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January 11, 2018
What's SR-22 Insurance?
So what’s SR-22 insurance and why would you need it? At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we know that most drivers will never need to deal with an SR-22, however, if you are one of the few that requires an SR-22 it is important to know exactly what it is and how it will affect your driving. Although an SR-22 may seem like an obstacle to getting behind the wheel, with the right background knowledge, it doesn't have to be all that stressful.
What is the SR-22 document?
The first misconception we need to tackle is this, the SR-22 is not a type of insurance, but a document. This document can also be known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility or a financial responsibility filing. The SR-22 document can be required by most states after a driver has been found at fault in a serious accident or convicted of certain traffic offenses. If the driver is unable to prove financial responsibility after a serious incident, the state DMV can request an SR-22 to be filed in order to reinstate or maintain the driver's license.
Which Traffic Offenses Lead to an SR-22?
After asking what’s SR-22 insurance, you may be wondering why it’s required. Not all traffic violations are considered equal, and most will not lead to an SR-22. The state DMV is interested in issuing special requirements to drivers that they consider high-risk and likely to offend again. If you have been convicted of the following offenses and fail to show financial responsibility, it is likely that you will be issued with an SR-22 requirement.
- Driving without insurance or a license is a surefire way to draw attention to yourself as an irresponsible driver who ignores the most basic rules of the road.
- DUI or DWAI violations are some of the most common reasons for a driver to be issued with an SR22 requirement. A DUI conviction can stay on your record for up to 10 years and will mark you out as a high-risk driver.
- Repeating the same traffic violations can result in an SR-22. Usually, a few speeding tickets or breaking a red light will not be enough to warrant an SR-22, but racking up a lot of tickets in a short period can put you into the 'high-risk' category.
- Being found at fault in a serious accident, or any accident resulting in injuries can also lead to an SR-22.
- Having your license suspended or revoked for any reason will usually result in an SR-22.
How Do I Know I Need an SR-22?
An SR-22 can be court-ordered in response to the conviction of a serious traffic offense such as a DUI. If this is the case, you will be notified at the time of ruling that you need an SR-22. If your SR-22 is state-ordered, you will receive notification from your local DMV. Once you have received notice of needing an SR-22, you must file for the SR-22 with your state to continue driving legally with a valid license.
Who Files the SR-22?
The SR-22 request is sent from your insurance company to your state DMV. Filing for this document means that your insurance company is confirming that you have an active policy that meets the liability requirements of your state. To reinstate your driving privileges, contact your insurance company as soon as you receive notice of the SR-22 requirement.
How is the SR-22 Filed?
If your state offers electronic filing, you may be able to complete the request in just one day. If the SR-22 is filed by mail, allow 10-14 days for processing. Insurance companies usually charge a processing fee for this task, typically $20 or under. Once you receive your copy of the SR-22, you can take it to the local DMV office and have your license reinstated.
How Does the SR-22 Affect My Insurance?
After asking what’s SR-22 insurance, our customers most often ask how much it’s going to cost them. Most SR-22 carriers will see their premium increase significantly. This is not a direct effect of having the SR-22 but is a result of the traffic violation committed. Being involved in an accident while uninsured, or getting a DUI, are immediate red flags to any insurance company and will definitely result in more expensive coverage. In most states, an SR-22 carrier will then have to maintain continuous insurance coverage with the SR-22 for 2-5 years before they can return to a standard policy. The length of time you are required to carry the SR-22 depends on the type of violation committed and state laws.
Some insurance providers will refuse to insure drivers with an SR-22 requirement. The cost of insurance and the fees associated with the SR-22 can vary from company to company. If you have received notification of an SR-22 requirement, it is a good opportunity to shop around and compare the offers of different companies in your area. Whether you have let your insurance cover lapse or have been loyal to one company for years, it is never a bad idea to compare prices and see if you can find the best deal.
Once they find out what’s SR-22 insurance, some drivers may be tempted to just stop driving for the period of time they are required to hold it and avoid costly insurance premiums. Unfortunately, this strategy often backfires. The 2-5 year period of time that you are required to hold the SR-22 usually begins as soon as you request your license to be reinstated, and not at the time of notification. You can stop driving for 5 years, but as soon as you try to get your license back, you will probably be required to hold SR-22 insurance for the next 2-5 years.
Carrying an SR-22 doesn't need to destroy your budget or hinder your ability to get round town. At Affordable Insurance, we help SR-22 holders to acquire insurance coverage at a reasonable cost every year. We understand that receiving an SR-22 order can be a stressful and confusing experience. If you still have doubts about what’s SR-22 insurance or how to get it, our friendly customer service team can answer all of your questions. Don't hesitate to call us for more information.
