Does Your Driving History Affect Auto Insurance?

At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc., we serve many San Francisco, CA residents with fair and reasonable insurance rates. However, we also know that your history can affect your insurance and cause complications. Here’s what you need to know about this factor.

Yes, Your History Can Affect Your Insurance

Insurance companies always take a look at your history before providing you with a policy. For example, they may offer you a higher premium as a result of a poor driving record. Even worse, they’re likely to increase your premiums if you experience any problems after getting a policy.

That said, some issues are not as heavily weighted as others, meaning you might get a minor rate increase compared to a major one. Here are three of the most common concerns that impact your insurance, particularly if they become a recurring problem.

Issues That May Affect Your Rates 

  • Traffic Tickets – Depending on the severity (and volume) of your traffic tickets, your rates will go up at varying levels. First-time offenders are not likely to see an increase in their rates, though. 
  • DUI Tickets – If you get ticketed for a DWI or DUI, you can expect your rate to go up very heavily. This increase is likely even if you’re a first-time offender. It will take many years for this to come off your record, too. 
  • Accidents – Getting into an accident will immediately increase your rates, even if you weren’t to blame. This fact likely seems unfair but is something that insurance companies take very seriously. 

Avoid These Problems

If you’re concerned about the potential damage your history may have due to your insurance, it is crucial to reach out to us at Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. right away to learn more. Our team can help San Francisco, CA residents understand what they can do to minimize these problematic issues.

What is Gap Insurance? And is it Worth to Buy?

Gap insurance can be considered as additional insurance for your car loan. Gap insurance is not mandatory. It is an optional insurance benefit. It serves as a supplement to an auto insurance policy in case a car is totaled or stolen.

The value of a car decreases from the moment it leaves the lot, and it continues to decrease with each passing year. Car insurance pays out the value of the car at the time of an accident or theft. In the event that you still owe money on the car and the insurance paid out is less than the amount owed, gap insurance covers the gap between what is still owed on the car loan and what is paid out by the insurance company.

Is gap insurance worth it?

The term gap insurance stands for guaranteed asset protection. In the event that your debt on your vehicle is higher than the value of the vehicle, gap insurance is a good investment.

If your down payment on a car is less than 20% of the value of the vehicle, it’s best to get gap insurance. At least for the first few years, you own a car.

Gap insurance is usually only required for one to two years. This is because the insurance has served its purpose during this period.

Gap insurance is needed even if you have full auto coverage and you still owe money on a car loan or on a lease. Bear in mind, comprehensive and collision insurance only pays the value of the car at the time of an accident or when it is stolen. 

Speak to an expert at Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. serving San Francisco, CA, to see which insurance options best suit you.

An overview of Auto Insurance in California

Acquiring formidable auto insurance in San Francisco, CA is a fundamental initiative to protect yourself and your car in the event of an accident. If you are shopping for auto insurance in San Francisco, CA it’s paramount to comprehend the common types of coverage available on car insurance policies. Most San Francisco, CA residents procuring auto insurance are not aware of the coverages in question. Regrettably, it’s after the unprecedented crash that they will realize how powerful it is. To protect yourself from these unexpected eventualities, contact our team at Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. to have peace of mind knowing that you are protected.

Is Auto Insurance Mandatory In California?

California stipulates legal requirements you must adhere to operate a car. It advocates maintaining liability insurance by observing the minimum liability requirements—these minimum policy requirements include bodily injury and property damage.

Types of auto insurance coverage options in California

Comprehensive coverage: Helps cover expenses of repairing or replacing your car if it is physically damaged by non-collision events such as fire, theft, falling objects, and hail.

Collision coverage: It pays for expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle arising from physical damage after a collision with another vehicle or stationary objects like boulders, posts, trees, fences, or guardrails.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: These two coverages are grouped to cover your medical expenses if you are engaged in an accident with another driver who is at fault, and he is underinsured or does not have liability insurance at all.

Medical payments coverage: This form of policy is designed to cater to medical expenses such as ambulance rides,x-rays, and surgery if you and your passengers get hurt in an accident. It also covers the funeral expenses.

Personal injury protection: It may cover certain medical costs and loss of wages culminating from a covered accident. It might cater to 80% of medical and other expenses accrued from a given accident, depending on the policy limits.

Auto insurance in San Francisco, CA

Are you a car owner searching for a magnificent auto insurance policy in California to protect you and your car? Don’t look beyond Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. Our reputable agents will answer any queries about auto insurance.

Under what circumstances am I required to carry comprehensive auto insurance?

California drivers are required to carry auto insurance that meets California’s state minimum requirements. Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. of San Francisco, CA is dedicated to helping motorists understand the law as well as their insurance options. Comprehensive auto insurance isn’t required by law. However, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be circumstances when you will have to carry full coverage or comprehensive insurance. As a motorist, you need to be aware of situations that may require you to carry full coverage, although it’s not required by law.

What is Comprehensive Coverage? 

