Who Do You Need to Include on Your Auto Insurance Policy?

Do all my family members need to be on my car insurance?backseat shot of someone driving

When you are applying for auto insurance, your insurer will ask you to list all licensed drivers in your household.  But do you have to list everyone, or can you omit some family members from your coverage?  Here’s what you need to know.

  • Who should be listed?

Generally, anyone living under your roof should be listed on your auto insurance policy.  While these people might not drive your car regularly, they might have to depending on the circumstances.  So, all licensed drivers, including teens, elderly adults, roommates, and significant others, should be listed on your insurance policy.

  • Does adding driver affect my premiums?

Adding a new driver to your auto insurance policy may cause your premiums to increase.  For instance, newly licensed drivers are considered risky to insure.  Subsequently, adding this driver to your policy will increase your rates.  Additionally, adding someone with a history of bad or irresponsible driving can also cause your insurance rates to increase.  If you are worried about this rate increase, then you do have an option.  You can choose to list the high-risk driver as an excluded driver.  This means that the individual is not permitted to drive your car under any circumstances.  If the excluded driver does get into an accident while operating your vehicle, then your insurance provider will refuse coverage for the event.

  • I there anyone in my household I don’t have to add?

You do not have to list children on your auto policy.  However, once your child receives their drivers license, they will need to be officially listed.  Some insurance companies will even ask you to list unlicensed drivers on your policy if they are adults.  Speak to your insurance provider to find out the details of your coverage requirements.

This is what you need to know about listing additional drivers on your auto insurance policy.  Do you need more help with your car coverage?  If so, then contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your auto insurance needs.

What Does it Mean to Have a Clean Driving Record?

Do you have a clean driving record?person driving

When you go to secure auto insurance, the insurance provider will look at your driving record to determine your rates.  Typically, the cleaner your record, the lower your rates will be.  But what exactly constitutes a clean driving record and how can you achieve one?  Here’s what you need to know.

 What does a clean driving record look like?

Generally, insurers consider a clean driving record one that is free of any accidents, moving violations, or points.  However, it’s important to know that some insurers will have different definitions.  For instance, some insurers might argue that you have a clean driving record if you have no claims history.  Other insurers might be willing to overlook small moving violations, particularly if you only have a one or two.

How far back does a driving record go?

Typically, driving records show every violation that you have received over the past seven to ten years.  Smaller violations, such as speeding tickets, will disappear from your record after five to seven years.  More serious violations, such as a hit and run or DUI, often remain on your record for the full ten years.

Can I remove “points” from my record?

Points are added to your driving record by your state’s DMV as a penalty for committing traffic violations.  If you amass too many points in a given time period, then you risk having your license revoked.  When insurance providers look at your driving record, they will be able to see the points you have accumulated.  Fortunately, there are ways to remove these points from your record.  For instance, many states will allow you to enroll in a defensive driving course to remove points from your record.  Other states will remove points after paying a fine.

This is what you need to know about having a clean driving record.  Do you have more questions about your driving record or your auto coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your car coverage needs today.

Suggestions for Filing Your Home Insurance Claim

Make your claim process proceed more smoothly.insurance claim forms covered in coins

For many homeowners, experiencing property damage is a nightmare situation.  When you think about the insurance claims process, the situation seems even worse.  Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that your claim proceeds smoothly and efficiently.  Here’s what you can do to improve the homeowners insurance claims process.

  • Report the Claim Promptly

Most homeowners insurance policies include a clause that requires you to report claims “promptly.”  Generally, this means reporting a claim within 24-hours.  Please keep in mind that for claims related to a break-in or theft, you need to contact the police and file a report before attempting to make a home insurance claim.  When you file these types of claims, you will need to provide information on the officer you spoke to as well as your case number.

  • Take Pictures of the Damage

Before you contact your insurer, you need to take pictures of the damage.  This is a great way to document the damage and can help your claims adjuster determine just how extensive repairs or remediation efforts will be.  Having pictures ready will help your claim proceed much more easily.

