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Around here, we like to say that summer officially starts on July 5. With warmer weather arriving, we know many classic car owners are taking to the roads to show off their hard work. But do you have the right coverage to protect your investment?

Three classic carsThree Chevy Bel Air cars at a Michigan car show

When I was a kid, my parents had a knack for buying cars that ended up becoming classics, even though they didn’t know it at the time. My mom and dad’s first car was a turquoise 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible, just like the center car in the photo above. They next bought the classic white Ford Thunderbird.

Claudia McClain and vintage ThunderbirdA young Claudia McClain in front of her family’s Ford Thunderbird

My own dream car was a bright red 1965 Ford Mustang convertible that a friend was bored with and decided to sell in the mid-70s. She wanted $750, but I didn’t have that kind of money at that point and had to pass. Worst investment decision ever!

McClain Insurance Agent Nick Pembroke remembers the thrill of taking his grandpa’s 1967 Ford Mustang out for a spin when he was 16. The car was one of his grandfather’s prized possessions and he always kept it in pristine condition.

Like Nick’s grandfather, most vintage car owners invest many hours and dollars into their cars. But if you don’t have adequate insurance coverage on your classic car, you may be at risk for unexpected costs in the event of an accident or other claim.

Check out our 5 common questions about classic car insurance below and then contact us to make sure your vehicle is properly protected.

But first…

What is a classic car?

Age isn’t the only feature that makes a car “classic.” If your vehicle is worth more than its original sale price, it may qualify as a collectible.

If you own a vehicle that falls into any of these categories, we encourage you to contact us to discuss class car insurance:

  • Antique and classic cars (typically classified as those 25 years and older)
  • Hot rods or modified vehicles
  • Exotic or limited-edition modern classics
  • Collector trucks and SUVs
  • Vintage military vehicles
  • Antique tractors
  • Vintage commercial vehicles

Classic car vintage fire truckA vintage fire truck belonging to team member Meghan Pembroke’s uncle. He plans to drive it in their community parade once it’s fixed up.

Now that you know what makes a car “classic,” here are some of the classic car insurance questions we often hear from customers.

1. Will I still be able to take my classic car out for a weekend drive under a classic car policy?

We frequently hear from customers who are concerned that they won’t be able to drive their vintage car as often if they insure it on a classic car policy. In the past, this was sometimes an issue for classic car owners. Specialized policies limited the number of miles the vehicle could be driven each year.

These days, we have great options for customers who like to drive their classic cars to the grocery store or take them on road trips once in a while. Some of our insurance providers offer flexible policies that allow our customers to take their vehicles to the local farmers market and to events and car cruises.

However, if you are planning to use your car as your daily commuter vehicle, a classic car policy will not be the best choice for you. In fact, most classic car insurance providers require that all drivers in the household also have a regular-use vehicle for daily driving.

Vintage truckClaudia and Pat McClain’s 1979 GMC pickup

2. If my car needs repairs, can I do the work myself and still get adequate coverage?

Special vehicles need special care when it comes to repairs. In fact, many vintage car owners prefer to do repairs themselves.

With standard car policies, companies often provide a limited selection of repair shops that customers can choose from in the event of an accident or breakdown. Most classic car policies, on the other hand, allow owners to choose the repair shop that they are most comfortable with. They will also cover the cost of repairs if you choose to do them yourself.

In fact, some classic car insurance companies will even help you track down hard-to-find replacement parts for your vehicle if you need to make a repair.

3. I only drive my classic car in the summer. Can I drop insurance coverage in the winter when it’s in storage?

Just because you won’t be driving your vintage car during the winter months doesn’t mean that you should drop insurance coverage. Some owners believe that as a “collector’s item,” antique cars that are in storage or parked in the garage or shop are covered under their homeowners policy. That is not the case!

Homeowners insurance excludes coverage for all motorized vehicles that are designed for road use.

It is important to maintain year-round coverage for your classic car in case of fire, theft, or another unexpected loss. If you don’t have your antique car listed on an appropriate policy, you may be left to absorb the cost of a loss out of your own pocket.

