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This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on October 27, 2023.

If you've ever been in a car accident, you know it can be a costly and tiring experience. First, you have to deal with insurance companies. Then, there's the stress of repairing your car and figuring out how you'll get around while your vehicle is in the shop.

You might not be worried about the total cost of your car repairs as you've been insured from the moment you got a car; after all, that's what insurance is for, right? Sure, for the most part.

When it comes to car insurance, there is a fairly misunderstood and overlooked term in the claim process called the "betterment clause." In this article, we will explain what betterment is and how it can affect your claim.

What is Betterment?

Betterment in the insurance world simply means "improvement." It is a legal term used to describe improvements made to a car that improved its value to a condition that is better than it was before an accident.

Let's consider the following scenario: You go out with your friends and park your car in an alley downtown. When you return to your vehicle, you notice a dent on the back panel on the driver's side. You don't recall hitting anything and are unsure how it happened, but you decide to postpone getting it fixed as the dent is not very noticeable.

Months later, you get into a car accident, and the same side of your car is hit in a collision with another vehicle. You file a claim with your insurer, and your assigned insurance adjuster conducts a thorough investigation to determine the cause and assess the extent of the damage.

It is concluded that most of the damage is the result of the accident, but some of the damage, such as the dent you noticed a few months ago, was pre-existing and had nothing to do with the collision. What would happen next?

Well, you might receive a betterment charge from your insurer explaining that the difference in cost between the repair of the back panel and what it would've cost if the panel was undamaged would be your responsibility. This repair would make your car better than it was before the accident, and therefore, your insurer may be entitled to a betterment charge.

Let's break down the betterment clause

When an agreement between you and your insurer is formed through a policy, the insurer agrees to repair the costs of damage to your vehicle in an accident and return your car to the state it was in before the accident happened, not more or less.

Betterment can be charged on the replacement or repair of "wear-and-tear" parts, as well as parts that were damaged prior to your accident, like in the example above. After you file your insurance claim, an adjuster will be assigned to your claim to investigate the damage and determine betterment charges, if any. You would then receive a betterment charge from your car insurer stating that they will not cover the total cost of repair or replacement.

The betterment clause in car insurance assumes that you must have taken appropriate care of your vehicle to ensure it was working properly at the time of an accident and that you were not responsible for any pre-existing damage or defects.

When your car has been damaged in an accident, and older or already damaged parts are replaced with new ones, your car is then considered as being "better." Consequently, insurers may ask you to contribute to the cost of improving the condition of your vehicle.

The betterment charge does not depend on who is at fault for an accident; you can be blameless but still receive betterment charges if your car is in a better condition than before the accident. Remember, the insurer's goal is to bring your car to the same condition it was before the accident.

I got charged a betterment fee, what can I do?

So we've covered what betterment is and some of the basics of how it works. If you feel that the betterment charge should not have been applied, you can file an appeal to have the betterment charge negotiated:

  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible and ask to begin the dispute process.
  • Be sure to back up your claim with evidence and provide a detailed explanation of why betterment should not be included in your claim.
  • Ask questions about the process. How was betterment determined? What tools did the adjuster use to measure betterment? Is there sufficient documentation (e.g., photos)?
  • Be completely honest and upfront during the betterment dispute process. If you lie, it could affect your claim or future insurance coverage.
collision car accident and the betterment clause

A few things to keep in mind...

So, now you know why betterment charges are applied to insurance claims and what you can do if you receive a betterment charge. To learn more about betterment charges and how they are applied to your insurance claims, it is always recommended that you review your policy carefully and contact your insurer with any questions.

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 10/16/23.

If you're like most people, the only time you think about car insurance is when you need it. There's no end to the information when that happens, and it is difficult to sift through the noise. Car insurance is confusing enough without all the noise, which is why you need to be aware of what's true and what's just a plain myth. We've compiled a list of the nine most common car insurance myths and debunked them for you!

Myth #1: All insurance policies are created equal

You may think that it doesn't matter which insurer you decide to go with because they all offer the same policies. That's false.

While most insurance policies share some overlapping coverage, it is essential to note that rates charged for the same exact car and driver can vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars from one insurer to the other, so it's wise to shop around compare quotes.

Myth #2: Car insurance covers every trip

 Unfortunately, this is false. Typically, your car insurance policy doesn't cover accidents that happen during work-related trips. Suppose you are an entrepreneur, independent contractor, or small business owner and use your car for work. In that case, it is crucial that you add on commercial auto insurance to protect your vehicle while it's on the road.

