Why Did My Auto Insurance Premium Increase?

At least once a day we get a call in the office asking, why did my auto insurance premium increase?  There are a number of reasons for the increase in policy premium.  Let’s break it into two categories:  things you can control and things you can not control when it comes to auto insurance costs.  First we can take a look at how you can influence your premium.

Controlling your Auto Premium:

  • Avoid moving violations, such as speeding tickets. If you get a speeding ticket your insurance premium will increase.  Insurers see that you are not a careful driver.  The faster you are going the more likely you are to get in an accident and a more serious accident at that.
  • Do not commit a traffic crime, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence.  Again premium will definitely increase and your license could be suspended.
  • Make your payments on time, better yet go on EFT so you can’t forget!  This will avoid cancellation of your policy.  On-time payments and cancellations are taken into consideration when your premium is determined.
  • Avoid a lapse in insurance.  This means continuously keeping auto insurance active.  If you get rid of a car and aren’t buying a new one for a month or two don’t cancel your plates and policy, just reduce the limits to state minimums.
  • Always bundle your home and auto with one carrier, you will get a discount.

Things You Can Not Control on Your Auto Premium:

  • Rate increases by the insurance company.  Each company sets their own rates, they increase them annually based on the increase cost to repair your car, even if your car is a year older.  The cost of labor and parts to repair a car are continually increasing; therefore, insurers increase their rates.
  • How old you are!  If you are a young, inexperienced male driver you will have the highest auto premium (all other things being constant).  As you mature your auto insurance premium will go down.  The decreases in premium are at 3yrs, 6yrs and over 65yrs.
  • Accidents.  Like the word means, you didn’t do it on purpose.  Being a safe driver definitely helps in not getting in an accident but sometimes these things are unavoidable.

Auto insurance premiums are a combination of many, many factors, if you can avoid the controllable things then you are off to a good start.  Any questions that you may have on your auto policy please give us a call www.mancuso-nowak.com.

Ride Sharing and Auto Insurance

If you are like many Americans you are looking for an easy way to make a few extra dollars.  Insert: ride sharing!  What is ride sharing?  It is a taxi type service that connects drivers and riders through a smartphone app.  Ride sharing vehicles use their own car to pick up people and drive them to a destination.  The most popular ride sharing companies are Uber and Lyft.  Ride sharing is different from livery and taxi services because both of these types of transportation services have commercial license plates and commercial auto insurance.

Personal auto policies typically exclude livery services from coverage.  A personal auto policy assumes you only drive family and friends, do not collect a fee and usually drive around 12,000 miles a year.  A personal auto policy stops coverage from the moment the driver logs on to the ride sharing app to the moment he/she logs off.  There is a significant uptick in drivers wanting to earn extra money by working for Uber or Lyft.  The insurance industry has consequently responded with options.  There are currently 2 options: an endorsement on your personal auto policy or a commercial auto policy.

At Mancuso-Nowak we have been placing our customers with carriers that offer the ride sharing endorsement to their personal auto policy.  The ride sharing endorsement is called Transportation Network Company (TNC) Endorsement.  The TNC Endorsement provides coverage from when the policyholder turns on their ride sharing app until the time they accept a fare.  This endorsement fills that gap in coverage that exists with a non-endorsed policy that excludes livery services.

The other option for insureds is a commercial livery policy.  A commercial auto policy will carry higher liability limits.  It will also be underwritten to take into consideration that the driver is taking passengers for pay and will be traveling more than a personal passenger driver.

Both Uber and Lyft offer auto insurance coverage, but the coverage is very minimal.  If you are a ride share driver it is in your best interest to get your own coverage.  So if you are going to get your side hustle on as an Uber driver, please contact us so we can make sure you have the proper insurance coverage!

Insurance for Multi-Generational Houses

It is very common these days to have many generations living under one roof. Elderly parents often need help as they age and may move into their adult child’s house with his/her family. That family could also have adult children of their own still living in their house. The market has been difficult for Millennials to get jobs, so many of them have moved back in with their parents after college or after losing a job. How does this affect home and auto insurance? Do you have the proper coverage?

multigenerational family


Auto Insurance Changes:

If your parent and/or child is living under your roof and could possibly use your car (and does not have a policy of his/her own), you need to list them on your policy

If your parent and/or child has a policy of his/her own, make sure they are listed on your policy as deferred

You can add your parent and/or child to your policy and have them drop their current policy also. The tricky part with this is if they have a bad driving record. Your premium will increase.


Home Insurance Changes:

If you build an in-law apartment in your home, have your parents get a separate renters policy

With any additions it will increase the value of your house, make sure you are insured for the actual new value.

