Insurance News


Changes That Can Affect Your Auto Insurance Premium

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Ever wonder how or why certain changes to your auto insurance policy affect your premium? Everyone knows that getting into an accident or a new ticket can up your premium, but even small changes can increase or decrease your rate, and we’re here to let you know what those changes are, and what things you can do to keep your premium as low as possible.

  • Moving – Depending on where you move to, your new address can either increase or decrease your premium.  Certain areas can jack up the cost of your policy depending on a few different factors; if the town that you move to has a high level of accidents that occur, that will increase your premium.  If there is a high crime rate (vandalism and robbery especially) in the town or if it is highly populated with licensed drivers, that can increase your premium.  All of these factors put drivers at a higher risk for accidents and therefore claims against the insurance company, which is why they will up the cost in areas where those incidents are more common.  However, if you move to a small town with a low population and crime rate, your premium will likely go down.
  • Payment Plan – The type of payment plan you’re on can have a bigger affect on your premium than you would think.  Going green and signing up for electronic payments not only gets you a discount, but there is typically either no service fee or if there is it is $1.00.  For those that are on bill by mail payment plans, they receive no discount and are charged an additional service fee every time a payment is made, this fee typically ranges from $5.00-$7.00 but varies by carrier.
  • Payment History – Think you can get away with late payments over and over?  Think again!  Paying your insurance on time can only help your cause, but if you continuously make late payments or are pending cancellation, be prepared for an increase in your premium when your renewal comes around.  Your payment history is a rating factor when your policy comes up for renewal, so be sure to make any and all payments right on time to ensure the lowest possible price.  If possible, try to pay in full because you will also get an additional discount for that.
  • Deductible – Your deductible can either increase or decrease your premium depending on how much you want to pay out of pocket in the case of an accident.  If you’re willing to increase your deductibles, you can typically expect to see your monthly payments drop.  The more you are willing to pay in the event of an accident, the less the insurance company will have to pay.  Obviously this is a lot more appealing to carriers so they will usually reduce your monthly bills.  If you reduce your deductible, the insurance company will have to pay more out of their pocket should you get into an accident, so your monthly bill will be more expensive.  It all depends on how much money you would be able to spend if your car was damaged, if you can pay a high amount up front, it will cost you less in the long run premium wise.  If you can’t afford to pay a large deductible up front in the case of an incident, you may be better off with the lower deductible but higher monthly payment.  If you are an experienced driver with a good record, going for the higher deductible might be a better option.  If you never get into an accident, the deductible will never come into play but you’ll still benefit from the reduced monthly premium.  The only thing that could prevent your premium from going down even if you increase your deductibles is if you have a multiple points on your record and are considered to be high risk by insurance carriers.
  • Adding Drivers – This goes without saying, the more drivers on your policy, the more expensive it will be.  What you need to keep in mind though is that adding YOUNG drivers is especially expensive.  Parents, be prepared for your policy to increase by hundreds of dollars once you add on your new driver(s)!
  • Adding/Replacing a Vehicle – If you’re adding a vehicle onto your policy, it is definitely going to increase the premium.  However, replacing a vehicle can go either way, depending on the cars themselves.  Older cars are less expensive to insure, so if you’re replacing your 2010 Honda Accord with the 2002 model, your premium will likely decrease.

These are only a few of the potential changes that can be made to auto policies.  While we can’t gurantee the above statements, they are the likely results of such changes unless there are extenuating circumstances.  Be sure to alert your insurance agency or carrier about any changes being made, even if they won’t affect your premium.  Contact information is one of the most important changes of all, so if you get a new phone number or email address be sure to update it with your agency or carrier as soon as possible!  Keeping your insurance company informed and up to date will only benefit you in the long run!

Photo By: Riebart

Be A Force Of Nature!

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Did you know that we’re in the middle of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week?  Perfect timing considering this storm that’s currently hitting the east coast!  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered up to designate the week of March 3-9th as National Weather Preparedness week and are urging Americans to Be A Force Of Nature.

