Tag Archives: auto insurance

5 Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

holiday road trip safety
An estimated 99 million Americans travel during the holidays with over 38 million of those traveling by car. The traffic alone can cause some serious stress, not to mention winter storms, construction, wildlife, and distractions from inside the car. With all these risks, it’s no surprise that a 2 hour car trip could end up taking 5 hours.

 

Before you leave for your holiday road-trip, consider these tips given by experts to keep you and those you love safe on the roads: 

 

Car Emergency Kit

Most auto supply stores will have an “all-in-one” car emergency kit that include the essentials like jumper cables, a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight, etc. The Department of Transportation suggests you include all of the items listed below. If you already have all the items needed, just buy a plastic box to keep them nice and tidy in your trunk.
  • Roadside flares
  • A first-aid kit
  • Work gloves or latex gloves
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Jumper cables
  • One gallon of antifreeze
  • Brake fluid
  • Extra fuses
  • A blanket
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries
  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • Vise grips
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A pair of pliers
  • A tire inflator
  • A tire pressure gauge
  • Some rags and a funnel
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A roll of paper towels
  • A spray bottle with washer fluid
  • An ice scraper
  • Triangle reflectors and flares.
  • A pocketknife

 

Portable Backup Battery

Ipads and smartphones are not only for entertainment value when taking a road tip. Having a fully charged phone is crucial while on the road, especially if you are in an accident or stranded. A portable backup battery can be charged at home and taken with you on the road. Another benefit to having one of these is that you won’t have to share one cigaret charger with the rest of the family.

 

Water and Snacks

You never know when traffic will come to a standstill or a flat tire leaves you on the side of the road for hours. It’s always smart to have a few bottles of water and some granola bars, fruit, nuts, and other snacks on hand just in case. Even if you don’t need the supplies yourself, you might run across someone else in need.

 

Kitty Litter

In the case that your car gets stuck in snow, ice, or even mud, laying kitty litter in front of the tires can give you enough traction to get moving again. Have a bag or two handy in the trunk if you plan to be driving through snow or ice.

 

Roadside Assistance

Last but not least, make sure to have your AAA or roadside assistance card handy, along with your drivers license. Jumper cables and kitty litter isn’t always enough to get you out of a bind while on a road tip. It’s also a good idea to make sure your proof of  insurance card is updated and in your glove department.

 

Save Travels!

Don’t let the stress of holiday traveling keep you from taking a road trip to see family or a new part of the country. Gathering just a few supplies can give you peace of mind when on the road. Safe travels!

Fall Maintenance Checklist for Your Car

Fall is here and the weather is changing in San Antonio. It’s a great time to prep your car for the coming temperature drops and changing road conditions. Keeping your vehicle maintained now is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid costly emergencies later.

Here is a handy fall vehicle maintenance checklist to get you started:

Get an Oil Change

Motor oil is essential to your vehicle’s maintenance. It keeps metal surfaces from grinding together, reduces heat from friction, and many other functions. It’s recommended to get an oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on your car and the type of driving you do. Check the owners manual to find out the optimal mileage for an oil change your particular vehicle.

Check the Battery

Take a good look at the battery connections and make sure they are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. If a connection becomes lose or there is corrosion this will affect the charging of the alternator.

Test the Heater, Defrosters, Wiper Blades

Before the temperatures drop, take time to test the heater, defrosters, and check the air filter. Although it varies per vehicle, it’s recommended to change your air filter every 30,000-45,000 miles. Make sure your wiper blades are not torn or cracked and that the wiper fluid is full. Wiper blades are recommended to be replaced every six months.

Inspect Tires

You’ll want to check the tire pressure as well as the tread depth on your tires. Check the owners manual for the proper tire pressure and be careful not to over or under inflate the tires. As temperatures drop, the air pressure changes in your tires so it’s smart to check them weekly. Also, look for uneven wear, bulges, and bald spots. An easy way to check tire tread is to insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Check Breaks

This something you might want to have a mechanic look at. Have them check the brake linings, rotors, and drums to be sure they are in tip-top shape.

Check the Radiator Fluid

Radiator Fluid, or coolant, keeps the engine cool in the hotter months and also transfers heat to the inside of the car during the cooler months. Coolant should be changed every 2-5 years depending on the type of coolant used, and a full radiator flush is recommended once a year. You’ll want to check the hoses to make sure there are no rips or tears where leaking could be a problem.

Evaluate Belts and Hoses

Take a look at all the belts and hoses to see if there is any evidence of cracking, fraying, or leaking. Rips or leaks could cause major issues so if you see any signs of that take your car to a mechanic.