If your loved one is just staying in a room in your house make sure to account for any valuables they bring with them, antiques should be appraised and scheduled separately on your home policy

Also, if you do not already have an umbrella policy, you should get one. As we have said before, you don’t need to be a millionaire to get sued for a million dollars! Make sure you have the proper coverage, it will pay off in the long run.  mancuso-nowak.com

Attention All Drivers! Watch Out and Yield for Bikers and Pedestrians

As you navigate the local streets in your vehicle, it is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings. This is especially true when lots of bikers and pedestrians are around during the summer months. Making sure you yield when necessary and watching out for unexpected risks is the best way to take caution. This way, sharing the road won’t be so difficult.

bicycle rider

Following the rules of the road will promote safety within your community. If you or someone else fails to do this, serious collisions and injuries could occur with bikers and pedestrians. As a driver, it is important to remember that a bicycle is considered a vehicle too, so it has the same rights as any other form of transportation. In addition, if you are near a cross walk, you should always expect someone to be walking across it. Here are some safety tips for you to follow as a driver to keep the roads safe:

  • Do not pull out in front of a stop sign too far. If you disobey this law, you could hit a cyclists or walker. Therefore, you should stop with enough room for anyone to get by.
  • At nighttime, always ride with the lights on. If you don’t do so, this puts you and others in danger of a collision.
  • If you are in a city, side street parking is common, as is bicycle riding and walking or running. Therefore, you should look outside before opening a door to avoid hitting someone.
  • Stop behind the white line at an intersection and not in the crosswalk.
  • When turning at an intersection, be sure to look both ways for pedestrians and bikers.

At Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, we hope that by following these safety tips, you can stay in control on the road. We know that you may take every precaution to stay safe, but there is still always the possibility for an accident or injury. This is why you should have the proper auto insurance during unpredictable events. Our team understands that your needs differ from those of other drivers. This is why we are committed to building a life-long relationship with you. Let us guide you through this process so you may find peace of mind.

Your Insurance Renewal

Every year you receive your home and auto renewals in the mail or via email. What do you do with it? Do you even look at it? Or just at the premium? There are some key things you should consider when reviewing your insurance renewals:

7-6-15-form-e1436203234283-225x300What has happened to you/your family in the past year? Marriage? Newly licensed driver? Get a company car? Good report cards from school? All of this information should be updated with your insurance agent.

Are the correct vehicles listed on your auto renewal – look at model, year, drivers? Has anyone moved into or out of your house that should (not) be listed in the household as drivers?

Check the limits for your vehicles. We recommend $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident for coverage #5 Optional Bodily Injury.

Are the lean holder and/or mortgagee information correct on your auto/home policy?

Is the dwelling value accurate on your homeowners policy? Have you made any updates or remodels to your house to increase the value? Added a home security system, pool, heating system (stove, etc.)? Replaced your roof?

Did you buy a new recreational vehicle – boat, jet ski, motorcycle, snow mobile?

All of these points should be considered when looking at your home and auto renewals. Adding Umbrella Insurance is also an excellent idea. It gives you $1M worth of coverage over both your home and auto insurance for just a couple hundred dollars a year. Our famous saying: You don’t need to be a millionaire to be sued for a million dollars. Please call us if you have any questions about your insurance coverage: www.mancuso-nowak.com.

Marriage and Insurance

The summer is the most popular time to get married. With marriage comes a lot of important financial decisions to make. One of these financial decisions is on insurance. Do you combine and have one auto policy or do you keep your policies separate? Do you need life insurance?

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Married couples have lower auto rates. Actuaries determine insurance rates. They base their rates on statistics. Statistically speaking, married people get in to fewer accidents. Non-married people actually get into twice as many auto accidents.
  • If you are buying a new house/condo now that you are married you can receive multi-policy discounts with your home and auto together.

On the other hand:

  • If your spouse has a bad driving record with lots of tickets and accidents, your premium will go up. So it would be better to keep separate policies.
  • If your spouse has a much more expensive car to insure than you, you may want to keep your policy separate.

Life insurance is always important to have, but once you are married many of your finances are combined. You make joint investments, such as buying a house/condo. With such large joint investments, it would be difficult for just one of you to make all the payments if something happened to your spouse. This is why life insurance is so crucial. It not a fun thing to do…thinking of a loved one passing away, but preparation is the best policy. Even if both of you have life insurance through work, it is also smart to buy a separate policy for each of you. If one of you loses his/her job, all the money invested into the company life insurance is gone. You don’t have life insurance anymore. On the other hand if you are putting money into personal life insurance policies they are always there. Think of your husband/wife, would you want them to struggle finically if something happened to you? Buying life insurance could be the most thoughtful and caring thing you buy!

If you have any questions on your policies after marriage, please call us and we can discuss all of your options! mancuso-nowak.com/coverage/personal/#/

* Beautiful wedding picture from one of our employee, Nina Arroyo!

