. If you hurt someone or damage their property and have the least possible coverage, the injured party can come after you to pay any uncovered balance.
  6. I can help you with your recreational vehicles such as: on or off road motorcycles, golf carts, all terrain vehicles, motor homes, travel trailers, jet skis, boats & antique wooden boats.

Auto Insurance Tips

  1. If you owe a lienholder for your vehicle, your coverage usually only provides actual cash value based on the average "Blue Book Value" of your vehicle if it is damaged or destroyed. (This is true unless you purchase a specialty value policy.) If you owe more to the lienholder on your auto loan than what the vehicle is worth, you owe the unpaid balance to the lienholder. A rider called "loan or lease gap" may be available to you, either with your finance purchase contract with your lienholder or through your auto policy. If you owe money:
    1. The lienholder takes the majority of your interest money at the beginning of the contract term, placing smaller amounts toward the principal.
    2. To "settle" a claim when there is major damage to your vehicle, the Insurer depreciates your vehicle for mileage and other damage or wear & tear and will only pay what it is actually worth.
    3. Simply driving the vehicle off the sales lot loses your vehicle value because the dealer earns their share of sales commission.
    4. Loans become top-heavy. When your Insurer pays a total loss, you may still owe your loaner a loan balance. Loan-lease gap coverage spares you from having to pay a balance on a dead vehicle.
  2. If you only have one vehicle or you have less than one vehicle available per operator, rental coverage may be important to consider either through your lender purchase contract or through your auto policy. However, if you do rent a vehicle from a rental agency:
    1. Check whether your auto Insurer carries coverage over to the loaner vehicle in case damage should occur to the rental vehicle while in your possession ( Regardless of whether you personally caused the damage or not.This is because another party may damage the rental vehicle and not report to you or offer to make it right.)
    2. Even if you own collision and comprehensive coverage on your personal vehicle, I prefer to purchase the rental agency's Insurance because it eliminates your need to pay a deductible and prevents you from having to pay for the rental agency's loss of income while their vehicle is being repaired if it gets damaged while in your possession. (The rental agency loses money if their vehicle is damaged because they cannot rent their vehicle it out while it is in the shop being repaired.)
  3. Rental coverage on your personal vehicle policy does not cover you if you have a mechanical breakdown. It is only intended to cover you for damage from a collision in an accident while your vehicle is being repaired.
  4. If you or a family member cause deliberate, intentional damage to your vehicle there is usually no coverage whatsoever. And if your pet or livestock damage your vehicle there is not likely any coverage to repair or replace the vehicle.
  5. If a possession (personal property) is stolen from your auto, your auto coverage does not cover the loss unless you purchase a rider on your auto policy. Your home or renters policy usually handles that loss. However, comment from the school of hard knocks: Home and renter policies are extremely limited with theft of jewelry, (especially when you lose your wallet or purse), unless you cover it at its real value with a rider. (While your belongings are away from your home, there is usually only 10% coverage available from your renter or homeowner policy.)
  6. I need to inspect vehicles for which collision and / or comprehensive coverage is being applied. I need a copy of your current D.M.V. registration. The registration card must show the name of the person who is applying for coverage. In the event of a theft, it helps police when I know the license plate number of each vehicle.
  7. Your Roadside Service coverage is best utilized by calling the phone number on your membership ID card so the Insurer can dispatch their preferred towing provider. This gives you better benefits and usually avoids the need for you to pay the roadside provider upfront and then waiting for reimbursement from the Insurer. Be sure to always have your cell phone and Insurance ID card handy. Most Insurers do not cover you for towing unless you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your auto. Roadside coverage is designed to cover you in the event your vehicle brakes down, needs a tire repaired, some fuel, a battery charge or a minor mechanical repair. If they cannot easily get you back on the road, they will tow you. And if you have an accident they will tow you. Beware that most Insurers only pay for you to be towed to the closest mechanic, not necessarily to a place convenient to you.