Test Headlights and Taillights

It’s hard to tell if one of your headlights or taillights are out. Take the time to make sure they are all bright and working otherwise you could have an accident or get a hefty ticket.

Take Preventative Measures Now

Why not take a little time to perform a few preventative measures to make sure your car is healthy and ready for the winter? Whether you perform the checks yourself or you take your vehicle to a mechanic, just a few checks now can save you from a costly emergency later.

Another great way to prepare for the harsh winter months is to make sure your auto insurance coverage is updated and specialized to your needs and location. Contact us if you have questions about your current plan or want a complimentary quote.

Commercial Transportation Insurance for Your Business

Our country depends on the transportation industry to keep things running. Whether it’s food, fuel, building supplies, or people, we rely on large vehicles and their drivers to safely deliver cargo. Because the demand for consumer goods is increasing and will only continue to increase, the number of large vehicles on the roads is also increasing.

Accidents do happen and should anything happen to your company’s vehicle, driver, or cargo while on the road, commercial auto insurance can assist with the losses. From the medical bills of the driver to the repair or replacement of the vehicle and cargo, transportation insurance is a must for any company that uses commercial vehicles to deliver goods.

What types of vehicles qualify for commercial transportation insurance?

If your company uses cars, vans, trucks, busses, trains, planes, boats, etc. to transport goods for business purposes, then you qualify for commercial auto/transportation insurance. In fact, if you use any type of vehicle for business purposes it must be insured with commercial auto insurance. Whether your company has a large fleet, small fleet, or a single vehicle, the vehicle, driver, and cargo need to be protected from the risks of the road.

  • Passenger car or van
  • Passenger bus
  • Minivan
  • Agricultural truck
  • Box or straight truck
  • Cargo van
  • Car carrier
  • Flatbed truck
  • Catering truck
  • Cement mixer
  • Delivery van
  • Hearse
  • Ice cream truck
  • Motor home
  • Limousine
  • Pickup truck
  • Fifth wheel truck
  • Sport utility vehicle
  • Pump truck
  • Step van
  • Tank truck
  • Trunk tractor
  • Tow truck
  • Refrigerated truck
  • Wheelchair bus
  • Wheelchair van
  • Front loader
  • Garbage truck

What does commercial transportation insurance cover?

Similar to personal auto insurance, commercial transportation insurance includes liability, physical damage, and more.

  • Auto liability
  • Physical damage
  • Cargo
  • General liability
  • Occupational accident
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • More!

Companies who use vehicles for business purposes and are responsible for transporting cargo would be wise to make sure all their vehicles, drivers, and cargo are covered with transportation insurance, no matter what business they are in.

Contact us today to get started with insuring your company’s vehicles, drivers, and cargo.

What Is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Did you know that 1 out of 7 drivers in the United States are currently uninsured?

This leaves you, a responsible auto insurance-carrying citizen, in jeopardy. Unfortunately, if you are injured or your car is damaged in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist (a driver who does not have auto insurance), you will not be able to file a claim and will be stuck with the bills yourself. The only other option besides forking over your own money for the injuries or damages is to try to collect from the driver yourself or file a lawsuit. Both of these options are time consuming, frustrating, and do not guarantee any payment.

The best way to protect yourself against this type of situation is to carry a Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist Insurance policy.

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured Motorist Insurance is coverage that protects you if you are involved in an auto accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance. Underinsured Motorist Insurance protects you when the other driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover the damages. Although it is required by law for every driver to carry auto insurance, thousands of Americans choose to drive uninsured. You never know when you might be rear ended by someone who does not have insurance.

What are the different types of UM coverage?

There are four types of uninsured motorist insurance and depending on the state they are either mandatory or optional. Sometimes these coverages will come in a bundle while other times they must be purchased separately.

• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance (UM or UMBI) – This covers medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering if caused by an uninsured/underinsured motorist
• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance (UMPD) – This covers the damage to vehicle but may not be available in all states. In some cases it may cover a hit-and-run.

Who Needs Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

We suggest that anyone who drives carries a UM policy on their auto insurance plan. In certain states, it is mandatory to carry this type of coverage, but in others it is option. Because nearly 15% of drivers are uninsured or underinsured, we recommend that every driver have UM coverage, whether it is required or not.

What are the limits for UMBI/UMPD?

When you decide to purchase a UMBI/UMPD policy your insurance company will ask you to choose the limits on your plan. A limit is the highest amount your insurance will pay you should you file a claim.

