Self-Driving Cars and Auto Insurance

amigo_mga_self_driving_cars_and_auto_insuranceAuto insurance agencies know a lot about traffic, how it works, what causes it, and how to best ensure drivers based on factors like age, college GPA, income, and color of the vehicle. Traffic engineers know well that no matter what they do to direct and control traffic, human error is hard to account for. For example, we have the classic dilemma of when to merge in the event of a road closure or construction. Do you merge over as soon as you see that the road is closing soon, or do you wait until your lane is cut off to merge?

In his landmark work on traffic engineering entitled, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), Tom Vanderbilt helps readers understand the nuances of what makes drivers behave the way they do and how city planners, construction crews, navigation apps, and drivers themselves try to account for this in their day-to-day lives. From an unexpected demonstration to someone distracted by a song on the radio, it’s hard to account for human error when making plans that have to do with transportation.

What if we take the human driver out of the equation, though? For the most part, auto insurance covers the damage drivers cause to their own cars and to the people, vehicles, or other property involved in the accident. It’s been demonstrated that self-driving cars are not immune from getting into accidents and causing havoc. In 2016, a self-driving Tesla car was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. Who, then, bears the responsibility?

Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, which recently acquired Geico insurance, believes that the onus of protection will shift from drivers to those who manufacture and program the self-driving cars. Already the state of Michigan has passed laws that require the automakers to assume responsibility for any accident that occurred because of a self-driving car.

Since it’s common knowledge that most of the traffic issues that plague our day to day lives are the results of human error, many believe that automation will reduce the instance of accidents. However, if automakers are required to bear the responsibility for insuring these autonomous vehicles, they may experience a disincentive to produce them, since the costs would swell as the technology’s bugs get worked out. Thus, the speed of technology development would plateau and human-caused traffic accidents would continue to occur.

There are a lot more questions than answers right now regarding what will happen as cars are no longer controlled by fallible people. Insurance companies, automakers, and legislators will continue to debate where the burden belongs, but in the meantime, auto insurance will continue to cover must human error.

Insurance & Your Engagement

1In the wake of Valentine’s Day, Facebook is flooded with happy couples who’ve recently become engaged and need to start making wedding plans. With that new ring, though, comes a flood of insurance questions and potential policies you need to consider. Below are a few ways you can protect yourself, your spouse-to-be, and your big day.

Ring Insurance: Many insurance agencies offer policies specific to fine jewelry, including precious metals, rare gems, antique pieces, and famous costume pieces (for example, Beyonce’s golden crown). Some will even insure “smart” jewelry. For engagement rings in particular, it’s important to find a policy that protects you from damage, theft, and loss, as all of these are common for such a small yet valuable piece of jewelry. You can often insure the ring directly from the jeweler from whom you bought it, or you can take out a policy on it separately on your own insurance plan. Especially for beach proposals, engagement rings are easily lost in the sand, in a beach towel, or to the vast ocean, so be sure to protect yourself against losing such a priceless investment.

Wedding Day Insurance: Weddings are expensive, and the last thing you want is to lose all the money you put down because of an unforeseen accident. If, for instance, there’s inclement weather, a parent suddenly becomes very sick, or the venue abruptly becomes unusable. Before purchasing insurance, check with each vendor, as caterers often have their own insurance. Depending on your policy, wedding insurance usually covers the site, the weather, vendor no-shows, sickness, and military deployment. Unfortunately, though, wedding insurance policies don’t usually cover cold feet, so if you or your betrothed have a last minute change-of-heart, you may be out of luck covering the costs of the wedding.

Auto insurance: Once you’re married, you may combine your auto insurance into one policy. For couples under the age of 30, you could receive up to a 25% discount for getting married, since it demonstrates responsibility. Check with your insurance provider about the impacts of potentially combining your policies.

Health Insurance: There are more options for how to deal with health insurance once you’re married, and there are a lot of factors to consider. You could each just keep your individual insurance policies, or one of you could join the other’s policy. This might be tedious, but you and your betrothed need to sit down and consider the details of each of your insurance policies and how adding a spouse would affect the deductibles (which I’ve written about before) and out-of-pocket costs. You also need to consider what would happen if you decide to start a family and whose insurance would handle such an addition better.
There are lots of ways to protect yourself, your stuff, and the person you love when it comes to planning for a future together. Always read the fine print when deciding on a policy, and always think long term.

Car Insurance Coverage Limits: How To Pick The Right One For You

Car Insurance Coverage Limits- How To Pick The Right One For You

When it comes to your car insurance policy, you have quite a few options. It can be difficult to figure out which car insurance coverage limits are right for you. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into consideration. Here are a few things you’ll need to think about when deciding on the right car insurance coverage limits:

  1. Car Payments

You may be required by your loan or leasing company to add comprehensive and collision to your policy. The only thing you’ll need to decide on is your deductible, since the limits of these coverages are equal to the value of the car. You may also want loan/lease gap coverage. If your car is totaled while your insurance settlement is less than the amount you still owe, you may have to pay down a car you can no longer drive. Gap coverage will help bridge the gap between what you still owe and the value of your car.