Classic car - Chevy coupeA vintage Chevrolet coupe

Classic car insurance was a huge help for one of our longtime clients a few years back. Our customer had his 1957 Chevrolet 150 in storage over the winter. When he checked on it, he discovered that mice had created a nest in the vehicle, causing more than $2,000 in damage to the ceiling fabric, upholstery and carpet.

Because he had a classic car insurance policy, he was able to choose where he wanted to have the repairs done. The insurance company even sent a claims representative out to talk over the damage and repairs with the repair shop. Our customer was very glad to get his car back in pre-mice condition!

4. Do I need to insure my classic car that isn’t currently running?

We know that many collectible cars start as a work in progress. And if your project vehicle isn’t currently running, you may not think you need to cover it with a classic car policy. But that can be a costly misconception.

If a vehicle is completely in parts and boxes, your homeowners policy might provide limited coverage in the event of a fire, theft or other loss to those parts. But in general, our rule of thumb at McClain Insurance is: If it looks like a vehicle, insure it like a vehicle – even if it isn’t currently running.

Classic carMeghan’s dad is planning to restore a 1939 Fordor that belonged to his great uncle

Homeowners policies exclude coverage for motorized vehicles designed for road use. If you are restoring a vintage car, we recommend getting a classic car policy to make sure you have the coverage you need in the event of a loss.

5. Why can’t I just add my classic car to my auto policy?

While you can add your classic car to your standard auto policy, we don’t recommend it. Going that route will likely cost you more and will not provide the special benefits that a classic car policy offers.

Standard car insurance policies are designed for daily driving in a standard vehicle. Unlike classic cars, which can gain value as they “age,” standard vehicles depreciate as you add miles and years to them. In the event of a claim, a standard car policy will cover you based on the current market value of your car. Providing adequate coverage for a vintage or collectible car under a standard policy can be significantly more expensive than a classic car policy with rates built for collector vehicles.

Classic car policies, on the other hand, are based on the “agreed value” of your vehicle (see “properly value your car” below). They also offer unique coverages tailored to meet the needs of classic car owners, like those described above. Those include:

  • Choosing your own repair shop (or completing repairs yourself)
  • Special coverage for auto shows
  • Spare-parts coverage
  • Classic car memorabilia, such as vintage signs
  • In-house claims handling
  • Roadside coverage
Other classic car insurance considerations:
  • Specialized roadside assistance: Vintage car owners are more likely to experience a breakdown than an accident. In addition to typical coverage provided by a standard auto policy, classic car policies often offer specialized roadside assistance, including flatbed towing. In the event of a breakdown or accident, flatbed towing is the safest way to transport a damaged high-value car.
  • Properly value your car: To make sure you have the coverage your vintage car deserves, you need to properly value your vehicle. A classic car policy, unlike a standard auto policy, is based on “agreed value” rather than actual cash value, which factors in depreciation of the car as it ages. Agreed value considers other factors like miles driven, customizations and modifications. In the case of a total loss, it would pay for the full value of the car. The National Automobile Dealers Association offers helpful tips on to help you determine the appropriate value of your classic or collectible car.
  • Secure storage: Some carriers will require that your vintage car be stored in a locked, enclosed structure, such as a private garage or storage unit. Others allow vehicles to be stored in driveways, carports or car hauling trailers.

Contact the McClain Insurance team today to learn more about our classic car insurance options!

Every year in October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hosts ‘National Teen Driver Safety Week’ to raise awareness for the fact that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for 15 – 19-year olds in the US.  In 2013, over 2,600 teen drivers lost their lives in a motor vehicle crash, and an estimated 130,000 were injured.

The “5 to Drive” are the necessary safety rules that address the five biggest dangers teens face when operating a vehicle: Texting – Speeding – Seat Belts – Alcohol and Passengers.

Even though it’s hard to believe that your teen is actually listening to what you have to say (let alone follow what you say when you aren’t there), talking about the safety rules is the most important thing you can do as a parent!

That’s why we encourage you to be persistent, and give ‘the talk’ every time they head out!  Join parents across the country in the “5 to Drive” campaign.  Here are your talking points:

1. No Drinking and Driving.

Despite the fact that the possession or the consumption of alcohol before the age of 21 is illegal, almost one in five teen driver crashes involves alcohol.  Remind your teen that alcohol and driving should never mix – no matter your age.