In most cases, UM coverage will have split limits. This means that the coverage will be different if there is one person involved or multiple people involved on the claim. For example, in a $15,000/$30,000 split limit, $15,000 would be the most your insurance would pay if you were injured or $30,000 would be the most they would pay if the other passengers were also injured.

The other option for coverage is called a Combined Single Limit and covers everyone in the car with one lump sum. For example, if you chose a combined single limit of $30,000, that would be the maximum amount your insurance pays you for all injuries sustained in the accident.

Do I need to get Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Given the statistics of how many uninsured and underinsured drivers there are on the road these days, we suggest you take every precaution possible to avoid being left with outrageous bills in the case of an accident. It’s not fair to be stuck paying for damages you didn’t cause just because the other driver was not responsible enough to purchase auto insurance. However, it does happen and that’s why we advise every driver carry a UMBI and UMPD policy if possible.

Why is Auto Insurance More Expensive for Young and New Drivers?

As a young driver, or parent of a young driver, you might be shocked by how much it cost to purchase auto insurance coverage. Unfortunately, auto insurance rates for drivers under 25 can be double or triple what older drivers pay.

So why do young drivers pay more for auto young driver car insurance auto insurance new driverinsurance?

There are many factors that contribute to why young drivers pay so much more for car insurance. The fact is, insurance companies base their premiums on the driver’s record and the likelihood of financial risk that the driver is to the insurance company. The less experienced the driver, the higher the risk. The higher the risk, the higher the cost of coverage.

Here are a few factors that influence the cost of car insurance for young drivers:

Unproven Record

When a new driver hits the road, they are basically guilty until proven innocent. The insurance company has no historical data to predict or measure whether the driver will be safe or reckless. Because they don’t have a driving record to prove otherwise, the insurance company assumes the worst-case scenario when calculating risk. Therefore, they raise the rates to cover all the “what-ifs” of a reckless driver. As the driver gains experience and a driving record they can be awarded lower auto insurance premiums.

teen car insurance accidentAccident Prone

It’s no surprise that new drivers tend to be more accident prone simply because they don’t have much experience behind the wheel. New drivers have a harder time reacting to driving hazards and are more likely to panic or over-correct. Becoming a skillful driver takes time and experience in various situations to practice. Because of this, insurance companies know the probability of a new driver being involved in an accident is higher than a seasoned driver. So they make sure the rates will cover for these probabilities.

Distracted Driving

Another statistically proven fact is that younger drivers are easily distracted while driving. Not only do they have their cell phones, music, and GPS systems to distract them, they can also be distracted by other passengers or trying to multitask. In our fast paced world, teens are running from home to school to football practice and trying to eat, communicate, or put on makeup as they drive. Many young drivers do not yet realize the danger they are putting themselves and others in attempting to multitask while driving. Distracted driving is a huge problem and insurance companies have the data to prove it. Yet another reason to raise premiums for young drivers.

Financial Risk

For these reasons and more, young drivers are statistically more of a financial risk to insurance companies which is why their premiums are significantly higher than more experienced drivers. While car insurance rates for teens and new drivers might be disheartening at first, remember that if you keep a clean driving record you will be able to lower your premium over time. Insurance companies love to reward safe drivers! Not only that, but you’ll be doing the world a service by being safe on the road!
JR Carnahan offers all types of Personal Insurance, including Auto Insurance. If you are a young driver or parent of a new driver and have questions regarding purchasing an auto insurance policy or updating a current one, contact us today! We would love to assist you in finding the best insurance solution for your business!

Take a Break Labor Day and Let Your Insurance do the Work

happy labor dayOur country was founded by hard working men and women who gave their blood, sweat, and tears so that we can enjoy the American Dream.

And it’s because of people like them that the American Dream lives on.

That’s why JR Carnahan’s goal is to serve everyone with excellence. Our goal is to go above and beyond to make sure your expectations are exceeded and all your insurance needs are met. Each of our clients have different needs and we work hard to make sure their insurance plans are specialized and prepared just for them!

It’s our little contribution in keeping the American Dream alive.

This Labor Day is a great time to consider the security that an insurance plan can offer you and your family. Whether it’s health, life, auto, or business insurance, give yourself a break and let JR Carnahan worry about the “what-ifs” of life. For all of your insurance needs, don’t wait to contact us at JR Carnahan Insurance!

Now it’s time to relax!

As we celebrate Labor Day, we want to thank all those who help achieve the strength, prosperity, and well-being of this country. You work hard to provide for your family, serve the work force, and give back to your community.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday!

