Monthly Archives: February 2017

10 Things About Car Insurance That You May Not Have Known

Many people don’t take a great deal of notice of their car insurance and, when the time comes for their auto insurance to be renewed, they simply renew it with their existing insurer. If you don’t shop around for car insurance, then you will end up paying more than you need to and, if you don’t check the small print on your policy, you might actually not be insured at all. So, if you don’t give a second thought to your motor vehicle insurance, check out these facts and tips about car insurance that might surprise you.

1. Pay your insurance premiums in one go

It may be convenient to pay your car insurance in twelve monthly payments, but it will nearly always be far more expensive than paying the whole amount up front. Most insurers add an exorbitant price for spreading the payments. It could cost you as much as 30% more.

2. Don’t overdo the excess

A lot of people get caught out by agreeing to an insurance excess over and above what they can really afford to pay. Yes, a high excess will reduce your car insurance premiums, but don’t forget that, if you have an accident, you are going to have to find that cash for repairs.

3. Tell the truth to your insurer

Be honest about what you use your car for, where you park it, and who is going to drive it. If you say that your car will be locked in a garage overnight, and it is stolen from the street outside your home, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you come to make a claim.

4. Check how comprehensive your fully comprehensive cover really is

The word ‘fully’ in fully comprehensive can mean different things to different insurers, especially if you opted for the cheapest policy that you could find. Typically, the cheaper car insurance policies won’t include a courtesy car, windscreen cover, or legal cover, so it’s worth checking your policy to see exactly what you are getting for your money.

5. Don’t make a claim unless you really have to

If you have a minor accident, it is very often cheaper to pay for the repairs yourself than to claim it on your insurance. You should still tell the insurer about the accident, because that is often a policy requirement, but claiming may well result in an increase your premiums and excess.

6. Your premiums can still rise, even if you have protected your no claims bonus

If you have an accident, your premiums could still rise, even if you have protected your no claims bonus. Your percentage bonus may well stay intact, but the underlying cost of your insurance will rise and, therefore, you will pay more.

7. Always take photographs if you have an accident

If you do have an accident, however slight the damage may seem, always take photographs of both your vehicle and the other persons. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest people who will exaggerate their claims to their insurance company and lie about the circumstances of an accident. If you can, get the contact details of any witnesses too.

8. Don’t just automatically renew, shop around first

Insurance companies offer their best deals to new customers, so it is always worth shopping around for your car insurance. You can get your insurance broker to do for you, or check out a price comparison site, but always get several quotes before you decide.

9. Always notify your insurer of any changes in circumstances

Don’t forget to notify your insurer of any changes in circumstances, or you could invalidate your insurance. That includes moving home, changing jobs, any modifications you make to the vehicle and even if you have started driving your car to work.

10. Don’t rely solely on comparison websites for the best deal

Don’t forget that not all the insurance companies allow their details to be published on price comparison websites. To enable these companies to compete, they often offer better deals than you will find on the comparison sites.

Auto Insurance – Understanding the Different Types of Collision Insurance

When choosing auto insurance there are several options to keep in mind when trying to build a policy that best suits your needs. Everyone knows that in almost all of the states, to drive a vehicle legally, you must have at least liability coverage on your car – but what about other types of insurance? Well, one of the most important options is your collision coverage.

If you finance a vehicle for purchase or lease, your lender is going to insist that you have collision coverage, and the more the better. For example, in the state of New Mexico, if you were to lease a Cadillac, the company responsible for the lease will likely insist that you purchase the maximum collision coverage available. There are levels of collision coverage that you must become familiar with to make the correct choice for your situation.

The least amount of collision offered would be called the “Limited” option. If you choose this option and you rear-end another car, which would be your fault, your Limited policy would pay nothing. If you got rear-ended, making this the other person’s fault, you would pay your chosen deductible, and then the insurance company would pay the rest. So, if you are better than 50 percent responsible for a collision and you have Limited collision coverage, you foot the bill.