2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.

Studies show that teens aren’t buckling up.  In 64% of fatal crashes, teen drivers’ passengers weren’t buckled.  If the teen driver himself wasn’t buckled, the percentage of unrestrained passengers jumped to 90 percent!   Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far or how fast. 

 

3. Put the Phone Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.

Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road.  (That said, remind them that any distraction – including eating, applying make-up, or changing the music – can have deadly consequences.)

4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.

Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.

5. No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.

Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up with in direct relation to the number of teens in a car:  More passengers equal more distractions and increased peer pressure.  That’s why many states have adopted a restricted passenger law for teen drivers. Washington State Teen Driving Law states:

  • For the first six months, no passengers under age 20, except for family members;
  • For the second six months, no more than three passengers under age 20.

Start the conversation now, and more importantly:  Keep the conversation going!

Don’t be afraid to get creative – leave sticky notes, sing a song, write a letter or even use social media to get your message across.  They might roll their eyes – but they’ll get your message.

Having a little fun is good and well, but remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and should be taken seriously.  A signed parent-teen driver contract can be a great tool to create accountability and outline the rules and consequences.

Last but not least:  Be a good example.  The old rule of “Do as I say, not as I do” does not apply here — your teen’s life depends on it.  Show consistency by observing the rules you set:  Put away the phone, obey the speed limit, don’t drink and drive and buckle up.

Is your vehicle ready for the cold and rainy season?

A little preparation now can save you lots of hassle later… Check out our tips, invest some TLC, and take fall by storm!  Here’s to a safer winter commute!

Check out our Guide To Fall & Winter Driving in our Resource center below!

Resources

 

College students across Washington are gearing up for fall quarter, and last-minute to-do lists are tackled by parents and students alike.  Bedding, books and basic household items are likely packed, as are computer, sports gear and car key.

Now that the “stuff” is packed – what about the insurance to protect it if it gets lost or stolen?  Insurance, unfortunately, rarely makes it on the list of things to do in the back-to-college rush.

It’s not too late! With these 3 easy steps, you’ll get the good feeling of starting the college season well-protected.  Please call us at 425-379-9200 if you have any questions!

1.  Car Insurance

If your student is taking a car to school, he/she can still remain on your policy (even if school is out of state.)  In fact – they should stay on your policy since stand-alone car insurance for a young driver tends to be much more expensive than an added young driver on the parents’ policy.  Be sure to give your agent a call and advise them of the new garaging address and adjust liability limits if necessary.

Even if your student isn’t planning to take a car to college, it’s tempting to take them off your policy to save a few dollars. Our advice: Don’t do it! It’s important to keep your student listed in case they’ll be driving a friend’s car or during home visits, and to ensure uninterrupted coverage.

2. Renter’s Insurance

If your student lives in a dorm on campus, the parents’ home or renters insurance will extend to provide coverage up to 10% of the policy’s personal property limits.  That means, if mom and dad’s policy has $100,000 personal property limits, the student’s belongings would be covered up to 10% or $10,000.  Keep in mind that the student’s personal property coverage, just like mom and dad’s, is subject to the policy deductible, which can vary from $500 to $2,000.

If your student needs more coverage for their belongings or lives off-campus in their own apartment, it might be necessary to set up their own insurance policy.

3. Electronics, Equipment and Valuables

High-end computers, expensive software and pricey sports equipment can add up quickly. Here’s what you can do to help your student optimize protection for their belongings:

– Create a Dorm Inventory

Having a detailed list of every item your student brings to college can be an invaluable tool  in case of fire or theft.  Our McClain Insurance App can help with that!  Snap a picture of each item, add a short description and a picture of the receipt if you have it, and enjoy the good feeling of being organized and keeping track of your belongings.

– Protect Expensive Items
There’s no way around it: Your best bet in protecting expensive electronics or equipment is to lock it up, keep it out of sight, or keep it close.  Be sure to have adequate insurance protection limits to cover all personal belongings (see #2 – Renter’s Insurance.)  Call your insurance agent for help!