December 12, 2017
Factors that Affect Car Insurance Rates
At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we know that when drivers understand the factors that affect car insurance rates, they are in a much better position to get a good deal. So, how do car insurance companies determine the cost of your insurance? Basically, the insurance company wants to calculate the overall risk of insuring a driver and charge them enough to make sure that on average, they don't lose money. Insurance experts use an algorithm that takes into account a huge range of different factors in order to come up with a rate personalized to each driver.
Factors that affect car insurance rates can include your personal and professional details, characteristics of your vehicle and your driving habits. Some of these factors can be controlled and even changed to potentially get a better rate, but others are just predetermined boxes that need to be ticked. Take a look at the following factors that affect your insurance rate:
- Where You Live
If you live in a high-risk location where collisions, auto theft, and uninsured drivers are frequent, your insurance rate will be more expensive. Taking into account that your are is where you will be using the car most of the time, insurance companies will rate your local area in terms of risk when calculating your car insurance premium. Urban areas with high unemployment are usually the most expensive locations.
- Age and Gender
Yes, age and gender are factors that affect car insurance rates. Teenage drivers are charged high rates due to their lack of experience on the road and high rates of accidents. Statistics also show that young men are more likely to be involved in an accident than young women, and this is reflected in the rates. As drivers get older, the price of insurance usually drops steadily, until around 70 years old when the risk of accidents due to impaired vision and slower reaction times bring the cost back up again.
Auto insurance companies can use information on your profession to predict the likelihood that you will get into an accident. Delivery drivers, journalists, and tradespeople spend more time on the road, often driving different routes every day and to unfamiliar locations. This activity increases the likelihood that they will experience a traffic accident. Paramedics, police, and insurance professionals are usually rated as more cautious drivers, so are given better rates.
- Marital Status
Single people tend to have more accidents than people that are married, and this is especially true for men. A lower insurance rate usually comes as an unexpected wedding gift to newly married couples.
- Credit Score
Unfortunately, low credit scores are one of the factors that affect car insurance rates and can have a negative influence on your premium. Keeping a good credit score shows insurance companies that you are an organized, cautious and reliable person, which they think will also be reflected in your driving.
- Vehicle Model and Size
Larger vehicles such as minivans and SUVs generally suffer less damage in collisions so are cheaper to insure. Smaller cars are more vulnerable to damage and seen as higher risk. Sports cars, luxury cars, and unusual or modified cars are often much more expensive to repair than standard models, so the auto insurance cost on these will be much higher than average.
- Vehicle Safety Rating
If you’re shopping for a car, remember that a vehicle’s safety rating is one of the factors that affect car insurance rates. A vehicle with a good rating will have features such as airbags, traction control, and automatic seatbelts. These vehicles are less likely to result in injured passengers in the event of an accident and so the cost of insuring them is lower compared to cars with an inferior safety rating.
- Vehicle Age
Newer automobiles are more expensive to insure than older ones of the same model. As the car ages, it loses its value. If an old car undergoes serious damage, the cost of repairs may be higher than the overall worth of the vehicle and the owner is more likely to choose to replace it rather than repair it. Due to this, insurance companies often don´t end up having to pay for repairs on older cars, so they can set the cost of insuring older cars lower.
- Driving Habits
Drivers who use their cars for work purposes or long commutes will spend more time on the road and thus have a higher rate of insurance. Those who use their vehicle less frequently can benefit from lower rates. If the car is stored in a secure garage, the insurance company may further reduce the rate, as there is less probability of theft or vandalism.
- Driving History
A driver´s record is one of the most significant factors that affect car insurance rates. A clean record goes a long way in helping to keep insurance rates down. If the insurance company sees evidence of previous accidents resulting in claims, this is a major red flag. Speeding tickets, collisions resulting in injuries and DUIs will deem you a high-risk driver with a probability of repeating the offenses. To counteract the risk of insuring such a driver, they will set the cost at a much higher than average.
These are the basic factors used by insurance companies to decide the cost of your premium. Obviously, some factors such as your age, profession, and hometown are fairly difficult to alter on a whim. Other factors are easier to control, including your credit score, driving record and choice of vehicle. Choosing a newer, larger car with a high safety rating can lower your insurance cost significantly. Avoiding traffic misdemeanors and DUIs will go even further to reduce your yearly insurance premium.
If you want to learn more about the factors that affect car insurance rates, and how to get the best deal, don't hesitate to contact the team at Affordable Insurance in Aurora. We specialize in creating customized insurance plans for drivers on a tight budget. Explore your options with us and see if you qualify for any discounts we offer. Whether you are purchasing auto insurance for the very first time or considering switching from an existing plan, we can help you get the best deal for 2018.
November 21, 2017
What to Do After a Car Accident
At Affordable Insurance, we like to help our clients out in every way possible. Here are some indispensable tips on what to do after a car accident. Just in case it ever happens to you, it is better to know, ahead of time, the best way to react and be more prepared, even when taken by surprise in an automobile accident.