The middle of the road collision choice is called the “Standard” option. In this instance, if you broad-side another car or they side-swipe you, you will be responsible for your chosen deductible, ranging anywhere from $250 on up to $1000. Basically, with the Standard option, what you pay is the same no matter whose fault the accident is. Some states offer a zero deductible choice, but the premium rates would be considerably higher. The Standard collision option is most commonly chosen by the average driver.

The highest and most expensive collision option is called the “Broad Term” option. In this instance, if you are responsible for the collision–or at least better than 50% at fault, you will be responsible for your deductible and the insurance company will cover the rest. If you are not at fault for the collision and you have Broad Term collision coverage, you pay nothing. The insurance company would pay for everything for you at 100%.

Also keep in mind that the insurance company is only responsible to cover damages up to the value of the car. So, if you really get into a huge pile-up and your car is crushed and will cost more to repair than its actual value, it will be declared totaled–just food for thought.

So, shop carefully for your auto insurance policy, choose your options wisely, be a safe driver, and make sure that you are covered as best as your budget allows.

Garage Insurance – Used Car Dealers and Repair Shops Watch Those Symbols

Garage insurance is a much misunderstood policy form. Many professional insurance agents are confused about exactly when to use it and more importantly exactly how. You can use a garage liability policy to protect a used car dealer, often referred to as dealer’s insurance, or you can use this same form to protect an automotive repair shop or to set up body shop insurance. The trick is to know the symbols. If you own a car dealership or an automotive repair shop and are purchasing insurance for your business, it is advisable that you find an agent who specializes in the garage insurance form to help you with this purchase so you don’t end up with the wrong form and perhaps find yourself without coverage after a large loss.

As I mentioned earlier, both types of businesses, auto repair and or body shops and used car dealers both need the garage policy. But exactly what kind of operations are covered in these policies is driven by the symbols shown on the policy. This is very important. If your business is automotive repair or body work but your policy is set up with symbols that would apply to a car dealership, you could find yourself without coverage in the event of a liability loss.

 

So how do you know if you have the correct symbols and thus the correct form? Pull out your garage policy and look at the first page.   Beside each type of coverage, usually to the left, there will be a least one two digit number between 21 and 31. These symbols will describe what is protected by the coverage shown beside that symbol. Here is a list of the most common symbols and what each one protects:

Symbol 21                 Any auto

Symbol 22                 All owned autos

Symbol 23                 Owned private passenger autos only

Symbol 24                 Owned autos other than private passenger

Symbol 25                 Owned autos subject to no fault laws

Symbol 26                 Owned autos subject to Uninsured Motorists law

Symbol 27                 Specifically described autos

Symbol 28                 Hired autos only

Symbol 29                 Non-Owned autos used in the Garage Business

Symbol 30                 Autos Left for Service/Repair/Storage

Symbol 31                 Autos on Consignment

 

As you have probably figured out, if you are an automobile dealer and you have symbol 30 on your policy, you would find yourself without coverage. So why not just put symbol 21 on all coverages? Well, since code 21 is the broadest coverage, you would have to pay more for this insurance policy and in some cases you might be purchasing insurance protection that you didn’t really need.

 

Take some time to look at your policy carefully and review the symbols for each line of coverage to make sure that they are appropriate for the work you do. If you need help with this process, consult your agent. If you agent doesn’t specialize in businesses needing garage policy, ie dealers insurance and auto repair shop insurance, then find one who does. This protection is just too important to leave up to an agent who is practicing on the job learning on your policies.

The Importance of Insurance Reviews

Most people reach out to their insurance brokers or underwriters when there is a significant event in their lives that necessitates new or revised risk coverage – perhaps when they purchase a new home or it’s time to trade-in the old car. However, far fewer remember to review their insurance at regular intervals or when more subtle changes to their coverage requirements occur.

