Tag Archives: Auto Insurance

Does your auto insurance cover driving under the influence (DUI) accidents?

In a short answer, your auto insurance might cover you even if your at-fault driving under the influence (DUI), but after the contract ends your carrier could deny your renewal of the policy and the driver will be considered a risky driver and may get high rates. 

Read more-> Myth or Fact: Do Car Accidents Increase in the Holiday Season?

Your protection depends on your type of coverage 

Let’s go step by step… 

Like almost everything in the auto insurance world, it depends on the type of coverage. Your insurance might cover you depending on what you have. If you have liability coverage, after a drunk driving accident the insurance company will only pay for the third party damages. 

Besides liability, collision, comprehensive and medical payment usually covers the driver at-fault or if they were hit by another driver under the influence. 

But if we’re talking about coverage, your insurance could pay for car damages, medical expenses, or third-party damage.  

Does drunk driving void your insurance?

The insurance agent or company cannot deny coverage but they could cancel at any time or refuse to renew your policy in some of the following cases:

  1. The insurer doesn’t pay their premium. 
  2. Insurers file a fraudulent claim. 
  3. Driver’s license is suspended or revoked (that could happen after Driving While Intoxicated)
  4. Insured is now considered high risk- and renewal could be a liability. 

Texas Department of Insurance said the auto insurance company must refund any unearned premium to the insurer 15 days after the day of the cancellation. 

For nonrenewal cases, the insurance agency or company must tell you in writing, at least 30 days before the contract ends. 

How much is insurance after a DUI?

There is no doubt that a driver involved in an accident due to being under the influence would be labeled as a high-risk driver.

This could result in expensive consequences such as:

  1. Premium rates will increase
  2. Car insurance policy could be canceled

This number varies based on your carrier and the state. According to alcohol.org, it could increase between $1000 and $10,000 depending on the company, state, and situation. Insurance companies may double or triple the rate.

How long does driving under the influence affect your auto insurance? 

In the majority of states, a DUI can take several years to clear your record after being in an accident. In Texas, the driver never gets a DUI conviction removed from their record. 

Commonly, auto insurance companies check motor vehicle records of their insureds. It depends on each company or agency if after three years (or more) they want to give a standard auto insurance rate regardless of the driving record. 

What happens after being caught driving while intoxicated? 

In Texas, any person with a .08 Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration is considered under the influence and can face tremendous consequences if caught driving under the influence. 

First Offense: 

  1. A fine of up to $2,000
  2. Three days to 180 days in jail 
  3. Loss driver’s license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $2,000 at least during three years

Second Offense:

  1. A fine of up to $4,000
  2. One month to a year in jail
  3. Loss of driver’s license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver’s license

Third Offense:

  1. A $10,000 fine
  2. Two to 10 years in prison
  3. Loss of driver’s license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain a driver’s license

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

When a driver is caught driving drunk with a child passenger, the fines are even higher.  

Also, most of the punishments above depend on the driver’s age. For example, a driver over 21 years old, must fill a Financial Responsibility Certificate (SR-22) from their insurance company. 

For drivers under 21 years of age, they receive one year of driver’s license suspension, they could be required to serve during the suspension period, fill the SR-22, and so on, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Those who refuse to take a blood alcohol test while being pulled could result in a suspended driver’s license for 180 days, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

How can I lower my auto insurance after a driving under the influence (DUI) ticket?

  1. Always have auto insurance, the lack of insurance protection means expensive consequences
  2. Increase your deductible and could pay less on your premiums
  3. Follow the law to avoid traffic infractions
  4. Drive less to lower your mileage and the probability to have accidents. 
  5. Take care of your car by keeping it in the garage and installing anti-theft alarms.
  6. Maintain a good credit score. 
  7. Don’t let the same mistake happen again. Try a sober ride such as Uber or Lyft. 

The best thing that you can do is to drink responsibly. Sadly, car accidents caused by driving while intoxicated are the reason for several fatalities during this time of year. It’s not only what could happen to your insurance rates or car damages, but consider your life and other’s life.

Have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2020!

Why is it mandatory to have car insurance in Texas?

Being a Texan come with rights and responsibilities. One of them is to follow the law for your safety and all citizens. If you’re a driver -or a new one- and live in Texas, keep reading. This is substantial for you.

What is the purpose of auto insurance?

Most states require auto insurance for a simple reason: the law knows -based on statistics- each driver is likely to get involved in a car accident throughout their life, and most of which could not afford the outcome for themselves let alone, another party.

Additionally, causing a car accident without any insurance will affect your financial situation while you’ll try to cover the total cost for you and the other driver. Besides, could run into legal troubles to do not follow the rules.

