Seasonal Vehicle Coverage

April 8, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Camper, Insurance Policy, Motor Home, Motorcycle, Personal Property, RMV, Seasonal, Specialty Policy, Travel Trailer | Leave a comment
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It is that time of year again. The motorcycles, campers, and collector cars and other recreational vehicles are starting to make an appearance now that the weather is better. Here are some insurance reminders before you take them out:

Motorcycles: If you decreased your coverage when you put your motorcycle away last winter, don’t forget to increase coverage before taking a ride. When deciding what coverage to put on your motorcycle, Medical Payments is very important to you and anyone that is on your bike at the time of an accident.

Campers: They can be covered under your auto policy, but you will get much better coverage at a comparable price if you insure your camper on a travel trailer policy. It includes things like towing and roadside assistance, accessory coverage for awnings, etc… and campsite liability if stationary.

Collector Cars: If you have a classic or collector car that is at least 15 years old, you will want to make sure you have collector car insurance coverage. The coverage is designed for the special needs of the car collector. It covers everything your regular auto policy will cover in the event of a loss but the method of determining the value is an agreed value rather than an actual cash value — there is no reduction taken for depreciation. Since a collector or classic car is only driven for a short period of time each year, the premium is usually much lower than a regular auto policy.
Off Road Vehicles: Whether you drive an ATV or a golf cart, you could potentially injure someone or cause property damage. You need coverage that will respond to any situation. Some of the extras on a recreational vehicle policy include: Equipment coverage, helmet and safety apparel, and trailer coverage.

Watercraft: Boats of all sizes and jet skis need the proper coverage as well. Physical damage to the vessel, liability to other boaters, medical payments, and trailer coverage are just some of the coverages available under a watercraft policy.

No matter what your passion is, make sure you and your family are protected with the right coverage before you experience a loss.

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Summer Vehicle Rentals

May 28, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Posted in Rental Vehicles | Leave a comment
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Do your summer plans involve renting a vehicle?  Whether it is a U-Haul truck, motor home, party van, or a passenger car while on vacation, you should know if your personal auto insurance policy will cover the rented vehicle.

Here are some scenarios you may want to think about before renting:

U-Haul Trucks – Your personal auto policy will not cover this type of vehicle.  The vehicle you rent must be similar to the vehicle you insure on your policy in order to be covered.  If the rental agent offers insurance coverage you should take it.

Party Van – These types of vans or small buses usually hold 12 or more people.  If it does not meet the description of a private passenger auto then it is not covered under your policy.

Motor Homes – They are not covered under your personal auto policy unless you own a motor home and it is listed on your policy as a covered vehicle.  If you need to rent a replacement motor home, the carrier will usually extend some coverage to the rental.  Check with your agent to be sure.

Private Passenger Vehicle – If you are renting a private passenger vehicle, the coverage from your personal auto policy will extend to the rental.  However, your auto policy only covers physical damage for actual cash value.  The rental agency will hold you responsible for full replacement value of the vehicle should there be a loss. Some insurance companies are now offering that coverage for rental vehicles as an endorsement to your personal auto policy.  Check with your agent to see if you can add it to your policy for year round coverage, rather than paying the daily insurance price at the rental agency rate.

No matter what type of vehicle you plan on renting, it is a good idea to check with your agent to make sure you know how your personal auto policy will respond before you sign the rental agreement.

Great Tips for Eliminating Distracted Driving

May 14, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Posted in Reminders | Leave a comment
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This time of year provides added driving distractions, especially for newly licensed teens while behind the wheel. It is an exciting time of year for teens, with proms, graduations, and summer vacations on the horizon. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. Distracted driving is anything that takes your mind off the road, and it’s not just cell phone use. We all know what not to do. Start a conversation with teens, keep the following great tips fresh in mind and everyone can stay safe while driving:

  • Don’t eat or drink, put on makeup, play with the radio or anything other than focus on the road while behind the wheel – For safety’s sake take a few minutes to do these things before you get on the road.
  • Fatigue and daydreaming can be dangerous driving distractions – Always stay alert behind the wheel.
  • Angry or upset drivers are not only distracted but can also be dangerous – Don’t get behind the wheel until you are calm.
  • Texts and calls may seem urgent but can wait – Turn your cell phone off while driving, and only use your phone when you are off the road.

Always put safety first. You should be in complete control while driving, be sure to tell passengers that you need to focus on the road. One little distraction could cause an accident with major bodily injury or even death.

Don’t become another tragic statistic, nothing is as important as the rest of your life.

Stay alert and stay safe!

