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Colorado Insurance Blog

Who Is Covered By My Auto Policy

Everyone who owns a car relies on it for so much of the normal day-to-day activities they participate in. Most people would be lost without their vehicle, from work and school to shopping and socializing.

Generally speaking, anyone that lives in your household and has a driver’s license is required to be rated on your auto policy. Your car insurance can also extend to licensed drivers who you give permission to drive your vehicle.

Auto insurance makes sure your vehicle is protected, but it also protects you and your assets with liability coverage. Almost every state requires drivers to carry basic liability insurance, and Colorado is one of them. Liability coverage helps to pay medical bills for injured people due to an accident caused by the driver of your vehicle. This is something to consider before you allow someone to drive your car. Depending on the amount of coverage you have for liability, legal action against you could be very expensive.

Coverage for your vehicle itself is optional unless you have a lease or an auto loan. Then you’ll need to carry coverage for your vehicle in the form of collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage protects your vehicle itself in the event of an accident where the driver of your vehicle is at-fault. You’ll have to pay your deductible, which is also something to consider before allowing someone else to drive your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from things other than an accident. That can include fire, hail damage, theft, and more.

Integrity First Insurance has been doing business in Colorado since 2008. We are an independent agency with a focus on integrity and education. We want our clients to trust their insurance and we offer the residents of Colorado service beyond their expectation. Our agents will be there for them in the good times and the bad. Check out our website for more information about the products we offer.

Insurance Guide: Sending Your Kid to College

At the end of every summer, many parents are packing up their recent high school graduate and sending them to college. This is the start of many big life changes for everyone, which can also bring a lot of stress and questions.

As a parent, you’re probably not thinking about insurance in that moment. It’s important to consider what coverage your kid will have when they go off to college.

Are they covered under your homeowners policy?

Many homeowners policies provide coverage for your college student while they are away at school. If they’re living in a dorm, your home policy might cover their personal liability and personal property.

Carriers can vary in how much personal property extends while away at school or away from home. The average for property covered away from the home is 10% of the personal property limit.

If your child decides to rent an off-campus apartment, they might need a renters policy. Even if their personal property isn’t worth much, they still need renters insurance for the liability coverage.

College students don’t always make good choices. If your kid throws a party, they are at risk of a lawsuit. Someone could get hurt and sue. Or a guest could drive drunk and injure someone, leaving your child responsible because they served the alcohol.

Liability coverage offers legal protection from those types of situations. A renters policy can help protect the future your child is building.

What about their auto insurance?

Auto insurance is pretty specific about who can and cannot be a driver on a policy. Most insurance carriers only allow “household members” to be drivers on a policy. While your child may not be living in your home daily, most insurance carriers consider college students a “household member.”

As long as your child is in school, you should be able to insure them on your auto policy with most insurance providers. Once they have graduated and have their own permanent residence, they’ll need to get their own auto policy.

While they’re still on your policy they may be able to qualify for a few discounts, like Good Student and Distant Student.

Most insurance carriers offer the Good Student discount if your student maintains a B average (3.0 GPA) or higher. You may need to provide a report card showing their grades each policy term to keep that discount.

The Distant Student discount can vary, it’s usually available for a student that is attending college more than 100 miles away from home. Most carriers specify that they can’t have a vehicle at school with them. Some insurance companies will provide the discount if they have a vehicle, but it’s more common to see the “without a vehicle” stipulation.

Dorm Do’s and Don’ts for your college student

Over the next few weeks, your child may be getting a taste for living on their own for the first time. That can be scary to think about as a parent. Below are some safety tips to share with college students to help keep them and their belongings safe during the school year.

DO keep your dorm room door locked at all times.

Many kids will keep their doors unlocked when visiting a friend a few rooms away, thinking that no one will enter their room if they’re only gone for a few minutes. This can’t be further from the truth.

Many electronics are small and portable and can be stolen in 30 seconds if left unattended. Whether you’re making a quick trip to the restroom or hanging out in the room next door, keep your door locked.