In celebration of Labor Day, our offices will be closed on September 7th. We want to give our hard-working team a much-deserved rest! Fear not, we’ll be back to serve you bright and early on the 8th!

Cycling and Bicycle Insurance Questions

cycling insuranceNow that the weather is warm, people are biking to and from work, school, the grocery store, and for exercise. As a whole, the sport of cycling is increasing.

However, many cyclists don’t think about what happens should their bike be stolen, damaged, or if they are injured while riding.

Here are some common questions about insurance coverage for cyclists:

What if my bike is stolen?

Most homeowners or renters insurance policies will cover the cost of a stolen bike, but not all of them. The safest route is to check with your insurance agent about your coverage. In the case of a stolen bike, filing a claim might not even be worth it if you have a high deductible. Review the cost of the bike in comparison to your deductible to decide if it’s worth it to file a claim.

What if I hit a car, pedestrian, or other cyclist while on my bike?

Many people think that their auto insurance will cover them if they are involved in an accident while on their bike. This is not the case. Auto insurance only comes into play if you were driving a car.
If you are responsible for an accident while riding your bike, your homeowners or renters insurance might cover the damages of the affected party. Again, it’s important to check with your insurance agent to make sure you have that level of coverage.

What if I am hit by a car while on my bike?

If you are hit or injured by someone else driving a vehicle, their auto or homeowners/renters insurance will cover your medical expenses and property damage. In the unfortunate event that the responsible party is uninsured, under-insured, or flees the scene, you may have to utilize your auto policy’s UM/UIM coverage (uninsured/under-insured coverage).

Should I get a separate bicycle insurance policy?

With the number of bike accidents these days it’s a good idea to consider purchasing a separate cyclist insurance policy. These policies start as low at $100/year. If you own a bike and accessories that are worth more than $100, this is a great investment. Purchasing a bicycle insurance policy also gives members of USA Cycling, Triathlon, and other cycling associations access to discounts.

 

“Don’t wait until it’s too late to get bicycle insurance!”

Contact JR Carnahan to get more information on bicycle insurance today.

What to Do After a Car Accident

car accident auto accident insuranceHave you ever been involved in a car accident and felt so rattled that you forget what to do next? New and seasoned drivers alike can be so shaken after an auto accident that they fail to complete important steps. Unfortunately, forgoing one small step could result in an expensive and stressful lawsuit.

Even amidst heightened emotions, it’s important to try to remain calm, take your time, and get all the information needed to file an accurate accident claim.

Here are the most important steps to take after a car accident:

Take Safety Precautions

First and foremost, it’s important to get out of the way of traffic to avoid more accidents. If you are able, move your car to the side of road, turn on your hazard lights, and place a warning triangle or flares on the road if you have them.

Check for Injuries

Do a thorough assessment of yourself first and if there are no signs of injuries, get out of the car and make sure all other passengers and drivers involved are okay. If you see any type of injuries, call 911 immediately.

Call the Police

No matter how big or small the damages or injuries are, always call the police. There is a temptation to settle things without the police in a minor fender-bender, but do not fall for it. Having a police report will help establish liability, protect you from fraud, and keep everyone calm and collected.

It’s also important to never verbally admit fault, even if it is clear that you are at fault. Let the police handle the liability portion of the accident.

Exchange Information

You’ll want to exchange the following information with the other driver:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Email
  • License Number
  • License Plate
  • Insurance Company
  • Policy Number

If you do not have a pen/pencil and paper in your car, take photos and make notes in your phone.

Do not ever give out your social security number. Insurance companies to do not need that information to file a claim and you could become a victim of identity theft.

Describe the Scene

Make sure to take accurate notes regarding the time, location, description of accident, witnesses, state of the other driver and their car, and any other details you think you might forget. Take plenty of pictures of your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire scene.

Call Your Insurance

Regardless of fault, call your insurance company as quickly as possible. If the accident is the other driver’s fault, you have the option to call their insurance company and file a claim on your own, without even letting your own company know about the accident. However, it’s usually better to let your insurance company deal with the other driver’s insurance company rather than trying to do it on your own.

Being involved in a car accident is always frustrating, but if you have a comprehensive auto insurance plan it can help alleviate some of the stress. Once the accident has been reported and a claim has been filed, the rest is up to your insurance company. They will help you find the best auto mechanic to repair any damages, make sure any medical or auto charges are covered, and provide a rental car if you have the need.