 With this type of insurance, you are covered for all the risks associated with driving your car to and from work, as well as on work-related trips. If you have any employees that use your vehicle, be sure to check their driving records throughout the year to ensure that they are being safe and responsible.

Myth 3: I can get coverage with any insurer I choose

This is a big one for many people, but you can actually be denied coverage by an insurance company. For example, if you have canceled your previous policy and have been driving without insurance, recently filed for bankruptcy, filed too many claims, or were engaged in criminal activity, an insurance company may refuse your application.

If an insurer deems you as too risky or dishonest, they may deny you coverage with or without an explanation. That said, each state has its own laws regarding prohibited reasons to deny coverage.

Myth 4: Having the minimum state-required coverage is enough

While each state has its own minimum requirements, in most states, liability coverage is the type you must have to legally drive.

We strongly recommend against relying on liability coverage as your only coverage as it is not sufficient to fully protect you in the event of an accident. In most cases, liability coverage only covers a fraction of accident costs and only pays for damages up to the amount specified by your policy.

For example, if you have a $25,000 liability coverage and are involved in an at-fault accident with a luxury car where the total amount to repair the damages done to the other car is $40,000, you would not only be expected to pay the difference in repairs for the other vehicle but would also have to fully cover the cost of repairs to your own car.

As you can see, not having comprehensive or collision coverage is a considerable risk, and our advice is to always go with as much coverage as you can afford - a few bucks saved now could end up costing you thousands later.

Myth #5: I shouldn't get a red car because my insurance premium will spike

There's absolutely no truth to this myth. It doesn't matter whether you drive a red or green car. Your car's color is irrelevant and has nothing to do with the price of your premiums. Insurers mainly look at factors such as the car's age, make and model, engine size, costs to repair, body type, and factors related to you, such as your age and driving record when they determine your rates.

Myth #6: I can't switch insurers because my policy is locked for a year

False. If you're looking to move to a new insurance company, you can cancel your policy before it is time for renewal. Although there might be a cancellation fee, the savings with the new insurer may help recoup that charge and save you money in the long term.

It is important to note that if you do choose to cancel your coverage and go with a new insurer, make sure there is no lapse in coverage at any point.

Myth #7: Shopping around for car insurance will increase my premium

This is another myth that has led many consumers to believe that shopping around for car insurance is a bad idea. However, the truth is that shopping around and comparing quotes can actually save you big bucks and lower your rates.

By looking at quotes from different providers, you can determine which company offers the best deal for the most amount of coverage and choose the insurer that gives you the most value for your money.

Myth 8: If my car is stolen or vandalized, I am always covered with car insurance

Not quite. The only type of insurance that covers theft, vandalism, and even hail or fallen trees is comprehensive insurance, which is optional coverage. If you do not have this type of coverage, a standard policy will only cover your car if it is damaged due to an accident.

Myth #9: I let my friends drive my car because they also have car insurance

This is another false assumption. In most states, car insurance coverage plans don't extend across cars. In other words, your coverage is connected to your vehicle, not the person behind the wheel. Even if your friend has car insurance, by allowing them to drive your vehicle, you are essentially lending them your insurance as well.

Therefore, if your friend gets into an accident while driving your car, your insurance will kick in, and the claim will go on your record (which will likely raise your insurance premiums). Nonetheless, policies regarding this situation vary between states, so be sure to check the insurance requirements in your state before lending your car to a friend.

Some myths contain a kernel of truth, but for the most part, they are based on poor assumptions or old wive's tales. Now that you know the truth about some of the most common car insurance myths, you can avoid costly car insurance mistakes by arming yourself with the proper knowledge.

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 10/9/2023.

Contrary to popular belief, It's not just the crashes that count when your car insurance premium gets determined by your insurance provider. Insurers consider all of the information they have about you and evaluate the amount of risk that is associated with insuring you. The riskier that you are perceived, the higher the rate will be.

In an effort to keep your insurance rates as low as possible, it's important that you understand what goes into your car insurance rate. Here's a list of nine key factors that can impact your premium, as well as tips on how to manage the ones that are within your control.

Getting into an accident (at-fault or not at-fault)

We all know that after an at-fault accident, your premiums are likely to go up. Your car insurance company assigns a risk factor to the policyholder who was in the accident and this can affect everyone on that policy. In addition, if you were found liable for the other driver's damages from the accident, this will add a mark against you, as well.

However, some people might be surprised to hear that even if you were not responsible for an accident, the mere fact you were involved in one could also bump up your car insurance rate.