Reviewing your insurance regularly helps ensure your coverage is what you expect it to be in the unfortunate circumstance that you need to file a claim. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding coverage and being proactive about minimizing your insurance costs.

There are many different circumstances that could possibly change your coverage requirements and prompt a call to an insurance professional for a review. The examples below identify some of the instances in which you might want to review your coverage:

  • Renovations – If you perform renovations to your house, it is likely that you are also increasing its value. Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, pool, or even expensive landscaping, remember to check your policy limits to ensure they remain adequate in case of an insured loss. If you’ve recently renovated your basement, also note it is quite likely that your water damage insurance needs to be reviewed.
  • You’ve been accumulating possessions – Have you done a home inventory lately? Most people have more personal possessions than they think. Estimating the total value of your contents is vital to helping ensure your limits are adequate.
  • You’ve purchased a high value item – Remember that some of your personal possessions have to be scheduled to be properly covered. Jewellery, antiques, collectibles, wine collections, and art are a few examples of pieces that may require additional coverage.
  • New coverages have become available – The insurance industry frequently adapts to changing market conditions and offers coverage in areas that it has not in the past. For homeowners, insurance for overland water damage and home repair issues (such as broken furnaces) have recently become available from some insurers, in some areas. In addition, legal expense insurance, travel insurance, and pet insurance are available from brokers looking to cover more of your risk and insurance needs.
  • Laws changing to give you more or less choice – Changes to automobile accident benefits mean you should review your choices.
  • You become eligible for additional discounts – Changes in your personal circumstances may affect your eligibility for policy discounts. For example, if you install an alarm system you are likely eligible for a discount on your homeowner policy. If you use snow tires on your vehicle, many insurers offer a discount on your car insurance policy. If you pass the age of 50-55, you may become eligible for mature driver discounts.
  • If you change jobs and have a shorter commute – You should report this to your insurance broker as driving less typically correlates to lower risk and less expensive premiums. If you have a certain job occupation, you may also be eligible for lower insurance rates.
  • You’ve started a home business – A different use of your home, other than strictly residential, may require business insurance to properly cover liability risks.
  • Your personal circumstances change – If you get married or have children, you may want to review your coverage to ensure your coverage levels are adequate to look after your dependents in case of an accident.
  • Your child gets a driver’s licence – Always check to see if your child can be added to your policy. It is often the least expensive option for insuring them to drive. If they get their own car, you are also probably eligible for a multi-car discount.
  • If your child moves away to attend college or university – Check to see if your homeowners coverage can be extended to protect your child’s assets while away at school. It may be more cost-effective that purchasing a standalone tenants insurance policy.
  • If you haven’t had an insurance review in more than a year – Your coverage levels may be out of date. A key example of this is your home insurance. Property values and replacement costs can easily rise to the point that your existing coverage limits do not allow for the total reconstruction of your home in the case of a total loss.

Taking the time to speak to your insurance professional is always time well spent. Even if you don’t save on your insurance costs after the call, there is no substitute for having the coverage you expect when a claim becomes necessary. Since most insurance policies are for the term of one-year, it is a good idea to speak to your insurance professional before renewing your annual coverage.

The Truth About Personal Injury Protection – & Some Myths

Trying to get insurance cover can be a real minefield to most people. It is almost always an unbelievably expensive item with respect to the family budget. Unfortunately however, it can be horrendously costly in another way if the cover is not appropriate or does not cover the intended items. Let’s look at the main kinds of cover and attempt to throw a little light on the subject.

The best automobile insurance policies will include the following items: uninsured motorist coverage, personal property liability, collision coverage, bodily injury liability, comprehensive coverage and personal injury protection (PIP). Some of these elements are required by all states whilst others are not required. Collision coverage pays for all damages to a automobile or other vehicle when it is in collision with another automobile or other vehicle or non-vehicular object, even if the insurance holder is at fault. Comprehensive insurance policies protect the insurance holder in the unfortunate situation that their automobile or other vehicle is taken without the owner’s permission, damaged illegally, harmed by an act of nature or damaged otherwise. Both of these kinds of insurance are always optional and are usually very costly.