  8. If you receive a ticket for a driving violation, going to a driving class should prevent a surcharge on your insurance premium. Keep your driving class certificate or receipt just in case the DMV fails to update and credit you. You need to check your DMV report for accuracy if:
    1. You were involved in a no fault accident.
    2. You were ticketed but exonerated in traffic court.
    3. You were ticketed but you went to traffic school.
    4. Insurers check DMV records at policy renewal. Your Insurer charges you for whatever points show on your DMV report. Insurers usually have no way of knowing whether or not a DMV report is accurate, so it is up to you to be vigilant about the accuracy of your DMV report.
  9. When you look at your liability limits of coverage, keep these consistent with the value of your estate. Higher liability coverage limits for property damage and bodily injury medical expenses are not very costly when we have a good driving record. The peace of mind that it gives you and anyone you accidentally harm or injure is money well spent. If we damage the property of someone or injure them we are usually in no position to personally "indemnify" them; (called self insurance).
  10. Medical coverage for yourself and your passengers is the most overlooked provision. It is designed for you if you injure yourself and/or passengers riding with you. Even if you possess health insurance, you are still subject to the deductible and co-payments. This rider does not cost much as long as you have a good driving record for the last 5 or sometimes 10 years. (Health Insurers hesitate to pay medical expenses for auto accidents; it should not be their responsibility.)
  11. With regards to billing, if you pay the entire premium of the term upfront you will save money. There are substantial charges when you have the Insurer finance your premium. If you must finance the payments, remember that with a six-month policy the premium is usually collected in five months time or on an annual policy in ten months time frame, and the first month's premium for the term is often higher than the consecutive months.
  12. At present, most Insurers charge you on the basis of your at fault claims, violation points, annual mileage, vehicle safety features, vehicle age and your locale. If you experience a claim and / or violation, you will usually experience an increase for the cost of your policy premium. We lose our preferred rates when we file claims or receive tickets for traffic violations.
  13. If you call a claim department of an Insurer to ask for information, you may run a serious risk. Claims Department representatives sometimes count a claim inquiry as an actual claim. That counts against you for:
    1. Frequency of claims.
    2. They can drop you.
    3. They can charge you more premium.
    4. If your cost to repair damage is close to the amount of your deductible, your petty claim will likely be harmful to you all the way around. Your are likely better served by letting your Insurance protect you for major events.
  14. Replace your auto insurance ID cards every policy term at renewal. If a police officer, your lienholder, your employer or the DMV asks for proof of insurance, this should satisfy their need. I have plastic card covers for your ID cards here at my office that will keep it clean and neat. (While it is important to have documentation in your vehicle, remember that there is a risk of identity theft if someone steals your ID card.)
  15. If you are involved in an accident where there is $ 750.00 or more in property damage, it is required that you report the incident to the DMV with a SR1 form within 10 days. I have these forms here at my office or you can retrieve the form off the DMV website. If someone is hurt or killed in a accident, you must report to the police. If at all possible, fill out an accident report at the accident location. The form reminds you to get Insurance information, drivers license numbers, license plate numbers, names, phone numbers, addresses, vehicle descriptions and so on. Very important: Keep a camera handy at all times so you can take pictures. (If you call me from an accident site, I will do my best to come to you and assist you.) Also, it really helps to call the Insurer right then and there and tell them all about it and follow their instructions. If police or witnesses are at the scene, request their help and get their contact information. (Get the badge number of a police officer and make arrangements with the officer to pick up a copy of the Police Report.)
  16. If you have a lienholder on your car title and hence owe money for your vehicle, your lienholder usually requires you to own collision and comprehensive coverage. If you do not, the lienholder may well impose insurance on you by increasing your term payments. You will usually pay much more if they use their own source of insurance, and they often only insure it to cover repayment of their loan, not the actual value of the vehicle.
