Thursday, January 22, 2015

Auto Theft is a Big Problem. Are You Protected?

There were nearly 700,000 motor vehicle thefts nationwide in 2013. Although 2014 showed a slight decrease, it continues to be a real problem. It is estimated that $4.5 billion is lost on motor vehicle thefts.

According to the FBI, a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 44 seconds!
Auto theft
Making the problem more aggravating is that for every 10 vehicle thefts, only slightly more than half (56%) are recovered, and about one is successfully prosecuted!  In 2012, for example, only 11.9 percent of auto thefts were cleared, either by arrests or by exceptional means, compared with 20.4 percent for arson and 19.0 percent for all property crimes. To make matters worse, many of the vehicles recovered are damaged or destroyed. Source: Insurance Information Institute

Be careful where you park your car, and what you leave in it. If you don't have a garage, make sure to have motion lights that will deter a would-be thief. When you're not at home, park in a well-lit area, and always lock your car. A survey of American drivers conducted in April 2007 on behalf of the National Insurance Crime Bureau found:
  • • One-third admit they have left their car while it was running, which makes the vehicle an easy target for theft.
  • • 47% don't always park in a well-lit area.
  • • 40% don't hide their valuables. In fact, nearly half leave mail in their vehicle, a quarter have left a purse or wallet, and almost a third have left bank statements, all of which can put them at risk for identity theft.

It Costs You!

Although 75% of respondents know that there are costs associated with vehicle theft in addition to paying the insurance deductible and the cost of replacing the vehicle that are not covered by insurance, virtually none knew that there are additional costs such as:
  • • Insurance premium increases
  • • The cost of time spent dealing with police
  • • Vehicle rental costs
  • • Cost of time off from work.  
The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

Make Sure You're Adequately Protected!

Auto theft is covered by the optional comprehensive coverage on an auto policy. Without it you're on your own if your car gets stolen or vandalized. Don't take that chance! You can choose from a range of deductibles that will affect your premiums. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your rates will be. SAV-ON Insurance agents are happy to help you figure out the best rate for your vehicle and save you money, too. Call us today at 888-867-2866 for a free estimate, or come in to any of our offices.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Struggling with Debt? Make a Plan to Pay It Off

With the New Year just underway, many people have made resolutions to improve their lives.  And for many improving their finances is at the top of the list.

Getting out of debt can be a big and almost overwhelming goal.  It’s not a fast process and it takes a lot of dedication, but it is worth it in the end! 

So where do you begin? 

First, start by getting an accurate picture of where you stand.  Gather up all of your recent debt statements.  This includes credit cards, car loans, student loans, any personal loans or other big ticket items, and your mortgage.

Run your credit report.  Although there are lots of paid online sites that offer this service, you can request a free copy every year at from all three credit bureaus.  This is a great time to check for any mistakes and make sure that every debt on your credit report is included in your list.

Create a debt payoff plan.  Create a spreadsheet with all of your debt information. Include the name of the debt, total balance, interest rate, and minimum payment. Then figure out what order you want to attack your debt. Some organize them from lowest to highest balance, while others prefer to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first.

Whatever you decide, here’s the trick:  Once you pay off your first debt, combine that payment with the second debt.  For example, if you're paying $50 each month to a credit card, once it is paid off add that $50 to the $50 you're still paying to the auto repair shop that fixed your brakes last fall. Now you’re paying a lot more then the minimum and it just keeps growing as you go!

Look for ways to keep adding money to your payoff. Sell unused items around the house, have a yard sale, clip coupons, or even get a part-time job. Cut out one restaurant meal every week and add that to the pot. Just do whatever it takes to keep your momentum up!

Get the whole family involved. Make getting out of debt a family goal. Put your payoff on the fridge and count down. Let the kids help with the family budget.  When everyone understands what you’re working toward, they’ll be more likely to cooperate when the budget is tight.

And how can you find a few extra dollars toward your debt payoff?  Save on your monthly insurance costs!  SAV-ON can help.  Call us at 888-867-2866 for a review of your policies to see if there are places you can cut, or get a quote on your auto, home, business, and life insurance. We can usually save people money on their insurance!