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Average Car Insurance Rates - Avoiding Accidents with Animals (Part Two)

This is post two of two in a series offering tips on how to avoid car collisons with animals.

You should also be especially cautious when driving on roads that are surrounded by trees, woodlands, or large fields. Animals tend to live in forest and field areas, and often may try to cross the road, especially when the tree line or field run right up to the roadside. Quite often, the brush or fields near the roadside are tall and make it very difficult to get a jump on an oncoming animal. Typically you won’t see them until the last second. You should be even more cautious in Autumn if you live in an area heavily populated with deer. The Fall season is not only the time when deer are breeding, but it is also hunting season, which results in a great deal of movement by these animals.

If you are driving and see a few animals off to the side of the road or nearby in a field, it would be wise to slow down. Seeing one animal is a good clue that there may be more nearby, so stay on guard. You should also remember that many times animals who are in the road may freeze when they see an oncoming car so don’t assume that they’ll move when they see you. You may have to come to a complete stop and honk your horn to shake them out of their stupor. Sometimes patience may be your best strategy when seeing a larger animal in the road. It may be better not to honk your horn as the sound might draw them to your vehicle rather than away from it. Quite often if you wait a little while, they’ll move off the road on their own.

All across the country, there are many great drivers who are dealing with increased car insurance rates due to an accident with an animal or because they live in a location where forest or field animals make their homes. Being alert and following these tips can help you prevent an accident and in-turn, keep your car insurance rates low as well.

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    Average Car Insurance Rates - Avoiding Accidents with Animals

    This is post one of two in a series offering tips on how to avoid car collisons with animals.

    While being a great driver and following common driver’s safety tips can save you from a vehicle accident, often times it may be more difficult to avoid an accident with an animal. Whether you have an accident with another vehicle or an accident involving animals, more than likely your car insurance rates are going to increase. Accidents that involve cars hitting animals can actually be very dangerous, and they can do a great deal of damage to a vehicle, even resulting in serious or even fatal injuries to both the humans involved and the animals. Over 1.5 million car vs. animal collisions occur every year. While deer are the most common animal struck, others, such as elk, moose, livestock and bear can pose greater dangers. So it is important that you stay alert and do everything in your power to avoid having a collision with an animal.

    First of all, it is essential that you are particularly aware during the hours at dusk, dawn, and of course whenever it’s dark. Most accidents with animals happen during these hours because it can be very difficult to see. Make sure that you have your headlights on and that your headlights are both working properly. If you’re in a rural area, don’t be afraid to use your high beams. Many times great headlights provide enough visibility to help you avoid having a collision with an animal. Also be very wary when driving through areas with low-lying fog.

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    Low Rate Car Insurance - What is Gap Insurance?

    So, what exactly is GAP insurance? In a nutshell, GAP insurance was created to provide auto insurance protection for “new” cars that are being financed. Application example…If a new car were stolen or totaled in an accident, Gap insurance will pay the difference between the cash value of the car and the current outstanding balance on your auto loan or lease. You see, when a new car is driven off the lot, it depreciates quite a bit. So, if your car were stolen a week later or totaled in an accident, your insurance company would pay what the cash value is on the car, not what you paid for it the previous week. Because of depreciation, this cash value would be quite a bit lower than what you paid and you would be stuck paying off the difference. That’s where Gap car insurance comes in.

    Typically, Gap insurance covers accidents and thefts but you should check with your agent and make sure, because as we know, all policies are not created equally. Find out if it covers fire, tornado, vandalism or any other concerns you may have.

    Gap insurance is not required when you buy a policy for your car. When you purchase your car, the dealership may ask you if you want to purchase Gap insurance from them. Normally you don’t want to do this because the premium price offered by dealerships is typically very high. Ask your agent if they offer it and how much it costs. Some insurance companies build in Gap insurance into your policy automatically so you may already have it.

    Car owners generally assume that if their car is totaled or stolen, their policy will cover the value of the car, which many assume is what they owe on the vehicle were they to finance it. What you owe on the car and what the actual value of the car is almost never the same.

    If you want Gap insurance, find out if there are any exclusions to the policy such as maximum limit or loss. The policy might have a maximum coverage dollar-wise or a ceiling on the loan-to-car-value ratio that they won’t go beyond. There also might be exclusions having to do with how your auto loan or lease is structured, loan amount or term of loan. Check all details with your car insurance agent before you buy. It’s also a good idea to estimate how long you’ll need the policy based on your car’s value moving on into the future. Your car’s greatest rate of depreciation is when you drive it off the lot and slows down considerably after that.

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    Low Rate Car Insurance - Do I Need Third-Party Coverage?

    What is third-party insurance? A typical car insurance policy is set up as a contract between two parties: you the driver, and your insurance company. If you get into an accident with another automobile though, they are considered a third party. If you were to get in an accident with another party, will your current policy limits cover the claim?

    There are two different types of third-party liability insurance coverage. The first type is called bodily injury liability and the second is called property damage liability.  Bodily injury liability covers costs related to people like lost wages due to injury, medical costs, and things related to pain and suffering.  Property damage liability covers the cost of objects or things, like other cars, a person’s house, a building, street signs, landscaping, etc.

    Each state has minimum required levels for major types of car insurance coverage and these include third-party coverages. It’s important to sit down with your insurance agent and make sure you’re covereded adequately. If you have assets and investments to protect, it’s important to know that you’re coverage is at a liability limit that would cover these assets in case of a major accident. If you have “no-fault” insurance, that typically will cover minor fender benders but not anything big. You don’t want to find out you’re under-insured after the fact - at the time someone is filing a claim against you. This type of insurance is priced fairly and is one area you should not try and be too “thrifty” from a fiancial standpoint. There’s far too much at stake.

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