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Protect your business in three easy steps

A business is only as safe as the tools it uses. One of the best tools a business can use to protect its assets is commercial auto insurance.

Understanding insurance can be tricky. One of the first steps toward making an informed decision is to understand coverage and service options. Here are three easy steps to help figure out your commercial auto insurance needs:

1. Choose an insurer with the right combination of price and service. Insurance isn’t just about price. It’s about service, too. How are claims handled? How long will it take to get your vehicle back on the road? Can you get questions answered outside of business hours or online? Know the answers to these questions. Your time is money.

2. Research your policy options. Having the right coverage is important. A standard commercial auto policy generally includes coverage for:

•injuries or damage that you cause;

•your driver’s injuries;

•injuries and damages caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers; and

•damage to or theft of your vehicle(s).

When it comes to damage that you cause, you may be required to purchase certain limits based on who you work for. For instance, if you work for certain home builders, you may be required to carry $1 million in liability limits. Consider how much you are willing to pay out of pocket if your liability in an accident is more than your policy limits.

3. Know how the policy is priced. You can control your insurance costs. To get the best rates, run motor vehicle reports on potential drivers. If you let your insurance lapse, you’ll probably pay more for your next policy. Ask about discounts, including paid-in-full and renewal discounts.

Just like your customers rely on your professional skills, call a professional independent insurance agent who will be in your corner, researching and recommending the best options.

“Commercial auto insurance is complicated, but it is vital to protecting your livelihood,” says Bill Kampf with The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, one of the largest commercial auto insurers in the country.

How To Save on Commercial Auto Insurance In The OFF-Season

Ever mowed a lawn in January? Or plowed a snowy driveway on a hot July day? If you own and operate a seasonal business, chances are you aren’t working in the off-season, so the insurance you carry should be different than what you carry in-season.

Leading commercial auto insurers like Progressive offer seasonal insurance for businesses like landscapers, snowplow drivers, ice cream truck owners, and more. These coverages allow you to customize your commercial auto insurance based on when your business is running on all cylinders — and when it’s not.

Progressive offers these tips for getting the most out of your policy in the off-season:

  • If your vehicle will be parked during the off-season, you may think you should cancel that vehicle’s insurance during that time. But if you’d like to protect your vehicle and still save a little money, just switch your insurance to a Comprehensive-only policy. This will give you basic protection against incidents like vandalism, theft, falling tree branches and hail.A Comprehensive-only policy also gives you the bonus of having continuous insurance coverage. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to get a new policy when in-season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.
  • If you plan to drive your work truck or other vehicles for personal use during the off-season, let your insurance carrier know. They can adjust your policy to reflect personal use, which can be less expensive while still providing coverage.

Claims handling capability is the most important feature we sell our commercial customers. Progressive consistently proves superior at settling commercial claims quickly. CallLockridge Agency at (734) 476-8818 for a free quote on your commercial vehicles today.

Seven Commercial Vehicle Insurance Myths Debunked

By Ryan Furmick, business auto product manager, Progressive Commercial

Your vehicles are the backbone that keeps your business up and running. But when it comes to the insurance for those vehicles, there may be some misconceptions floating around out there. For example, you might have been told that it’s okay to cancel your vehicle insurance in the off-season, or that all of your drivers are automatically covered by your policy.

To help you get to the facts about commercial auto insurance, we’ve collected some of the more widely-held misconceptions and uncovered the truth about them–along with some tips on how to make sure you have the right coverages for your business.

  1. Myth: It’s cheaper to cancel your insurance if you have a seasonal business.

Fact: Not necessarily. If you cancel your insurance policy, your stored vehicles won’t be protected. A Comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for a business that doesn’t need liability coverage during certain months, but needs basic protection against incidents, such as vandalism, theft, falling tree branches, hail, etc. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during off-season.

Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance which may save you money in the long-run. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to purchase a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies ask for proof of continuous coverage to get you the best rate.

