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MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE

If you are purchasing a motorcycle then you will likely be looking into purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy as well.

Spring is here which means you may have the fever to go out and explore the open road. We will discuss some important factors in motorcycle insurance before you buy one.  There are several things that you should be aware of when you take out one of these policies.  These policies are very similar to your auto insurance policy and cover many of the same things but there are some differences.

Motorcycle policies are written on annual basis in NC whereas auto policies can be written 6 months at a time, a full year, or both depending on the company. The reason for this is because the state of NC requires you to have liability insurance on a bike just as you are required to have one on an auto.

Many people might forget to renew their motorcycle policy if it is off-season and you aren’t riding at the time. You still must keep liability insurance on the bike unless you turn in your tags. If you are financing the bike then the bank will require you to keep comprehensive and collision coverage on the bike as well until you pay off the loan regardless of the season. In NC and SC, our seasons are longer anyways and the weather can be warm enough in any month to warrant a ride

Liability Limits

The liability limits you choose are required to be at a minimum 30/60/25 limits as required by NC law.

These split limits stand for $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury total for each accident and $25,000 property damage for each accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Under-insured Motorist Coverage

We typically recommend higher liability limits on motorcycle policies not because you are likely to do more damage while on your bike versus a car, but due to the un/underinsured motorist coverage also being higher. We are more focused here on bodily injury claims than property damage. Unfortunately when you have an accident on your bike and have bodily injury, the expenses are oftentimes very high.

If you carry higher limits of liability then you can also carry the higher matching uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage. For instance if your limits are $100,000 bodily injury per person and you carry matching uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage up to these limits then you are protecting yourself much more. If you are hit by an uninsured motorist then you will be covered up to your $100,000 limit for your injuries. If that same driver hits you and he has only the minimum $30,000 bodily injury limit required by state laws, then you will still be better covered. Where that $30,000 limit stops, your under-insured motorist coverage kicks in and pays up to your $100,000 under-insured bodily injury limit.

Comprehensive and Collision

This is the same coverage as your auto and covers damage to your bike for accidents, weather, theft, etc. Even if you have your bike paid off you should seriously consider comprehensive coverage in addition to your liability coverage at the very least. Sport bikes especially have a very high theft rate and would be covered under these comprehensive claims.

Medical Payments

It is probably important to carry higher limits for medical payments on your cycle policy which will cover you and any passengers on your bike if you are hurt. This is true for obvious reasons.

Additional Equipment

Many companies allow for coverage for additional after-market equipment and safety equipment. A lot of them give you automatic coverage up to $3,000 under their standard premium. Higher limits are typically allowed to be purchased for an increased premium amount. It is important to keep accurate records and receipts of this additional equipment so you can present it to the company in the settlement of your claim.

Cost of Motorcyle Insurance

We write through many different insurance companies that specialize in motorcycle insurance. The cost of insurance can vary greatly from company to company. It is important that you shop out this insurance to make sure you are getting the best deal. We do this for our customers and we are able to save them a great deal by shopping it out.

Typically insurance on cruisers are cheaper than those of sport bikes due to the loss likelihood so sport bike riders should be even more pro-active when comparison rate shopping.

There are many discounts that can be applied to help lower your rate. A few examples are shown below. Be sure to ask about these when shopping.

*Motorcycle Safety Training

*Prior motorcycle coverage

*Motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license

*Rider Association

*Points not being charged if charged already on your existing auto insurance policy

*Bundle discount

Please contact us at 704-494-9495 if we can answer any questions as to proper coverage on motorcycle insurance. Due to the risk level, this is a very important topic and we don’t want anyone to wait until it is too late before educating themselves.

Investment Property and Landlord Insurance-Part 3 Typical Underwriting Requirements

For those with a history of investment properties, you may be familiar with the insurance company requirements for these policy types.

Insurance companies will perform a visual inspection of the exterior of the rental property to make sure there are no major liability hazards or damage to the property that could increase the likelihood of a claim. Below are a list of some of these items that if corrected, will decrease the likelihood of your coverage being canceled or decreased.

  • Steps without handrails
  • Damaged steps or porches
  • Dogs with bite history or certain dog breeds
  • Peeling paint on siding or eaves
  • Aged or poor shape of roof
  • Unlicensed vehicles
  • Lack of updates to roof, heating, wiring, and, plumbing
  • Dilapidated outbuildings, sheds, or garages
  • Miscellaneous trash or appliances in the yard
  • Dwellings written as rental units that are vacant or for sale
  • Broken windows
  • Trampolines on premises
  • Skateboard ramps
  • Pools without a standard 4 ft fence and locking gate
  • Broken pavement on walkways and driveway
  • Trees or branches overhanging roof
  • Mold or mildew growth on siding, eaves, or roof
  • Missing siding
  • All correct owners listed as the named insured

This list is just some of the more common issues that can change or cancel your landlord policy or rental property insurance coverage by your insurance company upon inspection of the property. Insurance companies must provide you at least 14 days written notice to correct these items before they can cancel your policy. In many cases they will provide you even more time than this.