– Insurance for Portable Electronics
While devices like tablets, smart phones or laptops are protected for covered perils (fire or theft) on a standard homeowner’s / renter’s policy, the question is if it would be wise to file a claim with a deductible of $500 – $2,000 to cover an item that costs $750 to replace.

If the device is dropped or destroyed due to  negligence, home or renter’s insurance would not apply.  To protect your device against those accidents, consider purchasing a warranty or insurance plan from the electronics store.

 

When it comes to data, be sure to back up all data on your device frequently, set passwords  and install remote location and locking software.  If your device is stolen, be sure to call your service provider immediately:  While theft of the hardware is covered, data and credit charges to your phone service are not.

Please click here to see the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Guide for lost and stolen devices.  

Looking for more info?  Simply fill out the form, below:

Do you remember the movie “Mary Poppins”?  It was one of my childhood favorites!

In the movie, Mary Poppins is hired to care for two upper-class children who have successfully managed to scare away at least a half-dozen nannies in record time.  Not so Mary Poppins!  She wins the siblings’ hearts, and teaches them (and their father) an important life lesson:  Don’t take life too seriously!  A little imagination and play go a long way in making everyday chores fun.

Among Mary Poppins’ most exciting activities are her outings:  She takes her little proteges into the pictures of a street artist, on a fox hunt, to a ceiling dinner party, and on a walk across the city roofs.  Fun stuff!  But not from an insurance standpoint…

When it comes to childcare, there are two common option for parents: Daycare or in-home nanny.

Insurance for a daycare mom:

Luckily, one of our clients who runs a daycare called us before using her personal car to take ‘her’ daycare kids to school or on outings…

You see, your personal auto insurance policy does not cover you if you use your car “to transport persons or deliver property for compensation of any kind.”.   Whether you use your car to deliver pizza, mail, or newspapers… or whether you transport children (that you’re paid to watch) to and from parks and museums – it comes down to the fact that your car is now an essential and compensated part of your job.

In the case of our nanny, the transport of her daycare kids was incidental to other parts of her job, for which she might receive a single “fee.” But since the legal language in a personal auto policy contract clearly excludes transporting people or products for compensation, and she is being paid for her services which include the transport, she runs the risk of having a claim denied because of the contractual language.

(Note:  Shared expense car pools are specifically exempted from this language.  So, this exclusion doesn’t impact parents who share driving duty to swimming or dance lessons with another parent, or just reimburse for gasoline expenses.)

Insurance contract language does vary from company to company, and state to state.  If you are in a situation where you really need to transport persons or products in your personal vehicle, please be sure to talk to your insurance agent to find out the right solution for you.  The best advice may be to purchase a commerical auto policy with high liability limits.  Yes, this may cost more, but it would assure that your insurance coverage is there when you need it.

Things are a little bit different if you’re hiring a nanny for the summer.

Insurance for an in-home nanny:

It’s not uncommon for working parents to hire a college student or a young neighbor to watch their kids during summer break.  But if driving kids to and from activities is an inherent part of your kids’ summer, be careful about your transportation arrangements!

Never let your nanny drive her own car to transport your children.  If transportation is a must, opt to provide a vehicle for your caretaker’s use while getting everybody to where they need to be.

Keep in mind these important steps:  

1.  If you provide a car for your nanny, be sure to list the vehicle and your nanny as a permissive driver on your insurance policy. (This may require that you temporarily pay higher car insurance rates for a younger operator on your policy.  However, you don’t want to risk the alternative: no coverage for your children, nanny or vehicle in case of an accident.)

2.  Do not allow your sitter to drive her own car to transport your children.  Insurance coverage may not extend.  Even if it does, your nanny’s coverage may not be as broad as yours. And since she/he is acting on your behalf, you will also be sued in a serious accident.

3. Be sure to brief your nanny on your safe-driver rules:  No texting or talking, required seat belts for everybody, obeying the law, and avoiding distractions can be life-saving basics.  You may consider drafting a Safe Driver Contract or even the installation of a tracking device in your car.