There are three steps to being a force of nature; first you need to know your risk.  Here in Massachusetts, our biggest risks are from snow and flooding.  Storms can have a major impact on families across the state; from losing power, to damage caused by the wind and flooding, there are many risks that come along with these storms we have here in Massachusetts!  Make sure you are checking the weather reports regularly as well, we all know how unpredictable the weather in New England can be.  Click here to find out how you can protect your family and be better prepared for emergencies!

The next step to being a force of nature is pledging to take action!  Sign the Pledge To Prepare and take the first step to making sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather in your area.  This pledge includes filling out your family communications plan, putting together an emergency kit, and keeping important valuables and papers in a safe place.  Another tip to keep in mind; make sure you have multiple ways to get weather alerts!  You should make sure that your phone is able to receive wireless emergency alerts and sign up for alerts from different emergency management officials.  You might also consider obtaining a battery-powered radio that you can listen to for updates if the power goes out.  You can sign up for email and SMS alerts from the National Weather Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration here.

Finally, be an example!  Once you know your risk, and have taken the pledge to Be a Force of Nature, be an example!  This is the final step of being a force of nature and is arguably the most important.  Share your knowledge on any and all social media sites and let your friends know what you’re doing to prepare for upcoming storms!  Social media and today’s technology make it easier than ever to share our experiences and knowledge with friends and family, so spread the word!

Know your risk, take action, and be an example for friends and family!   Another way to prepare for a storm?  Give us a call at MassDrive and get a quote for homeowner’s and auto insurance! Extreme wind and flooding can cause major problems for you, your home, and your car so make sure you have the appropriate coverages in the event of any damage!  Achieving a Weather-Ready Nation is a major goal, but it’s possible with help from all of you!

Photo By: Cara StHilaire

 

 

Give The Gift Of Peace Of Mind This Valentine’s Day

We know that Valentine’s Day is a very popular day to give jewelry or even get engaged, but have you love birds thought about insuring your purchase?  It’s definitely an option to consider, especially if you plan on gifting a piece of jewelry that has a lot of monetary or sentimental value. The best part about it is that it’s very easy to insure your jewelry!

The easiest way to insure your engagement ring or any other valuable jewelry you may have is to add it on as an extension of your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy.  Your renters’ or homeowners’ policy does cover the items in your home, but only up to a certain amount. Specialty items that are more valuable such as art, electronics, and jewelry should be covered seperately as they will likely exceed your personal property coverage.

Wouldn’t you want to have the peace of mind knowing that your most sentimental and valuable jewelry is covered if lost or stolen?  Your items would be covered for the full amount of their value.  You would simply need to provide your insurance carrier with an appraisal that was done within the last three years.  You can get an appraisal from a certified gemologist, however it does cost a small fee.

So, I bet you’re wondering how much it would cost to insure jewelry?  That all depends on the value of the item itself.  The amount varies by carrier but on average scheduled jewelry items valued at less than or equal to $25,000 will be at the rate of $1.50 per $100.  Scheduled jewelry items that cost over $25,000 will be at the rate of $1.80 per $100. For example, a ring that cost $10,000 would add an additional $150 per year on to the renters’ or homeowners’ policy.  As we said, this amount is not exact and can vary by carrier.

So give us a call at MassDrive and get a quote for a homeowner’s  or renter’s policy.  Be sure to mention any fine jewelry that you may have and want to add on for coverage!  It’s the perfect way to your valentine’s heart and really is the extra step that shows how much you care!

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Are You Saving On Your Insurance In The New Year? Find Out What Discounts You May Be Eligible For!

It’s a new year and we’re busy writing new policies over here at MassDrive, but we want to make sure that you know what discounts you could be getting so you can save as much as possible!  There are many discounts available however the percentage that you can save does vary by carrier and is different for everyone, however there is an average range that most companies use and we’ve come up with the following breakdown of discounts:

