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Auto Insurance – which one?

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Auto Insurance – which one?

Auto insurance is often a sticky subject. Everyone feels like they’re paying too much to insure their car, and wants to know how to get their premiums down. It’s an industry that really lacks an effective way to make price comparisons, leading many people to switch every few years the way they do with credit cards or phone providers.

When you underst and the factors that go into deciding the price you pay for auto insurance, however, you should find it much easier to read the market and use it to your advantage. This article should give you a basic grounding, but whole books have been written on the subject – it’s up to you how much you want to learn.

The most basic thing you need to underst and is that insurance companies don’t decide premiums based on how much they like you, or how much they think you can afford. Insurance is based on one thing, and one thing alone: risk. Every time the insurance company has to pay out for an accident, they keep a record of the amount, and every other factor they can find – the make, age and model of the car, the age and gender of the driver, where they live, how long they have had a license, and so on. There are hundreds of factors.

From this, the insurance companies can build up what is called a ‘risk profile’. This allows them to work out the risk that they will have to pay out to any given person, and how much they would be likely to have to pay, based entirely on past experience. This is why a newly-qualified male driver in his twenties driving a sporty car has to pay so much to get insured – the statistics show that this group is by far the most likely to have an accident.

Once you underst and this system, you can use it to your advantage. Obviously you can’t change who you are, but you can change your car. The make, model and age of your car are three quite important factors in your risk profile, and they’re all open to you to change. It is not difficult to use online insurance quotation tools to find out which cars are pricey in insurance terms, and which ones are cheaper, and use this to help you make buying decisions.

Cherry-Flavored SUV

Working as an insurance agent in Los Angeles, one gets to see some pretty crazy stuff. Like the time I got called out after a guy drove a car into his pool in Malibu; I had to assess both his vehicle and his property for damage. Then there was the night some girl went crazy and knocked the side mirrors off her boyfriend’s truck before breaking out his windshield with a baseball bat; that girl had one wicked swing.

My all-time favorite though was the morning I went out to assess an SUV that had supposedly been involved in some sort of flood. Of course I was immediately suspicious as Southern California isn’t exactly prone to that issue but off I went with my clipboard and camera in tow to follow-up on the claim. I pulled up next to this incredible three-story house, walked up the huge curving driveway and knocked on the door. After a minute, a blond in her mid-forties wearing way too much makeup pulls open the door and flashes me this perfect, bleached smile.

“You must be the insurance man,” she gushed.

“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “I’m here about your SUV.”

“It’s such a mess!” she exclaimed as she stepped outside. “It was just a terrible flood!”

She clicked the garage remote as she spoke and I waited as the door slowly rolled up to reveal a very innocent looking white SUV. From the outside, everything appeared to be perfectly normal. Then she opened the tailgate. Though it was obvious that the upholstery in the car had once been white, it was now tinted with a very vibrant cherry stain. She stepped out of the way, shaking her head at the damage and I moved in for a closer look. It took only an instant to see that the unusual reddish color had not only soaked through the back part of the car, but extended all the way up to the front as well; it had even dyed the creases of the leather seats. I went through the entire car but other than a faint cherry-scented odor and the new interior color, I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

“You said this happened in a flood?” I asked as I returned to the owner.

“Yes, it was awful!” she exclaimed.

I cleared my throat. “Exactly what kind of flood was it? We haven’t had any rain…” I began but then trailed off. There wasn’t any such thing as cherry-colored rain anyway.

“Oh it wasn’t that kind of a flood,” she explained, with a shake of her head.

“Well, what kind of a flood was it then?” I pressed when she didn’t go on.

“It was punch-mix.”

“Pardon me?” I asked after a moment of silent shock.

“Punch mix,” she repeated as if I was hard of hearing. “Cherry-flavored punch mix.”

“How did cherry punch mix flood your car?” I asked after another minute of surprise.

“It’s what was in the giant inflatable pool that popped. I was parked right next to it.”

I stared down at my clipboard, realizing that I was in for a very long story.

“Ask a stupid question…,” I muttered to myself.

Are there any common misconceptions about tornadoes?

Are there any common misconceptions about tornadoes?

Do not open a window to try to “equalize the pressure.” Doing so may actually pressurize the house and can cause the roof to be torn off. Also, underst and that tornadoes are not always visible from a distance; rely on a weather radio as an information resource. Although tornadoes are usually spawned by thunderstorms, they have been known to occur without lightning. They can cross a river or another body of water. Finally, tornadoes are not confined to “tornado alley.” Tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time.

What if I am in a car and I learn a tornado is approaching?

What if I am in a car and I learn a tornado is approaching?

Immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building. If that isn’t possible, you have two options. Stay in the car with the seat belt on, putting your head down below the windows and covering it with your h ands and a blanket if you have one, Or, if you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your h ands. Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

What should I do if I learn a tornado is approaching?

What should I do if I learn a tornado is approaching?

If you are in a house, go to the lowest level such as a basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to an interior room such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Try to cover your head with a blanket or jacket to guard against flying debris or broken glass. If you are in a mobile home, you should leave immediately and seek shelter elsewhere. If you are outside and cannot get to shelter, crouch beside a strong structure or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and try to cover your head and neck. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.

Size Really Does Matter!

Driving in California is like dodging snowflakes in winter, the smaller the car the better your chance of avoiding a gas station. Not everyone owns a Prius, either. There is also an abundance of Camrys, Accords and Civics darting in and out of traffic. It seems the smaller the car, the longer the distance between fuel stops. By the same token, larger trucks are an oddity on West Coast highways. Hummers and SUVs st and out like sore thumbs, probably because they can mostly be found bellied up to a gas pump.

Contrary to popular belief, there is not a Beamer in every drive way and Hollywood is not full of sports cars. Granted, there are areas that look like Germany had an overflow problem, but for the most part drivers in California want a quality car that is good on gas. Traffic in the Golden State can be insane sometimes, so purchasing a smaller car that is dependable as well as affordable is part of the territory.

In a state where economy is the key, a fuel efficient vehicle can mean the difference between living from pay check to pay check or saving for your children’s college fund. While smaller seems to be better in some cases, the choice is yours to find the right car to fit your individual needs.

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