 

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About McClain Insurance Services    |    www.AutoHomeBoat.com

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency has represented quality insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive) since 1977.

Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: Auto, Home, Renters, Life, Umbrella, Earthquake, Flood, Boat, Motorcycle and RV Insurance.

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.  McClain Insurance is a Washington State Corporations for Communities Award Winner and IIABW Agency of the Year 2013.

 

 

 

 

1. You’re Human. You Make Mistakes.

Even “small” accidents can have big consequences.  Click this link to read the story of “Just a little backing accident”.  A few years ago, a Seattle driver of a Ford pickup didn’t see a fire hydrant in the corner of an industrial warehouse parking lot as he was backing out of a parking space.  The resulting high-pressure discharge of water from the hydrant flooded the parking lot, creating a massive sinkhole and restricting access to the commercial building for days.

2. Cars and Medical Payments Are More Expensive

As our society’s standard of living improves, so does the cost to repair or replace vehicles damaged in accidents.  Recently, one of our clients rear-ended a $70,000 BMW and the impact pushed the BMW into a 2013 Range Rover!   Without an umbrella policy, our client might be reaching into his savings to pay for the cost of repairs that exceeded his property damage liability limits.

Similarly, the cost of medical treatment has increased exponentially.  Even a 24-hour stay in a hospital can cost tens of thousands of dollars when you factor in ambulance or air-lift, x-rays, and diagnostic tests.   And should an injury require long-term rehabilitation and physical therapy, the costs can be staggering.

3. Homes and Boats Can Jeopardize Your Financial Future

Many people tell us that they are safe drivers and are unlikely to be at-fault in a car accident.  Very true!  We strive to insure the most careful of drivers.   However, accidents can happen anywhere!  Two of our largest liability claims have happened at home.  In one case, a 5th grade boy walking home from school decided to climb a large tree in the front yard of one of our clients. In reaching for a branch, he touched a live electrical line running through the tree and was electrocuted.   Thankfully, he survived, but faced permanent injuries.   A seven-figure settlement was shared between our client who owned the home and the local utility district.

In another case, a fun day of boating on one of our area’s beautiful lakes turned into tragedy when the sun’s glare off the water temporarily blinded the operator of a 26 foot ski boat.  He collided with a smaller boat, causing significant damage and serious injury to another boater.

4. Standard Liability Limits Are No Longer Sufficient to Protect Your Assets

It has become clear that liability limits on many car, home or boat insurance policies may no longer be adequate to meet these increased risks in our everyday lives.  What was perfectly sufficient coverage only a few years ago may not fully protect your assets today.

5. People Are Quick To Sue – And You Don’t Have to Be a Millionaire to Be Sued Like One

Being a nice person isn’t enough to avoid a major loss.  Even if the person you injure does not want to make a claim against you or file a lawsuit, their medical insurance company will require them to do so!   Every individual and group medical insurance policy states that its coverage is secondary to insurance coverage available from the at-fault party.   So, if  you are sued and held liable for an amount that exceeds the limits of your insurance policy, you will be expected to pay the difference out of pocket.

Empty pockets?  Then, likely, a court will attach your assets:  your home, cars, savings accounts, retirement plans, children’s’ college fund and possibly even your future earnings.

Yikes!  Just because you aren’t a millionaire doesn’t mean you can’t be sued like one.

 

The bottom line is:  An Umbrella Liability policy is truly an insurance consumer’s best friend!  It helps protect your assets and provides peace of mind at a cost of roughly $20 per month per $1 million of protection.  It is one of the best values, dollar-for-dollar, available from insurance companies today.

If you haven’t thought about rounding out your protection plan with umbrella insurance, we strongly advise you to do so!

Call our office at 425-379-9200 or visit our website: www.autohomeboat.com/umbrella  for more information.

 

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About McClain Insurance    –    www.AutoHomeBoat.com

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency has represented quality insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive) since 1977.

Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: Auto, Home, Renters, Life, Umbrella, Earthquake, Flood, Boat, Motorcycle and RV Insurance.

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association recently published a press release on the dangers of teen driver speeding; please see below.  Speeding is the main factor in a third of fatal teen driver accidents!