  • Provide a List of Stolen or Damaged Property

To ensure that you are receiving adequate compensation, you will need to provide a list of all the personal possessions that were stolen or damaged during a claim event.  While this isn’t a big deal if only one or two items were affected, this can be a daunting task is your home was completely destroyed.  This is why it’s important to create and update your home inventory.  A home inventory is a comprehensive list of all the things that you own, how much they cost, where you go them, and so on.  Having this document ready will help you in the event that you need to file an extensive personal property insurance claim.  Work on this document now to ensure that you are ready if disaster strikes.

Taking these steps will help you simplify the homeowners insurance claim process.  Do you have additional questions regarding your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

How Life Insurance Serves You in Different Situations

Life insurance can do more than you think.family walking in grass

While most people only think about getting life insurance when they start a family, there are many contexts in which it pays to have this coverage.  Here are some of the different situations in which having life insurance coverage will benefit you.

  • When You’re Young and Single

Many people do not consider life insurance when they are young and single.  However, securing this coverage early in life has some definite benefits.  For instance, securing life insurance coverage will ensure that your parents or other loved ones are not forced to pay off your debts, such as student loans or credit card debt.  Additionally, your life insurance can also cover the cost of your funeral and burial, so your family does not need to worry about this considerable expense.

  • When You Get Married

When you get married, you now have a partner who is depending on your salary.  Even if you are both working, many couples need two incomes to make ends meet.  This is why you should consider securing life insurance.  Getting this coverage will ensure that your spouse has coverage for your lost income and well as coverage for your debts and final costs.

  • When You Buy a Home

When you buy a home, you will be saddled with a mortgage.  If you were to die unexpectedly, then your family might not be able to keep up with your regular mortgage payments.  As a result, they could risk losing their home.  Fortunately, you can secure life insurance coverage to take care of recurring financial responsibilities, such as your home mortgage.

  • When Your Employer Offers Your Life Insurance

If your employer offers you life insurance benefits, you should also secure a personal life insurance policy to supplement this employer-offered coverage.  Taking this step will ensure that you do not lose your life insurance coverage if you switch jobs or lose your position.  Rather than leaving your life insurance coverage in limbo, make sure you secure a policy separate from your employer.

  • When You Own a Business

If you own your own business or own a business along with a partner, then you have a whole company and team of employees relying on you.  This is why you should consider securing a separate life insurance policy to take care of your business-related financial obligations.

These are some of the different situations in which it pays to have life insurance.  Do you have more questions about your life insurance coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Happens During a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

What you need to know about life insurance medical exams.person having their blood pressure being taken

When you go through the process of applying for life insurance, the insurance provider may ask you to complete a medical examination.  Many people are nervous about this exam because they are not sure what to expect.  To alleviate your fears, here are some of the important things to know about life insurance medical exams.

Exam Procedures

Life insurance medical exams are usually divided into two portions, a verbal questionnaire administered by a medical professional and a testing section.  During the questionnaire, you will be asked about your existing medical conditions, your family’s medical history, current medications that you are taking, and other health-related things.  During the second part of the exam, various samples will be collected for testing.  For instance, you will provide a urine and blood sample so the medical professional can screen for conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and so on.  Common procedures and tests include the following:

  • Measurement of your weight and height
  • Measurement of your blood pressure and pulse
  • Blood work (to check things such as cholesterol, glucose, protein, and HIV)
  • Urinalysis (to check things such as HIV, protein, glucose, creatinine, and cocaine)

Exam Location

Despite what you might think, you do not actually have to go to a hospital or medical center for your medical exam.  Oftentimes, examinations are done in your own home.  The medical professional administering the questionnaire and the tests will travel to you.

Exam Duration

The questionnaire portion of the exam takes the longest, usually around 20 minutes.  Depending on your medical conditions and family history, this portion of the exam can take longer because the medical professional might have follow-up questions.  The sample-collection part of the exam only takes a few minutes.

This is what you need to know about your life insurance medical examination.  Do you need help securing the right life insurance to meet your needs?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

What to Know About Insuring Rental Cars

What’s the best way to secure auto insurance coverage for rental cars?man holding toy car and car keys

As a responsible driver, securing comprehensive coverage for your rental car is a matter of great importance.  While you might be tempted to bite the bullet and secure coverage through the car rental company, this may not be necessary.  Your personal auto policy might already provide some of the coverages that you need.  Here’s what you need to know about securing coverage for rental cars.