  1. Myth: All commercial vehicle insurance companies use their own claims adjusters.

Fact: Most companies use part-time or contract adjusters to handle commercial vehicle claims, which can slow down the time it takes to get your vehicle back on the road and in business. Progressive handles 100 percent of its commercial vehicle insurance claims with its own staff of in-house commercial insurance experts, making sure claims are processed faster than other insurers that outsource this work.

  1. Myth:  You must pay your insurance premium in full up-front.

Fact:  This isn’t always the case.  Some insurance companies offer payment plans that allow your insurance premium to be paid in installments, with very little initial payment.  Keep in mind that you might qualify for a discount if you pay your policy premium in full up-front; however, your carrier or agent may also have other bill plan options available to help you manage your cash flow. Progressive, for example, offers several bill plans, including low initial payments and no interest financing

  1. Myth:  Your employees are covered when they drive your business vehicles.

Fact: Some vehicle insurance companies will only extend coverage to drivers who are specifically named on the policy.  Make sure your insurer allows “permissive use,” which means that all of your drivers are covered as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.

  1. Myth: It’s cheaper to buy all of your business insurance products from the same company.

Fact: You need a wide range of coverages to protect your business, from commercial vehicle insurance and general liability to workers’ compensation. While it might be easier to buy all of these products from the same company, you could save big bucks by buying your policies from separate providers. Shop around to find the best deal, or ask your local agent for quotes from several different companies.

  1. Myth: All insurance companies offer 24/7 service.

Fact: Many insurance companies are only available during regular office hours, which can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.

  1. Myth or Fact

Wonder if one of your perceptions about vehicle insurance is myth or fact? Call theLockridge Agency.  We can provide answers and help you determine which coverages are right for your business.

Ryan Furmick is a business auto product manager for Progressive Commercial.  Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance. 

Seven Shopping Strategies For New Car Buyers

New car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience stressful and tedious. Either way, there’s a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent).

Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you’re turned on or turned off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, “expert” reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely pays to approach car buying strategically.

So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just keep these strategies, courtesy of Lockridge Agency, in mind:

1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?

2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a “cash buyer” gives you an advantage when you do finally meet with the dealership’s financing person.

4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you’ll drive every day.

5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help you negotiate the best deal.

6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales tax.

7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you’ve ordered are included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.

Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle’s total cost.

Wise car buyers know to shop around for insurance and find out how costs compare. They also know to visit an independent insurance agency – like Lockridge Agency. We can check with several companies to find the best combination of coverage and price.

Choosing the right vehicle insurance company

Ten questions to ask your agent

 

By Ryan Furmick, business auto product manager, Progressive Commercial

Your vehicles are the backbone that keeps your business up and running. So when it comes to insurance for those vehicles, make sure that you’re covered by an insurance company that fits your business needs – because the last thing you want when you have a claim is to find out you have insufficient coverage.

When you’re working with a local agent to build your policy, make sure to ask these ten questions to help you decide which carrier is right for your business.

Coverages

1) Are all of my drivers covered, even if they’re not listed on my policy?

Ask your insurance company what their policy is for covering employees who drive your business vehicles.  Some vehicle insurance companies will only extend coverage to drivers who are specifically named on the policy. So, every time you give the keys to one of your vehicles to a new driver, you would need to call your insurer and add them to the policy or else they wouldn’t be covered in case of an accident.

Some insurers, like Progressive, allow “permissive use,” which means that all of your drivers are covered as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.

2) Are my employees’ personal vehicles covered if they get into an accident while running a business errand? What about rental cars?

In many cases, rental cars and employee vehicles aren’t covered under a standard commercial auto insurance policy. And if one of those vehicles is damaged in an accident, you could be liable.

If your business often uses rental vehicles, or if you send employees on business errands in their personal vehicles, consider adding Hired Auto, Non-Owned Auto or Any Auto Coverage to your policy.