  • Companion Policy Discount:  This is typically the largest discount you can get on your auto and homeowner’s policies and you get it simply by having your auto and homeowner’s insurance with the same carrier.  You can also receive this discount with renter’s or condo policies as well!  This discount can save you up to 10% on your auto policy and up to 20% on your homeowner’s, renter’s or condo policy!  Some (not all) companies even offer you a discount if you have your auto policy with them and a homeowner’s policy elsewhere, however this discount can only be applied to homeowner’s policies (not renter’s or condo) and is much smaller, typically only up to 4%.
  • Good Student Discount – This discount applies to both high school and college students and can usually save you about 10% on your auto policy but can even get as high as 15%!  However, there are some stipulations; the student must be full time and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  The other catch is that they have to have less than 6 years of driving experience to be eligible.  If you’re a student with your own policy or are a parent with a student on your policy, definitely ask your agent about the good student discount!  If you meet the requirements, it’s an easy way to save big bucks on your policy!
  • Low Mileage Discount – The less you drive the more you save!  The discount you can get varies and is broken down into tiers based on your annual mileage.  You can typically get the biggest discount (up to 12%) if you drive less than 7,500 miles.  After that the next tier is 7,501-10,000 miles, then 10,001-12,500 miles, but if you drive over 12,501 miles you won’t receive a discount from most companies.  The discount gets lower as you move past each tier but is a great way to save!
  • Pay In Full Discount – This one is pretty self explanatory, if you pay your auto premium in full you can save up to 5%!
  • AAA Discount – If you’re a AAA member you are eligible for up to a 5% discount with most insurance companies!  AAA is a great service to have, you never know when the unexpected may occur and you may need a tow, which can be pretty expensive if you have to pay for it out of pocket.  Getting the discount is simple, you just scan a copy of your membership card and send it over to your agent and the discount can be applied.
  • Advanced Issue Discount – This discount is a great incentive to start shopping early for insurance!  If your policy is issued at least 7 days before the coverage become effective, you can save up to 5% on your policy!
  • eDocument Discount – Receiving your policy documents electronically can get you up to 5% discount on your policy!  Go green while saving yourself some green!
  • EFT Discount – This typically goes hand in hand with the eDocument discount, but you don’t necessarily have to have both.  EFT (electronic funds transfer) allows the carrier to take your monthly payment directly from your bank account, and it can save you about $60 per year!  If you choose to remain on a standard payment plan where the bills are mailed to you, most companies charge a $5-$6 installment fee each payment (most policies typically have 10 payment installments), so the savings can really add up if you’re on the EFT payment plan which may charge a minimal to no installment fee.
  • Multi-Car Discount – If you have more than one car, you can save up to 8% by having all of your vehicles on one policy.
  • Good Driver Discount – This is offered to drivers that have a good driving record and varies from case to case.  It is based on your SDIP rating, or how many points you have on your record and can be one of the biggest discounts available to drivers depending on your record.

Next time you’re shopping for insurance, give us a call at MassDrive!  All of our agents are extremely informed and will make sure you are getting as many discounts as possible!

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We’re Hiring! Looking For A New Sales Rep To Join Our Team!

As our business keeps growing, we’ve found the need to expand our dynamic sales team in our Boston office and are now hiring!  We’re currently in the market for a hardworking sales representative to join our staff.   If you enjoy helping others, have strong organizational and communication skills, and are willing to obtain your P&C license, keep reading and see if the position sounds like a good fit for you!

Position: Sales Representative, MassDrive Insurance Group, LLC

Location: Boston, MA (South Station Area)

About MassDrive:

MassDrive Direct Insurance Group specializes in providing auto, home and life insurance to Massachusetts and New Jersey consumers. At MassDrive, the agent’s main focus is finding the consumer the best value we can offer and not just trying to provide the cheapest policy available. Our model is designed to provide the consumer with the convenience of shopping from anywhere in the state, but also offering comfort and more accessibility than your local agent.

We are seeking candidates that have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree (or working towards one)
  • Experience in sales or client service environment
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Bilingual Spanish/English (a plus)
  • Integrity and a desire to work hard with good people to do what is best for customers and our company
  • An active P&C license (desired, but not required)

Responsibilities will include:

  • Fully understanding coverage needs of customers to match them with best carrier
  • Responding to inbound calls and making outbound calls to generate new business from quote requests/marketing efforts
  • Generating customer base from inbound and outbound leads as well as partnerships
  • NO COLD CALLING

You must be willing and able to pass licensing exam. Also you will be required to work a minimum of one Saturday each month (weekly hours are flexible).  Compensation will include a Base Salary and attractive commission plan.