DON’T leave candles/incense unattended.

Candles and incense are big on college campuses. Small rooms crammed with at least two people can smell a little funky, so many students use these items to help freshen up the air.

Leaving these unattended while lit can be a huge fire hazard. The flame is not the only issue with candles and incense. The heat from the candle and the ash from the incense are enough to start a fire.

DO remove dryer lint from lint trap before running dryer.

Many students are used to Mom and Dad doing their laundry. Living at college is their first real experience with washing and drying their clothes regularly.

Dryer fires are common on college campuses because many students don’t clean the lint trap in the dryer and dispose of the lint properly. Dryer lint is like kindling and can catch fire from the heat put off by the dryer. Be sure to clean the lint trap before turning on the dryer every time you use it.

DO plug electronics into surge protectors and frequently save all work.

There is nothing worse than being up until 2:00 a.m. finishing a 20-page paper only to have your computer shut down or short out before you’ve saved your work. Surge protectors will help keep your electronics from being fried due to an overload from your neighbor’s hair dryer. Saving your work frequently will help prevent a late-night meltdown if you encounter computer issues.

DON’T post when you will be away on Facebook or other social media sites.

In today’s social media-crazed society, many people think nothing of posting their plans, even when it means they will be away from their home for a weekend or longer. If you post that you’re going home for the weekend, this may give someone who sees that post an opportunity to break into your room and rob you blind.

Posting on social media is not like telling your friends your plans. It’s more akin to posting your plans in the newspaper.

Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but they are all derived from actual incidents. Many people have that old “it won’t happen to me” mentality. But these situations can and do happen, so it doesn’t hurt to have a quick conversation with your college student.

Telematics: Pros and Cons of Driver Monitoring

In an ideal world, safe drivers would pay less for their car insurance and riskier drivers would pay more. Telematics programs help insurance companies work towards that goal.

When drivers take part in telematics programs, they get real-time feedback about their driving habits. The programs generally last at least 90 days, sometimes longer. That gives drivers an opportunity to correct their bad habits and earn a better rate.

As insurance companies get data from the driver’s habits, they can adjust the rate accordingly.

More and more insurance carriers are offering telematics programs to help customize auto rates. These programs vary by carrier, but they will generally monitor your driving one of two ways. They will use either a device that you plug into your vehicle or a mobile app on your phone.

What driving behaviors are monitored by telematics?

Continue reading “Telematics: Pros and Cons of Driver Monitoring”

5 Steps to Take Before Your Teen Gets Licensed

If you’re the proud parent of a 14 or 15-year-old, you may be counting down the days until they get their license. Maybe you’re apprehensive about them driving, or you’re eager for them to have more independence (no more soccer practice drop-offs, finally!). Either way, it’s a huge milestone in your teen’s life, one that often comes with a hefty price tag.

When it comes to insuring your teen driver, it’s important to know when you have to add them to the policy. They usually don’t need to be rated when they only have their permit. As soon as they get their license, you’ll have to add them to the policy as a rated driver.

Adding a teen driver to your auto insurance will increase the cost of the policy, even if you don’t add an extra car. The simple truth is that teenagers pose an additional risk. Since insurance is all about rating for risk, that generally comes with a higher price.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do NOW to help lessen the financial blow.

Continue reading “5 Steps to Take Before Your Teen Gets Licensed”

3 Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Personal Injury Attorneys

If you watch TV or listen to the radio, chances are you’ve seen or heard a commercial from a personal injury attorney. You know the ones- “I called (name of law firm) and they got me $700,000!” The frequency of these commercials means you’re more likely to get sued if you are at-fault in an accident.

The fact of the matter is, there are people out there that see a big payday if they get in an accident. Insurance is there to pay your medical bills paid and get your vehicle fixed. When the injured party wants to pocket extra cash, it drives up rates for us all.