In any event, it is best to make sure that these items are addressed before your policy is issued as some of these things can take a lot of time for a contractor to fix. If you have received a cancel pending notice, once you can show proof to the underwriter of the company (usually by photos) that they have been corrected your policy can be reinstated. Please contact us with any specific questions you may have about any of these items or any other that you may have that you may fear will effect your rental property being insurable.

Non owners Insurance

What is Nonowners insurance?  This coverage can be called nonowners insurance, non-owners insurance, non owner insurance,  non-owned liability, and named operator insurance.   Whatever you want to call it, they all cover the same thing.  We will discuss what this type of insurance policy covers, who may need it, and how to get it.

Non owners insurance is an insurance policy that provides liability insurance for someone who doesn’t own a vehicle and doesn’t have regular access to a vehicle.    NC law states that anyone wishing to get a drivers license must first have proof of liability insurance.  This makes it impossible for anyone without a vehicle or living in a household without a vehicle to get insurance unless they purchase a non owners insurance policy.  Once you take out a non owners policy, you will receive a DL 123 form which is simply proof of liability insurance as required by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV).

The non owners policy will cover you for liability coverage when you are at fault in an accident in a rental car or a car that you borrow.  It is important to make sure that you check with the insurance carrier that anyone in your household has under their owned vehicle to see if you should be listed as a driver on their policy.  It is the guideline of a lot of insurance companies to list all licensed drivers with regular access to vehicles in the household.

Who Should Purchase a Non-owners Insurance Policy?

  • People who drive company work vehicles
  • Those who rent vehicles regularly
  • Anyone borrowing vehicles
  • Those wishing to get their license for the first time
  • Those wising to get their license back

All of the above individuals would want to purchase a non-owned liability policy to protect their assets in case they are sued due to an at fault accident.   In some cases your employer may require that you have a policy in force if you are driving company vehicles.  Current monthly rates for non-owners liability insurance can run as low as $39 per month in Charlotte, NC and even less in the surrounding counties and cites throughout NC.

It is important to remember that a non-owned liability policy will only cover you for liability insurance  (the damage done to others) and will not cover the comprehensive and collision coverage in the vehicle that you are driving.  That coverage should be purchased by the owner of the vehicle under their auto insurance coverage.

The best way to get quotes for a nonowners policy is to call one of our helpful agents at 704-494-9495.  We represent multiple insurance carriers and we have several that specialize in these types of policies which allows us to get the coverage you need at an affordable rate.   Our trained and helpful agents look forward to answering any other questions that you may have.

All You Need to Know About DWI Insurance

 DWI insurance, which is also known as DUI insurance, is nothing more than an auto insurance policy that covers your vehicle when you have had a DWI conviction. If this is your first time experiencing getting insurance with a DWI than you are probably filled with anxiety and have heard several horror stories regarding the rates. Do not let this scare you as you will see that it doesn’t have to be that bad. You will see in this article that we have several insurance companies in Charlotte and throughout all of NC and SC that specialize in insuring those with a DWI conviction.

 Insurance carriers determine your auto insurance rates largely on what kind of driver you are. The higher the number of violations or accidents you have, the higher your insurance rates. North Carolina charges a certain amount of points depending on what kind of violation you have had. Insurance companies also charge points against your insurance. A DWI conviction charges 12 insurance points and 12 license points on your record.

 If you have not experienced a change in your auto insurance rate following your DWI conviction, you will soon. Most insurance carriers in NC only pull your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) prior to your renewal. Your rate will more than likely not change until your policy is up for renewal and your insurance company has pulled your reports showing your DWI conviction. It is this reason that your insurance company may not have “found” the violation for up to a year.

 It is up to each insurance provider to determine if coverage will be kept in force or not. Some companies will drop the physical damage (comprehensive and collision) coverage for your policy leaving you to find a carrier that will provide this insurance for you. Some insurance carriers will keep coverage but increase rates up to 450%. The insurance carrier that you will find with reasonable rates generally is one that offers “high risk” insurance, which provides coverage to those with a number of insurance points.

 As you are probably aware, your license will be suspended if you receive a DWI. Below are a list of suspensions and fines for each corresponding DWI conviction.

 First Conviction– Mandatory license revocation for one year. Limited driving privileges can be given after 30 days. Fine up to $2,000.

Second Conviction-Mandatory license revocation of four years if convicted within three years of the first offense. Limited driving privileges will not be issued if second offense occurs within seven years of the first conviction. Fine up to $1,000.

Third Conviction– Mandatory permanent driver license revocation if at least one of the prior convictions occurred within the past 5 years. Fine up to $2,000.

Fourth Conviction– Mandatory permanent driver license revocation. Considered a felony if the three prior DWI convictions occurred in the past 5 years.