  1. Assets

If you’re a homeowner with a lot of financial assets, you may want to increase your liability coverage limits above the legal minimums. If you’re in an accident that you caused and your liability limits are too low to cover your expenses, the other party may go after your assets in court. The higher your limits, the more you will be able to protect your assets. If you have a high net worth, you may want to get umbrella insurance in order to protect the assets you’ve attained.

  1. Spending Money

If you set your coverage limit high and your deductible low, you’ll only have to pay a small amount out of pocket after an accident or claim. When setting your coverage limits and deductibles, figure out the amount that you can comfortably afford.

  1. Health Insurance

If your health coverage does not pay for accident-related medical expenses, you may want to add medical payments coverage to your policy. Even if your health coverage does cover these kinds of expenses, your medical payments coverage could assist you in paying the health plan’s deductible. Make sure you look into your health insurance plan before figuring out how much medical coverage to add to your policy.

  1. Driving Ability

If you’re a cautious driver who rarely gets ticketed, you might want a higher deductible and a lower rate. If you’re not a careful driver, you’ll want to consider higher limits because they provide more protection.

  1. The Car You Drive

If you have a new car, you’ll want vehicle-protecting coverages like collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage helps cover damage to your own car while comprehensive coverage protects against theft and more. Those who drive older cars may benefit less from these types of coverage since repairs after an accident might barely exceed your deductible, so you’d be shouldering most of the cost anyway.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to getting the right coverage limit on your car insurance. If you think long and hard about these aspects, you’ll be able to make the correct choice for you.

When Should You Review Your Life Insurance Policy?

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A life insurance policy is something we all should have, but it isn’t something you should look at one time and let it go. As a policy that ensures the comfort of your loved ones that rely on your income or support after you pass away, you’ll want to ensure your policy is correct and up to date as possible. Your life insurance policy is actually something you will need to periodically check on, revise, and revisit as you move through life and make major changes.
But what are those changes that would call for a change in your life insurance policy?

Here are six major events that might call for an insurance change.

1. Change of Relationship Status

Now, we’re not talking about every time you go on a new date, but when you get married or divorced, you should take a look at your life insurance policy. If you’re getting married and your spouse will rely on your income, you may want to consider upping your policy. If a divorce happens and the same amount of policy money isn’t needed anymore, you can adjust it back down.

2. Having a Child

Just as marriage or divorce would influence your life insurance policy, so would having a child or bringing on another kind of dependent. For each child you have, you will want to continue to consider if you should up your life insurance policy. If you should pass away, you want to ensure your children are well taken care of. If there is someone out there who relies on your money to live, a good life insurance policy should be in place.

3. Buying a Home

If you’re buying a home that requires a mortgage, you’ll want your life insurance policy to cover the additional cost of the mortgage. If you have such a large debt to continue paying off, it will be placed on someone else in the event of your death. To prevent sending your spouse or children into a debt they can’t afford, ensure your life insurance can cover the cost.

4. Change of Employment

Your life insurance policy should reflect your income, so if you get a raise, a new job, or add another form of income in the form of a side business or part time job, you will want to adjust your life insurance. If your income declines, you may also want to consider checking your policy and ensuring the coverage you have is necessary. This is particularly important when you consider a spouse or children that rely on your income and what coverage they may need if you pass away.

5. Taking Out a Loan

Whether you’re taking out a loan for a car, education, or just to make another large purchase, you’ll want to take a look at your life insurance policy. Depending on the size of the loan and the amount of time you believe it will take to pay the loan off, you may want to up your insurance policy. Similar to point #3, you don’t want to leave your debts in the hand of someone else if you should pass away before they can be paid off.

6. Changes of Beneficiary

Aside from possibly changing the amount of your life insurance policy, you’ll also want to continue to address who the beneficiary of the account is. This will usually change as you go through life. While it may start out as a parent or sibling, you will usually want to change it when you get married. As you get older and have children, you will probably also want to consider adding them to the beneficiaries list. In the event that your main beneficiary passes away before you, you will want to readdress your life insurance policy and make changes.

Your life insurance policy is one of the most important things you should consider. If you have a spouse, children, or other dependent that relies on your income and care, leaving behind a life insurance policy that ensures they don’t need to worry can be a bit of comfort in an extremely tough and confusing time.

You never know what is going to happen in life, so your life insurance policy is not something you want to let go ignored. Making periodic revisions to your life insurance policy can ensure you stay up to date.

5 Facebook Tips For Insurance Agents

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These days, if your business isn’t using social media, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to strengthen your relationships with policyholders. This is especially true for industries that have a longer sales cycle such as insurance. Acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. But retaining people in the digital age is even more difficult. It requires regular communication that is relevant, engaging, and valuable. Facebook is one of the best platforms to do this. If you’re just getting started with Facebook, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help insurance agents use Facebook in the most effective way possible:

1) Look Over Your Profile Information

Most people and companies fill out their profile information when they first sign up for Facebook and don’t look at it again for years. Read over your profile information to make sure that it is personable and current, and that it shares pertinent information about your business.