Find a Safe Zone
If the car is still in motion after an accident, try to steer the vehicle to the safest spot, pulling completely off the road and out of traffic whenever possible. That way, if it is unable to move again, you, your passengers, and your car will be out of harm's way. Turn on hazard lights to signal other drivers of the situation. For larger auto accidents, such as those with injuries or involving several vehicles, it may be best to leave vehicles where they are.
Exit the Vehicle
Once your vehicle has ceased to move, put it in park with the emergency brake on and turn the ignition off. Try to breathe slowly for a moment before taking the next step. Look around to ensure that it is safe to exit the vehicle before doing so and keep an eye on traffic at all times once you’re out of the vehicle. Put out emergency flares or cones if you have them.
Check on All Involved
Take an inventory of your passengers, the other drivers, and passengers or any pedestrians involved. If anyone states any medical needs or is visibly in need of help, call for emergency services immediately. The sooner help comes, the better.
Call the Police
If no one is injured in the accident, police may not respond by coming to the scene. If they do show up, get a police report started with an officer. Never admit blame but try to objectively recount the events of the car accident for later reference by a judge in your case. If no police arrive, go online to file a report with the DMV as soon as possible.
It is a good idea to write down as much information as you can remember after an accident occurs. Try to gather:
- Names and contact info for other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and eyewitnesses
- Make and model of all vehicles involved
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Location description (sketch a map if you can)
- Name and badge number of police officer
Also, take photos with your smartphone for later use. Photos can be invaluable in filing your claim for insurance coverage.
File a Claim
Talk to your car insurance company and file a claim. Once you provide all of the information required, your insurer will walk you through next steps.
Hopefully, you will never have to deal with what to do after a car accident. But, in order to be prepared ahead of time, take these precautions:
- Keep a safety kit inside of your vehicle including water, snacks, blankets, extra clothes, flares, safety cones, etc.
- Relevant documents should be in a convenient location, including your ID, insurance information, and vehicle registration
- Make sure that your cell phone is always charged whenever you go out on the road
Thanks for checking out these safety tips on what to do after a car accident. Of course, before you find yourself in a tough situation, come see the team at Affordable Insurance for proper coverage for you and your vehicle. We’ll find the right fit for your budget and needs.
November 11, 2017
Different Types of Car Insurance Coverage
At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we know you might need some extra help understanding the different types of car insurance coverage. Here in Colorado, it is essential to have the right type of auto insurance coverage in order to be protected. Unfortunately, many drivers are not fully covered, so it is even more important to make sure that you and your family are!
Here is a brief description of the different types of car insurance coverage:
Bodily Injury Liability
If you or anyone on your policy are in an accident in which the other party is injured or killed, this type of auto insurance will keep you covered. But keep in mind that it only covers people, not property or vehicles. So, you will still need other protection to take care of that end of the coverage spectrum. Additionally, bodily injury liability coverage will provide legal defense in the case that the other party files a lawsuit against you. For this reason, you will want enough coverage to cover the lawsuit costs without jeopardizing your personal assets in any way.
Comprehensive Physical Damage
This type of insurance for your car pays for losses other than that of a collision. Examples of this include fires, flood damage, stolen vehicle, vandalism, and damage by animals. To keep your premiums down, you may consider selecting higher deductibles. However, keep in mind that this coverage includes hail damage. If your vehicle is primarily parked outside (at home and at work), think about how much cash you can come up with for a deductible in case one of our infamous Colorado hail storms completely destroys your car.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your car if it is hit by another vehicle or other object, as well as the other party's vehicle if hit by your vehicle. This is another area of auto insurance where it’s important to find the right balance of deductible and monthly premiums. Keep in mind that coverage is generally limited to the value of the vehicle. So if you own an older car that is worth much less than a new one, you may consider skipping this coverage option.
Personal Injury Protection, No-Fault, or Medical Payments
The injured driver and passengers of your vehicle will be covered under this insurance coverage. Additionally, if injured as a pedestrian, this type of coverage can help.
Property Damage Liability
If your car damages another vehicle or object, property damage liability will come in handy! Also, this protects you with a legal defense in the instance that a lawsuit is filed against you, so be sure to have a decent amount of this coverage in order to protect yourself sufficiently.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage
Uninsured drivers and hit-and-run drivers do not help with car insurance costs, so in the event of either of these circumstances, you will be covered. Some states offer uninsured motorist coverage for vehicles too. And because of a large number of uninsured motorists, better to be safe than sorry!
Knowing the different types of car insurance coverage will keep you and your family better protected in the event of a motor vehicle accident or other scenario involving pedestrians, or local wildlife. Rely on the helpful team at Affordable Insurance in Aurora to get the insurance coverage you need to be covered all year long on every road you travel. Call us today!