This is a unique opportunity with a dynamic and innovative company. If you believe you are sales-minded and self-motivated, please contact us today!

Please send your resume to sfucci@nextgenins.com

Is Your Child Going Back To School? Find Out What You Need To Adjust On Your Insurance!

Back to school season has begun and college students are packing their bags and heading back to school where many will be without a car.  If your child is on your insurance policy and even if they have their own policy there are certain steps that need to be taken to ensure that you are not overpaying on your policy.  These simple changes can save money on your policy and there are even certain discounts that can be applied for students!

If your child is going away to school and will not have access to a car at all, the best thing to do is call up your insurance company and have their operator status changed to “excluded”.  Basically this means that your child is still listed on your policy, but is not insured to drive unless you change their operator status back to “included”.   Doing this will also save you big bucks, since younger drivers are inexperienced, they typically bring a premium way up, but once you list your student as excluded, your premium will likely go down significantly.  However, if they do drive your car while they are listed as an excluded driver and get into an accident, it will not be covered by your insurance.

If your child is going away to school and you choose to keep them on your policy, they are still able to drive and will be covered should they get into an accident, but if they go to school more than 100 miles away most insurance carriers offer an away at school discount.

If your child has their own insurance policy but they won’t be using a car while away at school, it’s best that they keep it active because cancelling a policy can have negative ramifications later.  If you do cancel a policy and then attempt to sign up for another one a few months or years down the road, most insurance companies will require you to pay the premium in full.  There are some that won’t, however someone that does not have prior insurance will have a higher premium than someone who has maintained insurance.  The best thing to do in a situation like this is to have your child maintain their policy, but lower the coverage to as low as possible.  If they won’t be using the car, there is no risk of an accident but lowering the coverage will make the payments less expensive.

If your child has their own policy and is driving their car to an out of state school and keeping it there, within 30 days they must get an insurance policy in that state or they will be committing insurance fraud.  This means that if they did get into an accident in a state where they are residing but do not have a policy they can potentially be sued for damages.  They need to change their license plates but may not be required to change their driver’s license state, however that varies by insurance companies.

Now you know what to adjust on your policy once your child leaves for school, and you also know what they have to do if they have their own policy.  However, whether your child has their own policy or not, definitely ask about a good student discount!  Most carriers offer a discount if a full time student is on your policy with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and same goes if they have their own policy.  So, call up your insurance company and find out exactly what your best option would be!  As always, if you are looking for insurance in Massachusetts or New Jersey, give us a call at MassDrive!  Our agents would be happy to help you out and we are open until 9PM on weeknights!

Photo By: Siena College

Think Your Car Insurance Is Expensive? Think Again!

Many Massachusetts residents may feel as though their car insurance is costing them an arm and a leg, but would you believe that Massachusetts is the least expensive state for car insurance?  According to a CBS News article by Kathy Kristof, Massachusetts tops the list for states with the least expensive car insurance, while Michigan drivers have the most expensive.

Why is this you may ask?  In Michigan Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage is required to be unlimited.  In, Massachusetts it is a standard amount set at $8,000 for each policy.  What exactly is Personal Injury Protection?  Basically if you’re in an accident it covers the medical expenses for yourself and anyone else that may be injured (up to $8,000) in Massachusetts.  If there are still additional expenses, your Bodily Injury insurance coverage would cover the rest.  In Massachusetts the minimum coverage for bodily injury is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.  Anything that your bodily injury coverage does not pay for will be billed to you personally.

Should you get into an accident that causes major damages and injuries, you would be better off to be a Michigan driver since you would be covered for an unlimited amount of medical bills.  However, that coverage is much more expensive and being a Massachusetts resident will definitely save a lot of money in the long run, especially since accidents that detrimental are rare.  In Michigan, residents put about 8% of their yearly income towards auto insurance, while in Massachusetts we put only 1.4% of our annual income towards our auto insurance!  Clearly we have a much better deal, especially if you’re an experienced driver without accidents, you likely wouldn’t need unlimited PIP coverage.