Personal Insurance and Rental Car Coverage

Whether or not you need to secure coverage through the car rental company depends on the specifics of your personal auto policy.  In many cases, car insurance policies will extend coverage to rental vehicles.  For instance, if your personal policy includes comprehensive and liability insurance, then this coverage will likely apply to rental cars as well.

However, keep in mind that the value of the rental car will impact your coverage.  If you are planning on renting a luxury vehicle or a car that’s worth more than your personal vehicle, then your existing insurance will not be adequate.  In this case, you should supplement your existing coverage with the insurance offered by the rental company.

Rental Company Insurance Offerings

Typically, car rental companies offer four main types of coverage: liability, personal accident insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver, and personal effects coverage.

  • Liability– Covers the cost of third-party injuries or property damage that you may be responsible for. As your personal auto policy already offers liability insurance, you probably do not need to secure this coverage from your car rental company.
  • Personal accident insurance– Covers your medical expenses should you be injured in an accident. If you have personal injury protection or medical payments on your existing auto policy, then you do not need to secure this coverage from your car rental company.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver– Rather than an insurance product, this waiver transfers financial responsibility from you to the car rental company in the event that the rental car is damaged or stolen. If you are renting a car, then it’s recommended to secure this waiver.
  • Personal effects coverage– Covers the personal items that are stolen out of your rental car. Before you secure this coverage from your car rental company, review your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy.  In some cases, these policies will offer coverage for items stolen out of your rental car.

This is what you should know about insuring rental cars.  Do you have further questions regarding your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your auto insurance needs today.

Swimming Pools and Home Insurance

How building a pool will affect your homeowners insurance.child swimming in pool

While you might love the idea of having a personal pool in your yard, it’s important to consider this decision carefully.  One of the things that you need to take into account is how installing a pool will affect your home insurance risks and rates.  Here are some of the insurance considerations that you should make.

  • Personal Liability Considerations

If you have a pool on your property, you will automatically be responsible for the wellbeing of anybody who uses it, regardless of whether you have given them permission or not.  As thousands of pool-related injuries and deaths occur every year, it’s important to understand that having a pool on your property increases your personal liability risks significantly.

Because swimming pools increase the homeowners personal liability risks, standard coverage limits might not be adequate.  While a standard home insurance policy might offer $100,000 in personal liability coverage, a homeowner with a pool is recommended to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.  In some cases, homeowners will need to secure an umbrella policy to get even more coverage.  Because higher coverage limits translate into higher insurance costs, it’s important to speak to your insurer to see how installing a pool will increase your premiums.

  • Property Damage Considerations

When you have a pool on your property, your home policy will cover the damages that it sustains.  However, your coverage will differ depending on what your insurer classifies your pool as.  For instance, your insurer might include your pool in the replacement cost value of your policy.  As the average in-ground pool costs $20,000 or more to install, it will increase the value of your home.  This means that you will have to increase your replacement cost value, leading to an increase in your home insurance costs.

Your insurer might also consider your pool as an external structure.  In this case, your pool would have to be declared and listed in your policy.  Most home policies cover external structures up to 10% of the overall policy replacement cost value.  This means that, if the replacement cost of your home is $100,000, then your policy would cover up to $10,000 of damage to external structures such as your pool.  As this will not be enough to cover the full value of your home’s pool, you may need to purchase additional external structures coverage.

Consider how a pool will affect your homeowners insurance before building one in your yard.  Do you have questions about your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Constitutes Insurance Fraud?

Learn more about insurance fraud.scale and gavel

While telling a small lie or concealing the truth doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it is when it comes to your insurance.  This is because anything less than truthful constitutes insurance fraud.  Here’s what you need to know about this illegal act and why you should avoid it.

  • What is Insurance Fraud?

In general terms, insurance fraud is lying to an insurance company in an attempt to receive compensation or undeserved benefits.  Insurance fraud can take different forms.  For instance, lying on your insurance application, exaggerating your damages during an insurance claim, or making a fake claim are all instances of fraud.