3) I’m a seasonal business and don’t need full coverage in my off months.  Can I move to a Comprehensive-only policy in slow months?

Absolutely. A Comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for businesses that don’t need liability coverage during certain months, but want basic protection against incidents, such as vandalism, theft, falling tree branches, hail, etc. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during off-season.

Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance. If you were to drop your insurance completely, you might pay significantly more to purchase a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.

4) What can you recommend to increase the safety of my drivers and to lower my premiums?

Many larger independent agents that specialize in fleets can recommend driver training programs specifically designed for your industry.  These programs can help increase the safety of your drivers and, in some cases, lower your insurance premium.

Claims

5) What kind of service can I expect if I have a claim?

Find out how quickly, on average, your insurer resolves claims. The faster they take care of your claim, the faster you can get your vehicle back to work.

One thing that can affect turnaround time is whether your insurer uses full-, part-time or contract claims adjusters. Some companies use part-time or contract adjusters to handle commercial vehicle claims, which can slow down the process.

Progressive handles 100 percent of commercial vehicle insurance claims, even heavy trucks, with its own staff of in-house commercial insurance experts, making sure claims are processed faster than other insurers that outsource this work.

6) When I have a claim, is there anything I can do to get my vehicle back on the road quickly?

Even if the accident isn’t your fault, report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible. They can work with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to help resolve the claim and get your vehicles repaired quickly.

Additionally, carry an accident information kit in each of your vehicles to make it easy for your drivers to capture insurance, driver and witness information following an accident. Most fleet safety companies and local agents have these readily available.

Customer Service

7) Do you provide help with state and federal filings?

Some commercial auto insurers won’t cover vehicles that require filings, while others simply don’t have the capability to help you get the filings your business needs.

Insurers like Progressive can leverage their truck insurance expertise to provide customers with filings assistance, which can save you time.

8) Do you offer 24/7 service?

Many insurance companies are only available during regular office hours, which can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.

9) Will you shop my policy on a regular basis?

Although it’s easier to stay with the same insurance company than shop around for new coverages, ask your agent to regularly quote your policy with other carriers to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.

In addition to vehicle insurance, you may need a wider range of additional coverages to protect your business, from general liability to workers’ compensation. While it might be easier to buy all of these products from the same company, you could save big bucks by buying your policies from separate providers.

10) What are my payment plan options? Do I have to pay my entire premium up front?

Some insurers have significant finance charges associated with their bill plans or don’t offer flexible payment schedules. Look for companies that offer flexible pay plans, including low initial payments and no finance charges. For example, Progressive offers plans that start with as little as 8.3 percent down.

Have a few questions of your own? Call the Lockridge Agency. We can provide the answers and help you determine which insurer and which coverages are right for your business.

Ryan Furmick is a business auto product manager for Progressive.  Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance. 

Get the right insurance for your trucks—and save money, too

Five things you should consider before your next renewal

 

By Andy Fulford, product manager, Progressive

Your vehicle insurance could be as much as 40 percent of your total operating budget.  A Regular policy review is essential in making sure you have the right insurance for your truck—and your business. Plus, you could save big buck if you qualify for additional discounts.

To get started, ask yourself these five questions—then give your local agent a call.

1.    Are all of my employees covered when they drive my trucks, even if they’re not listed on my policy?

You should always list employees who regularly drive your vehicles. Ask your insurance company if it covers temporary drivers as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.

Some insurance companies will only cover drivers who are named on the policy. So, if you regularly employ temporary workers, you need to call your insurer and add them to the policy every time they drive to ensure they’ll be covered in an accident.

Permissive use policies don’t require you to add temporary workers.

2.    Will my policy pay to repair my employees’ personal vehicles if they get into an accident while running a business errand?

If you often send employees on business errands in their personal cars or trucks, or, if you use rental vehicles, consider adding optional coverages to your policy to protect those vehicles. In many cases, a standard commercial auto insurance policy won’t cover damages in case of an accident. Your agent or insurance company can walk you through all of your options.