Which kind of coverage do you need to have at minimum? 

You can get a policy that fits your needs, but at minimum,  you need liability coverage. This policy protects a third party if you collide with them. It can pay any necessary medical bills and other expenses. 

Texas laws require 30/60/25 coverage.

What does this mean? 

* $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person

* $60,000 per accident

* $25,000 of coverage for property damage

In short words, it doesn’t protect you or pay for your damages. That’s why it’s important to consider additional coverage that protects your car, your health, and your passengers.

In Texas, around 20% of people are uninsured and it’s a dangerous number because liability coverage doesn’t protect you from them. If they are at fault in a car accident they couldn’t pay you.

Types of insurance coverage in Texas

Liability coverage

Is the minimum required by law and it only brings protection to the other driver  if you are at fault in a car accident. But if the damages exceed the 30/60/25 amount you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket or you may struggle with a lawsuit.

Collision coverage

Repair or replace your car after an accident. It works if you hit an inanimate object like lampposts. 

Comprehensive coverage

Protects you against things that are out of human control things like fire, flood, vandalism or deer accidents.

Learn more about what is comprehensive coverage

Medical payments coverage

It’s about your well-being. It pays for you and your passengers’ medical bills in case of a car accident.

Uninsured coverage

Can pay for a hit and run accident or if you are hit by an uninsured driver.

Rental reimbursement coverage

Pays for a rental vehicle if your car is stolen or repaired after an accident.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance

What happen if you don’t have auto insurance in Texas? 

Think twice before take lightly this requirement. The fines for uninsured drivers are expensive, more than a policy. 

The first offense could cost between $175 and $350, subsequent offenses could be fines up to $1,000, license suspension, and policies could take your car and your driver license and recover one of them it’s most expensive and complicated than you think.

What are the benefits of car insurance in Texas?

It’s not only necessary to follow the law, but car insurance could also help you in a variety of ways. Let’s say you’re an excellent driver but most people aren’t, right? Be honest, even when you’re driving at least once you thought that. 

Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2018 there’s no day without car accidents on Texas roads. That’s a shocking fact and proof everyone is susceptible to get involved in this situation. 

1. Financial Liability 

Will you burn your money? When you don’t have auto insurance it seems like that. Auto insurance gives you financial support to repair all the damages occured during  a car accident. When you’re covered it’s like a deal between you and your insurance company.

In a car accident you may only need to pay your deductible and your insurance company may pay for the rest of the damages. Without, you might pay for all your losses and that could affect your financial situation for several years.

2. May cover you from a lawsuit 

Auto insurance gives you the benefit to potentially avoid lawsuits and get involved in that complicated process. They can provide you with lawyers and take care of you and your situation.

3. You can recover your losses and damages

Depends on your type of coverage (like comprehensive or collision) you don’t need to worry about damages or a total loss of your car. 

4. Protect you from paying medical costs 

Car damages and losses hurt but nothing is more important than your well-being. There are types of coverages that protect you and your passenger in a car accident by paying for your medical bills. 

Keep reading -> 5 reasons why you need car insurance

What is the most important part of car insurance?

Type of coverage

Be sure you’re getting the right policy for your needs. If you have sons you need to have special coverage for that or if you want your car for uber service you may need separate coverage for that. 

Deductible

It’s what you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays for their part. Each company has a minimum required deductible but you can increase it depending on how much you can pay. 

The higher deductible, the lower premium and cost of your insurance. That sounds great but remember you’ll need a lot of money out of pocket after an accident. The thing about car insurance is to be covered  in case of an accident. So, consider it! 

You’re the person who decides how much you can pay now  instead of how much you want to pay later.

Premium

The cost of your insurance policy can be determined by your age, location, health, driver behavior, type of  job and things like that. You can pay annual, basis-annual or monthly.

Your premium is also determined by your type of coverage. The more security you want, the more you’ll pay. 

how does deductible impact your premium car insurance in texas

Exclusions

Look at the contract and see what is covered and what isn’t. It’s very important to clarify this point before signing the deal. Some policies could cover some natural disasters but not all or if you are in another country driving your car, damages caused intentionally by yourself or belongings inside your car.

Conditions

Contracts always include rights and responsibilities for the stakeholders and an insurance contract isn’t an exception. Look what your responsibilities and obligations are as an insured driver and what the insurance agent’s duties , in a nutshell, to avoid misunderstanding when you need the insurance coverage service. 

There’s no reason to feel afraid when we talk about auto insurance. You might think at the beginning insurance coverage is expensive but how much does peace of mine cost? It’s worthy. 