Seasonal Vehicle Coverage

April 9, 2014 at 9:04 AM | Posted in Auto, Camper, Insurance Policy, Motor Home, Motorcycle, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Specialty Policy, Travel Trailer | Leave a comment
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It is that time of year again. The motorcycles, campers, and collector cars and other recreational vehicles are starting to make an appearance now that the weather is better. Here are some insurance reminders before you take them out:

  • Motorcycles: If you decreased your coverage when you put your motorcycle away last winter, don’t forget to increase coverage before taking a ride. When deciding what coverage to put on your motorcycle, Medical Payments is very important to you and anyone that is on your bike at the time of an accident.
  • Campers: They can be covered under your auto policy, but you will get much better coverage at a comparable price if you insure your camper on a travel trailer policy. It includes things like towing and roadside assistance, accessory coverage for awnings, etc… and campsite liability if stationary.
  • Collector Cars: If you have a classic or collector car that is at least 15 years old, you will want to make sure you have collector car insurance coverage. The coverage is designed for the special needs of the car collector. It covers everything your regular auto policy will cover in the event of a loss but the method of determining the value is an agreed value rather than an actual cash value — there is no reduction taken for depreciation. Since a collector or classic car is only driven for a short period of time each year, the premium is usually much lower than a regular auto policy.
  • Off Road Vehicles: Whether you drive an ATV or a golf cart, you could potentially injure someone or cause property damage. You need coverage that will respond to any situation. Some of the extras on a recreational vehicle policy include: Equipment coverage, helmet and safety apparel, and trailer coverage.
  • Watercraft: Boats of all sizes and jet skis need the proper coverage as well. Physical damage to the vessel, liability to other boaters, medical payments, and trailer coverage are just some of the coverages available under a watercraft policy.

No matter what your passion is, make sure you and your family are protected with the right coverage before you experience a loss.

Using Your Vehicle for a Profit? Know the Exclusions & Limitations

April 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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Uber, Lyft, and SideCar are some of the new business services popping up that use smart phone technology for vehicle owners who combine availability with ride sharing or taxi service.  These companies work from a mobile phone application, allowing potential riders to connect with potential drivers for a fee.  Whether you choose “ride-sharing” or transportation for hire, there are definite limitations on your personal auto policy that you need to be aware of:

  • Every Massachusetts Auto policy has a public or livery conveyance exclusion that applies to most of the coverages, including property damage and bodily injury to others.  This means that if you are acting as a livery service (carrying passengers for hire) at the time of an accident, your insurance company could deny coverage.
  • The Vehicle Sharing Exclusion, new to Massachusetts, states the insurance company will not pay any claim for injury or property damage under the policy while your auto is being used in a personal vehicle sharing program.
  • Most of these programs offer their own coverage as excess in addition to the driver’s personal insurance policy. Programs may offer to pay from dollar-one if the primary insurance is not available. However, depending on the circumstances at the exact time of the claim there could be a question as to whether or not their coverage will respond.

It is always better to be safe than sorry. Before you sign up for any of these new business ventures involving the use of your personal vehicle, call Protector Group at 888-850-9400 to discuss your coverage and any exclusions that may apply.

Commerce Insurance Company “DriveAdvisor” Program

March 26, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Posted in Auto, Personal Insurance, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Insurance industry statistics show that the risk of having an accident for newly licensed drivers is highest during the first few months of getting their license. Teen drivers (16-19 years old) are three times more likely to crash than drivers over 20. It is so scary to see your child drive away when they first get their license because you know they probably aren’t experienced enough to avoid accidents. Thankfully, technology is advancing to help us help our children become better drivers when we can’t be with them on the road.

Commerce Insurance has launched the DriveAdvisor Program for new drivers to help them learn how to reduce their risk of having an accident. After you install a device in the vehicle and register online, the program offers driving tips and allows you to receive online feedback and insight about driving patterns, how often they break too hard, or accelerate too quickly. With this information your children can improve driving habits and reduce the risk of having an accident.

Here are some highlights of the program:

  • The program is free to drivers who are insured with Commerce Insurance Company, are licensed less than 3 years, or that have 5 or more SDIP points on their record.
  • Enrolling in the program does not affect your insurance premium and you can stop using it at any time.
  • The device plugs into your vehicle and you register it online in just minutes.
  • It allows you to identify unsafe driving habits that you and your family members can work on together.
  • New drivers develop good driving habits and become safer drivers for the rest of their lives.
  • The device provides trip maps and shows you where driving incidents are known to occur.

Call us at 888-850-9400 if you are interested in learning more about this valuable program.

Pothole Damage to Your Vehicle

March 12, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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The extreme fluctuations in temperature this winter created more potholes than ever! Not only are there more of them, but many of them seem like mini sinkholes. If you’ve sustained damage to your vehicle from a pothole, there are some actions you can take:

  1. You can try filing one with the city or town where the damage occurred, but be aware that most of them will never pay out on a claim for pothole damage.
  2. Your auto insurance will cover pothole damage if you carry collision coverage. Keep in mind – your collision deductible will apply and you will be surcharged if the cost of the damages exceeds $500. Filing a claim under your
    auto insurance is a good idea only if the damage is extensive.
  3. A proactive option is to purchase the tire warranty at the time you buy tires for your vehicle. When you purchase a tire warranty, the tire manufacturer usually covers any repairs to the tire. However, the warranty will not cover damage to the tire rim or your vehicle. If you need to replace a tire that is under warranty, they will give you a credit for any remaining tread towards the new tire. This is especially important if you have all wheel drive and don’t have the option of replacing just one tire at a time.

