TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2018
You’ve bumped into a pole; there’s a little damage but nothing too bad. Should you even call your insurance company?
That is a question faced by countless drivers every day and the answer is not always so straightforward. The short of it is yes, there are situations where it is ok, and even more beneficial, to not call your insurance company after damaging your car. What are some of those situations?
The Types of Accidents You Can Pay For Out of Pocket
Filing too many claims through your insurer can cause your rates to soar; costing you hundreds if not thousands over the coming years. If you find yourself in the following situations, think twice before calling them up.
An Inexpensive One Car Accident
Bumping into a pole, your kid’s baseball putting a dent in the side: these are situations that cause some damage, but nothing that’s too expensive to fix. Damage you inflict to your own car is always handled through your collision or comprehensive insurance. Both coverages come with deductibles that usually range from $50 all the way up to $2,000. If you estimate the damage inflicted to your car to be below your deductible, or even slightly above it, you should just handle the repairs out of pocket. If the damages are $300, but the deductible is $200, you would save $100 by filing a claim, but your company may decide to raise your rates, costing you more money in the long run.
The only thing we would advise in this situation is to make sure your estimate of the damage is accurate. Insurance companies expect claims to be submitted in a timely manner. If you wait too long, your claim may not be accepted. If the damage turns out to cost more than your initial estimates, you may be stuck paying for it. If you have a local auto body shop, check with them to be sure the damage will be inexpensive to fix.
If you are injured in a one car accident, so long as you can afford the medical bills either out of pocket or through your health insurance, you do not need to report it. If you hit a pedestrian however, that always needs to be reported.
A Very Minor Two Car Accident
In an accident with no more than two drivers where neither is injured and the damage minimal, you can both agree to not call the insurance company. The benefits of not calling your insurance company are the same as in the situation above. Admittedly however, it is a bit trickier with an extra driver. We would advise you only do this if you trust the other driver.
The reason being, the other driver can at any time renege on their agreement to not involve the insurance companies. It may not be wholeheartedly , but say the damage to their car turns out to be more costly than originally thought, or their neck starts to hurt a few hours later. The intent could be malicious as well, where they try to take advantage of the agreement by blaming you for damage to their car you didn’t even cause.
It will be disadvantageous if it comes down to them having their insurance company behind them, and you by yourself. So, unless you know or really trust the other driver, we would not recommend you not call your insurance company even in the most minor of two car accidents. If the other driver is trustworthy however, then this situation would be ok.
The Types of Accidents Where You Should Always Report it
There are a few accidents where no matter what you need to report to your insurance company. What are they?
Accidents Where Someone Else is Injured
If another driver involved in your accident is injured, even if its minor, it needs to be reported. Medical expenses are costly no matter where you go in the U.S. If they need to get themselves checked out due to injury, most likely they will come after you to pay the bills.
How much you need to pay depends on how much at fault you were, and that depends on which state you live in. For example, If you live in a state like Missouri, the amount you pay is proportional to the amount you were at fault. For car insurance in New Jersey on the other hand, if you are found less than 50% at fault, you do not have to pay anything.
What does this all mean? It means you do not want to be defending yourself on your own. You spent a lot of time and money finding the best car insurance company, so you will want them behind you to insure the other driver’s company is not taking advantage of you.
Accidents Where the Damage is Costly
Whether it's a one or multi-car accident, if the damage is large, you must report it. Your car may even be relatively unscathed but if you caused a lot of damage, you need to report it as well. Odds are, in such a large accident, even if no one is injured, someone is going to seek recompense from you. You will want your insurance company on your side for the same reasons you want them if someone else was injured. Your insurer doesn't want to pay out such a large claim either, so they're going to use their resources to fight and reduce your exposure.
Content courtesy of Value Penquin.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2015
How to Drive in Winter Weather
Blowing snow. Low visibility. Icy conditions. Winter calls on drivers to use skills that just aren’t needed throughout the rest of the year. So, brush up on yours with these tactics and tips. Because, even if you're an expert winter driver, plenty of other people out there are not.
- Don’t just jump in the car and go. First things first, make sure you and your car are ready for the conditions ahead. You should be well-rested and focused. Your car (preferably front-wheel or four-wheel drive) should have a full tank of gas, working windshield wipers, the right tires and the necessary emergency supplies. Completely clean off and defrost the windshield and windows, turn on your lights for visibility and buckle up.
- Do start, stop and steer steadily. Flooring it, slamming on the brakes and jerking the steering wheel wildly can all lead to trouble. Instead, do everything gradually. Accelerate slowly so your wheels don’t spin out. Brake early and gently to maintain control of the vehicle. Finally, make slow, moderate adjustments to the steering wheel when you need to change lanes or make a turn.
