Monthly Archives: January 2017

If You feel Rear Ended In Your Car

All car collisions should be treated seriously by both parties regardless of how “minor” you perceive them.

Being rear-ended by another driver may not result in significant damage to your automobile or bodily injury, but you still need to say calm and alert so the situation doesn’t get out of hand.

Here are five suggestions to help you do just that:

1. Check both parties for injuries. If someone has been injured, call for medical help immediately.

2. Contact the police. No matter how much damage resulted from the accident, the police are necessary to validate an insurance claim.  Police can also be helpful in keeping the communication peaceful and under contro

3. Involve your insurance company. Both insurance companies should be notified. Even if the other person wants to “handle it between the two of you” it’s smart to err on the side of caution.

If an insurance carrier is not contacted, you are left at the mercy of the other driver. They now can run out on covering the cost of the damages that they caused. Getting both parties insurance involved as quickly as possible helps to get you the best coverage possible, resulting in quick repairs and costs being covered without issue.

4. Make note of insurance and contact information. The best way to get this information from the other party is by keeping a calm and friendly demeanor, regardless of how frustrated you may be with the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Important pieces of information to gather are names of both the driver and the owner of the vehicle, phone numbers and addresses, copies of driver’s licenses information and license plate numbers.

Know About Gap Coverage

The difference between what your vehicle is worth and the amount you owe on the vehicle is covered by gap coverage. When people finance their vehicles, some lenders require that the borrower purchases gap coverage, but some do not. Gap coverage will kick in if your vehicle is totaled or stolen when you are still paying on your auto loan.


Gap Coverage For Buyers

If you purchased a vehicle, gap coverage makes sense if you expect to owe more than the vehicle is worth. If you put a small down payment on the vehicle, if the vehicle is depreciating quickly, or if your interest rate is very high, gap coverage is a good option for you. People that put down a lot of money on their vehicles do not usually need gap insurance.


Gap Coverage For A Lease

If you are leasing your vehicle and it gets totaled or stolen, you will be responsible for the costs. Lease payments are usually low, so the difference between what you paid on the lease and your vehicle’s value can be significant. As a result, gap coverage is usually required on lease contracts.


What Gap Coverage Costs

Gap coverage is available for a sensible price. It usually costs $100 or about 4 percent of the vehicle’s sticker price. If you want to purchase gap coverage, contact your insurance provider. Find out if they offer it and what they charge for the extra coverage. If you are not sure if you should purchase gap coverage, contact your insurance provider or an insurance agent that offers this kind of coverage. Furthermore, keep in mind that many dealer’s offer gap coverage when people purchase vehicles. You can discuss gap coverage with your dealer, but it will probably cost you more money than if you purchased it through an insurance company. If your insurance provider does not offer gap insurance, you may want to consider searching for a new provider or an older car.

The Future Car is Already Here

If you live in Silicon Valley or Washington D.C. for that matter you may have seen a car driving itself down the road. While an autonomous car may seem futuristic they are the wave of the future, and much closer to reality than most people imagine. While Google is the industry leader at this point they are not the only company interested in computer driven cars.

When these cars become a reality, in addition to freeing up your driving time they could have a big effect on your insurance premiums.

Driverless Cars are coming

Autonomous cars are coming; almost all automakers are currently working on driverless or semi-driverless cars. Google is out in front having logged over 200,000 miles on their fleet of Toyota Priuses. They have driven them in the city, on the highway and even on tricky mountain roads, without a single accident that could be blamed on the computer. Audi’s autonomous car navigated itself up Pikes Peak.

While the transition to autonomous vehicles will be slow, the very technology that drives these vehicles may already be in your car. Mercedes and Audi recently unveiled Traffic Jam Assist, which adds automatic steering to their adaptive cruise control. This lets the car drive itself at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. Cadillac is developing Super Cruise, a technology that allows the car to deal with the gas, braking, and steering.  Experts predict that we could see fully autonomous vehicles on the road within 10 years.

What are the Benefits?

Safety is the number one benefit of these cars. In 2009 there were 10.8 million accidents which killed 35,900 people, 93 percent of these accidents were caused by human error. Computers never drive drunk, they don’t text and they can react faster than any human driver. Computers don’t get tired and they have a 360-degree view of traffic.

While safety is a key benefit, there are others. Convenience and traffic jams are just a couple worth mentioning. Autonomous cars can drive at the exact same speed mere inches apart which would make a huge difference in commute times. Convenience is another big factor. Imagine the time you could save if your car dropped you off and then parked itself. When the car drives itself you can read, text or simply enjoy the scenery.

Affects on Insurance

So what would happen if everyone were driving an autonomous car? Experts predict that fatalities could fall from around 40,000 per year to 400. This kind of significant drop would have a game changing effect on car insurance. Celent recently released a report entitled, A Scenario: The End of Auto Insurance which looks at what might happen to car insurance rates in a world of driverless cars.

Donald Light, the author of the report suggests that by 2022 auto liability premiums could drop up to 80 percent from 2012 levels. A gradual decline of rates would accelerate as collision avoidance systems combined with automated traffic enforcement take effect around 2018, price drops would continue until liability and collision premiums were a fraction of what they currently are.

In addition to insurance issues there are legal issues. In most states driverless cars are illegal or fall into a gray area. Nevada recently become the first state to specifically legalize and license autonomous vehicles. Other states are following suit.

Once they are on the road other legal issues crop up. Who is responsible when a computer glitch causes a collision? Most legal experts see liability shifting from the car owner back to the vehicle manufacturer, but this is uncharted legal water. As autonomous vehicles become more common both insurance and legal issues will have to be ironed out.