 

When your license is restored after a suspension for DWI, or when a limited driving privilege is issued after a DWI conviction, there is a stricter Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) restriction. The first restoration allows .04% and any following conviction allows 0.00%. NC makes regular changes to the above laws so check with your attorney as to the updated laws in your area.

 Now the good news. Just because you have had a conviction for a DWI does not mean that you have to take the punishment in the way of higher rates or dropped coverage that your current insurance company may be doling out. We have the best rates in Charlotte and all of NC for DWI insurance. Our insurance agency writes through multiple insurance companies that see your risk a little differently. Whereas some insurance companies see you to be a higher risk, there are several others that see people who have gone through the unfortunate incident as an isolated event. In fact, statistics show quite often that those with a DUI conviction are much more careful after going through such a traumatic experience.

 Another question we are frequently asked is, how long will this be on my record? A lot of carriers will look at violations, especially major ones, for 5 years or more. Most of our insurance companies will only charge for 3 years from your conviction. All the more reason to shop. A DUI on your record can literally mean thousands of dollars in savings over the course of the several years it is on your record.

 People are often shocked to find that their rates with a new DWI conviction can be less than that of their previous policy with another carrier prior to the DWI. Do yourself a favor and take the 10 minutes it takes for us to quote our insurance companies to see how low your rate can be. Our knowledgeable agent can also answer any other questions you may have. Call us today at 704-494-9495.

What is an umbrella policy and do I need one?

I would like to discuss exactly what an umbrella policy is and give some insight as to whether you may need one to protect yourself.

An umbrella policy, which is also known as an excess liability policy, is a liability insurance policy that is in excess of other underlying insurance policies that you may have.    An umbrella policy can be thought of as a secondary insurance policy that pays when you have exhausted the limits on your primary insurance policies.

Certain underlying policies that you may have may include home, auto, boat, motorcycle, or rental property insurance.  Your umbrella policy will require you to have certain underlying limits on these policies to meet the requirement.  Most common underlying limits for auto liability would be $250,000/500,000/50,000 and $300,000 personal liability for property insurance.  Higher limits are usually required to lower the risk  of actually having to use your umbrella policy.

To further explain this in an example, we will look at an incident where you are being sued for $500,000 by an individual that you hit in an auto accident.  If the legal ruling favors that individual and you are required to pay $500,000 then $250,000 would be paid from your auto insurance policy under the max bodily injury liability limit.  The remaining $250,000 would be paid by your umbrella liability policy.

Determining the need for this type of liability policy is a decision that you will have to give some serious thought.  Most people with a minimal net worth may not feel the need to pay for this protection.  However, someone that has a considerable amount of equity in their home, business, or other assets may find it to be a very important tool to protect themselves and their assets.

Coverage afforded under this policy can include bodily injury or property damage due to your negligence or perceived negligence.  Also you can be covered against complaints of libel or slander.

Premiums for an umbrella liability policy are based on the following criteria:

  • Driver age and history
  • Driver experience
  • Number of drivers
  • Number of properties
  • Number of other boats, motorcycles, ATV’s, etc.
  • Prior claims

Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to be quoted for this valuable coverage.  Premiums can run as low as $150 per year and can provide you the protection you need living in today’s litigious society.

Understanding Your Homeowners Insurance Coverages-Part 1 Personal Property Limitations

 This is the first part of several in our series regarding your home insurance policies. Our goal is to increase your knowledge of home insurance policies. We want to educate you on the coverages and in some cases coverage gaps so that you won’t have to find out the hard way, after a loss. Please check back for updates regarding common questions and concerns regarding your home insurance policy.

 This section will discuss certain items that may not be covered or may have limitations on their coverages under the contents or personal property section of your home insurance policies. In certain cases where the values of certain contents are in excess of the limits provided in your policy, you will want to add the Scheduled Personal Property Endorsment (HO 0461).

 The following list shows some common items that carry certain coverage limitations on your home insurance policy. Check your policy to see the limits for each item under your personal property coverage. If the values of the items you own in each category are greater than the policy limit then you would need to schedule the additional coverage onto your policy. Recent appraisals are sometimes needed to schedule these items especially when their values are over $5,000.

  • Jewelry
  • Fine Arts
  • Furs
  • Cameras
  • Golf Equipment
  • Musical Instruments
  • Silverware
  • Stamps
  • Coins

 

Different policies offer different maximum limits for each category. The most common item that may need to be scheduled though is jewelry coverage. Most of the time your home insurance policy will be written on an HO-3 form. These forms only carry a per item and per policy limit of $1000 for jewelry coverage for loss by theft. Any jewelry over $1000 would need to be scheduled on your policy in order for you to be covered for these items. In most cases, scheduled items will carry a lesser deductible or no deductible. Sometimes you have the option to go with a HE-7 homeowners policy which covers jewelry up to $5000 without having to schedule the items. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at (704) 494-9495.