  • Understanding the Different Types of Fraud

Legally, there are two main types of fraud: hard fraud and soft fraud.  A person committing hard fraud might fake an injury, theft, or accident and file a fake claim with their insurer in hopes of receiving compensation.  Soft fraud is like a smaller scale version of hard fraud.  A person committing soft fraud might have a legitimate insurance claim, but they exaggerate their damages in the hopes of receiving additional monetary compensation.  While soft fraud doesn’t seem as bad as hard fraud, it’s important to understand that it is still highly illegal and punishable by various penalties.

  • Consequences of Insurance Fraud

If you are caught committing insurance fraud, then the penalties can be very severe.  While soft fraud is considered a misdemeanor in many states, it is still punishable by fines, probation, community service, and even imprisonment.  Hard fraud is always considered a felony, and the perpetrator can be charged with over a year of jail time, major fines, and restitution payable to the insurance company.

This is what you need to know about insurance fraud.  Do you have further questions regarding your personal insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

Ask These Insurance Questions When House Hunting

Insurance considerations for your new home.keys on a wooden home keychain

If you are house hunting, then you probably have a lot on your mind.  However, one of the things that you cannot overlook is the home’s various risks and how this will influence your homeowners insurance.  Before you close on a property, ask these insurance questions about the property.

  • What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems?

When you are having a prospective home inspected, ask your inspector to pay particular attention to the state of the home’s plumbing and electrical systems.  Poorly maintained plumbing systems can lead to major damage events such as flooding and water damage.  Outdated electrical systems increase the property’s chance of electrical fires and, in extreme cases, explosions.  If the home you are looking at has poorly maintained, unsafe, or outdated plumbing and electrical systems, then it will cost more to insure.

  • If the home at risk for wind damage?

Homes located in certain areas (such as tornado and hurricane-prone areas) face a higher risk for wind damage.  While standard home insurance policies will provide some coverage for wind damage, it may not be enough to address your risk completely.  As a result, you may need to invest in additional private or state-run insurance that is specifically designed to cover the damage caused by windstorms.  Securing this additional coverage comes at a cost, so make sure you consider this before closing on a home.

  • What is the property’s flooding risk?

All standard home insurance policies explicitly exclude coverage for flood damage.  This means that, if the home you are looking at is in a high-flood-risk zone, then you would need to secure supplementary insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Paying for this insurance on top of your regular homeowners insurance will result in considerable costs, so make sure you consider a property’s flood risk before you make an offer on the home.

These are some of the insurance considerations you should make before closing on a home.  Do you need assistance with securing the right coverage for your new home?  If so, then contact us at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is ready to get you covered today.

Why You Need to Secure the Right Amount of Car Coverage

The importance of securing auto insurance to meet your needs.paper car cutout in front of stacks of coins

When you go to secure auto insurance, it can be tricky to choose your coverage limits.  On the one hand, securing insufficient coverage could leave you at risk for financial ruin.  However, securing too much coverage is unnecessary and could also break the bank.  This is why securing coverage to address all your real-life risks is so important.

  • Why Insufficient Insurance is Bad

Obviously, the big risk of not carrying enough auto insurance is that you will end up having to pay for claim costs out-of-pocket.  For instance, if you were carrying insurance minimums and you got into an accident, then your insurer would only cover a portion of your accident costs.  You would be left to cover the remaining expenses on your own, potentially jeopardizing your personal assets in the process.

  • Why Too Much Insurance is Bad

The main problem with carrying excessive auto insurance is that it will be extremely expensive.  While you can rest easy knowing that your policy will cover virtually anything that comes your way, chances are you don’t actually need all the coverage that you are paying for.  Rather than increasing all your policy limits and securing every additional coverage option available, it’s far smarter and more cost-effective to assess your risks and secure enough auto coverage to fully address them.

  • Securing the Right Amount of Auto Insurance

Ultimately, the best strategy is securing enough coverage to meet your needs, while making sure that you’re not going overboard.  Because every driver has different risks and personal factors, there is no specific answer for how much coverage you need.  This is why it’s best to work with an experienced auto insurer to determine your needs.  A good insurance agent will weigh your lifestyle, they type of vehicle you own, and your various risks to help you figure out how much coverage you need.

This is why drivers need to avoid under and over-insuring themselves.  Do you need help securing the right car coverage to meet your needs?  If so, then contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services to get started today.