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Auto Insurance

woman getting pulled over by cops

Understanding what SR-22 insurance can do for you.

If you are charged with being uninsured during an auto accident or if you have been convicted of a DUI, then you may be required to show proof of insurance with an SR-22 form.  But what is this form, and why is it important?  Here’s what you need to know.

What is SR-22 Insurance?

You may be required to secure an SR-22 to keep or reinstate your driving privileges after a major offense.  While many people call it “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 isn’t actually an insurance policy.  Instead, it is your auto insurer’s guarantee that you have coverage.  With an SR-22 form, your insurance provider informs the Department of Motor Vehicles that you have purchased the minimum liability insurance required under Texas law.  If you are required to secure an SR-22 and fail to do so, then your car registration can be suspended, and your license can be revoked.

How to Get an SR-22

Securing an SR-22 isn’t something that you handle independently.  Instead, the state requires your insurer to submit all insurance information to the DMV electronically.  If you need an SR-22, then all you need to do is ask your insurance provider to file one for you.

Please keep in mind that some insurance providers do not work with SR-22s.  If your insurer doesn’t offer this service, then you will need to switch over to one that does.  Because the violations related to an SR-22 mark you as a risky driver, your insurance provider may cancel your coverage.  At this point, you may have to rely on coverage from a high-risk auto insurer.

This is what you need to know about California SR-22 insurance.  Do you have further questions about this important auto insurance filing?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

woman reviewing insurance policies

What to look for when reviewing your insurance.

The end of the year is a great time to review and update your various insurance policies.  Updating your coverage now ensures that you are ready for whatever the new year throws your way.  Ready to conduct an insurance review but not sure what you should look for?  Here are some of the important things to look at when looking over your personal insurance policies.

  • If You Can Increase Your Deductibles

By now, you probably know that your insurance deductibles and your premiums have an inverse relationship.  This means that the higher your deductibles, the lower your premiums will be.  Policyholders are encouraged to assume a higher deductible as a means of saving money on their coverage.  So, during your review, look at your deductibles and decide if you can afford to raise them.  Keep in mind that you should never raise your deductibles to an amount that’s higher than you can comfortably afford, as this could prevent you from accessing your insurance when you need it the most.

  • If Life Changes are Reflected in Your Policies

Another reason to conduct a year-end review is to ensure that all your insurance policies are updated and accurately reflect your circumstances.  If you moved, got a new car, had a child, or made any other major life change, then it’s important to make sure that your policies reflect these changes.  Keep in mind that if your insurance provider does not have accurate information, then they can refuse to renew your policy and can even refuse to cover a claim.

  • If All Discounts are Applied

Finally, you should conduct a year-end insurance review to check to make sure you are getting all the discounts and reduced rates that you qualify for.  Changes in your circumstances often mean that you now qualify for discounts that you did not qualify for previously.  Make sure that all your discounts are applied to your policy to save a significant amount of money during the coming year.

These are some of the important things to look at when reviewing your insurance.  Do you need help managing your insurance review?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your personal insurance needs today.

police car with lights on, the effect of crime rate on auto insurance

Why your area’s crime rate affects your auto insurance rates.

When insurance providers calculate your auto rates, they will take several factors into account.  Some of these factors are considered “non-driving” factors, meaning they are not related to your vehicle or driving record.  Non-driving factors include things like your gender, marital status, and the crime rate in your area.  But why does something like crime rate impact your car insurance?  Here’s what you need to know.

Crime Rate by Zip Code

Car insurance providers use your zip code to check up on the crime rate in your area.  This is why they ask you to provide your zip code on your auto insurance quote request form.  Insurers are looking for specific, car-related crimes such as the following:

  • Vandalism
  • Break-in
  • Car theft
  • Accident rates
  • Fender benders
  • Hit and runs

How Crime Rates Affect Your Insurance

Auto insurers calculate your rates based on how likely they think you are to file a claim.  The more likely they think you are, the higher your rates will be.  When you live in an area with high crime rates, auto insurers automatically assume that you are at greater risk for having your car vandalized, stolen, damaged in a hit-and-run, and so on.  Because you would file an insurance claim for these issues, auto insurers look to protect themselves by raising your rates.

On the fortunate side, if you live in an area with lower crime rates, then you will have access to lower auto insurance rates.  This is because the insurer assumes that you are at lower risk for experiencing a claim-related event.

This is why your area’s crime rate affects the cost of your auto insurance.  Do you have additional questions about your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to assist you with all your car coverage needs today.

man signing paperwork on his car

What to know about your insurance when your car is repossessed.