October 12, 2017
Homeowners Insurance and Winter Damage
Today, Affordable Insurance in Aurora, Colorado offers our tips on dealing with homeowners insurance and winter damage in the Denver metro area. Each season brings different hazards, but winter can be particularly brutal for Colorado homeowners. Heavy snowfall and ice can wreak havoc on your home. It is important to know what kind of damage is typically covered by home insurance and what is left up to the responsibility of the individual.
Keep reading to find out more about what home insurance covers and the process of making a claim. Just remember that every policy is different, and this is just a general guide. Be sure to review your own policy for specifics and contact your provider if you have more questions about your homeowners insurance and winter damage.
Damage Covered by Home Insurance
As we said, to figure out exactly which type of damage is covered by your insurance along with the deductibles, you will need to check your policy. But in general, homeowners insurance will cover some damages caused by winter weather.
Homeowners insurance usually covers direct, unpreventable damages to the structure of your Denver home, due to extreme weather events or storms. This can include hail damage to roofs, trees falling onto houses, accumulated snow causing a roof to collapse and damage caused by high winds. In some cases, burst pipes are also included.
Damage that May Not be Covered
For homeowners insurance and winter damage, remember that coverage is not guaranteed. If it is found that the damages to your home were preventable, your insurance may not have to pay out. For example:
- A roof that collapses after a heavy snowfall may not be covered if it is proven that the roof was past due to be replaced, or that it had not received the recommended regular maintenance checks.
- Damages by fallen tree branches will not be covered if the tree had been neglected by the homeowner and knowingly allowed to become a risk.
- Burst pipes may not be covered if the insurer can show that you did not take steps to prevent the damage by draining or insulating the pipes, or keeping the heating on.
- If a home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days and damage occurs during this time.
If it is proven that you did not make an effort to protect your home from a damaging storm, your insurer may not be obliged to pay out. In some states, the occupants of a home are legally obliged to clear accumulated snow and ice from their sidewalks within four hours after snow stops falling. Failure to comply with these laws can void your homeowners insurance coverage if a claim is made concerning snow or ice accumulation.
Damage Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance
One specific type of damage that is rarely covered by your home insurance policy is flooding. Flooding is a widespread problem in winter, often caused by an accumulation of ice and snow melting quickly as soon as the temperature rises. Most homeowners insurance policies will specify that damage from flooding is explicitly excluded and that a separate, dedicated flood insurance is required for this type of damage. To lower the risk of flooding, be sure to remove as much snow as possible as it falls, and to clean your gutters and drains out thoroughly before winter. Often, an accumulation of leaves and debris left over from the fall season will obstruct drains and make it more likely for them to overflow and flood your basement.
To Make a Claim or not to Make a Claim, That is the Question
If extreme winter weather conditions damage your home, it is instinctive to want to make a claim on your homeowner's insurance to cover the cost of repairs. That's what it's there for, right?
Before rushing into a debate with your insurance company, first, check the deductibles set out by your policy and compare them to the cost of repairs. If the deductible is very close to the cost of damage, you may be better off paying out of pocket. Each time you make a claim on your insurance policy, the cost of your premium can be expected to rise. You can expect an even sharper increase in premium cost if you make two claims within the same year.
When it comes to homeowners insurance and winter damage, it is best to approach claims strategically. If the savings are minimal, keep the slate clean and your overall insurance costs low. In the case of a major disaster, such as a roof collapse, you can claim for this enormous cost to be covered by the insurance and get the best value from your home insurance policy.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Taking some steps to protect your home before the winter weather hits can pay off in the long run. Avoid having to deliberate on making a claim or paying for damage out of pocket by preventing them in the first place. Trim overhanging or unhealthy trees every year during the fall. Give your roof a visual inspection for loose shingles or broken flashing and have any repairs done before the snow arrives. Apply weather stripping and caulking around the frames of windows and doors and check for damage on shutters and storm windows.
Drain water from exterior pipes, sprinkler systems, and hoses before the freezing weather sets in. Make sure your gutters, downspouts, and drains are free from blockages. It is a good idea to document this preparation for winter in case you do need to show evidence of maintenance to your insurer to support a claim. Keep all receipts from professional tree trimmers or roofing contractors and take pictures of any preventative maintenance you do. These preventative measures will lower your risk of damage by winter weather and provide a sound basis for making a claim if you end up needing to.
When it comes to homeowners insurance and winter damage, the most important things are to know your policy and take precautions. If you are not sure about the specifics of your policy, or want to make changes to your homeowner's insurance the next time it comes up for renewal, do not hesitate to contact Affordable Insurance in Aurora, Colorado. We specialize in providing easy-to-understand insurance advice to homeowners across the Denver area.