As summer break begins and teens are enjoying their time off school with more adventures, commutes to work or road trips, please keep in mind that summer break is also the most dangerous time of year for young drivers!  Your team at McClain Insurance Services knows about this!  That’s why we’ve prepared an entire collage of information safety tips especially for teen drivers as part of our project “Live Proactively!” For more information, please click here.

 

Speeding Still a Factor in a Third of Fatal Teen Driving Crashes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speeding is a primary culprit in a third of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “Speeding-Related Fatal Crashes Among Teen Drivers and Opportunities for Reducing the Risks,” authored by Dr. Susan Ferguson, states that speeding as a contributor in fatal teen driver crashes has inched up over the past decade from 30 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2011 while total teen fatalities have gone down dramatically during that same period. From 2000 to 2011, 19,447 fatal crashes of teen drivers were speeding-related. The report was funded through a grant from a major national insurance carrier.

Dr. Ferguson, former senior vice president of research for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, stressed, “Curbing teen speeding is vital since no other age group has a higher crash risk. Speeding is a common factor in the fatal crashes of teen male and female drivers.” Dr. Ferguson continued, “Speeding is more prevalent among teen males, at night, and in the presence of other teen passengers. When three or more teen passengers are in a vehicle driven by a 16-year-old male, almost half of their fatal crashes are speeding-related.”

Despite its significant role, speeding is not getting the attention it deserves and must be addressed if further progress is to be made in the area of teen driving safety. Increases in speed limits in many states coupled with a general belief that speeding is acceptable also exacerbate the problem. Dr. Ferguson notes, “Unless speeding is recognized as a dangerous behavior, much the same as drunk driving, addressing it will be difficult.”

In addition to discussing the problem of teens and speeding, the report also focuses on potential solutions. Graduated driver licensing (GDL), which has sparked record gains in teen driver safety since first enacted in the U.S. in the mid-nineties, has the potential to address speeding.

In addition to an emphasis on enforcement, the report advises states and local jurisdictions to consider installing automated speed cameras — an effective antidote to speeding for drivers of all ages.

Parents are influential in shaping the driving behavior of their teenagers, and many programs are available to help parents manage their beginning teenagers’ driving in a way that will encourage safe driving behavior. The report offers the following tips to parents.

Top 5 Tips for Parents:

  1. Have serious discussions about the importance of observing all traffic laws, demonstrate by example, and establish family rules and consequences for breaking laws.
  2. Avoid allowing teens to have primary access to a vehicle for at least the first year of independent driving.
  3. Make safety the primary consideration when selecting a car.
  4. Consider the many options for in-vehicle speed monitoring devices both in the after-market and increasingly as original vehicle equipment.
  5. Consider participation in incentive-based insurance programs that monitor usage, braking/acceleration, and/or speed.

Researchers noted that despite public resistance toward some of these tools, all show promise for addressing teen-related speeding.

Only a few short weeks after the Skagit River bridge collapse near Mt. Vernon, WA, we are still shocked by the magnitude of this vehicular accident!  Can you imagine driving at 60 mph only to see the road in front of you disappear? What would you do?

You may be wondering: If my car had been involved in this accident, how would my auto insurance policy respond?

First of all, the easy answer is that if you carry collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, any damage that might have been done to your car (even if it ended up in the Skagit River) would be covered subject to your deductible.   And, if you or your passengers were hurt, your Personal Injury Protection would help with immediate medical bills and loss of income.

But what if you had been the cause of such an accident?  What if your negligence caused a collision which resulted in the bridge collapse — who would be responsible to pay for the repair of the bridge (estimated at over $15 million) and all of the ancillary costs of diverting interstate traffic for months?

Or, what if you changed lanes too quickly and caused a tanker truck to overturn and spilling thousands of gallons of oil onto a freeway, requiring extensive clean-up, labor and overtime pay?  It happened just two years ago in Bellevue, WA. 

The scary answer is YOU, the negligent driver, would be responsible for all costs!

Even with less dramatic cases, you are financially responsible anytime you cause an accident that damages property, whether the accident involves another driver’s car, a house or commercial building, or a public structure such as a guard rail or telephone pole.