To ensure that you have the right coverage for your situation and to protect yourself should you get into an expensive accident, talk to your insurance agent about your bodily injury coverage.  As we said the minimum in Massachusetts is 20,000/40,000, but at MassDrive we personally will only go as low as 50,000/100,000 to ensure greater coverage should one of our insured get into an accident.  Since Massachusetts PIP coverage is so low, it may be better to increase your bodily injury coverage to make sure you are protected.

Even though we do have the lowest insurance in the country, obviously we are always looking for ways to save our customers even more money!  How else can you save on auto insurance?  First, look into raising your deductible.  Upping the amount you would pay immediately after an accident can save you hundreds of dollars on your premium each year.  Another thing that can save money?  Ask about discounts!  Many companies have similar discounts on insurance available such as low mileage or good student, but some also offer specialized ones that you may qualify for! Of course another great way to save money is by bundling policies together, almost all companies will give you a discount if you have both your auto and homeowner’s insurance with them!

The best tip we can offer to save money on insurance is to shop around!   There are many different insurance providers out there and all of them assess risk differently which is why one company may give you a quote that is drastically lower or higher than your other quotes.  Here at MassDrive we work with major carriers in MA such as Commerce, Travelers, and Plymouth Rock, as well as additional smaller companies.  Give us a call  at (866) 963-8231 or go online for a quote, our agents will always work to find you the best quote and coverage possible!

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Renting Your Home Or Apartment? Find Out Why Renter’s Insurance Is So Important!

Renting a home or apartment can be extremely overwhelming and confusing for anyone.  A lot of tenants worry about what would happen should there ever be a loss in their building or home.  Many believe that their landlord’s policy would cover them, and in a sense it would, but only in terms of the dwelling.  Your landlord’s policy will cover the entire home, but it won’t cover any of your personal property inside the unit.  Getting renter’s insurance can provide tenants will some serious peace of mind.  Not only will their personal property be protected (as long as the loss is covered), but they will also be protected if they are responsible for bodily injury or property damage to others.  Who wouldn’t want that weight off of their shoulders?  Especially since renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive (roughly a couple of hundred per month), and even less if you split the cost with a roommate.

So what exactly would be covered under renter’s insurance?  It varies from company to company but all renter’s insurance policies provide “named peril” coverage which means that your policy will specifically tell you what you are covered for.  If your personal property is stolen, damaged, or destroyed by certain types of “peril” including fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism, theft, electrical surge damage, water-related damage from home utilities, and even more, a renter’s insurance policy would likely cover you and repair or replace said property.  Many people believe that flood insurance is also included in renter’s insurance, however it is not.  You can add flood coverage to your policy for a reasonable price through most insurance companies.  Be sure to read through your insurance contract for explanations and exclusions regarding specific types of coverage.

Another suggestion would be to make sure you are covered for replacement cost content.  Replacement cost content does cost a bit more, but is definitely worth it in the long run.  This coverage ensures that if your property is damaged, you will be reimbursed for the actual cost that you originally paid for the item, whereas if you do not pay the extra for replacement cost content and your property is damaged, you will only be paid for what your property was worth at the time it was damaged or stolen.  For example if your computer originally cost $1000 but has depreciated in value over the past few years, you will not be reimbursed the $1000 that you originally paid for it unless you have replacement cost coverage.

In the long run, renter’s insurance is extremely affordable and will ensure that thousands of dollars worth of property are insured and will cover medical costs (up to a certain amount) should a guest get injured in your home.  How much would it cost to replace your computer, TV, any other electronics, clothes, furniture, cooking supplies, books, etc should your apartment burn down?  At least a few thousand dollars and who can afford that?  Not only will renter’s insurance repair/replace your property, many times it will also cover the cost of meals and a hotel should you be displaced from your home.

There are many potential threats to personal property, but renter’s insurance is the best defense and will ensure that you don’t have to replace your posessions from scratch should a disaster occur.  To get the best deal, bundle your renter’s and auto insurance together!  Most companies offer a multi-policy discount and that way you will get the most bang for your buck.  If you’re renting your own home or apartment and are looking for insurance in Massachusetts, contact MassDrive today for a quote!