Bodily injury and personal property insurance are required by all U.S. states in in one way or another. Where the states differ greatly is in the minimum guaranteed payout that is set for each. For example, in Alaska, a driver is required to carry coverage that has a guaranteed minimum bodily injury payout of $100,000. In Florida, a driver is only required to carry coverage worth $10,000.

Many elements of an auto insurance policy that could be optional are cover for the uninsured motorist and personal injury protection. The coverage for the uninsured motorist protects the insurance holder in case he or she has an accident with an uninsured person. It provides the insurance policies that should possibly have been supplied by the other party. PIP, in the event of an accident, pays for the medical expenses and other assorted damages incurred by the insurance holder and their passengers (or if the insurance holder is an injured pedestrian). Carrying personal injury protection is mandatory in: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon and Utah.

Even if personal injury protection is not mandatory in your state, you may still want to consider purchasing the insurance policies. PIP, in the event of an accident, will pay around 80% (depending on insurance policies limits) of the costs of the insurance holder and passengers. These costs include medical bills, lost wages and other assorted expenses. personal injury protection is a no-fault policy, so it will cover you and your passengers, even if the reason for claim was your fault.

personal injury protection, sometimes known as Medical Payment Insurance or Medpay, is a no-fault insurance policies for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the fact that blame does not have to be confirmed saves time and therefore allows medical payments to get into the pockets of the injured parties as soon as possible.

Secondly, it saves everybody from the cost of lawsuits being filed so that responsibility can be proved for an accident and therefore who has responsibility for the bills. One time a personal injury protection policy might allow for a lawsuit is when serious injury or death occurs.

Before you purchase personal injury protection, you would be advised to take a look at your current policies and see whether or not the insurance policies offered by personal injury protection is duplicated elsewhere. It could be that the cost of lost wages and medical bills may be recovered through an existing health insurance policy. If this is the case, then you may need minimal personal injury protection or none at all. Your driving habits will also help determine whether or not you need personal injury protection. Do you carry passengers on a regular basis? While your health insurance might cover your own medical expenses, it won’t cover those of your passengers (unless they are members of your family who are on your health plan). Ask your regular passengers about their own health insurance policies and its coverage. If they are inadequately covered or not covered at all, you need personal injury protection in order to keep them covered. This may seem like the thin end of the wedge, especially if you’re the one driving an office car pool, however, the safety of any passenger riding in your car is always going to be your responsibility.

If you reside in a state that requires personal injury protection you will need to know the minimum amount of cover you must have because this has already been decided for you. If you live in a state where personal injury protection is not mandatory however, you might decide that you need the extra insurance policies anyway. How much insurance policies you need depends, mainly, on your age. If you are middle-aged or older, have good health and liability insurance policies, then you will need minimal personal injury protection insurance policies. If, on the other hand, you are young, just starting out and still don’t have much in the way of health and liability insurance, you will want to protect yourself, your family and your future by carrying as much insurance as you can afford. This is especially true if you have a young family or if you constantly carry others in your automobile or other vehicle.

So there we have it, whether you require PIP and at what level, depends on several factors: where you live, your driving habits, your employment, your health, your personal circumstances and your level of existing cover. Whatever your circumstances however, you need to research it carefully so that you can rest easy knowing that you are safely covered.

Car Insurance Lead Script

If you need to generate leads of people interested in getting updated car insurance rates, here is a script that works great. All of the verification questions are asked first to build trust with the prospect before asking for new information. Don’t over think your lead generation campaign, often the simplest processes yield the best results. Start off with a short greeting and explain the reason for the call within the first 30 seconds or risk losing the prospect’s attention. Verify first, ask for new information second. Use verification questions to build report with prospects before asking for new information. For example, “I show your address as…”, versus, “how much is your monthly auto insurance policy at the moment?”