“Need a reliable, honest, quick-to-respond insurance agent?”

Contact JR Carnahan today! As a small privately owned insurance company, we are able to provide individualized insurance plans and personalized customer service to get you covered quickly!

Things to Know about Motorcycle Insurance

motorcycle insurance, ride hill country texas ‘Tis the season for taking a spin on the motorcycle! The weather is beautiful, school is out, traffic is lighter, and the sun stays up well after working hours. Ride on!

As you probably know, operating a motorbike of any type can be risky. But did you know that statistically motorcycle drivers are at a higher risk of accident and injury than car drivers?

As with anything, it’s never fun to consider what could go wrong. But if something does go wrong while riding a motorcycle and you are not prepared, it can be costly.

Many people want to know how much motorcycle insurance costs.

Like most insurance coverage, it’s subjective to several different factors such as the state you live in, your demographics, the type of motorbike you own, how often you use it, and how you store it.

What about the types of motorcycle insurance that are out there?

Texas requires you to be able to pay for any damages and injuries from any accident you cause. Because of this, drivers and motorcyclists are required by law to carry a basic liability insurance plan.

In Texas, your policy must have the following minimum limits:
  • $30,000 for each injured person.
  • $60,000 for injuries per incident.
  • $25,000 for property damage.

On top of the law’s requirement of liability insurance, there are also other types of coverage that you might want to consider if you enjoy taking a trip on a motorbike.

Collision coverage:

This type of coverage protects you in the event of a collision with another vehicle or motorcycle.

Comprehensive coverage:

Any damage caused to your bike by theft, vandalism, falling objects, etc. would be covered by this type of coverage.

Uninsured or Underinsured coverage:

When another motorist does not have, or does not have enough, insurance to pay for injuries or damage caused to you, this kind of insurance will make sure you get what you deserve.

Personal Injury Projection (PIP):

PIP coverage will help pay medical costs in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.

Medical Payments coverage:

This is an additional coverage should you become injured in an accident and your other insurance coverages are not enough for the medical expenses.

Accessory coverage:

If you have any custom equipment or parts on your bike that you are especially fond to, this type of coverage will replace them should they get damaged.

Motorcycle Roadside Assistance:

In the case of your motorcycle breaking down on the side of the road, this insurance will help with towing and labor costs.

Whether you operate a motorcycle, scooter, moped, or other type of motorbike, you must protect yourself and your bike with adequate motorcycle insurance.

And once you get the proper coverage for your adventures, check out these Best in Texas routes that motorcyclists love!

Save Money on your Car Insurance with these 4 Questions

Are you missing out on discounts or benefits on your auto insurance policy?

These days, most people are taking advantage of the ease of onlineCar insurance on laptop purchasing and have purchased their insurance policies online. Although it’s easy, quick, and convenient, there are downsides to purchasing through a computer program instead of a real person.

When you are searching for auto, health, or any other type of insurance, schedule a meeting or phone call with an agent so you can understand all the discounts, options, and benefits available.

To make the most of your time with the agent, here are 4 important questions to ask:

1. Is the auto coverage amount right for me?

A good insurance agent will consider many variables when it comes to your coverage amount. For example, if you have a new job, home, significant savings, etc. your agent might want to lower your deductible or increase liability. It just depends on your specific situation to determine what cover is best for you.

2. Can I drop any coverages on my auto insurance?

Again, depending on your particular situation, an agent might suggest you drop coverages that are not financially beneficial. Agood example is if your car is 5-6 years or older you may be paying too much on comprehensive and collision coverage.

About Best Auto Insurance Agents3. Am I getting all available discounts on my auto insurance?

Did you know that you can get insurance discounts if you’ve had significant life events or upgrades to your vehicle? There are many discounts to take advantage of, but insurance companies typically do not promote these online. Working with an insurance agent is a huge advantage when it comes to discovering hidden discounts.

4. What are my payment options?

There are definitely savings available by exploring your payment options. Usually, if you can pay in full or even a few larger payments throughout the year you might be able to save in the long run.

If you are looking to save money on your car insurance, talking with an insurance agent is definitely advantageous.

It’s true that you can purchase auto insurance online from the comfort of your own home, but even checking in with an agent once a year can end up providing better coverage at a lower rate.

insurance san antonio, tx jr carnahanNot sure where to start or who to trust? JR Carnahan has been an insurance broker in San Antonio since 2003. Because he has his own family, home, and business, he knows how important it is for his clients to find cost-effective and extensive insurance coverage. Let us serve you by finding the best insurance for your situation!