Farmers Insurance and State of Texas Come to Rate Increase Agreement

Posted & filed under Texas Car Insurance.

According to a news bulletin made by the Insurance Journal, Farmers Insurance Company, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), aand the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) have resolved a dispute over a homeowners insurance rate increase filed by Farmers last summer.

In their request, filed in June, 2009, Farmers Insurance asked for a 9.8 rate increase for its Texas Family Home Policy, which became effective on June 16th. Almost immediately, OPIC filed an objection to the increase, and in September the company was notified by TDI that the “rates contained in the filing to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory.”

A commissioner’s order, dated January 11, 2010, indicated that all parties have agreed that Farmers will reduce the overall rate increase by 5.3 percent with a three-fold plan that includes:

  1. reducing main peril base rates by 2.7%
  2. increasing the auto and home discount applicable main perils from 15% to 20%
  3. reducing the water peril base rates by 11.6%

The accepted changes are to become effective on March 16th, 2010, and will remain in effect for one year, as long as there are no “extraordinary unforseen circumstances,” like natural disasters, which might cause the company negative effects.

The commissioner’s order includes stipulations that the order does not mean that Farmers admits to any violations of the Texas Insurance Code, nor does it constitute an approval by TDI, “…of the assumptions or methodologies used by Farmers in any rate filing.”

It is not known whether or not Farmers auto insurance customers should also expect a rate increase, or even if one has been requested.

In the New World of Small Cars, Crash Testing Matters Even More

Posted & filed under Auto Safety, Car Insurance.

Why should drivers take the time to learn about crash tests and their results? Because the testing done each year by groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has helped to bring highway deaths in 2009 down to just 37,000. That’s the fewest fatalities since 1961, marking tremendous progress in the campaign for better vehicular safety.

This is especially important as consumer tastes are leading manufacturers to make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. In 2004, 70% of the vehicles sold by Ford were heavy trucks or SUVs. Last year, 60% of the company’s sales were in mid-sized sedans and the signature Ford on display at the Detroit auto show currently going on in Detroit is a compact, the Focus.

As Americans embrace smaller cars, they need to be aware of the safety performance those vehicles return. The Smart ForTwo is a darling with the fuel conscious, but it’s one of the smallest cars on American roadways. Surprisingly, IIHS testing awarded the car four stars for frontal crashes and five for side impact. Obviously a car that small won’t emerge unscathed from an impact, but the important question is how will the driver fare.

The Internet is playing a key role in dispensing more graphic crash test results, with videos available that show exactly what happened to the vehicle on impact. Being able to see the test adds real-life meaning to the standard star rating system and gives consumers a better gauge on which to base their decisions. Personal comfort levels matter as much as statistics. If even the best-rated car doesn’t feel safe to you, it’s not the car you need to be driving.

Some of the best crash testing is conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA site offers a wealth of statistical data as well as analysis results. Taking the time to learn about crash testing and incorporating that information into your car buying decisions is one of the smartest moves consumers can make as cars become lighter, more fuel-efficient, and smaller.

Skip the Insurance: How to Save Money on a Rental Car

Posted & filed under Rental Car Insurance.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure one of the elements of your trip is likely to be a rental car. With enough discounts and coupons, you may be able to spend your time away from home tooling around in a car that is much more luxurious than your own daily driver. On the other hand, you might be compressing yourself into a subcompact. Either way, at some point saving money will probably cross your mind.
Here are five ways to save money at the car rental counter.

  1. Off-Airport Locations: Sure, getting your car at the airport is convenient, but did you know that you pay for the 24-hour staffing and airport shuttles that allow you to do so with ease? Even if you’re renting while on a business trip or vacation, consider grabbing a taxi to an off-airport rental site. The cab fare will generally be significantly less expensive than the fees added at the airport rental location.
  2. Skip the Insurance: Generally speaking, the answer to “Should I buy rental car insurance?” should be “No.” While it’s true that you as the renter are responsible for any accidents that happen while you’re driving, your personal auto insurance probably already covers you, and if you’re paying with a credit card, chances are there’s automatic coverage from your card provider. Finally, if you’re traveling for work, you may be covered by your employer’s insurance.
  3. Pick Your Dates Carefully: It’s common knowledge that weekdays are less expensive than weekends, and that a week-long rental may be less expensive than four single days, even if you end up turning the car in early, but did you know that when you travel can affect what you pay for your rental car? Check the events calendar for your destination city. If there’s a major festival, celebration or other event, consider altering your travel plans to a time when cars won’t be in such high demand. Rental companies can – and do – raise their fees when a big event is happening, and a recent article in the Miami Herald suggests that choosing off-peak travel dates can save you a lot of cash.
  4. Rethink that GPS: Most of us got where we needed to go fairly easily before navigational systems became popular. While it may be tempting to pay for that onboard GPS if you’re in a new city, consider that you’re paying up to $15/day for a service you may already have on your cell phone. Don’t own a smartphone yet? Maps are free at most rental desks, and state tourism offices.
  5. Fill’er Up: Never agree to return a rental car empty or skip a fill-up if you’ve opted not to prepay for a tank. You’ll pay up to twice the going market rate for each gallon, and if you return a car only partly empty, you may be charged for a full tank. If you know your schedule will be tight, ask your host or hotel for the location of a gas station near the airport, or scope one out as you leave, to save time during drop-off.