The best way to prevent pothole damage is to keep your speed down and avoid the pothole altogether. Some cities and towns have hotlines that you can call to report pothole locations, which is a great start to repairing some of some of the worst potholes out there.

Drive safely and steer clear of those pesky craters in the roads.

Vehicle Shopping Tips

February 12, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Posted in Auto, Personal Insurance | Leave a comment
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The Presidents Day Holiday is one of the biggest car selling weekends of the year. If you are planning on shopping for a new or used vehicle this weekend, here are some car buying tips:

  1. Do your research.  Stop by the dealership when they are closed so you can look closely at window stickers without being pressured to buy.  Make a note of all the information to bring home and do some serious research on the internet.
  2. Find out the dealer invoice price of a vehicle and negotiate up from there.  Make sure you research the invoice price that includes all the options you want. You can find invoice prices for vehicles online. Consumer Reports is one place to start: http://consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/the-consumer-reports-bottom-line-price/index.htm
  3. Go into the dealership armed with multiple online quotes as well as invoice pricing print outs.  This will help you negotiate a better price.
  4. Put on a good poker face! Be analytical, keeping your emotions in check. Expressing emotional attachment to a vehicle gives the salesman an edge in the negotiations.
  5. Know exactly what you want before you go into a dealership to fend off any overwhelming pressure.
  6. The new vehicle, the financing, and the trade in are addressed in three separate transactions. Settle on a price before discussing financing or trades.
  7. Be on the alert to recognize extra fees. Sales tax, title, registration, and destination charges are common.  Dealers also charge a documentation fee which can range anywhere from $50 to $300.
  8. Don’t pay for extras that you may not need.  A dealer may try to sell a lot of extras from window etching to fabric protection that you may be able to get elsewhere for much less.
  9. Be ready to walk away. If you have done your research and you know what you are willing to pay for a vehicle, be firm and if the salesman won’t negotiate with you say goodbye.

Most dealerships are now trying to persuade you to buy insurance coverage through them. Don’t let them sell you coverage, like GAP insurance, that is better handled by your insurance agent and for a lot less than the dealer could sell it to you.  Call your insurance agent to discuss your coverage and get advice on what coverage you should add for a change in vehicle.

Turn luck and chance into a satisfying success when shopping for your newer vehicle and call us with your questions.

At Protector Group, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, we are here to help you!

Review Your Personal Liability Limits

December 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Posted in Auto, Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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If you plan on hosting or attending holiday parties, now is a good time to review the liability limits on your personal policies. In addition to providing you a specified limit of liability, the coverage also covers the cost of your legal defense, which in most cases is as much if not more than the settlement itself.

Depending on your situation, here are some liability coverage options you should consider:

  • If you rent, you need a renters policy. Liability is one of the coverages automatically included in this policy. You pick the limit and depending on the limits you choose, the cost is usually less than $20 a month for the policy. Your landlord’s home policy will NOT cover you or your belongings.
  • If you own your home or condo, check the limit of liability on your homeowner policy. If you are carrying the average of $300,000, the cost to increase it to $500,000 is usually less than $50 a year.
  • A Personal Umbrella policy sits over your basic property and auto policies. It starts at $1,000,000, extends your liability above and beyond the basic limits, and covers you and your family members worldwide.
  • Check the limits of liability on your auto policy as well. Bodily injury caused by an uninsured or underinsured auto will cover you and the occupants of your vehicle should you be hit by someone else. Bodily injury to others covers others you may injure if you are at fault. Both coverages are equally important throughout the year and especially now during this slippery winter season.

If you have any questions on your coverage or the options available to you call us at 1-888-850-9500.

We want to insure you have a safe and happy Holiday Season!

Calculating Personal Auto Premiums

September 18, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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It has been 5 years since a competitive auto rating structure was introduced in Massachusetts. A lot has changed for the better – companies are offering coverages that were not previously available here such as accident forgiveness, disappearing deductibles, and good student discounts.

Along with the new coverages comes new ways of calculating the premium for a personal auto policy. It used to be so simple because the rate was calculated using just driving experience, driving record, type of vehicle, and the town you live in. Now there are over 200 rate variables or risk factors that were never used before such as:

  • Driver to vehicle ratios.
  • The average number of miles put on a vehicle each year.
  • Whether or not the named insured has a property policy.
  • Late or non-payment billing history.
  • Operator status.
  • Multi-vehicles versus single vehicle.

With so many new rating factors being used, it is difficult to predict what will happen to a premium when a change is made to the policy. For example, deleting one vehicle from a policy could result in the remaining single vehicle premium going up, or deleting an operator could result in a premium increase.

Some auto rating factors that are still prohibited in Massachusetts are credit scoring, marital status, level of education, home ownership, and age.

Another thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies’ rates change every year as approved by the Insurance Commissioner. However, even though a company can file a rate change at any time during the year, your policy will not be affected until its renewal.

It has been a challenge bringing Massachusetts up to speed with the rest of the country when it comes to competitive auto rating, and more changes are in store for the future. The good news? Protector Group can help make sure you have the right coverage at a price you can afford.

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