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Looking For Homeowner’s Insurance? Find Out If Your Dog Will Affect The Price!

When it comes time to fill out an application for homeowner’s insurance, all agencies will want to know if you have a dog on the premises, and if so what breed.  Why is this so important?  Certain dog breeds have been deemed “risky” and are a liability that the insurance company most likely won’t cover.  Even if your four legged friend is a gently giant who would never harm a soul, it doesn’t matter whether they have a history of biting or not.  The bottom line to most companies is that some breeds are a risk that they don’t want to take.

According to Comcast Xfinity’s Lifestyle Blog by Catey Hill, There are 11 breeds that most insurance companies try to avoid covering:

  • Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Chows
  • Great Danes
  • Presa Canarios
  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Wolf-hybrids

Any hybrid mix of these breeds would likely be rejected as well, but the first four breeds are denied by insurance companies most often.  So why do companies deny coverage if you own one of these breeds?  Basically they don’t want to be responsible for a lawsuit should your dog bite or attack someone on your property.

If you do own one of these breeds and find yourself searching for homeowner’s insurance, getting a policy that will cover your dog will be much harder to find, not to mention more expensive.  Since the companies that do cover these breeds are rare and consider themselves to be taking a high risk by insuring your dog, they are able to charge a higher premium.

If you do own one of the breeds listed above, the most important thing you can do when applying for homeowner’s insurance is to be honest on your application.    Omitting this information may come back to haunt you and cause more problems should your dog bite or attack someone.  If you submit a claim after a dog attack, your insurance company may deny your claim which could potentially cost you thousands and thousands of dollars depending on the damage done.  Your coverage may also be dropped and in the future insurance companies may be less likely to write a policy for you.

Although it is unfortunate that certain breeds are discriminated against, it’s a policy adopted by almost every insurance company that is put in place for their own protection.  Be open and honest with your insurance company, it will be better for your and your four legged friend in the long run!

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Flood Insurance: Get The Facts and Learn Why You Need It

Flood insurance may seem like an unnecessary addition that you don’t really need, but the truth is that any owner of insurable property should have flood insurance as well.  It is a common misconception that damage resulting from a flood is covered by a homeowner’s policy, unfortunately this is not the case and many homeowners find themselves with thousands of dollars worth of damage each year.

The ability to purchase flood insurance is relatively new, it was first made available in 1968 and since then has saved homeowners with water damage thousands and thousdands of dollars.   Because it is so expensive to repair damage from a flood, the policies are a bit more pricey than homeowner’s insurance but are well worth it if you do experience flooding.  For homeowner’s who reside in “Zone A” territory, which is a home within 1 mile of tidal water, flood insurance is highly recommended if not mandatory.  Those that do not reside near a body of water may think that flood insurance is not worth purchasing, but technically every single home is considered to be in a “flood zone”, although the risk level varies.

So what can cause a flood?  A variety of things which is what makes the risk so dangerous.  Of course heavy rainfall, quick melting snow, and hurricanes are all factors that can lead to flooding, but a clogged drainage system, mudflow, or a failed levee can cause just as much damage.  Even if you don’t live close to a body of water, everyone is at risk for heavy rainfall or a hurricane, as we saw here in Massachusetts with Hurrican Irene last year.  Even 1 inch of water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to floors, electrical outlets, doors, base trim, furniture, appliances, a furnace, personal items, and much more.  You can get a better idea of how much damage a flood can cause here.

The price of flood insurance varies based on your “risk level”.  Those who live closer to the water are at a higher risk for flooding which will make their premium more expensive.  Flood insurance also must be paid in full which may make it unappealing to some customers, but a policy will seem much more appealing  than paying for damages if a flood does occur.  Should you suffer flood damage, take as many picture of the damage as possible that you can send to your insurance carrier.

Make sure you are protected from flooding, the next time you get a quote for homeowner’s insurance make sure the company offers flood insurance as well, since not all companies have that feature.  If you haven’t considered getting flood insurance before, think it over and call us at MassDrive for a quote!

All information is from FloodSmart.

Photo By: U.S. Geological Survey

 

 

 

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