Write out rebuttals that the telemarketer might need to handle common objections. Think of these as opportunities to give more information as well as steer the conversation back to generating a lead. Generating interest and doing some simple verification work should be the primary goal of each call. Don’t make the mistake of trying to pack too much into each call.

“Hi, may I speak with __________? Hi _________, this is AGENT NAME, I’m calling from XXX car insurance, I’m just calling to verify your information so we can provide you with updated auto insurance quotes, I show your name as NAME and your address as ADDRESS in CITY, STATE, and the zipcode is ZIPCODE I also have your email as EMAIL ADDRESS, is this correct?

Thank you, and what is your marital status? (single or married).

Are there any additional drivers we should include? (if yes get name, date of birth).

We understand people’s vehicles often change, so what vehicle do you currently insure? I just need the year, make and model.

Are there any additional vehicles? (if so need the year, make and model).

Are you currently a homeowner? (own/rent)

And who is your current car insurance company?

Thank you, and finally I have your date of birth listed as/what is your date of birth? (if not listed in contact info)

To make sure we can save you the most money we will have a local insurance agent contact you so that you receive the best rate and coverage possible. Thank you for your time and have a great day.”

Side Note: This script works great with a web-based lead form, you can quickly create a form that follows this format in Google Docs and will deliver results to an online spreadsheet that updates in real time.

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage on My Auto Policy If I Have Medicare Or Health Insurance?

This is a very common question that we encounter in our practice. I’ve even heard of insurance agents who expressed the opinion that people do not need uninsured motorist coverage on their auto policy if they have health insurance or Medicare. The reasoning seems to be that following an accident their medical bills would be covered. Unfortunately, this reasoning fails to take into consideration all of the other benefits available from uninsured motorist coverage to someone who’s been seriously injured in an auto accident or to the estate of someone who has been killed.

The purpose of uninsured motorist coverage is to compensate the insured for all of the elements of damage they would have been entitled to receive from the person causing the accident, but who carried no bodily injury insurance, or very low limits of coverage. In Florida, those damages would include: pain, suffering, disability, scarring, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of the enjoyment of life, lost earnings and earning capacity, as well as unpaid medical expenses incurred in the past, and those to be incurred in the future. Of this list of damage items, the only ones which would be covered by health insurance or Medicare would be “covered” medical expenses. Beyond having their medical expenses paid, someone carrying no uninsured motorist coverage, who was struck by an uninsured driver, would receive no compensation for all of the other elements of damage described above.

No one ever believes they will be involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. But every day throughout the state of Florida, hundreds of people are seriously injured who also believed it would never happen to them. Following a serious accident, the injured person will immediately begin to consider, who will compensate them for the substantial losses they have incurred and those which will be incurred in the future. Losses such as pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, as well as loss of earning capacity and earnings are very commonly encountered in relatively routine motor vehicle accidents. In the more serious accidents, all of these losses may be incurred, particularly those which involved the death of a loved one. People naturally become angry and frustrated when they have been struck by an uninsured driver, only to discover their own policy of insurance does not include uninsured motorist coverage.

There is something else to consider about carrying only Medicare or health insurance. If there is any liability coverage available to provide compensation of one’s injuries, even though it may be woefully inadequate, Medicare and virtually all health insurance policies, have reimbursement rights. Federal statutes require reimbursement of benefits provided by Medicare and employer sponsored health insurance plans when the injured person receives compensation for their injuries. Most other health plans contain reimbursement rights which are regulated under state law, including Florida. This means that when someone’s health insurance or Medicare provides benefits to them following an accident, those benefits are subject to being paid back if the injured person is successful in getting even minimal compensation from the party responsible.

Therefore, the only way someone may protect themselves is to carry the maximum amount of uninsured motorist coverage they can afford. We urge our clients to examine their declaration sheet on their auto policy, determine what coverage they actually have purchased, and call their agent to get a quote for uninsured motorist or additional uninsured motorist coverage.