3.    Should I maintain my policy during the off-season if I’m not using my truck?

When the season’s over, consider switching to Comprehensive-only coverage instead of canceling your policy altogether. This coverage protects your vehicles against incidents like vandalism or hail that can happen when they’re sitting for long periods during the off-season.

If you do decide to cancel your Liability insurance, check with the Department of Motor Vehicles first. There may be some additional steps you need to take to comply with the insurance laws in your state.

4.    How quickly does my insurance company resolve claims?

Find out how long, on average, it takes your insurer to resolve claims. The faster they take care of your claim, the faster you can get back to work.

Also, ask if your insurance will cover a rental vehicle or provide downtime payments.

That way, if your truck’s out of commission, your business will stay profitable.

5.    What can I do to control my insurance expenses?

Discounts can make a big difference, especially with commercial insurance. Progressive offers several, like an experienced business owner discount and a discount if you have a General Liability or Business Owner’s Policy. Other ways that you can save include increasing your deductibles and paying your premium in full.

Andy Fulford is a product manager for Progressive. Progressive, in business since 1937, offers products and services that simplify buying and using auto insurance and is the #1 truck insurer in the U.S.

Using your personal vehicle for business?

Not all auto insurance is the same. A personal auto insurance policy generally won’t cover damage to your car if you’re using it for business purposes.

Even if your personal policy has “business-use” coverage, you may find yourself at a loss when an accident happens, especially if your liability limits are not high enough to cover the damage. Make sure you’re protected.

Call your insurance company or independent agent and ask these questions:

  • How do you define “commercial use?” Some insurers may simply define it as transporting goods for compensation or a fee. That could include services like:
    • pizza and newspaper delivery;
    • catering;
    • door-to-door consulting services;
    • landscaping or snowplowing services; or
    • day care/church van services.

Even real estate agents may qualify. Fall in to one of these categories? Consider a commercial vehicle policy.

Here are some questions to ask to determine if commercial auto insurance is right for you.

  • What are my liability limits? In general,a commercial auto policy can offer higher liability limits. Larger vehicles, like delivery vans, can cause more damage than passenger cars.
  • Does my personal policy cover me for issues specific to my business? For example, if you have a trailer that damages another vehicle while on a job, a personal liability policy may not cover the repairs. A commercial policy will.
  • Do I have employees who drive my vehicles? In general, if other people drive your vehicles for work, you need a commercial auto policy.

You also a need commercial auto policy if your vehicle hauls tools or equipment weighing more than 500 pounds, makes deliveries, or requires filings for interstate for for-hire trucking businesses.

We can help you better understand business needs and put together a package that meets your needs.  Call Us!

Truck Insurance Myths Debunked

By Mike Miller, product marketing director, Progressive

Your truck is the backbone that keeps your business up and running. But when it comes to insuring your truck, it can be difficult to distinguish insurance facts from myths. And buying insurance without knowing the facts might cost you big bucks in damages or downtime.

We’ve compiled a number of truck insurance myths and facts. Use them to make sure you have the right insurance coverages for your truck.

Myth: If you’re on a motor carrier policy, you’re covered.

Fact: Motor carrier policies often provide only liability coverage to owner-operator vehicles on lease, so you need to have your own physical damage coverage.  Plus, the motor carrier policy only covers you when you’re driving for work or are under dispatch. So if you have a claim when you’re on a non-business or personal errand, it likely won’t be covered. A non-trucking liability and physical damage policy can protect you and your truck.

Myth: You should have a separate cargo insurance policy.

Fact: Consider adding your cargo insurance as an endorsement on your vehicle policy instead of carrying cargo coverage with a different carrier. If you’re in an accident that damages both your truck and cargo, you won’t need to waste time waiting dealing with two separate companies for your claims. Plus, a cargo endorsement can be less expensive than carrying a separate policy, and one policy means paying just one bill instead of two.