Comprehensive coverage is full coverage insurance. What does this mean? This type of insurance will pay to repair or replace your car if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. Comprehensive auto insurance covers damage to your vehicle, even if the damage isn’t caused by a collision. Comprehensive insurance includes damage caused by hail, fire, wind, flood, theft, and vandalism. This coverage also includes damage caused by hitting an animal and falling objects. Many people may wonder why they should carry comprehensive insurance because it’s not legally required. However, the answer isn’t hard to understand. Of course, if you haven’t fully paid for a car and have a car loan or lease, the lender will likely require you to carry comprehensive insurance or full insurance.

Is Comprehensive Insurance Worth It? 

However, there are other factors you should consider to help determine id comprehensive insurance is a good investment. These factors depend on your vehicle. As a general rule of thumb, if your annual premium is greater than the value of your car, it’s probably not a good idea to invest in comprehensive insurance. Not investing in comprehensive insurance is common sense for many reasons. If you sustain damage to your car and the cost of the damage exceeds your car’s value, your insurance company will deem your car a total loss. In this scenario, paying for full coverage isn’t a good investment. We understand that navigating car insurance can be confusing. There’s a lot to understand. However, we’re committed to educating you and answering your questions. Give us a call. We’re here to help. 

Are Comprehensive and Collision Coverage Required?

You already know that you need to have liability coverage to stay legal on California roads. But, are you required to keep comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto insurance policy? Our Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. team has put together all the information you need.

Are You Legally Required to Carry Full Coverage?

The basic answer is no. The State of California doesn’t care about whether you have the ability to fix your own vehicle. They just want to ensure that you can help the other person fix their car, pay for medical bills, or replace personal property if you’re involved in an accident that is deemed your fault.

Your Bank Might Have Other Ideas

However, if you have a loan on your vehicle, your bank might have other ideas. Most have a clause in their contracts that states that you have to carry first-party coverage on your car insurance policy. This means that, even though you aren’t legally required to have it, you’ll need to purchase comprehensive and collision when you buy auto insurance. In the end, this protects their interest in your vehicle if it is ever repossessed.

Why Having Comprehensive and Collision is a Good Idea

Even if your vehicle is fully paid off, having full coverage on your vehicle is still a good idea. Think about it for a moment. If your car were stolen, damaged in an accident, or hit by an uninsured driver, would you be able to pay for repairs out of your own pocket? For most people, this would be difficult. Instead, it is much more economical to go ahead and purchase comprehensive and collision on your policy.

Let Us Help with Your California Auto Insurance Needs

At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services inc, we’re dedicated to helping our customers with all of their auto insurance needs. For more information on how we can assist you, please contact our San Francisco, CA location today to schedule an appointment.

When Should You Update Your Auto Insurance?

It’s important to keep your auto insurance policy up to date, so you get the right coverage. At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc.in San Francisco, CA, we offer different types of auto insurance to meet your needs. Here are the signs its time to update your existing policy.

Moving

Moving is a daunting experience, and updating your car insurance can seem low on the priority list. However, not updating your address can void your policy. Obviously, if you move to another state you’ll have to update your address. However, even if you are moving across town, you’ll need to contact your insurer and give them the correct address. 

Aftermarket Upgrades

Some companies will cover aftermarket parts up to a certain amount. Many companies also offer an option to insure the vehicle for an agreed-upon value, which can be higher than the book value. This allows you to cover the upgrades to your vehicle without a problem. If you want the company to cover your car customization, it’s best to discuss it before you modify your vehicle. 

Change in Drivers

If you had other drivers insured on your policy that are no longer driving your vehicle, you could save money by having them removed. If there’s a new driver in the household, you’ll need to add them to your policy. 

Change in Driving Record or Status

You should also update your policy if your driving record has changed, particularly in your favor. If you have an accident or speeding ticket that has recently been removed from your record, it could lower your rate. An improved credit score, getting married, and getting older can also lower your premiums.

Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc.has been serving San Francisco, CA residents for more than eighty years. We believe in providing individuals with policies that suit their needs. Contact us today to learn more.  

Is Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage Enough?

With such a large population, San Francisco, CA has some of the most congested roads in the country in one of the most populated states in the nation. There are well over 3,000 motor vehicle accident deaths a year in the Golden State and tens of thousands of more accidents that result in property, physical and emotional damages. Even if you are a good driver with a clean record, you need auto insurance. 

And as you probably already know, you are required by the state to have valid insurance in order to register a vehicle and drive on public roads. State law also requires you to meet certain coverage minimums, specifically in the areas of Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability. And unlike some states, California also requires you to carry Uninsured Motorist coverage with both Bodily Injury and Property Damage minimums.

At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc., we offer a range of auto insurance policies and get frequent requests for the lowest minimum coverage amounts. However, the truth is that this is hardly the best way to go. Even minor traffic accidents can rack up damages that exceed minimum coverage, causing you to face hefty out-of-pocket costs. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the state-required minimums are focused on covering damages you may inflict to others, not your own. 