Florida PIP Confusion

The drivers of the state of Florida right now are so confused and rightfully so. There has been a bitter fight, insurance company and insurance company vs. insurance company and medical professionals vs. medical professionals and Lawyers vs. Lawyer and insurance company… and verses and verses. All this, while the poor driving public of Florida is caught in the middle and is helpless and most clueless of what is happening.

To start lets find out just what the heck is PIP.

The Basics

First states are generally broken up into two categories, Tort States and PIP States. If you live in a Tort state things are a bit less complicated and easier to understand. In a nutshell if you are in a car accident and you are “At Fault” then you are responsible for the injuries of others. You will be sued for all, injuries to the other drivers, passengers and any property damage that you caused.

In a tort state it is absolutely necessary that you have liability insurance to pay for such damages and most states have a requirement of minimum liability such as 25/50/25. To translate that is $25,000 for Bodily Injury you do to one person in and accident, $50,000 Total per accident for Bodily Injury and $25,000 for Property Damage.

PIP States, out of fifty states at one time there was 38 states that were PIP States, today there are 12 er no, 11 er no effective January 1, when Florida “re-becomes” a PIP State 12 again.

What is PIP

Frankly, PIP is a lot more complicated than a tort. Why? First each state employs a different degree of PIP. In order to explain PIP we need to explain “PURE PIP”, which no state employs.

In a “Pure PIP” environment in any accident each person would take care of ALL their own injuries and a law suit against the other party would be prohibited by law. Hence, PIP is also known as “No Fault”. Theoretically each person would buy their own policy to pay for their injuries instead of suing the AT FAULT person. Hmmm, no lawsuits, you can imagine how attorneys would feel about that. That is just one drawback; the second is how much coverage each person should have under a “PURE PIP” environment. Because of this the remaining handful of PIP states have varying degrees of PIP.

Florida PIP

In 1971 Florida legislators passed the PIP law and no longer was it mandatory to secure liability insurance but at that time only one coverage was necessary to register your vehicle. PIP.

The Florida version of PIP every citizen of the state of Florida would buy this coverage and have a “bag of money” of $10,000 to take care of themselves for injuries resulting from “any” auto accident. Your coverage will pay no matter who was at fault.

The problems with this law were immediate. First it contradicted the Florida responsibility law which in short states that when a driver is involved in an accident that involves bodily injury or property damages to an extent that an auto is disabled you must prove you have liability limits of 10/20/10 or $30,000 of combined liability.

The second problem was the law did not address any “Property Damage” done by the at fault driver. That was remedied a few years after with the addition of $10,000 of mandatory property damage liability being added to the requirements to register your car.

Another problem was that of “Tort Immunity” or “Tort Exemption”. The problem, no one really understood it.

Tort What?

“Tort Immunity” also known as “Tort Exemption” is what PIP is all about. If you recall under “PURE PIP” you may not sue the at fault party, that is Tort Immunity. As we also mentioned each state has varying degrees of PIP and also varying degrees of “Tort Immunity” In order vary the tort immunity each state must define the limit of the immunity. States have either a Financial “Threshold” or Verbal “Threshold”. For example a person may not sue the other at fault person until their medical bills exceed $50,000, this would be a example of a Financial or Dollar Threshold.

Florida has a “Verbal Threshold” although each person is responsible for the first $10,000 of their own injuries regardless who is at fault, you can sue the “At Fault” driver for any economic damages you incur over the first $10,000 but, you will NOT be able to sue for any “non economic” injuries (such as Pain and Suffering) unless you “pierce” a threshold and this is Florida’s extent of “Tort Immunity”

What were the problems with PIP?

The spirit of PIP was quite noble, instead of suing everyone for small accidents the PIP coverage would cover “most” medical expenses, loss of work and even some household chores you were not able to do because of the accident. Thus there would be a reduction in lawsuits.

