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Red Flags When Buying Used Cars

While buying a used vehicle will save you money and help you avoid depreciation costs, it is important to do your research before you purchase one. To avoid purchasing a car with hidden problems, look out for the following warning signs:

• Excessive wear and tear in the interior.

• Damp, musty odors. These are indications of leaks in the windshield, weather stripping or heater core.

• Cars that ride lower in the front as compared to the back. This indicates worn springs, which can be an expensive repair.

• Tires with worn outer edges from the front end. This can indicate that the car is in need of an alignment.

• Clanking noises when the vehicle is in gear. This can indicate a problem with the drive shaft universal joints.

• Transmission fluid that is black or brown. This may indicate internal engine damage.

When buying used, the best way to ensure you purchase a reliable car is by referencing a vehicle history report. Carfax and AutoCheck are services that can provide helpful details on a vehicle’s collision history, maintenance history and odometer record.

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:21 pm April 2, 2018

3 Defensive Driving Tips That Could Save Your Life

Many jobs require employees to drive a company vehicle. While most drivers are cautious and attentive, accidents can occur without warning—even if the operator has years of experience.

When accidents happen, it can be incredibly costly for employers. What’s more, just one accident can cost employees their job or lead to serious, debilitating injuries.

One way to stay safe while you’re on the road for a job is through defensive driving. Being a defensive driver means driving to prevent accidents in spite of the actions of others or the presence of adverse driving conditions.

To avoid accidents through the use of defensive driving, do the following:

Remain on the lookout for hazards. Think about what may happen as far ahead of you as possible, and never assume that road hazards will resolve themselves before you reach them.
Understand the defense. Review potentially hazardous situations in your mind after you see them. This will allow you to formulate a reaction that will prevent an accident.
Act quickly. Once you see a hazard and decide upon a defense, you must act immediately. The sooner you act, the more time you will have to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

Defensive driving requires the knowledge and strict observance of all traffic rules and regulations applicable to the area you are driving in. It also means that you should be alert for illegal actions and driving errors made by others and be willing to make timely adjustments to your own driving to avoid an accident.

Keeping in mind the above tips will not only keep you safe on the job, but in your personal life as well.

Filed under: Auto — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:03 pm

Staged Accident Fraud

Staged accidents are a common type of insurance fraud. Often, dishonest drivers will maneuver innocent motorists into auto crashes. While your car may only suffer minor damages, fraudsters can make large claims for fake injuries or charge your auto insurance company for damage.

The following are some tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a staged auto accident:

• Call the police immediately if you’re in an accident.
• Report accident claims immediately. Don’t settle on-site with cash.
• Use medical, car repair and legal professionals you know and trust.
• Drive defensively and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

The best way to protect yourself after an accident occurs is to take detailed notes. The more information you have, the more equipped you are to fight a fraudulent claim. When possible, your notes should include driver’s license numbers, car insurance information, names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties involved in a crash.

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:03 pm February 21, 2018

2018 Impending Changes to the ISO Personal Auto Policy

Written by Denise Metz, Vice President Personal Risk Management, Partner

In California, insurance companies use some version of an Insurance Service Office (ISO) form. Most companies alter them in some fashion but because they are the base form used, it is important to know when there are changes. Keep in mind, some companies will adapt these changes while others may not. Below is a summary of the personal auto changes coming in 2018. To view all changes please visit the ISO website or contact our office.

1) Newly acquired auto:

a. ISO Current Form: Newly acquired vehicles are covered until the end of policy term if it is a replacement vehicle.
b. 2018 New ISO form: Must report within 14 days of purchase.

2) Endorsements:

a. Ride Sharing, Livery, etc.
i. ISO Current Form: Ride sharing, Livery, etc. is attached to ISO form by endorsement.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: This will now be part of the policy and not by endorsement.

b. Transportation Expense:
i. ISO Current Form: Provides $15 a day.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Higher limit will be available.

c. Named Non-Owner:
i. ISO Current Form: Only liability is available.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Will be able to obtain Comprehensive and Collision coverage.

3) Exclusions:

a. Custom Equipment:
i. ISO Current Form: Custom equipment and furnishing are excluded for pickups/trucks.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Custom equipment will be excluded for all vehicles not just pickups/trucks.

b. Racing:
i. ISO Current Form: Excluded only in a racing facility.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Broadens exclusion to include driver skill training/events.

c. Flying Car:
i. ISO Current Form: No current exclusion.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Exclusion included.

4) New Endorsements offered by ISO in 2018 (most companies already provide these):

a. Full Glass
b. Key replacement
c. Child Restraint
d. Vehicle Replacement Cost
e. Pet Injury
f. Significant other/Domestic Partners can be covered as insured
g. Other members of your household (live in friend, nanny, etc.) can be covered as insured

Have questions on how your policy could be affected? Contact us for assistance: 916-380-5300

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 12:59 am December 28, 2017

Auto Insurance Prices Likely to Keep Rising

Most lines of insurance cycle between soft and hard markets over a number of years, which has a direct impact on the price of insurance. The auto insurance market is currently hardening after many years of a soft market, which has resulted in higher prices for both commercial and personal auto policies.

Between 2011 and 2016, competition between auto insurance carriers created a soft, buyer-friendly market. Since then, however, the high cost of claims and increasing costs of vehicle repairs have contributed to a noticeable transition in the market.

Contact Warren G. Bender Co. today. We can provide you with resources to help you understand and save on auto insurance, including our new article, “Coverage Insights – The Hardening Auto Insurance Market.”

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:22 pm May 3, 2017