How is the cost of your auto insurance premium determined?

There are quite a few things that come into play when determining the cost of your insurance premiums.  Where you live can greatly affect the cost.  Insurance rates in the USA differ from state to state and the greater the population density of the city or municipality you live in will generally drive up the costs of your premiums.  Your age will also affect how much you pay, especially if you’re in a high risk age group (ages 16-25).  Males in this category typically pay a higher rate because they’re considered to be more aggressive behind the wheel.  How’s your driving record?  How’s your credit rating?  Have you had a DUI?  Each individual can have quite a different set of circumstances in addition to the value of the car they drive affecting the cost of their premiums.  For this reason, it makes great fiscal sense to consult an insurance broker that can provide you with a choice of carriers that will provide you with the best protection at the best rate.

How can I save money on my auto premiums?

There are some things you can do to lower your insurance premiums, even if you’re in a high risk driving category.  With many carriers, safe driving classes can significantly reduce the cost of your auto policy.  These classes can benefit young drivers as well as those 55 years and older.  If you are in the high risk teen driver category, you may be able to prove to your insurance company that you’re a safer driver than most of your peers and reduce your rate by using a “telematics” device.  This device is hooked up to your car’s diagnostic computer and actually measures your driving habits.  It doesn’t blow the whistle on you for speeding but rather monitors how fast you accelerate, how hard you break, whether you’re driving an excessive number of miles and what times of the day you typically drive (if you’re consistently driving after midnight, this may indicate the possibility of drinking and driving).  This device monitors driving habits for a period of three months or more and depending on the results, may prove to your insurance carrier that just because you fall into a certain age category, you may not be high risk.

When choosing insurance, which is better, Full Tort vs. Limited-Tort?

In Pennsylvania, drivers have the choice of “full tort” of “limited tort” options on their insurance policy.  Tort is a legal term that signifies criminal wrongdoing for which damages may be sought by the injured party.  Both options apply only to situations where the driver or passengers have been injured in an accident, where the driver was not at fault.  You may save up to 15% in choosing the less expensive “limited tort” option but you’re giving up the option of suing for pain and suffering unless the injury is considered “serious”.  Serious, however, is defined as death, significant deformity or impairment of body function and does not include, for example, a herniated disc or broken bones.  At Westside Insurance Services, we offer free consultations to help you make the right decisions when it comes to choosing the terms of your policy.

What should I expect when adding a new teen driver to my policy?

In the world of insurance, teen drivers are considered “high risk”.  Unfortunately this means higher premiums often until the age of 25.  If the driver is male, the “aggressive driver” label applies which again means higher premiums.  Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help lower your insurance premiums for teens.  With many carriers, safe driving classes can significantly reduce the cost of your auto policy.  These classes can benefit young drivers as well as those 55 years and older.  If you are in the high risk teen driver category, you may be able to prove to your insurance company that you’re a safer driver than most of your peers and reduce your rate by using a “telematics” device.  This device is hooked up to your car’s diagnostic computer and actually measures your driving habits.  It doesn’t blow the whistle on you for speeding but rather monitors how fast you accelerate, how hard you break, whether you’re driving an excessive number of miles and what times of the day you typically drive (if you’re consistently driving after midnight, this may indicate the possibility of drinking and driving).  This device monitors driving habits for a period of three months or more and depending on the results, may prove to your insurance carrier that just because you fall into a certain age category, you may not be high risk.

Does a DUI affect my insurance rates?

It unfortunately does.  Should you be involved in an accident, it could be three to five years before you once again qualify for a “preferred” rate.  If there’s a DUI on your record, it can follow you around for five years or more adding increased costs to your premium.  However, some carriers may treat a DUI differently than others.  We suggest you contact WestSide Insurance Services for a free consultation to find the carrier that offers the best solution for minimizing the effects of a DUI.

Should college students have renters or dorm insurance?

It used to be that the costs associated with getting a college degree… tuition, room and board and books were all you had to worry about.  Now with student’s need for computers, tablets, smart phones and televisions, the value of today’s college student’s possessions can be surprisingly high.  Unfortunately, all these items are also highly desirable and easily stolen from a dorm room or apartment.  Contact us at WestSide Insurance services to see how easy it is to add protection for your college student’s possessions to your existing policy.

How often should I review my insurance coverage?

We’re constantly being asked this question at WestSide Insurance Services.  If you haven’t reviewed you policy in quite some time, you may be overpaying for coverage you no longer need or even worse, you may not be covered for what you really do need.  Consider changes that have recently taken place in your life.  Maybe you’ve changed jobs or retired and have significantly reduced the number of miles you drive each year.  Maybe the value of your home or possessions has increased.  There could be insurance discounts you now qualify for after a previous accident was erased from you record.  We believe it’s smart to review your policy every few years and with Westside’s consultative approach to providing protection, we’ll teach you the basics of insurance so you know the policy you choose is just right for you.

