Risk of buying auto insurance online. Price isn’t everything. Here’s an example.

online shoppingThinking of buying your auto insurance online? Please be careful. We recently had a prospect use one of those “name your price” type of insurance websites. She did get insurance. She did like the payments. She thought she was all set.

What she didn’t realize that she was insured for the state minimum requirements of:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury, per person.
  • $50,000 for bodily injury, if multiple people are injured in an accident

That sounds like a lot, right? But think a bit about it. If there is an accident, and either one person is pretty hurt or multiple people are hurt, what will that cost? Costs can include

  • the ambulance rides to the hospital
  • emergency room fees
  • all the x-ray and other tests
  • the cost of utilizing beds
  • the cost of the each of the physicians who review reports and meets with the patients
  • Costs of any medications
  • or any equipment supplied…

We could go on and on. One resource we found online stated the average cost of EACH injury from a car accident is over $61,000. If that’s true, the coverage of 25,000/50,000 won’t go very far. What happens if the expenses are more than the coverage you have? That could be an expense you could be responsible for out of pocket. Can you afford that?

So, what if you chose that policy because you were very concerned about price? Great question. We recommend you work with an independent agent who can look numerous carriers for you. They can find the carrier who offers the best price for your needs. They can tell you how inexpensive it may be to increase those coverages. They can make sure you are really getting every discount for which you are eligible.

What did our customer do? She switched to us. We found her discounts- including bundling her home and auto policies with one carrier. She was able to get much more substantial coverages for only a few extra dollars a month when we looked at all her insurance needs in totality.

It does pay to be a smart shopper. It can pay to work with an independent agent who can review all this for you, at no charge to you.

If you’d like someone to review your policies so you can see if you really have the right coverages at the right price? Have any additional questions? We are here for you- anytime. Don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to answer any of your insurance questions. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME

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It’s deer season. What happens if your car hits one? It isn’t handled the same as a traditional auto accident.

deer car accidents insuranceAbout 1.5 million deer, elk and moose are struck each year, causing more than $1 billion in insured losses and affecting about one in 169 drivers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. From October through December, drivers’ chances of hitting a deer increase, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In fact, the organization says more deer crashes occur in November because it’s the height of mating season. Additionally, be extra cautious if you’re driving at dusk or dawn, as the III says these are the highest-risk times for deer crashes. Of course, those are times when cars are normally on the road, too.

Hitting a deer can be costly: According to the III, the average cost of deer-crash insurance claims was $4,135 in 2015. To help protect your vehicle (and your wallet), talk to a local agent to make sure you have the proper car insurance coverage on your policy.

As many an unlucky motorist will attest, you don’t necessarily have to run into a deer to be involved in a deer-related crash. A lot of times, you may not hit the deer; the deer may hit you or leap onto your car. Startled drivers who have run-ins with deer are often equally surprised by how their auto insurance treats their claims.

Logic might suggest that such animal crashes would fall under the collision portion of your policy, which pays for damage to your vehicle if you hit (or are hit) by another vehicle or object. Instead, animal-related damage is typically treated as an “other than collision” claim under your comprehensive coverage, or “comp,” which covers so-called acts of God such as wind, hail and flood, as well as fire, vandalism and theft.

Comprehensive coverage is strongly recommended for all drivers, unless your car has very low value. Collision coverage (which generally is sold as a package with comprehensive) won’t pay for damage caused by hitting an animal. However, collision could apply if you swerve to miss an animal and hit something else instead, such as a fence.

 Improve your safety with these tips:

  • Be extra careful when driving in areas known to have many deer.
  • Deer often move in groups, so if you see one animal, slow down and look for others.
  • Use high beams at night unless there is oncoming traffic.
  • Do not swerve if you see a deer.  Doing so could send you off the road or into oncoming traffic.

If the worst happens

Sometimes an accident is inevitable no matter how careful you are. Deer can dash out from cover with no warning, giving you no chance to stop.

If you hit a deer:

  • Move your vehicle off the road and turn on your hazard lights. Call the police. If possible, take pictures of the scene and any injuries to passengers or damage to the vehicle, for insurance purposes.
  • If the animal runs away after the accident, get a picture of hair or blood on the car to show that a deer was involved. Use this evidence to have the accident processed under comprehensive coverage.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses, especially if the animal runs off. If witnesses are able to wait, ask them to report what they saw to the police.
  • Even if you think the damage is minimal, check to be sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for tire damage, broken lights, fluid leaks or loose parts. You may need to call a tow truck.
  • Do not approach the deer, even if you think it’s dead. A wounded animal could injure you.

How to know you are protected.

All of us are at some risk for hitting deer because they can be found just about anywhere.  The right insurance policy plus defensive driving skills can greatly reduce your chances of injury and uncompensated expense. To learn more about if you have the right insurance policy, check with your local agent or reach out to us- we’d be happy to help www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

How often should you shop for home and auto insurance? Maybe more or less than you think.

questionWe hear this all the time: “I’ve been with my current insurance company for years. I’m just too busy to shop it. But all insurance is the same.”  This makes me cringe. There are four very good reasons to review your insurance options at least every 3-5 years if not more frequently.