If your car has been repossessed, you probably have a lot of questions.  One of the things that you may be worrying about is your auto insurance.  For instance, you might wonder if your coverage is still valid and, if so, whether you need to keep your policy.  You might also wonder how having your car repossessed will affect your auto insurance rates in the future.  Here is what you need to know about your car coverage and having your car repossessed.

  • Your Insurance Requirements

Typically, cars are repossessed when you fail to make a scheduled payment to your lender.  If your car has been repossessed by the lender, then your auto insurance policy remains active (unless you have also forgotten to pay your premiums).  While you can choose to cancel your auto policy at the time of repossession, it’s in your best interest to maintain your coverage.  This is because, if you no longer have the car covered on your policy, then your auto lender will apply their own coverage and make you pay for it .  Because your lender’s coverage will likely be more expensive than your own, it’s cheaper to keep your auto policy until the vehicle is sold.

  • Check with Your Insurer

It is important to note that different lenders will have different insurance requirements during the repossession process.  For instance, some lenders will automatically add a repossessed vehicle to their insurance, even if you still have coverage on the car.  In this case, keeping your policy is redundant and will force you to spend unnecessary money.  So, speak to your lender and learn about their repossession protocol before making decisions on your auto insurance.

  • Repossession and Future Insurance

Repossession is a financial issue, not an insurance issue.  Naturally, most drivers assume that repossession will not cause rate increases or make it harder to secure affordable insurance in the future.  Unfortunately, they are mistaken.  While it’s true that the act of repossession does not affect your insurance company, it will devastate your credit score.  Because many auto insurers consider an applicant’s credit score when setting their rates, having a bad credit score will mean higher insurance costs.

This is what you need to know about your auto insurance on a repossessed vehicle.  Do you have additional questions regarding your auto insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to assist you with all your car coverage needs today.

someone handing over keys to new car

Consider these factors when deciding between a new and used car.

If you are shopping for a car, then you might not know if you should go new or used.  While your budget will certainly affect your decision, this isn’t the only factor to consider.  Weigh these other considerations to help you make your car buying decision.

  • Insurance Costs

Insuring a brand-new car is typically more expensive than insuring a used vehicle.  This is because new cars are more costly to repair or replace.  However, keep in mind that buying an older used car will not necessarily save you money on insurance.  Because older cars do not have updated safety features and tend to be less reliable, they are more likely to be stolen or involved in an accident.  These risks translate into higher insurance costs.  Generally, buying a used car that’s only a few years old is the best way to maximize your auto insurance savings.

  • Technology

New cars come equipped with the newest in driving and safety technology.  For instance, new cars will have things like automatic braking, blind spot monitors, backup cameras, GPS, and other updated features that used cars may not offer.  If you want the newest tech to enhance your driving experience and your safety, then investing in a brand-new car is the way to go.

  • Reliability and Maintenance

When purchasing a car, reliability is one of the most important things to consider.  Brand-new cars will naturally be more reliable and have fewer maintenance issues than older, used cars.  As a general rule, the older the car, the less reliable it will be.  If you are planning on buying a used car, it’s vital to get a vehicle history report and have it inspected by a mechanic.  Taking these steps will ensure that the car you are buying has been well maintained and has not experienced issues in the past.

  • Your Image

For some people, a car is a status symbol.  If impressing your peers, co-workers, friends, or loved ones is a priority for you, then a new car is your best option.  However, it’s important that you do not base your car-buying decision on your image alone.  There are many other factors (namely your budget), that should take precedence over your desire to impress others.

These are some of the factors to consider when deciding between a new or used vehicle.  No matter what decision you make, your new ride needs the protection that only the right auto insurance can offer.  For assistance with all your car coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

man driving

What to know about your auto insurance before lending out your car.

When you let a friend borrow your car, you might assume that their auto insurance will be the primary coverage.  However, in most states, including the state of Texas, this isn’t usually the case.  This is because insurance laws dictate that auto insurance follows the vehicle rather than the driver.  So, before you lend out your car so freely, here are some of the things you need to consider about your coverage.

Because the car owner is financially responsible for the damages caused by their vehicle, it’s important that you know your coverage limits before you lend out your car.  In some cases, your auto insurance policy may impose lower coverage limits when your car is being operated by a driver not listed on your policy.  Additionally, there are some instances in which your insurance will not cover another driver at all.  For example, if you regularly lend your car out to someone who is not a member of your household or if you lend your car out for business purposes, then your auto policy might deny the driver coverage.