Be Prepared! Storm Safety

September is National Preparedness Month and the 30th is National Prepareathon Day! Join FEMA and their quest to have our nation prepared for national disasters. The more we know, the better prepared we will be. In Massachusetts we have been voted as one the top 5 states to have a national disaster. So begin getting ready for a big storm now!

storm sure

Preparation is the best way to be ready for a dangerous storm. Have a few flashlights with extra batteries, your cell phone with the charger, a battery powered radio. Keep all of your personal documents in a fire proof box in a readily accessible area. Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food items, such as canned food, bread, peanut butter, crackers and lots of water. The American Red Cross suggests having 1 gallon of water per person per day. A first aid kit is essential. Find out exactly what to put in a first aid kit.

During a storm make sure to unplug sensitive electrical items such as computers and TV and microwaves (if these are possible to do easily). By disconnecting them you will prevent a power surge when the power comes back on, if you have lost power during the storm and do not have surge protectors. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. If you lose power your food will stay colder for a longer period of time, if they are not opened. If the winds are very strong stay away from windows as debris can come flying through. The basement is the best area of the house to stay in during particularly dangerous storms, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

If the power goes out and you plan to use a generator, please follow specific safety instructions.

When surveying outside damage after a storm, always treat downed power lines a live and never touch them! Call your electrical company immediately. Contact your town/city for help with trees that are down in community areas, such as the street and on power lines. If your home has flooding, contact your electrician on what to do about before turning things on in the basement or area that was flooded. If your electricity is off for an extended amount of time bring your family to another family or friend’s house. Make sure everyone is safe.

After the storm call us with any damage that has occurred to your home or auto. Remember that flood and earthquake damage are not covered by your homeowners policy unless you add the respective endorsement/policy. Read our blog about what type of storm damage is covered by your policy, 

Information on storm safety is from the National Grid.

Insurance Policy Discounts

Are you getting the best deal on your insurance? Make sure you are taking full advantage of the discounts offered. One of the more common credits with your home and auto policies would be alarm systems. Other than the actual system and its capabilities, it shows the insurance company that you are concerned about protecting your personal property. Also, most companies will offer a significant discount when you insure both your auto and home with them, a multi-policy discount. When you have more than one policy with the same company it shows them that you have faith in them and their products. Loyalty is a big factor.

 piggy bank

Some other common discounts include, but are not limited to:

  • Everyone is “going green”, so if you eliminate the printing of your policy and have it emailed to you instead, you will receive a discount.
  • Low mileage discount, if you are more of a local area driver, this is the discount for you.
  • Pay your premium upfront and receive a discount.
  • If you are part of AAA or AARP, you will receive a discount.
  • Are you or your children on the honor roll? Receive a good student discount.
  • Business (commercial) insurance will enjoy similar discounts as personal insurance, such as alarm systems and larger deductibles.

By selecting a larger deductible on any type of policy, commercial or personal, you receive a discount. Again you are showing the insuring company that you are invested in protecting your property. If you know that you will have to pay the first $1,000 of a loss you are more likely to use extreme caution while driving and/or caring for your home/business.

In life and health insurance policies the better you take care of yourself, the more of a discount you receive. The most prevalent would be smoking. Non-smoker rates are considerably less than smoker rates. Your nutrition and health habits will determine the rates that the company uses to determine premiums. Eat a healthy diet and exercise and your rates will be better. The younger that you start a life insurance policy the better your rate will be also. Thinking about death at a young age is a daunting task, but it will prepare you for the future and guarantee better rates. So set up your life insurance now!

Always ask about additional discounts to ensure the best premium. Call us for more information! mancuso-nowak.com

As a Driver, would You prefer to use Voice Activated, Hands Free Technology?

Hands free devices may sound like something out of the future, but this type of technology could be closer to becoming a reality than you think. Would you ever want to have the ability to operate your vehicle at the same time as you are texting or talking on the phone? As a driver, you must always be aware of your surroundings, but when your voice controls your phone or music, this could put you a unique risk for an accident.

According to a study conducted by AAA, hands free, voice recognition devices can be just as distracting to drivers as the traditional, hand held ones. Motorists were found to have delayed reaction times and missed visual cues such as stop signs while using hands free devices. Although automakers have been trying to develop systems for safer texting and phone calling on smart phones, that doesn’t erase the cognitive distractions the action of talking brings.

The researchers measured brainwaves and eye movement to evaluate the drivers’ mental workload. It was found that the focus on the road was decreased more so than if no devices were used at all. Therefore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration strongly suggests that officials reinforce the idea that mobile devices should be disabled unless the vehicle is stopped and in park.

At Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, we hope motorists don’t take driving for granted. This is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, being responsible and safe behind the wheel can keep everyone both on and off the road out of harm’s way. If you feel you require more protection, then having our auto insurance may help. Our team knows that your needs differ from those of other drivers. Therefore, we will help you every step of the way so you can protect what is important to you.