Rental cars are useful, of course, and can often give you experience with a car you’d never get to drive otherwise (you might rent a hybrid for a week, for example), but that doesn’t mean you should waste money where you don’t have to. Choose your features wisely, follow these tips, and save your cash for important things, like postcards and cheesy souvenirs.

The AIG Auto Insurance Meltdown: The Importance of Assessing the Financial Strength of Your Car Insurance Company

Posted & filed under Advice & How-to, Car Insurance, economy.

The public is outraged at AIG because it awarded its top executives over $165,000,000 in bonuses during the government bailout.

Besides selling off the AIG auto insurance division, AIG has also sold several other divisions – and plans to continue selling in order to pay back more than $170,000,000,000 in governmental loans.

A short year before international headlines read: Farmers Insurance Acquires AIG Personal Auto Group, the vast majority of financial analysts on the planet would have laughed at the concept. It would have seemed far too bizarre to conceptualize one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world crumbling to the brink of financial doom; losing stability to the point where only a massive government takeover (aka “bailout”) could sustain it.

Fast facts about what really happened to AIG auto insurance:

  • Largely due to excessive amounts of Credit Default Swaps (CDS’s), AIG was brought to the edge of bankruptcy;
  • AIG was awarded more than $173.3 billion in bailout monies – and now the government is turning up the collection heat;
  • AIG is selling off different divisions of its overall entity;
  • AIG wants desperately to maintain face in the eyes of the public – the same public they still owe more than $45 billion to;
  • Zurich Financial Services (Swiss) purchased American International Group’s (AIG’s) US-based automobile insurance division;
  • The total amount paid was $1.9 billion: $1.5 billion in cash and $400 million in Euro capital notes which are backed-up by Zurich;
  • AIG has also sold its Retail Public Bank Co. Ltd., AIG Card, HSB, Unibanco and the AIG Financial Products Corporation;

Why the public is so outraged at AIG:

In a nutshell, AIG paid its top executives bonuses that totaled more than $165,000,000 – while simultaneously taking billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money during the government bailout.
In response, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D- NY) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd (D-Conn) are attempting to develop a plan that places a 100% tax on those bonuses. Dodd stated, “You can write a tax provision targeted specifically at 98 percent of the taxable proceeds.” He adds, “This could happen fast. We could write this tomorrow.”

Carolyn Malonely, Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, has introduced a specific legislation that commands the IRS and United States Treasury Department to develop “guidelines that tax at 100 percent any bonus compensation that is not directly related to a commission for any recipient of TARP funds where the government is the majority owner of the company.” She states, “For a company that has required $170 billion in U.S. taxpayer assistance and is 80 percent owned by the United States government, this is clearly unacceptable.” Dodd and Maloney both plan to schedule hearings that delve further into the AIG bonuses.

What this means to you:

If a seemingly unshakable company like AIG Auto Insurance can disappear overnight, it just shows that you need to pay close attention while assessing the financial strength of your car insurance company. And while it’s impossible to really know what will happen in the future with any company, arming yourself with knowledge, and being a thorough comparison shopper, can greatly enhance your probabilities for a successful and long-lasting business relationship.

Welcome to CarInsuranceList – the Blog

Posted & filed under Car Insurance.

Welcome to the blog for CarInsuranceList.com

As our “about us” page states, car insurance is the one expense none of us wants but all of us must have.

If you’ve visited our site you already know that we offer an extensive list of car insurance company reviews to help you become a savvy shopper, whether your calling agents to ask questions in real time, or working on the internet to compare quotes.

What you may not know is that our website is also host to a vast collection of other information. Everything from insurance news that keeps you informed about changes in legislation and regulation, as well as just the state of the industry, to articles that offer an in-depth understanding of the terminology used in the insurance industry, to monthly tips that will help you save money are available at your fingertips, to help you make the best auto insurance choices you can.

With such a wealth of information, you may be wondering why we need a blog at all. The easy answer is: immediacy. With this blog we can share information on the fly, or answer your general questions. (While our site does include a link to request insurance quotes, we do not discuss such things in the blog.) We can be a little less formal while still being informative, and we can also get feedback from you, the end user, about what works, or doesn’t, and what you’d like to see.

Over the next few weeks, our pages will begin to fill up with useful and interesting information.

Until then, welcome. We’re glad you came here.