Myth: Downtime following a truck accident is annoying, but won’t significantly affect your bottom line.

Fact: If your truck is out of commission for 30 days, your business could only have a 50 percent chance of survival. Make sure that your insurance company will provide a rental vehicle or downtime payments to help you get back on the road quickly following a claim.

Myth: It’s cheaper to cancel your insurance for stored vehicles if you have a seasonal business.

Fact: Not necessarily. If you cancel your insurance policy, your stored vehicles won’t be protected. A Comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for businesses that don’t need liability coverage during certain months, but want basic protection against incidents like vandalism, fire, theft, falling tree branches, and hail. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during the off-season.

Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to get a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage prior to offering their best rate.

Myth: All commercial insurance companies provide help with state and federal filings.

Fact: Some insurers won’t cover vehicles that require filings, while others simply don’t have the capability to help you get the filings your business needs. Progressive can leverage its truck insurance expertise to provide its customers with filings assistance.

 

Myth: All insurance companies offer 24/7 service.

Fact: Many insurance companies are only available during regular office hours, which can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy, obtaining a Certificate of Insurance, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.

Wonder if one of your perceptions about truck insurance is myth or fact? Talk to a local independent agent. He or she can answer those questions and help you determine which coverages are right for you.

Mike Miller is a product marketing director for Progressive.  Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the #1 truck insurer in the U.S. 

Seven tips to keep truckers safe and protected during the winter season

A carpet of fresh snow can be heartwarming when viewed from indoors in front of a roaring fireplace. But for a trucker, that beautiful landscape can mean treacherous roadways.

To prepare for brutal winter weather, here are a few tips from Bill Kampf, Progressive Commercial Auto general manager, to help protect against harm to you or your truck this season:

1.  Pull together a winter survival kit for yourself… – Make sure your truck is fully stocked with everything you might need so a stall-out or breakdown doesn’t leave you stranded.  Key items to include: a shovel, battery booster cables, ice scraper/snow brush, flashlight with extra batteries, and a space blanket to help prevent heat loss from a person’s body.  Additional items might include extra pairs of dry socks and gloves, energy bars or other non-perishable food, bottled water and spare fully-charged cell phone batteries.

2.  …AND your truck – Before the cold weather hits, equip your truck with new winter windshield wiper blades as well as winterized washer fluid and fuel. Also make sure that your tires, headlights, cooling system and battery are all in good shape. With all of these precautions, both you and your vehicle will be ready for any snow, hail, black ice or below freezing temperature that you might face out on the open road.

3. Slow down – Give yourself more time to react if something occurs in the road ahead. Compensate for poor traction by driving slower and making all changes slowly and gently.

4. Give yourself extra space in front and behind – To stay out of harm’s way in a sudden emergency, increase the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. Normal following distances should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.

Look further ahead in traffic than normal to get a split-second extra to react safely. Awareness of other drivers can go a long way this time of year.

5.  Keep an eye on the temperature – Be alert to potentially dangerous road conditions. Touch the front of your outside mirror to see if ice is forming. If it’s forming on your mirrors, it’s forming on the road too. Be especially cautious when crossing bridges and overpasses where ice often forms first.

6. Check your favorite station – Listen to the weather forecast before you leave town. If travel seems hazardous, postpone your run.

7.  Be ready for the unexpected – No matter how cautious you are, you still need a safety net on the road. Specialized insurance coverages and services designed specifically for truck owners and operators are offered by commercial insurers like Progressive.

Check with your insurance company to see what they offer.  Make sure your policy has tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of you and your business, including:

  • Cargo Coverage to protect against damage or loss due to theft, fire, collision and hitting or running over cargo. Progressive’s Cargo Coverage includes no co-insurance penalty, no exclusion of coverage if a vehicle is left unattended, and no reduction in coverage limits for items such as electronic equipment.
  • Roadside Assistance that provides 24/7 towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, emergency fuel delivery, locksmith service and on-scene labor.
  • Rental Reimbursement to pay for a replacement vehicle following a covered claim.