Why do I need travel insurance?

In simpler times, you really didn’t need it.  But in today’s world, there’s many things we don’t like to think about that can keep you from reaching your destination.  The threat of terrorism, severe weather, a death in the family, even overbooking by airlines can disrupt travel plans.  Having that piece of mind when you travel can be well worth the cost.  At Westside Insurance Services, we’re happy to advise our clients on the types of insurance that are best for them.  Call us for a free consultation today.

What is pet insurance?

We all know that our pets are an important part of the family.  And, when our pets need medical attention, we’ll provide them with the same level of care we would any family member.  But today, medical technology is so advanced in veterinary care that the cost of care can be extraordinary.  Pet insurance can help keep the cost of care for our ailing pets affordable.

Do I need rental car insurance?

If you own a car your rental car may be covered through your own insurance policy.  You could also have coverage through the credit card you carry.  For those who rent cars often, a supplemental policy should be considered.  As part of Westside Insurance Services consultative approach to insurance, we’re always happy to review your policy at no charge and answer any questions you have to ensure you have the coverage you need.

Should I consider purchasing Bridal Insurance?

With the escalating costs of today’s wedding receptions and travel plans for destination weddings there’s quite a bit at stake if your or your child’s special day is interrupted by  unforeseen circumstances.  Bad weather can ruin any outdoor wedding, but tropical storms can destroy even the best laid plans for a destination island wedding.  Today, the cost of a wedding is an investment and should be protected.  Contact us at WestSide Insurance Services for a free consultation to see how inexpensive peace of mind can be when planning your wedding.

Should I consider buying College Tuition insurance?

In today’s world, college tuition is probably a family’s biggest investment next to purchasing a house or saving for retirement.  With average tuition and room and board for private schools averaging over $45,000 a year, it makes perfect sense to protect your investment.  Tuition insurance provides financial protection for withdrawal from school for ‘covered’ reasons.  These are most often medical in nature – injury or illness, although broader policies are available for leaving for emotional, academic, disciplinary and financial reasons.  Contact us WestSide Insurance Services for a free consultation to see if college tuition insurance is something you should consider.

What discounts can save the most money on my car insurance?

Every insurance carrier offers various ways to save money on your insurance premiums but is there something you may be missing?  Here’s a checklist to see if you’re taking advantage of all the available discounts out there:

  • Bundle Your Policies – Combining auto, home owners and life insurance for the best savings through a multi-policy discount
  • Safe Driver/Accident Free Discounts
  • Paperless Invoicing Discounts
  • Good Student Discounts
  • Anti-Theft Discounts – based on alarm systems in your vehicle
  • EFT – Electronic Funds Transfer for payment of your premiums
  • Organization and Business Affiliations

With all of these options available, the easiest way to make sure you’re not missing out on discounts you may qualify for is to schedule a free consultation at WestSide Insurance Services.  With a multitude of carriers to choose from, WestSide can customize a policy for you that provides the best coverage at the best price, period.

What are the best insurance tips for millennials?

If you’re shopping insurance for the first time, the single most important thing is getting the best coverage based on your individual needs.  An insurance broker that offers multiple carriers ensures you’ll get the best coverage at the best price.

Ask about discounts, especially good student discounts and bundling policies for the best savings.

Fill in the gaps in your policy to cover any special   possessions of high value that may not be covered for replacement in your standard policy.

You’re never too young to consider life insurance.  It’s less expensive to purchase life insurance when you’re young and healthy and can provide protection for student loans, mortgages and end of life expenses.  If you have children, life insurance can support their education and child care expenses.  Long term disability insurance is also an important consideration if you have an accident and are unable to work.

Consulting with WestSide Insurance Services can provide you with an excellent insurance education that will help define your needs and thoroughly understand your coverages.

What is an Umbrella policy?

An umbrella policy is a form of liability insurance that is a supplement to your basic liability insurance policies – auto, home and renter’s, etc.  An umbrella covers you when your standard policy’s liability limits are reached so you don’t need to make up the remaining balance yourself.  The extra policy protects your bank account, your home, your assets and other personal property.  In the event of a lawsuit, an umbrella can help with your defense by covering legal fees and even extends your liability coverage in cases involving libel, slander and false arrest.  Call us for a free consultation to see how an “umbrella” can provide you with all the protection you’ll need.