2) Choose Your Profile Picture Carefully

A profile picture is extremely important because it will be connected to everything you post. Make sure to use a professional-looking photo that is high quality. Both personal headshots and company logos work well as profile pictures. If you use a headshot, make sure you’re easy to recognize, and if you use a logo, make sure any text is legible.

3) Include Images In Your Posts

Facebook posts with images receive 2.3 times more engagement than text posts. What’s more, posts with images are 40 times more likely to be shared. To find images for your posts, either use stock photographs or take your own photos. Just make sure the images are high quality.

4) Post Important Information

One thing that you have that your policyholders want is knowledge. You’re an expert in insurance, an area that many people find complex and confusing. Your Facebook page is the optimal place to share bite-sized pieces of insurance information. This will make people feel as if they’re learning something new and getting the inside scoop. These are the types of posts that many people like and share. If they ever need someone who knows a lot about insurance, they’ll turn to you.

5) Keep Track Of Your Peers

If your page has 100 likes or more, you have the option of seeing the page insights of your peers and competitors. Click on the “Insights” tab and scroll down to the section titled “Pages to Watch.” Then, click “Add Pages” and choose at least five pages that you want to keep track of. Then click “Watch Page” for each so that you can compare your number of posts, likes, and engagement on a weekly basis with each of these pages. If you notice that one of these pages has had a very engaged week, visit their page to see what they’ve done and what you can do differently. Another way to stay on top of your peers is imply to like their pages, as well as relevant organizations and publications. This will help you finds articles, videos and other content to repurpose.
Using Facebook for professional purposes can be tricky. But if you follow these steps, your insurance company will be looking great on Facebook in no time.

5 Reasons To Consider A Job In The Insurance Industry

1. Great Vacation Time and Benefits: Most insurance professionals get 15 to 25 vacation days to enjoy away from the office! Just think of all the travelling you can do in 25 days! Insurance professionals also tend to receive great health, life, and dental insurance plans, along with discounts on their home and auto insurance.

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2. 401k and Pension Plans: Most insurance companies offer 401k plans, and many still offer pensions, which seem to be disappearing quickly outside of the financial industry. Having the safety of a 401k and pension plan allow you to focus completely on doing a great job today knowing that your financial future is taken care of.

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3. The Need for Up-and-Coming, Ambitious Leaders (Like YOU): Because of the aging workforce and many insurance professionals preparing for retirement, there is a great need for strong leaders—which, in turn, presents a tremendous opportunity for career advancement. Insurance is the place to be for young go-getters!

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4. A Recession Proof Industry: People will always need insurance. Even with recent years’ downturn in the economy, the demand for insurance professionals has only grown. As long as risks exist, they will need to be managed by the insurance industry, regardless of what the stock market or real estate markets are doing.

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5. Not a Flat Industry: There are numerous levels in an insurance company, which means if you work hard, there is ample room for growth and development in your career. For many entry level roles, it is easy to feel like you’re stuck at the bottom of the food chain with no forecast of moving up. However, the insurance industry provides an environment where growth is inevitable.

The insurance hierarchy often looks like this: You →  Supervisor →  Manager → Associate Director → Director → Assistant Vice President → Vice President → Senior Vice President → COO → CEO. This means there’s potentially 10 levels to get promoted to!

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There is no better feeling than helping others and when you work in the insurance industry, helping people is what it’s all about. In insurance, you have the opportunity to help people file their claims, repair their vehicles, get their medical bills taken care of, and rebuild their lives after major catastrophes. You are making a difference in people’s lives — and there are simply no words for how good that feels.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Auto-Insurance

If you’re thinking about purchasing auto insurance, which we highly recommend you do, there are many factors that determine the price and what you are getting. Here are 5 questions you should always ask yourself before you decide on auto insurance, that may actually help lower the insurance rate:

How much do you drive each week?

This plays an important role in deciphering whether or not you should be taking public transportation to work or wherever you go on a consistent basis. Taking public transportation often helps lower your car insurance.

Can you offer a higher deductible?

Often times, if a person can pay a higher deductible, he or she will pay a lower price each month, which can end up saving you a lot of money in the long-run.

Do you have a good credit score?

This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you – bad credit often means you will be charged at a higher rate. This is mostly because auto insurance companies predict that if someone has bad credit, they will probably file a claim after an accident.

How old is your car?

Older cars will generally have higher insurance costs due to safety reasons. If you drive a car that is over 15-20 years old, you might want to think about dropping collision coverage because the monthly premium will most likely be more than the replacement value.

Do you work for a professional group or organization?

Check to see if your company has insurance discounts to offer you – this can save you a lot of money. Most companies will have some sort of employee benefits that you might be able to use for auto insurance. Always double check.