Well, although noble the law almost immediately added an new level of litigation and/or negotiation, that is determining whether a threshold had been crossed. The Florida verbal thresholds are : 1. Loss of a bodily function 2. Permanent injury 3. “Significant” scaring and 4. Death.

Death is the easiest threshold to determine, if a person is still breathing then obviously the threshold has not been crossed and the person can not sue for “non economic” injuries such as pain and suffering. But the other thresholds such as: Significant scaring may be harder to interpret. So much having fewer lawsuits.

I want you to think of the last time you were driving and drove by an auto accident. How many folks did you see in each car or van? At least 2, 6, 10 ? What ever the number multiply that number by $10,000.

The problem became “Fraud”. No matter how little the injury unethical medical practitioners bilked the companies. Artificially increased bills paid by insurance were ultimately passed on to us, insureds.

Florida’s Flip Flop

On October 1, 2007 Florida’s long suffering PIP law was laid to rest with many insurance companies bidding it a happy farewell only to be resurrected a few days latter at the behest of Florida’s governor.

Currently, as of today October 14, 2007 there is no PIP law in effect , no $10,000 bag of money to cover your medical expenses, no tort immunity actually not much of any kind of mandatory coverage until January 1, 2008 when PIP will be reinstated.

Many companies had scrambled to add a “Non Statutory” PIP to give everyone $10,000 benefits and we recommend at least that with at least $2,000 of Medical Payments and uninsured motorist.

Now would be a good time to contact your agent and review your coverages.

Motor Insurance Quotes – Are Motor Insurance Quotes Legally Binding?

Q: Are the motor insurance quotes I receive from insurance companies binding? If so for how long?

A: The answer to that is yes and no. Let us explain. If you receive motor insurance quotes from an insurance company – then that is the price they are going to charge you. However, they are not legally bound to quote you the same price if you call them back three days later.

It is likely you will receive the same quote from the same company provided there were no incidents from when you first received the quote, but just because it is likely doesn’t mean that the company is bound to stand to by the earlier quote.

A good way to find out how long the quoted rate is good for is to ask the agent or representative who is giving you the quote. Be wary of a hard sell at this point however as the agent is going to realize you will be requesting quotes from other companies.

Motor insurance quotes are liable to change suddenly due to market changes, new insurance legislation, or a driving offense that may have occurred. To avoid this we recommend doing all of your insurance shopping over a one or two day span. This will ensure you get the price that was quoted to you.

Lastly, we strongly recommend that you take comparison shopping seriously when it comes to finding the best deal on auto insurance. While it may sound like common sense, there are many drivers who don’t take the time to compare quotes from different companies and end up overpaying for their coverage as a result.

FR44 Insurance in Florida: Common Questions With Complete Answers

When did the Florida FR44 insurance filing become effective? What are the requirements needed for one? Which type of policies qualify for compliance?

As of October 1, 2007, a person convicted of DUI in Florida is required to maintain increased limits of vehicle accident liability coverage. The minimum amounts are $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident of Bodily Injury Liability and $50,000 of Property Damage Liability. A single combined limit of $300,000 is also acceptable. The liability must be provided by a Florida policy. This may be a car insurance policy or an operator’s one where there is no vehicle to insure. One that insures a vehicle with less than 3 years does not qualify because this type does not include Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP).

The flexibility to comply with a variety of policy types, and as policyholder or additional driver, enables the convicted driver to secure a well suited one. For example, a youthful operator will often find a lower rate as an additional driver on their parents policy. In the past, another good option was insuring a scooter which might have been as little as $100.00 for the entire year. Unfortunately, Florida no longer allows a filing with this type.

Do all drivers with a Florida DUI require FR44 insurance?How long does the requirement remain in effect?