Keep in mind what you need and look for the best rate for your budget. Driving without protection is a risky decision and may infringe your legal and financial situation.

Deer Car Accidents in Texas: how to avoid it and what to do after

 

Recent data from Highway Loss Data Institute of Insurance, claims from 2006 through 2018 the number of deer-related accidents increases in November.

Numbers are wary but you still have time to get informed and see how you can avoid a deer-vehicle collision. In addition, what can we do if you or a friend end up in that situation?

Continue reading Deer Car Accidents in Texas: how to avoid it and what to do after

 

Recent data from Highway Loss Data Institute of Insurance, claims from 2006 through 2018 the number of deer-related accidents increases in November.

Numbers are wary but you still have time to get informed and see how you can avoid a deer-vehicle collision. In addition, what can we do if you or a friend end up in that situation?

Continue reading Deer Car Accidents in Texas: how to avoid it and what to do after

Preparing for High Waters

Prepare for the flood. Most don’t begin to prepare until it is too late. Check out the seamless process and take the necessary steps to prepare for high waters beforehand.

Before the Flood

Elevate any electrical components that might cause a fire. Examples include heating units, air condition units, and wiring appliances 

Clear any debris from gutters and runoffs. Clean gutters allow them to work properly and alleviate access water from your home. Ensure the run-off area is clear, giving the water the ability to flow down instead of buildup in your yard or at the base of your home.

Fuel Tanks If you have fuel tanks or equipment with fuel inside- be sure to anchor them down. Additional fuel may be necessary for flooding situations but prepare to store tanks higher up and secure them properly.

Valuables If possible, move valuables to a safe place.

Ensure any documents that you might need are in a secure place and accessible if you need to grab them. Examples include birth certificates, insurance documents, passports, etc.) Invest in a safe deposit box if applicable.

Prepare a safety kit- include water, non-perishable foods, safety supplies (flashlights, medicines, first aid equipment, and a battery-operated radio. Kick it old school, have these items ready to go when you are.

Plan and practice a flood evacuation route. Ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact’s address and phone number (from fema.com).

Pet Plan Come up with a pet plan in case you have to evacuate. Many shelters will not take pets in for flood reasons. Ensure you have additional food and water for your animal and any necessary crates if you have to evacuate. Pet life jackets can be purchased here.

Check your insurance policy and make sure you have adequate coverage. 

Standard Home Policies do not offer flood insurance. Speak with your agent and ensure your policy includes flood coverage. Remember, flood insurance has a future effective date (usually 30 days out) so establish coverage beforehand. Flood insurance is offered to homeowners, business owners, and renters.

Know your risk of flood possibilities. Are you in a classified flood zone? Click here and input your address to see where you are on the flood map.

Conduct a household inventory. Take photos prior to the flood. Determine the value of your assets and store all insurance documents securely. The items will be of much value when it comes time to file a claim.

No one wants to be caught off guard with no time to prepare. As a family, come up with a plan that you’re confident with. Remember as much as you prepare and plan, the weather is always unpredictable. These steps are only here to give you peace of mind in case of an emergency.  Check out the complete guide to flood readiness here.

 

Back To School Driving Tips 101

School is back in session! The summer is over, and we are heading straight into a new school year. Back to school means there are more drivers on the road than usual during your morning commute. Most will purposely take alternate routes during the school year to avoid the additional slow down time. However, if you are dropping off a kiddo, there isn’t any other choice.

Here is our Back to School Driving tips from TXDOT.GOV to help make the commute a little easier and avoid fines.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Put away your cell phone. Cell phone use is banned in active school zones, and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.

Take this tip very seriously. Don’t be the parent that completely forgot you entered a school zone and up getting a ticket for being on the phone. Check your city requirements- as some city ordinances have banned cell phone use while driving altogether.  

  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.

Even when you think there aren’t any police officers around, they’re there!  

  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.

This is a hard one to follow, especially at the beginning of the school year. The pickup and drop-off line will get better. It always starts out rocky, but the process does get smoother. Avoid parking down the road and encouraging your schooler to meet you elsewhere. Your tax dollars pay for the cross guard and the necessary crosswalk to ensure your child’s safety, utilize it.

  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.

We all know how dreadful it is to be stuck behind a school bus as they make each stop, but remember it is unlawful to pass a school bus when they have their flashing lights on.

  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

Be cautious of that Wilding!

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

Remember these safety tips as you approach a school zone. Don’t end up in a situation that could cost you hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly injure someone. School is just beginning, and we wish everyone a great and safe year!

Your Local Independent Agent,

Al Boenker Insurance