So for most drivers in San Francisco, CA, and all of California for that matter, minimum auto insurance coverage just isn’t sufficient. This is especially true if you have a newer vehicle with pricey customizations or even a classic car that requires specialty parts for repairs. Even cars from a decade or more ago can experience more serious damage in an auto accident, thanks to the lack of advanced safety standards and structure. 

To learn more, contact the experts at Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. We will evaluate your driving habits and specific needs in order to determine what kind of auto coverage may be best for you.

I Got a DUI Now What?

So you made a mistake and drove under the influence. You’ve gone to court and had a hearing with the DMV, and you’re probably wondering what happens now. A DUI conviction can have adverse effects on your insurance rates and driving privileges. After a DUI, there may be additional requirements for you to drive again. Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. serving San Francisco, CA may be able to help.

Your Rates Will Increase

A DUI conviction leaves a mark on your driving record that lasts for ten years. That mark can lead to increased insurance rates. However, your rate probably won’t immediately jump, because state law prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates before your renewal period. But, you should be prepared to see an increase when it’s time to renew.

You’ll Need an SR-22

Your license was probably suspended following your DUI conviction, so you’ll likely be required to obtain an SR-22 to reinstate your driving privilege. An SR-22 is a form that provides proof that you have the state-required liability insurance to drive. The DMV requires drivers convicted of DUI have one on-file, typically for three years. 

If you own a car or have one registered in your name, you’ll have to have an SR-22 on file with the DMV. If you don’t own a car, but will drive at any point during the designated timeframe, you’ll have to obtain a nonowners SR-22. 

You must request a form from an auto insurance company. They will either send it to you, or they’ll send it directly to the DMV once it’s completed.

The time following a DUI can be stressful. Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. serving San Francisco, CA can help you get back on the road. Contact us today to learn more about your insurance options.

 

Why You Could Be Found At Fault For Your Auto Accident

Have you ever wondered how insurance companies like Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. determine who’s at fault for an accident? Imagine you’re driving along in San Francisco, CA, minding your own business, when suddenly a car slams into your passenger side door. You feel the other driver was to blame because they hit you, but you missed the stop sign. So, who’s at fault?

How is Fault Determined

There are two main ways authorities determine who is at fault for an auto accident — Proof of negligence and showing that a driver violated a statute.

To prove negligence means that the driver operated their car unsafely. For example, if you pull away from a curb, and another hits your vehicle, you could be found at fault because it’s reasonable to say you did not make sure the roadway was clear before you entered traffic.

Another example is a rear-end accident. It could be determined that you followed too closely, which is considered an unsafe operation of a vehicle.

Violation of a statute is determined by whether you adhered to traffic law or not. So, if you ran a red light or stop sign, you will likely be determined at fault for the auto accident.

Fault Through Comparative Negligence

Even if one party is determined at fault, the other could still carry some responsibility through comparative negligence. This means that both parties were found negligent. However, one party is more at fault than the other. Comparative negligence is usually determined by witness statements, law enforcement, and statements by the insured parties.

Auto insurance coverage can protect your assets if you’re found at fault in an auto accident. Call or stop by Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc., which services the San Francisco, CA area, to determine if you have enough coverage in the event of an accident.

Travel Outside Of Florida? Make Sure You Have Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

When you’re getting ready to leave your San Francisco, CA home for a road trip out of state, you’re most likely busy planning your route and finishing your last-minute packing. What you probably aren’t thinking about is your automobile insurance policy or whether your policy covers you while driving across state borders. While the state of California requires that drivers carry minimum liability coverage of $15,000 for personal injury protection and $5,000 for property damage liability, other states may have higher minimum coverage requirements.  

Does My Bodily Injury Liability Policy Cover Me Out Of State? 

Generally, yes. While auto insurance coverage requirements vary from state to state, although you purchased coverage based on California’s coverage options, your insurance should provide protection even if you travel clear across the nation. Meeting the minimum bodily liability insurance coverage in another state isn‘t important as long as you meet the minimum in California. For example, in what is called a “broadening clause,” if you were involved in an accident in another state where the minimum requirements were $5,000 more than your policy minimum, your insurer will generally make up the difference and cover you at the higher limit. 

Are There Situations Where My Bodily Injury Liability Policy Won’t Cover Me Out Of State? 

For the most part, you can jump in your car and head to another state without thinking about your auto insurance policy. However, there are a couple of situations where your policy may not cover you: 

  • If you are moving from San Francisco, CA to another state. Your Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. policy will cover you while you are traveling to your new home, but once you move you will have to buy a new policy in that state. 
  • While most insurance companies will cover you if you head north to Canada, if your travel plans go south of the border into Mexico, you will likely need to buy insurance for driving in Mexico.

If you plan to hit the road into another state, it’s a good idea to check your auto insurance policy or call Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. to ensure your automobile insurance policy has a broadening clause or will cover you for wherever you are planning to drive.