To clear a FR44 DUI case number for license reinstatement, a driver, receiving the infraction prior to November 1st 2014, is required to provide proof that increased vehicle liability insurance in the amount of 100/300/50k was in effect at the time of the offense date or they must purchase a FR44 policy for three years from the original suspension date. After November 1st 2014 all drivers convicted of a DUI will be required to purchase and maintain a FR44 policy, which cannot be cancelled, for three years from the reinstatement date of the DUI.

When can I reinstate my license after I purchase a policy?How is the Florida DMV notified that my FR44 requirement has been satisfied? Can I receive the FR44 certificate at point of sale?

The FR44 form (certificate), is submitted by the company to Florida’s Bureau of Financial Responsibility. As required by law, they are transmitted electronically within 15 days after beginning. Companies typically transmit to the bureau at point of sale, and the DMV database will update within 24 to 48 hours allowing for license reinstatement.

Some companies, will generate a “hard copy” certificate at point of sale which can then be combined with proof of insurance and faxed to a local DMV office, from the agency or company with an identifying cover page. This is the fastest way a convicted driver can have their license reinstated.

Since companies electronically send the FR44 certificate to the State, it takes a special request to have one issued directly to the policyholder. It is usually typed, and then faxed or emailed, and typically takes up to 2 hours to get done. If you are in a hurry, find out before you buy, or even before you get a rate quote, if a certificate would be immediately available.

How much will this cost?What is the least expensive way?Is there a filing fee and reinstatement fee in addition?

There is a $25.00 filing fee for everyone. A license reinstatement fee is required for drivers that did not have increased liability limits of 100/300/50k on their policy at the time of the DUI. However, the overall cost is determined by a host of variables that are unique to each person (location, age, history, vehicle type etc.). The least expensive way to secure a FR44 insurance policy is with a scooter or moped because these types of vehicles inflict little damage when involved in an accident. Also, their liability coverage, unlike car and truck policies, does not transfer to any other vehicle the policyholder may be driving. The cost for such a policy typically ranges from $100.00 to $400.00 for the entire year. This lower cost option is not available for drivers that require an interlock device. Here again this option is no longer allowable.

Can I cancel?Is the insurance company allowed to cancel?If I cancel can I replace it with another one?

As of May 4th 2012 all policies with a Florida FR44 filing are not allowed to be cancelled. Companies may only cancel during the first 30 days while determining eligibility. Naturally, there are many legitimate reasons for cancelling a policy such as, moving to another state, selling your vehicle, getting married, etc., and there is a way to cancel these policies. An endorsement to remove the FR44 filing from an existing policy can be submitted, and then that policy can be cancelled. Keep in mind that if the FR44 requirement is still in effect, the cancelled policy must be replaced or the driver license will be suspended. When canceling, you may be asked to provide a recorded sworn statement indicating your reason and how you intend to continue compliance. Naturally, when your compliance period ends during the policy period, all the restrictions may be removed from that policy.

Can I get a monthly payment plan?Does the State of Florida require full payment? Can I have more than one policy?

Because they cannot be cancelled, companies will require payment in full. Unlike the canceling provision, requiring payment in full is not a state mandate. Since companies are not at liberty to cancel a policy for non-payment, they generally will not offer payment plans. However, there are a few, in limited circumstances, that will allow a payment plan. One recently began to offer installment payment plans for all their renewing policies. Keep in mind companies provide a substantial discount when paying in full and the FR44 requirement does not eliminate that discount. There can only be one filing per driver, however, a driver can have more than one policy and this creates additional flexibility.

When will my FR44 requirement no longer be needed? How can I contact the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles?

The best way to find out is to contact the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and have them tell you the exact date your requirement ends. I recommend contacting them by email at https://www3.flhsmv.gov/DDL/CQS/ so you have their response in writing. When you are within 60 days of ending the requirement you may carry the 100/300/50 liability without having to actually file and you will be considered in compliance. This option can be particularly helpful when starting a new policy as payment plans, driver exclusions, and all other options can be exercised.