Bottom line: make sure you and your vehicle are safe and covered, even during the coldest and most treacherous winter months.

Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.

Shedding Light On Car Insurance Savings

It can be easier than you think to put the brakes on high auto insurance rates – as an independent agency, can help! We can review your policy and possibly help you find a variety of illuminating ways to save money. Here are some things you may want to consider:

• Ask us to check several companies’ rates. This is the single most important thing you can do to get the best possible rate—and we can do it for you quickly and easily. The difference between the highest and lowest rate available to you from different companies could vary by hundreds of dollars.

• Reduce or drop physical damage coverage on an older car. Depending on your car’s age and where you live, comprehensive and collision coverage may not be worth keeping. We can give you advice on whether it makes sense to reduce or drop this coverage altogether.

• Raise your deductible. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive cost by 15 to 30 percent. In addition, because the average driver files a collision claim only once every ten years, odds are that over the lifetime of your car, a higher deductible will save you money. We can show you how raising your deductible will lower your premium.

• Look for discounts. Many insurance companies reduce premiums for certain driver traits or car features. For example: being a homeowner for more than three years, nonsmoker, nondrinker, students with good grades, senior citizens who have taken an approved defensive driving course, people who only drive for pleasure, cars kept in garages, antilock brakes, antitheft devices, air bags, etc. Ask us to check.

• Don’t assume having your car and home insured by the same company is the best option. Because auto insurance rates vary so much from company to company, it may make sense for you to have your car and home insured by separate companies. Let’s talk about it.

To learn more about all an independent agency can offer you, call Lockridge Agency.

Posted in Auto, Car, Insurance | Leave a comment
Time is money: Save both
Saving 5 cents a gallon on gas is great. But, if you have to drive 20 minutes to get to the station, is it really a savings? If a deal costs you valuable time, it’s not a deal at all. The same holds true with auto insurance.

Bargain-basement policies can gobble up your time if you have to file a claim. You can spend up to four days calling repair shops, getting estimates and arranging for a rental car.

Remember, insurance isn’t just about price. It’s about service, too. The concierge level of claims service offered by Progressive can cut the claims/repair process from four days to only 15 minutes.

“You may think the most stressful part of being involved in an accident is the crash itself. But, that’s just the beginning,” said Craig Moore with Progressive. “We’ve come up with an easy, time-saving way to manage repairs.”

Simply drop off the damaged vehicle at a service center and a claims representative handles the entire claims/repair process for you. Repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own or lease your vehicle.

Here’s how the concierge level of claims service works:

• Report the claim. Call or go online to report the claim. A claims rep will schedule a time to bring your vehicle to the service center.

• Drop off and go. In about 15 minutes, you can be on your way in a rental car. Your rep prepares an estimate and then contacts a repair shop. When the work is finished, the vehicle is returned to the service center.

• Pick up your vehicle. You’re contacted when the vehicle is ready. You inspect the repairs and leave with a written guarantee on the work.

Think about all aspects of insurance before you buy, especially the time you’ll spend if you have a claim.

Posted in Business Insurance, Insurance | Leave a comment
Seven Shopping Strategies For New Car Buyers
New car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience stressful and tedious. Either way, there’s a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent).

Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you’re turned on or turned off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, “expert” reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely pays to approach car buying strategically.

So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just keep these strategies, courtesy of Lockridge Agency, in mind:

1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?

2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a “cash buyer” gives you an advantage when you do finally meet with the dealership’s financing person.

4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you’ll drive every day.

5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help you negotiate the best deal.

6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales tax.

7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you’ve ordered are included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.

Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle’s total cost.

Wise car buyers know to shop around for insurance and find out how costs compare. They also know to visit an independent insurance agency – like Lockridge Agency. We can check with several companies to find the best combination of coverage and price.

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