  17. One of the factors that determine the cost of your auto policy is mileage. If you have a number of vehicles insured and you remove one or more vehicles from the policy, your mileage is redistributed to the remaining vehicle(s). Your cost on the remaining vehicle(s) increases. Especially is this true if only one vehicle remains insured, because you lose the "multi vehicle" discount. If your annual mileage decreases or increases, you need to let me know so you can be charged fairly.
  18. Most Insurers have preferred providers for vehicle repairs. If someone damages your vehicle and that party's Insurer will pay for your repairs, you are likely better off using that Insurer's preferred body shop. If you damage your own vehicle and your Insurer is to pay for the repairs, you will likely want to use your Insurer's body shop. This is because a preferred provider usually guarantees both the workmanship and parts for the repair as long as you own the vehicle. However, this is not normally mandatory-you can usually go to anybody shop that is legally in business-but you might lose the vehicle's lifetime guarantee on the repairs.
  19. If you temporarily or permanently primarily reside in a Camper, Motorhome or Travel Trailer, these would be viewed as a residence and should not be insured under a vehicular travel policy. These require a special residence rated policy.
  20. A Frustrating Issue: If your car is parked and gets damaged somehow and you are not there to witness the event or confront the causer of damage, most Insurers expect you to pay on your comprehensive deductible even though you were not at fault. The Insurer probably cannot raise your premium on you, but they can impose your comprehensive deductible on you. This includes:
    1. Hit and run drivers and vandals.
    2. Shopping carts that get banged into your vehicle in parking lots by people who do not report to you.
    3. People who swing their vehicle doors wide open against your vehicle and do not report to you
    4. People who are moving things while loading or unloading who do not report to you.
  21. If you are at fault in an accident and somebody receives medical attention examination for which expenses are paid by the Insurer; Even if no actual injury has occurred, the Insurer will count that as a bodily injury claim and you will almost certainly experience a premium rate increase.
  22. If somebody damages your property and / or hurts you or your passengers and you believe that the other party is at fault, but the opposing party disagrees-you are most likely in for quite an experience. The insurer of the opposing party will not likely help you nor commit to any responsibility until:
    1. A police report is completed. (It usually takes one week to receive that.)
    2. The opposing party is interviewed by their Insurer to determine which party is at fault.
    3. When this happens, you may need money for a rental or replacement vehicle or medical attention. If you are in this predicament, you are likely going to need to have your Insurer take care of your needs and have your Insurance Company go after the other Insurance Company for reimbursement (called Subrogation).
    4. Especially is this true when the matter of which party is at fault goes to court. The process of getting lawyers and going to court is very time-consuming, lengthy and expensive.
    5. Another frustrating thing will be trying to get blood out of a turnip if the opposing party possesses no Insurance or has insufficient Insurance.
  23. This paragraph considers recreational vehicles such as Boats, Jet skis, all terrain vehicles & on and off Road Motorcycles (as well as utility & horse trailers).
    1. Public liability for bodily injury and property damage (PL & PD) coverage is included with your auto policy only while hauling or towing any of these items while hitched to your vehicle.
    2. Your auto policy is not designed nor required to cover loss of or damage to any one of those items.
    3. You need a separate policy to cover any of these items while operating them on land, in air or in water in case you hurt someone and / or damage their property.
    4. You can purchase liability only coverage for any of these items if you are willing to absorb the loss of or repair costs of the item. Or you can include collision and comprehensive coverage with a policy, but subject to deductible. If you have a lienholder on one of these items, they usually require you to own collision and comprehensive coverage to cover the loan.
    5. Some Homeowner policies have riders that will cover these items, but that is most often only if the item is damaged on your own property or premises.
    6. Insurers want your item to be insured year around, not only during peak season months. This is largely because they rate it on an annual basis and spread out the risk over a year.
    7. Incidents of claim, violation or injury while operating any of these items count as points on your DMV driving record.
    8. Marinas and law enforcement officials require that you to be able to present proof of Public Liability & Property Damage Liability (PL & PD) on demand, your registration and life jackets for every person on board. Keep your proof of Insurance handy.