- Don’t use the cruise control. Even if your car is skidding, your cruise control may attempt to maintain a constant speed, potentially accelerating the vehicle and spinning the wheels as you’re trying to regain control. Hitting the brakes to deactivate the cruise control could cause further harm.
- Do let off the accelerator if your car starts to skid. We know it’s easy to panic, but try to remain calm and, once you feel your tires regain traction, slowly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. Be prepared to counter-steer and stay off both the gas and the brake until you have control of the vehicle again.
- Don’t follow too closely. Increase the space you leave between you and other vehicles both when following another car and pulling over in front of one after passing it, especially snowplows or large trucks. You also need more lead time when pulling out in front of a car.
- Do consider the terrain. When driving in winter weather, certain areas signal the need for greater caution. These include bridges and overpasses, which can freeze over before other parts of the road, freeway on- and off-ramps that snowplows may have skipped and any area that doesn’t receive direct sunlight and may have black ice.
Above all, remember the most basic tenet of driving in any type of inclement weather: Give yourself ample time to respond. So, slow down. Or, just stay home, if you can. Because, even with careful driving and these tips, something could still happen. And, staying home sure beats being stuck in a snowy ditch!
Your Car Insurance Helps Protect You in All Types of Weather
Having the auto insurance coverage you want can help keep you on solid ground, even in slippery conditions. So, regularly review your policy with your independent insurance agent to ensure you’re happy with your deductible, your coverage levels and your options, such as roadside assistance. Feel free to contact us here at PMA Insurance Services at (703) 449-1327 so we can assist you and to get started building your auto policy.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2014
Independent insurance agents are able to connect you with the insurance offerings of many companies, thereby getting you the best deal and the best coverage possible. An independent agent will be able to take care of all of your insurance needs, from home insurance to automobile insurance.
1. Independent agents don’t need to sell you on products.
Independent agents can look at the offerings of Safeco, Kemper Preferred, Progressive and more to find you the best deals for you, rather than trying to sell you on a specific type of insurance.
2. Independent agents are more knowledgeable than others.
Independent agents know about the product offerings at MetLife, Travelers, Hartford, Dairyland and more. Thus, they can give you a larger selection.
3. Independent agents have everything you need.
Rather than have to go to Allied for one type of insurance and GMAC for another, you can simply get all of the insurance types you need through a single agent. You can then use this agent as your main point of contact from then on.
For more information about the value of an independent insurance agent, and to get a quote today, contact PMA Insurance Services, LLC in Chantilly, VA.
Posted 5:05 PM View Comments
Tags: allied, dairyland, gmac, hartford, independent agent, insurance, kemper preferred, metlife, progressive, quote, safeco, travelers, value,
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2013
The time you spend in fall to prepare your home for the winter season can save you money in heating bills and costly repairs. Seasonal household preparations involve so much more than the outdoor work that people typically associate with autumn.
There are equally important preparations to take care of inside the house. If you’re willing to take the extra time to inspect those hidden areas for potential problems, you’ll be able to relax in the comfort of a warm, properly insulated and well-sealed home.
Add these helpful suggestions to your to-do list of seasonal preparations.
♦ Have Your Home’s Heating System Inspected
An $80 to $100 investment (the cost of the inspection,) may save you considerably more on winter utility bills. Doing this before you need to heat will also ensure that you don’t have to wait for a repair person on a miserably cold day. When they inspect your system, they will make sure it runs properly, and that the filters are clean.
♦ Reverse the Fan Blade Direction Switch on Ceiling Fans
Doing this will produce an updraft. This forces warm air down, something that is especially helpful in homes that have high ceilings. It may even allow you to turn the thermostat down enough to result in lower heating costs throughout the winter months.
♦ Clean Out Your Gutters and Downspouts
You may want to hire a professional to clean out your gutters and make sure that the downspouts aren’t blocked. If autumn is typically very rainy, you don’t want your gutters so clogged with leaves and other debris that the gutters are incapable of catching the rain. If you get a lot of snow throughout the winter, the gutters will catch water from melting snow that accumulates on the roof, preventing it from pooling there.
♦ Have Your Roof Professionally Inspected
A roof inspection will make sure that the shingles are intact, that none have curled, and that there is no flashing corrosion. The roofer will also make sure that there are no leaks that could allow cold air or water to enter.
♦ Inspect Carbon Monoxide, Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
Replace batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Have your fire extinguisher professionally checked, if you purchased it recently. If you have an old one, look for the expiration date. It may be time to replace it.
Make sure you’ve updated your homeowners insurance, especially if your circumstances have changed. If you’re new to Northern Virginia area, contact PMA Insurance Services to get an instant quote today at (703) 449-1327!