If you frequently lend your car to someone that you do not live with, then you should add this person onto your auto insurance policy as an additional insured.  You should also take this step if you are lending your car out for an extended period of time.  This way, you can ensure that the driver has the coverage that they need.

This is how insurance works when you lend out your car.  Do you have additional questions regarding your auto insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

two badly damaged cars after an accident

How to manage a total loss vehicle claim.

If you’ve gotten into an accident and your insurer has declared your car a total loss, you may not know what to do next.  To ensure that your claims process proceeds smoothly and quickly as possible, here are some of the steps that you should take.

  • Hand Over Your Car Title

Your car title is needed to process a total loss claim, so it’s important that you know where this document is.  If you cannot find your title, then file for a lost title at the DMV as soon as possible so you can officially begin the claims process.

  • Figure Out How Much Your Car is Worth

Do some research to get a general idea of how much your car is currently worth.  Use resources like Kelly Blue Book to see what they value your make and model at.  You should also look at similar vehicle listings in your area.  This research should give you a good idea of what your insurer will value your car at.

  • Find Out How Much You Owe Your Lender

If you have a loan tut on the vehicle, then check to see how much you still owe.  This will help you prepare in the event that your loan amount is higher than your car’s current value.  If your loan exceeds your car’s value, then your insurance settlement will go to your lender, and you will be responsible for paying the remaining loan amount on your own.

  • Finish Paperwork ASAP

Total loss claims require a lot of paperwork.  For instance, you and your insurer will have to come to a written agreement on the value of your car.  You will also have to sign ownership of the vehicle over to your insurer so they can process your claim and pay the settlement to you or your lender.  Prompt completion of this paperwork will help you put the ordeal behind you as soon as possible.

These are some of the steps that you should take to manage a total loss vehicle claim.  Are you looking for the right insurance to cover you if your car is declared a total loss?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

teen adjusting her rearview mirror

Here are some of the safe driving lessons you should pass onto your teen.

If you are teaching your teen how to drive, then you want to pass on the habits and skills that will make then the safest driver possible.  When it comes to driving safely, it’s important to go back to the basics.  Here are some of the safe driving lessons you should teach your teen.

Never Drink and Drive

While this goes without saying, your teen should never get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  You should also remind your child that it is their responsibility to never get into a car operated by someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.

Always Wear Your Seatbelt

When teaching your teen how to drive, you should emphasize the importance of always wearing their seatbelt, even for short trips.  Not only will their seatbelt save their life in an accident, but it will also ensure that they are not pulled over and issued a ticket.

Stay Vigilant

Many drivers, not just teens, become less vigilant as they get more comfortable behind the wheel.  However, failing to scan your area, use your mirrors, and check your blind spots could mean missing a serious driving hazard.  When teaching your teen how to drive, show them how to stay vigilant when they are changing lanes, turning, and even when stopped.

These are just a few of the safe driving lessons you should pass onto your teen.  Want another way to keep your kid safe behind the wheel?  The make sure you have the right auto insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your car coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

How Do Your Driving Habits Affect Your Auto Insurance?

Which driving habits affect my car coverage?

When your auto insurer determines your premiums, they will take various factors into account.  One of the things they will consider is your driving habits.  But how does our behavior behind the wheel affect your coverage costs?  Here’s what you need to know.

  • Driving Frequency and Distance

Two of the things that auto insurers will consider is how often you use your car and how far you tend to drive on average.  In general, the more often and the further you drive, the more expensive your auto insurance will be.  This is because the more you use your car, the higher your risk of getting into an auto accident.  On the plus side, if you don’t drive regularly, then your insurance rates will be on the lower side.

  • Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a broad category that encompasses many bad driving behaviors.  For instance, if you have a documented history of speeding, DUIs, distracted driving (for instance, driving while using your cell phone), or other traffic violations then, you are considered a high-risk driver.  This risk will translate into higher insurance costs because insurers deem you more likely to get into an accident or receive another moving violation.

  • Accidents

Your insurer will also look into your driving record to see if you have a history of auto accidents.  If the accidents you have been involved in were minor and you were not at fault, then this likely won’t affect your insurance rates.  However, if you were involved in a major accident that resulted in serious property damage, injury, or even death, then this could indicate that you are a high-risk driver.  This, in turn, will raise your auto insurance rates.

These are some of the driving habits that will affect your auto insurance rates.  Do you have further questions regarding your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.