Thursday, September 23, 2010

Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Coverage

Washington's insurance laws make Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage an excellent bargain and an important benefit that can save you from a financial disaster if you are involved in a traffic accident.

All states, except New Hampshire, require liability insurance as part of your auto insurance coverage. It is considered good policy, because if you cause an accident, the person you hit should be able to recoup their expenses from you.

But the high cost of auto insurance forces some drivers to forego even basic liability coverage. They're out there driving, and have no means to pay for any damage they would do to your vehicle! The Insurance Research Council estimates that about one out of every six drivers is driving without any insurance coverage. That's 16 percent of the U.S. population!

Protect Yourself From Irresponsible Drivers

This is where UM/UIM coverage can really help. This coverage pays for your injuries when someone without insurance causes the accident or when you're hit by a hit-and-run driver. UM/UIM coverage also pays off when someone else causes the accident, but doesn't have ENOUGH insurance to cover your costs. UM/UIM will also help if you're injured and forced to miss work by paying your lost wages.

If you are in an accident which is cause by an uninsured motorist and you don't have UM/UIM coverage, your health insurance will generally pay for your medical bills related to that accident. That can be very expensive, however. If you have UM/UIM coverage, it will pay for the medical expenses until your limits are reached, then your health insurance will kick in to cover the amount over that.

But health insurance won't pay a dime for lost wages if you're injured and miss work, or for pain and suffering from the crash. That is paid by the at-fault driver's liability insurance, but if he or she doesn't have any liability coverage or it is insufficient, you're out of luck unless you go to court and try to recover the costs. However, if you have UM/UIM coverage, it will reimburse you for the lost wages and any pain and suffering that is caused by the accident.

Save on Deductibles

As in all auto insurance policies, there are deductibles.  If you obtain the at-fault driver's information, your deductible would be $100. Then your insurance company can go after them for reimbursement of damages. In addition, if they can recover the full amount of what they paid out to you for fixing your car, then they will give you your $100 back. If, however, you are involved in a hit-and-run, or a "phantom" type vehicle collision and there's no driver to go after, then the deductible is $300. This is another benefit of UM/UIM coverage, since a regular collision deductible is at least $500.

'Stacked' Coverage in Washington

What makes Washington an even better place to have UM/UIM coverage than, say, Oregon, is that the customer gets the coverage they pay for. For instance, if a Washington citizen buys $100,000 of UM/UIM coverage, they get up to an additional $100,000 of insurance benefits, above and beyond whatever amount of coverage the at-fault driver may have. This is called "stacking" -- the UM/UIM policy "stacks" on top of the at-fault driver's coverage. In other states, such as Oregon, if someone buys $100,000 of UM/UIM coverage, they may not get some or all of that coverage if they are hit by another driver. It depends on the amount of insurance carried by the at-fault driver. For example, if the at-fault driver carried $25,000 of liability coverage, the Oregon $100,000 UM/UIM policy would only pay a maximum of $75,000. If the negligent driver had $100,000 worth of coverage, the Oregon UM/UIM policy would pay nothing. That policy in Washington would pay up to an additional $100,000, or $200,000 total!

Regardless of what state you're in, UM/UIM insurance is very important. It protects you and your family from huge medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering costs if you are involved in an accident caused by a negligent driver. And for less than a dollar a day, it is an incredible bargain! Without it, you're either at the mercy of the other driver's coverage or looking for a lawyer and a lawsuit. Which would you rather have?

For more information on Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, please contact us toll-free at 888-867-2866, or contact your SAV-ON Insurance agent.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Permanent Life Insurance Growing in Popularity Among Middle Class Consumers

One in Four Likely to Purchase It in the Near Future

As the economic downturn rolls into its third year, middle-class consumers are showing a growing interest in managing financial risk through the use of permanent life insurance products.
The August survey of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 39 percent of middle-class Americans own some form of permanent life insurance coverage. And among those who don’t own a permanent life policy, one in four say they are likely to purchase this type of coverage in the future.

“After years of following the popular pitch to ‘buy term and invest the difference,’ consumers are now seeing how a market downturn can threaten a seemingly sound financial strategy,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “These numbers support findings by others in the industry who note that Americans are turning to permanent life coverage as a time-tested tool for managing long-term risk.”

The most popular permanent insurance product is whole life, which is owned by 26 percent of middle-class families. Other permanent life products held by survey respondents include universal life and variable life, which are owned by 10 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Term life insurance remains the go-to product for many consumers. Term policies are owned by 45 percent of middle-class families. Interestingly people who own term life policies feel less comfortable with their coverage than those who own whole life and other permanent products. The survey reveals a 5-point gap between those who feel “extremely” or “very” comfortable with their permanent life insurance coverage (49 percent) and those who feel the same way about their term life insurance coverage (44 percent). Also, consumer satisfaction levels are highest for whole life (60 percent), followed by term (55 percent), universal life (53 percent) and variable life (50 percent).

“We are not surprised to see that whole life is associated with high consumer satisfaction,” Spiker said. “This seemingly old-fashioned product remains popular because of its long-term value, flexibility and stability. The guarantees offered by these policies make it an especially appealing choice during the uncertainties of the current economic crisis.”

At SAV-ON Insurance Agencies, we have an experienced agent who is an expert in life insurance, whether it be term, permanent life or long-term care insurance. Call Steve today at 1-888-867-2866 and find out what's available for you!

Source: Business Wire