Your insurance company might still view you as a risk because of the possibility that you may get into another accident in the future. Some car insurance companies might ask for more information after an incident, such as seeking out eyewitnesses to get another perspective on what happened.

If their investigation shows your driving was less than ideal, then they could charge you more for your premiums, even if you were not at fault.

Saying "I Do"

Many insurance companies charge lower premiums to married people because statistics show that they are less likely to be involved in accidents than those who are single, separated, divorced, or widowed. If you recently got married, congratulations! Don't forget to let your insurance provider know.

Moving to a different location

Another major factor affecting your car insurance rate is the location you live in. Insurance companies evaluate the risk you possess and base premium rates based on where you live and the conditions of that location.

If you live in a city or urban area, car insurance companies might charge you higher premiums as a way to compensate for the higher risks associated with populated areas, such as car theft, vandalism, and accidents.

Alternatively, if you live in a rural area, you might be charged lower premiums because such risks are less common. As a rule of thumb, the fewer numbers of people living in a specific area, the less risk it poses to insurers.

factors that affect car insurance rate

Unfavorable credit score and history

Your credit score and history can make a big difference when it comes to determining how much you pay for your car.

If you have a bad credit score or your credit history is poor, your car insurance premiums will be much higher than those who have good scores and a strong track record of credit responsibility. Alternatively, if you have a great credit score and history, you could qualify for insurance discounts.

Keep in mind that the states of California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington forbid the practice of using credit as a factor in determining car insurance rates.

Car make and model

The type of car you drive also matters when insurers assess your car insurance premium. If you happen to own a luxury car such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, or Lexus, it will cost more for you to insure your vehicle than if you had an average economy model.

Insurance companies do this because these cars often require special service and mechanical parts, making them more expensive to repair in the event of an accident.

Insurers will also evaluate the make and model of your car when determining insurance rates as certain cars are viewed as more dangerous than others, such as sports cars that can go from 0 to 60 in just a few seconds.

Driving record

Car insurance companies use your driving history to determine what kind of risks you pose to them, so they can charge an appropriate price for the coverage you need. The number one thing you can do to avoid paying more for car insurance is to drive safely and obey the rules of the road.

The more accidents, speeding tickets, and DUIs you have, the higher your insurance rate will be. In some cases, a single speeding ticket or accident could increase your monthly premiums by hundreds of dollars!


In most states, your gender also plays a role in car insurance premiums. For example, older males tend to pay a little less than older females.

Car insurance premiums show the most discrepancy between males and females during their teenage years. The main reason for this is that statistically speaking, young males tend to be much more aggressive drivers than young females and are more likely to be involved in car accidents during this period of life.


The driver's age is an important factor insurers consider when determining your car insurance rate. Teenagers and young adults can expect to pay more for their premiums as their inexperience on the road may cause them to have more accidents.

Don't worry, though - once you turn 25, insurance companies take a look at how you've been driving and start to lower your premiums.

That being said, premiums tend to go up again after the age of 65 as the risk of having an accident starts to increase.

Coverage history

Insurance companies can also use your coverage history to determine how much you pay for your car insurance.

If there is a gap in your coverage, especially while still owning a car, insurers may view you as a higher risk and increase your premiums or even deny you coverage altogether. Instead of canceling your insurance, consider freezing your account or opting for less coverage.

Things you can do to improve your car insurance rate

There are several factors that go into determining how insurance companies perceive you as a driver, some of which are within your control. Let's go over some ways to keep car insurance rates low.

Keep your insurance carrier informed

If you want to avoid car insurance premium increases, the best thing to do is keep car insurance companies up-to-date with any changes in your circumstances.

If car insurance premiums go up for reasons beyond your control, be sure to give the car insurance company a call so they can help you out and take another look at what information they have on file about you.

Improve your credit score

One of the quickest ways to reduce your cost of insurance is to improve your credit score. Many insurers check a customer's credit scores and use them as a factor in determining rates. Customers with lower credit scores will typically pay higher insurance rates than those who have higher credit scores.

Some of the things you can do to improve your credit are to pay your bills on time, 100% in full, eliminate as much debt as possible, and improve your credit utilization score by spending less than 10% of your available credit.

Look into available discounts

Car insurance companies offer discounts that car owners may qualify for. Discounts are typically offered for car owners who have sophisticated car safety features installed, bundle their cars with the same carrier, have a clean driving record, etc. Be sure to inquire about available discounts with your car insurance provider to maximize your premium savings.