Read more about Colorado’s increasing rates in our blog 5 Reasons Insurance Rates Keep Increasing in Colorado.

If you’re at-fault in an accident your insurance company will only pay up to your liability limits. Anything beyond that is your responsibility. If you don’t have that money laying around, they can take your home or garnish your wages.

Here are 3 ways you can help protect your family and your financial future:

Continue reading “3 Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Personal Injury Attorneys”

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?

Some of the most common questions I hear are: Do I really need Uninsured Motorist coverage? Isn’t that why I have health insurance? For me, the answer is simple. Yes, you do need it.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but I wouldn’t take that risk. Sure, your health insurance may cover some of the costs if you’re injured in an accident. But you’ll still have out-of-pocket expenses.

Picture this:

You’re driving home from work and another driver runs a red light and smashes into your car. You’re taken to the hospital by ambulance where you undergo surgery for your lacerated liver and internal bleeding. Luckily, you’re alive and will make a full recovery.

Unfortunately, you’ll be in the hospital for a week and out of work for 3 weeks while you recover from your injuries.

Now what?

Continue reading “Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?”

How is Classic Car Insurance Different Than Regular Auto Insurance?

Most classic car insurance policies offer “agreed value” coverage. That means you and the insurance company would agree to insure your vehicle for a specific value. Then if there if there is a total loss to the vehicle, that is the amount the insurance company pays. This type of policy allows you to properly insure your classic car at the true market value.

Regular auto insurance policies cover your vehicle for the “actual cash value” at the time of the loss. The insured value of your vehicle depreciates as the vehicle ages. Because of that, normal car isn’t sufficient to cover the higher value of a classic car.

Benefits to classic car insurance over “regular” car insurance:

Continue reading “How is Classic Car Insurance Different Than Regular Auto Insurance?”

10 Ways to Save on Insurance Without Sacrificing Coverage

Raise your hand if you live in Colorado and your insurance premium increases every year. You can’t see me, but my hand is high in the air.

I work in the insurance industry, but that doesn’t make me immune to the same rate increases as everyone else. My policies have increased 4 years in a row.

To understand more about WHY the rates are increasing in Colorado, read our blog: 5 Reasons Insurance Rates Keep Increasing in Colorado.

We’re all in the same boat when it comes to increasing rates. I understand how overwhelming it can be to see 15-30% increases year after year. Especially when you haven’t filed a claim. If you’re anything like me, once you see that your rate has increased yet again, your first thought is to try to find a way to lower your rates.

Many agents will offer to lower your liability limits or remove coverage to save you some money. If you go that route, it’s important to understand what coverage you’re giving up and how it’ll impact you if you have a claim.

Continue reading “10 Ways to Save on Insurance Without Sacrificing Coverage”

5 Reasons Insurance Rates Keep Increasing in Colorado

Those of us lucky enough to live in Colorado know that the cost of living has skyrocketed in recent years. On Forbes’ list of the cities with the most significant cost of living increase, Colorado Springs ranked #1 and Denver was #16. 

The cost of housing, insurance, and even a gallon of milk has increased year after year. While I’m no expert on housing or milk prices, I can offer some insight on the rising insurance costs.

Here are 5 key reasons insurance rates keep rising in Colorado:

Continue reading “5 Reasons Insurance Rates Keep Increasing in Colorado”

5 Real-Life Insurance Claims

Many agents will give you the same generic scenarios when discussing liability limits. Or worse, they won’t talk to you about the importance of liability coverage at all, or how an Umbrella Policy could really help.

It’s hard to imagine being responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Especially if you don’t see insurance claims on a daily basis.

We wanted to give you some actual examples of claims that have been filed through our agency in the past few years. These are just a few examples that show why it’s dangerous to have low liability limits. You may save a few dollars a month, or even a few hundred a year, but you could be on the hook for tens of thousands after a claim.

Here are 5 actual claims that have been filed through our agency:

Continue reading “5 Real-Life Insurance Claims”

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