Our office has handled many reports of unusual and unexpected property damage.  The actual claims photos here show the damage done when a pickup truck driver backed into a fire hydrant, flooding a large parking lot and causing significant damage to commercial property stored in these buildings.

This is why all standard auto insurance policies include Property Damage Liability as a basic coverage.

The huge challenge is that state required minimum limits for Property Damage Liability are unrealistically low — only $25,000 in Washington state, as an example.  In some states, the required minimum limit is only $10,000.   These amounts would barely pay for damage to an average used car!

The owner (private or public) of that damaged luxury car, home, telephone pole, or bridge has the legal right to demand that you pay for the full repair or replacement of their property if you are at fault.  If your Property Damage Liability limits are not high enough to pay the full bill, you can be forced to liquidate your other assets or even assign a percentage of your future earnings to satisfy a judgment.

Increasing your Property Damage Liability Limits can be very affordable. A personal umbrella liability policy of $1 million or more is an even better value.  Don’t leave yourself vulnerable by relying on state minimum liability limits.  Allow one of our professional independent agents to prepare a protection plan that fits your needs, your exposure, and your budget.

While the Skagit River bridge collapse is a unique tragedy that will take many months to investigate, it also illustrates how quickly accidents can happen, and how fast expenses add up.

Take your insurance protection to the next level.  You’ll be surprised how affordable it is!

 

About McClain Insurance Services:

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency represents a select group of regional and national insurance companies, including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive.

Since 1977, McClain Insurance Services has offered quality insurance options to customers in Snohomish County and Washington state.  Our convenient full-service website and our team of licensed, professional brokers make insurance shopping personal, easy, quick and hassle-free.



Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: AutoHomeRentersLifeUmbrellaEarthquakeFloodBoatMotorcycle and RV Insurance.



McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.

 

The independent insurance brokers at McClain Insurance Services are ready to assist local drivers in taking insurance discounts into their own hands, as Progressive Insurance launched its “Snapshot” program in Washington State on Friday, February 15th, 2013.

Snapshot is Progressive’s revolutionary usage-based insurance rating program.  Washington is one of the last states to authorize the use of these usage-based devices.  Drivers and agents have been waiting years to personalize auto insurance rates based on actual driving habits.   Insurance rates are traditionally obtained based on factors such as driver’s age and gender, type of vehicle, zip code, driving record, and credit history.

The problem with traditional rating algorithms is that most drivers feel that they aren’t being recognized for safe driving habits, and that in fact many rating factors are out of their control.

Snapshot allows drivers to personalize their car insurance rate and apply the discounts they deserve by factoring in their actual driving behavior.  With Snapshot, motorists can earn significant additional discounts!  Here’s how it works:

The Progressive Snapshot device plugs into the car’s diagnostic port and measures factors such as

  • Rates of acceleration and braking
  • How often, when, and how far the vehicle is driven
  • How often a driver travels between midnight and 4 am

Snapshot is not a GPS and does not track the vehicle’s location or speed, who is driving, or whether a driver is exceeding the speeding limit.  The device only stays in the car for one Progressive policy term (6 months) to obtain a “snapshot” of the individual driver’s style and behavior.  After this time, the Snapshot device is returned to Progressive, and the earned discount is applied to the policy permanently.

The great news is:  Rates do not increase based on Snapshot data.  The traditional Progressive proposal serves as the baseline insurance rate. With Snapshot, it can only get better, never worse.

Drivers interested in the Progressive Snapshot program have the option to test the device for 30 days to evaluate potential savings, or to obtain a Progressive Insurance quote through McClain Insurance.  McClain’s team of professional agents stands ready to provide advice and more information without hassle, fee, or obligation.

The brokers at McClain Insurance Services have always felt very strongly about consumer education and about crafting personalized protection plans that match clients’ needs and budget.  Insurance is not a commodity and no two clients are the same, which is why “one-size-fits-all internet policies” can leave dangerous gaps in a driver’s protection.

With Snapshot, Progressive recognizes that each driver is an individual and deserves a customized protection plan.   The agents at McClain Insurance are thrilled to help local drivers get the adequate protection and the discounts they deserve!