  1. Your life changes. As time passes, many things change- you get older, your home gets older, you may do updates to your home, your family gets older so you may now have new teen drivers, or drivers who have left the household. You may have claims during this time that impact your rates. You may purchase different cars, obtain toys like boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and more. All of these things can impact your needs and your rates.  That said, it may impact them more with one insurance company than another.
  2. Insurance rates change. Every couple of years insurance companies submit new rates to the states for approval. When they do this, they have considered certain factors about the types of clients that they have an appetite for. This can change over time. This means, you may be getting offered the best rates by some companies at one time and not the best rates from the same company at another time. This isn’t a reflection on you, just a reflection on what the company wants to focus their growth on. Same happens in reverse, they may decide that they’d like more customers just like you- so they will offer better rates the next go around to you and those who are like you.
  3. Insurance products change. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to be more competitive and grow their business. This means they are always adding new features and products to attract customers. Many of these can be pretty interesting and may be perfect for your needs. This means what were options for minimizing risks a few years ago may not have been as robust as they are now!
  4. Not all insurance companies are the same. Home and auto insurance from different companies can be very different. Yes, in general they cover many of the same things- your property, your liability etc. But that’s where the similarities can stop. Some will offer broader coverages- like replacement cost, others may not, some may include towing or more, others may not. It is a tough thing to navigate unless you have a lot of hours- or an agent who can help you. But I promise, they aren’t all exactly the same. Some may be a better fit for you than others.

Benefits to you to review your coverages regularly:

  1. Saving Money on premium. Recently, we’ve been able to save three families between $1,500-2000/year on their home and auto insurance premiums. This doesn’t always happen, but it can!
  2. Making sure your coverages match what you really need. You want to make sure you are only paying for things you are likely to use and are covered for things that are likely risks.
  3. You can take advantage of new features or insurance products. Related to #2, the new features for some products can be very appealing and appropriate for your unique needs.

But don’t shop too much. Some carriers do reward for loyalty. If you prove that you do stay with a company for a few years, new carriers may be more likely to offer you better rates as they know you will come and stay with them for some period of time too. The reverse can be true too, if you jump companies every single year, they may not offer you the best rates, as they know you aren’t likely to stay with them for long. So, you may want to think twice for before jumping company to company to company every single year for a few dollars savings. It is likely to catch up with you.

How do you know what to do? Consider working with an independent agent. Independent agents typically offer many products from leading carriers giving you “one stop shopping”. These agents are licensed, experienced and educated in the products from a number of companies. They can review your coverage needs for any changes or new products that are now available. They can share with you several different options with carriers, they can work with you to see which carriers can save you money or they can recommend that you stay where you are for another year and review again next year. They typically do all this for you, at no additional charge. Good agents will review this with you yearly so you’ll know you are in the best place for you for the next year. They can also help you with the entire transition over process if you do change insurance carriers, again making your life easier.

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have on reviewing your insurance. We are an independent agency covering NH and ME with a wide range of products from leading National and Regional carriers. We can be reached at http://www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

 

 

 

Car Insurance Tips for your New College Student

auto insurance college driving.jpgIs your child off in college? In the chaos of it all did you consider telling your auto insurance agent to see if any changes need to be made? Once your child leaves home, their car insurance may need to change.

Child that is not bringing their car to college:

If your child is going away to college and they are not bringing their car with them, make sure they are still listed on your policy as long as they are household members, especially as they are likely to drive the vehicles when they are home from school. Additionally, removing your child from your policy can have negative effects on your child’s policy of their own later in life.

Tip: Some carriers offer reduced premiums if the child is going away to school over 100 miles away and leave their car at home.

Child is bringing their car:

If your child is bringing their car to school with them, make sure to check to see if the school allows cars on campus. Some schools only allow certain grades to have their cars due to limited parking availability. For insurance purposes, it could make a difference if your child is living on campus or way from campus. Also, it may make a difference if they are there during the school year only or year around. Note too, if you child goes to a school out of state, they may not need a separate policy in that state. Ask you agent for details on your particular situation.

Tip: Rural areas tend to have lower rates than cities; if their school is in a rural area you could potentially have a reduced premium.

Child is commuting:

If your child is commuting each day, alert your insurance carrier about the amount of driving they will be doing. It is important to check your policy and make sure that you have adequate liability coverage for your child. Additionally, many carriers offer a “Good Student Discount,” offered to students that maintain a “B” average or better during their time in school.

Tip: Make sure to review details of your policy with your child and encourage them to drive safe and understand the potential risks involved.

Always review your insurance policies with your insurance agent whenever there is a life change including new drivers, new vehicles, updates to your home, marriage and more.

Do you need Comp and Collision insurance coverage on your car?

untitled-designThere is so much to know about auto insurance it can be overwhelming to know what you need a when you need it. Often you only worry about your coverage when it is too late, and something has happened.

Let’s first review the terminology. Collision coverage will help pay for repairs to your car (as well as replacement costs, in the event your car is totaled) after:

  • Crashing into another car.
  • Crashing into an object.
  • Rolling over.