Increase your deductibles

Another way to get lower car insurance premiums is by choosing higher deductibles. If you have the financial means to pay a little more out of your pocket after a claim, choosing a higher deductible will result in cheaper premiums. Then, if you don't make a claim, you'll be ahead by default.

Pay the full policy term up front

If you are able to pay the full policy term up-front, rather than in monthly payments, insurance companies will often give you a discount on your car insurance premium.

Shop around for another insurance

Not all insurers are created equal. An insurer that is the most affordable in one state could be the most expensive in another state. Be sure to shop around every now and compare car insurance rates from several providers and receive personalized quotes for your specific needs.

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 9/26/2023.

Car insurance can be confusing. There are so many options and it's hard to know what type of coverage you need. Don't worry, we've got you covered! Keep reading to learn about the most common types of coverages you should know about.

It’s important to understand what your options are when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones in case of an accident, theft, or another unfortunate event. There are six main types of car insurance you should know about: Liability, Collision, Comprehensive, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage.

In this article, we will discuss each coverage and why you may or may not want to add it to your policy. Keep in mind that you need to meet the minimum amount of car insurance required by your state, so make sure to do your research.

Liability Insurance Coverage

Liability car insurance covers injuries and damages caused to someone else in an accident where you or anyone else listed on your policy are deemed to be at fault. This is the most important type of car insurance coverage and is legally required by most states. There are two types of liability coverage:

Collision Coverage

This type of car insurance will help cover repairs or replacement costs for your own car or property if you get into an accident with another car or object - such as hitting a tree or a mailbox. Collision car insurance may help replace or repair your car and is often required if you are leasing or financing your car.

Comprehensive Coverage

This car insurance is a "catch-all" type of car insurance that helps cover damage not related to a collision - including, but not limited to: hail or fire damage, theft, and vandalism. If you are leasing or financing your vehicle, comprehensive insurance is typically required.

If you plan on driving your car a lot, you might want to add comprehensive coverage for added peace of mind. We also recommend considering this type of coverage if you're not financially prepared to repair or replace your vehicle in the event of sudden damage.

car insurance types

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

This type of car insurance can protect you if someone without car insurance or with insufficient car insurance ends up hurting you in an accident that was their fault - which, unfortunately, is something that happens more often than people realize! This insurance can also help in situations of hit-and-run or when the policyholder is hit while walking down the street.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers medical expenses for you and your passengers following an accident, which may include medical bills and injury-related costs, such as lost wages, funeral expenses, and child care assistance. PIP insurance coverage varies across states, does not depend on which driver is at fault, and typically has a low deductible.

PIP insurance is required in 12 states (Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah), but we recommend purchasing it even if you don't reside in any of those states to avoid large medical bills.

Medical Payments (MedPay)

This type of car insurance is similar to PIP but is much less comprehensive. MedPay covers the policyholders and any passengers for accident-related injuries. MedPay covers doctor and hospital visits, and can also cover health insurance and PIP deductibles/copays. Although only required in Maine and New Hampshire, we still recommend purchasing MedPay as additional coverage to your PIP or health insurance.

Important Takeaways

In this article, we've covered six different types of car insurance coverages so that you can make a more informed choice when deciding which policy is right for you. However, this is not an exhaustive list as there are many optional insurance coverages you might want to consider.

For example, If your car is older and might need some work, then it may be a good idea to add mechanical breakdown car insurance so that if something goes wrong with the car while on the road you will not have to pay out of pocket for repairs yourself. If you go on many road trips throughout the year, it might be a good idea to add road trip travel insurance, which covers trip cancellations and/or interruptions and medical emergencies.

If you're like most people, you probably don't think about your car insurance until something bad happens. But in the event of an accident or other mishap, it's important to know what type of coverage will be best for you and your family. There are car insurance coverage options for every car owner - whether you own or lease your car. Check out 5 Minute Insure to get personalized quotes for your needs!

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 8/30/2023

Why Correct Limits on Home Insurance Matter, Even Outside Hurricane Zones


In the world of home insurance, one can't afford to be negligent. Whether you live in a hurricane-prone area or not, the right home insurance policy is a must-have.

The Misconception: Insurance is for "High-Risk" Areas

Many people think that home insurance is only necessary if they're at risk of hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Importance of Home Insurance for All

Home insurance is about more than just natural disasters. Fires, theft, and liability are risks everyone faces, regardless of their geographic location.

Why Correct Limits are Crucial

Setting the correct limits on your home insurance ensures you’re adequately covered in all scenarios. Opting for lower premiums might seem tempting, but the financial repercussions of being underinsured could be devastating.