For more information about Progressive Snapshot, please call McClain Insurance Services at 425-379-9200.

 

February is a great month – not least, because it offers a good dose of “pink” while we are all waiting for the first signs of spring.

If you or somebody you know is ready to embark on a new life together, insurance isn’t likely to be a conversation topic.  That’s why we’ve assembled a short checklist of “Insurance Tips for Sweethearts.” Yes, there are some things you can (and should) do to keep both of you covered as your relationship grows!

Stage 1:  First Date

As you are heading out for those first dates together, there isn’t much you need to think about when it comes to insurance.  (And that’s good, because you will likely have other things on your mind.)

If you find yourself in the situation of driving your sweetie’s car, you will be covered:  Car insurance generally follows the vehicle and extends to a permissive driver, even if the driver is not the owner of the car.   However, this only applies if you drive his or her car on occasion.  If you drive his or her car on a regular basis, you should call your insurance agent for appropriate coverage.

Keep in mind that if you are in an accident that exceeds your sweetie’s policy limits, your own car insurance may apply as secondary coverage.

Stage 2:  Moving In

You have met, you have fallen in love, you know you’ve found “the One.”  If you decided to take the leap and move in together, there are a few more things to keep in mind:

1. Auto Insurance:

Now that you two live together, you will have to register each other as “other drivers in the household.”  Each of you should give your independent insurance agent a call to add your significant other to your respective car insurance policy.  Some companies will allow you to combine car insurance policies, but some may require the cars to be co-registered before putting both of you on the same policy.

2. Renter’s or Homeowner’s Insurance

This is a little more complicated.  Different insurance companies have different rules and regulations.  Some might allow you to add your significant other to your renters or homeowner’s policy, even though you are not yet married.  In this case, don’t forget to review your personal property limits to be sure that they adequately mirror the combined value of your personal possessions.

Make sure if you consolidate policies that BOTH of you are listed on the policy as “named insureds.”

It would be wise to call your insurance agent to help you evaluate your individual situation.

Stage 3:  Getting Engaged

Ah!  The big question was asked, and the big answer was given!  Now the beautiful season of preparations and planning begins!

1. Jewelry Endorsement

One of the first things to do is: Cover the ring!  A typical renter’s or homeowner’s policy only covers jewelry up to $1,500 per item.   If the cost of your ring exceeds $1,500, or if you wish to protect it against perils such as “loss of a stone from its setting” or “mysterious disappearance,” purchase a  scheduled jewelry endorsement.  At a cost of approximately $12 per $1,000 coverage, this endorsement can easily be added to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy.

2. Wedding Insurance

Wedding Insurance can be purchased up to 2 years prior to the big day and will cover attire, jewelry, venue, service provider failures, bankruptcy or no-shows, as well as provide liability protection for the event itself.  Be sure to be covered during the planning process.

A McClain Insurance agent can assist you with Wedding Insurance.

Stage 4:  Getting Married

Now that the two of you tied the knot, it is also time for your insurance policies to become one.  Here’s what we recommend:

1. This is a great time for a Policy Review!

As you and your new spouse are combining all your insurance policies, this is a great time for a Policy Review!  Consider increasing your liability limits:  Now that you have combined assets, you are even more at risk of losing everything in a lawsuit.

Also, don’t forget to reap the discounts that you now qualify for!  Most carriers offer discounts for married couples, multiple cars on the same policy, and for bundling multiple policies with the same insurance company.  An independent insurance broker can help you with that!

2. Add an Umbrella Policy.

Protect your joint assets, savings, bank accounts, retirement plans and future earnings with an Umbrella policy.  Higher liability limits never hurt, but are especially important for a growing family.

3. Life Insurance

As you both enter life together, say “I love you” with Life Insurance.  Life Insurance won’t take away the tragedy of a spouse’s death, but it will help alleviate financial hardship when suddenly half of the family income is gone.  It doesn’t have to be complicated — in fact, we can make “Life” really easy for you!

 

If you have any questions at all along the way, please give the Protection Team at McClain Insurance Services a call!  We’d love to help!

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