Comprehensive coverage will help pay for repairs to your car or replacement of your car after it’s been damaged by events that aren’t accident-related.Typically, with comprehensive coverage you’ll be covered for damage from the following:

  • Fire.
  • Theft.
  • Vandalism.
  • Falling (missile) objects.
  • Hitting or being hit by an animal including deer, cows, bears, moose and birds.
  • Natural disasters.

Note that not all policies are the same. Before purchasing comprehensive coverage, make sure you know what your comprehensive policy will cover.

You may find these coverages packaged together as “physical damage coverage.

When you’re shopping for car insurance remember it typically consists of two components:

  • Physical damage coverage (comp and collision) refers to coverage that pays your own costs.
  • Liability coverage refers to coverage that pays others’ costs.
  • Determining Necessity

    Because comprehensive and collision are optional types of car insurance coverage, you should consider some factors before determining whether or not you need to purchase these coverages.

    Your Car’s Value

    The value of your car is an important consideration when determining whether you need collision and comprehensive coverage. If you car is:

    • Older and/or low-value, it may not be worth purchasing these coverages, since they will only pay up to the estimated fair market value of your car. We will often ask our clients- if your car were to be totaled, could you afford to replace the car outright? If not, you may want to consider keeping some comp and/or collision on the vehicle.
    • Newer and/or high-value, having these coverages can save you from paying out significant costs to repair or replace your car (if totaled)*.

    * IMPORTANT: If your car is totaled, your collision and comprehensive insurance will only pay you the estimated fair market value of the vehicle. THE INSURANCE COMPANY DETERMINES THIS AMOUNT. If you have a loan or lease, consider gap coverage, which will pay the difference between your how much you owe and the car’s cash value.

  • Your Driving Habits. You should also consider what you put your car through on a daily basis. For example, if you drive a lot of miles, or if you park your car in a location that is especially susceptible to theft or vandalism, you might want to have comprehensive coverage.
  • NOTE: While these coverages are not mandatory in any state, they are generally required as part of a car loan or lease agreement.

Still uncertain what the right coverages are for you? Talk to a licensed insurance agent. They can discuss options with you so you can end up with the right coverages for your situation. We’d be happy to review your options for your given situation. We can be reached at 603-273-0953 or www.keslarinsurance.com. We are an independent insurance agency providing home, auto, business and life insurance in NH and Maine.

5 Reasons why spring’s arrival may mean insurance changes

flowers

 

The winter’s is behind us, hopefully. With spring’s arrival, there are often new things that impact your insurance needs. But now is the time to be addressing these issues with your agent.

  1. New toys: boats, motorcycles, ATV’s.

Many people buy “toys” to use for the nice weather in the spring. Call your agent as you consider your options to see how much it may cost you to put insurance coverage on these items.

2. Toys out of storage (motorcycles, ATV’s, boats and cars). 

You may need update your boat, motorcycle or ATV coverage now that you are either pulling these out of storage or maybe buying a new one!  You may be putting that convertible back on the road. Also, you may be putting your winter toys into storage, like your snowmobiles. Some policies may provide discounts for taking them “off the road”.  All of these things can be covered with a quick call to you agent.

3. Pothole damage

Driving through a pothole may ding up your car or cause damage, but you’re typically covered when you have collision coverage with your car insurance. If you don’t have coverage, however, you’re likely stuck with paying for the costs out of pocket. Ask your agent what your policy covers.

4. Spring flooding

When winter snow starts to melt, rivers and streams may rise. Mix in some spring rains, and there is potential for flooding. While a standard home insurance policy covers water damage from sudden occurrences – such as burst pipes – it typically will not cover destruction related to spring floods. Calling your agent before you run the risk of a flood is always a good idea to learn about your options.

5. Hail damage- autos and homes

Springtime storms can bring hail that destroys siding and roof shingles. Fortunately, homeowners are usually protected under their home insurance policies.  And if a window breaks because of a storm, that’s typically covered too, along with resulting water damage.  Your auto policy may also cover any damages to your vehicle. Always ask your agent to make sure you know what is covered in your particular policy.

If you have any insurance related questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to assist you. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

We thank you for referrals: Pick your favorite

dd gift card pic.jpg

We consider a referral to be the ultimate compliment. That means you trust us to take care of your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, anyone close to you- and always provide them the right insurance coverages and exceptional customer service.

For every home or auto quote we do because of you, we’d like to send you a personalized thank you.

Pick your own “thank you” from the options below:-)

Gotta love my coffee:

  • Dunkin Donuts Gift Card
  • Aroma Joe’s Gift card

Keep me going:

  • Irving Gas card

I’m a shopper:

  • I’d like a little “treat” from Amazon.com

Pay it forward. Give me the gift of Good Karma. Make a donation to the following local charity, part of the Keslar Cares initiative to help others:

Referral values are $5 for each home quote and $5 for each auto quote ($10 combined!).  To take advantage of this program, you can simply fill out the form below. Or you may call us, email us or have the person you referred call us or email us and let us know that you have done the referring and we will take care of the rest! We can be reached at 603-273-0953 or info@keslarinsurance.com.

Thank you again for taking the time to think of us. It is sincerely appreciated!  We promise to take great care of anyone that you send our way!