Risks You Didn’t Consider

What if your guest slips on your property? What if there's a small fire in the kitchen? Being underinsured can lead to immense out-of-pocket expenses.

How to Choose the Right Limits

Always consider the replacement cost of your home and possessions, not just their current value. Adjust your policy limits accordingly and consult your RELI Exchange agent for personalized advice.


Regardless of whether you live in a hurricane-prone area, proper home insurance coverage with the correct limits is indispensable.

Feel free to consult your RELI Exchange agent for personalized insurance advice tailored to your individual needs.

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 8/25/2023.

Drive your car to work every day? You might want to start thinking about what that commute will look like in the near future

In the early 20th century, the Ford Model T was the first attempt to make a car that the masses could buy, introducing convenience and mobility to people from all walks of life. The automobile industry has come a long way since then and fundamentally changed our lives by offering efficient and convenient ways to commute and travel. Now, autonomous vehicles are on their way to changing our lives once again by offering safe, reliable transportation that has the potential to impact society in countless ways.

There are many autonomous vehicle companies that have been making waves in the industry, such as Waymo and Cruise. The technology is advancing quickly and it's only a matter of time before autonomous vehicles become more common on our roads. In fact, it is estimated that by 2035, 54 million self-driving cars will be roaming the roads worldwide.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines an autonomous vehicle as "any vehicle equipped with one or more systems that automate all or part of the driving task." According to the NHTSA, five levels of car automation exist. Level 1 represents assistance with steering, braking, or accelerating, while level 5 is classified as "full automation," where a vehicle has full driving capabilities under all circumstances and the driver is merely a passenger. Autonomous vehicles with level 5 capabilities can sense their environment, make decisions on where to go next, and navigate the roads without hitting anything or anyone along the way.

For better or worse, the invention of autonomous vehicles will significantly impact how we live and work. What will the world look like once self-driving cars become prevalent? Here are five ways that autonomous vehicles could impact our daily routines and change our lives.

Smarter Parking Solutions

autonomous vehicles communicate with one another

Many city planners believe that driverless cars could make dense urban living greener, cheaper, and more efficient. Parking lots take up a significant portion of urban areas and contribute to landscape erosion, while parking garages are an additional expense for car owners. 

Autonomous vehicles will change the way that people think and interact with parking spaces and garages. In theory, parking garages could house more autonomous vehicles than human-operated vehicles.

When people park their car in a garage, they need enough room to open their car doors without hitting another car, walk to and from the elevator or stairway, and safely maneuver across the lot in two-way traffic. Autonomous vehicles don't need such accommodations.

In addition, parking garages that house autonomous vehicles would not need to have stairways and elevators as driverless vehicles are able to exit the garage and pick up their owner independently. This could essentially eliminate the need for some garages altogether.

Researchers are already working on projects that will allow autonomous vehicles to drop off their passengers at the front door of the building they're headed for and then find an empty parking spot somewhere else in town.

Fewer Car Accidents

Approximately 90% of all crashes can be attributed to human error. With driverless cars programmed to make efficient driving decisions, car accidents are expected to drop dramatically.

Autonomous vehicles are much less likely to be distracted or impaired, and they are designed to drive safely and efficiently. As autonomous vehicles become more prevalent, the result could be a much safer travel experience for everyone involved - namely the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians sharing the roadway.

Reduced Traffic Congestion

Autonomous vehicles are programmed to operate at maximum efficiency by driving the exact speed limit, maintaining a safe distance between cars, and anticipating other vehicles' movements, which allow for more efficient use of road space.

In addition, autonomous vehicles are able to communicate with each other. By sharing information about the current traffic conditions, autonomous vehicles are able to collectively decide on which route would be best for them to take in order to reduce overall travel time.

Roadway improvements that currently cause significant delays - such as construction zones and accidents - are the biggest causes of traffic jams. With more efficient traffic control and much less congestion, we expect travel times to be significantly reduced, especially during rush hours.

Lower Premiums

Autonomous vehicles can share information about their surroundings via wireless technology. This means that if one car detects an obstacle in its path, it can warn all other autonomous vehicles behind it to avoid it in turn.

This type of roadway intelligence means that autonomous vehicles can avoid accidents more effectively than human drivers, and also learn from the experiences of all other autonomous cars on the road.

The more autonomous cars there are on the road, the smarter they become at planning routes around roadblocks and other obstacles. As roads become safer over time and the rate of accidents and injuries decrease, we might start seeing much lower insurance premiums for all drivers who use autonomous vehicles.

Increased Mobility

Driving is something that most people take for granted, but it's a luxury that many don't have. One of the most exciting possibilities of driverless vehicles is that they could offer those who cannot currently drive the means to get around without relying on others, such as people with disabilities or the elderly, offering a whole new level of freedom to those whose mobility has been affected.

For example, people with limited vision could benefit from autonomous vehicles which rely on sensors and cameras instead of human eyesight to navigate.

A car that can drive itself may sound like a scene from a sci-fi movie, but the technology exists and is already being tested worldwide. The most significant lifestyle change that autonomous vehicles will have on our lives is in the way that we move around.

Because self-driving cars don't have to focus on steering, braking, or accelerating, they can essentially be used as mobile living rooms. Imagine going on a cross-country road trip and instead of having a designated driver, being able to use the time to play games with your friends and family, read a book, or watch a movie.

Still, there are also some challenges to consider, such as regulations and general safety concerns. The future of autonomous vehicles is up in the air, and there's no way yet to tell what will happen when they become more widespread.

One thing we do know is people will need car insurance regardless of whether their cars can drive themselves or not. Check out to compare quotes from leading providers!

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert Moshe Fishman on July 28, 2023

When and why to change your auto insurance company.

Have you ever wondered if you’re paying too much for car insurance? You’re not alone. According to J.D. Power, the rising cost of auto insurance is prompting an unprecedented number of policyholders to shop around and switch insurance companies. 

Whether you’re curious if you’re paying too much or just aren’t happy with your current auto insurance provider or insurance agents, comparing prices is a smart idea if any of the following situations apply to you. 

When to consider switching your auto insurance.

Change of Address: Your zip code is a key factor in determining your insurance premium. If you’ve moved to an area with less crime, or if you used to park in the street and now have a garage, your rate should go down since your car is less likely to be stolen or vandalized. 

New Car or New Driver: If you’re adding a new driver to your policy, for example, your teenager has recently got their license, compare prices to see which company offers the best student-based discount. Adding a driver should raise your car insurance premium while removing a driver should lower it. Also, buying a new car or adding another car to your policy is a great reason to shop around. It's just a good idea.

Major Life Events: Getting married, buying a home, or changing jobs can affect your premium. Insurance companies consider homeowners and married people to be more responsible, so your rate should go down. You may want to inquire about home insurance coverage bundled with car insurance, to get a lower total rate.

Time To Renew: If your renewal date is soon, changing insurers will be an easier, hassle-free transition when you start a new policy on the day your old one ends. Just be sure there’s no lapse in coverage.

Improved Credit Score: Your credit score affects your insurance premium, so if your credit score has gone up since the last time you checked rates, your auto insurance premium should go down. 

Your Premium Increased: The criteria used to determine premiums varies among insurers. If there’s no obvious reason as to why your premium went up, for example, you haven’t added a driver or been in an accident, compare rates to see if a competitor offers a better rate. Before making a switch, check with your existing insurer to learn why you have higher rates. Especially if your driving history is clean.

Adding Specialty Coverage: If you’ve bought a boat or a classic car, your current provider might not offer the best coverage for these unique forms of transportation. 

Milestone Birthday: According to Value Penguin, insurance rates tend to drop between the ages of 45 and 55 and then steadily rise after age 60.

Change In Commute: If you’re commuting less than you used to, switching to a low-mileage policy should save money. 

How many quotes should I get?

It’s recommended that you get quotes from at least three different car insurance companies when comparing rates. When getting quotes, be sure to ask for the exact same coverage options and limits. This will allow you to make the best comparison based on the cost of the premium. Make a note of carriers that offer you special discounts that aren’t available from other insurers. Accident forgiveness might be important for you, especially if you have filed a claim in the past or had an at-fault accident.

What information do I need to get a quote?

You’ll need to provide the following information to receive a quote:

How do I make the switch?

You’ve done your research and you’re ready to switch carriers. Follow these four simple steps to switch to a new auto insurance company.

#1 Contact your current car insurance company.

The first step in switching car insurance companies is to let your current insurer know about your intention to switch insurers. They might agree to match the lowest quote you’ve received from a competitor. Or they might offer you customer loyalty discounts and savings you’re currently missing out on. If your agent is an independent broker, they might be able to keep you as a customer by shopping your policy with various carriers, or even bundling your auto and home insurance, if that makes sense.

If they can’t give you a better rate, let them know you’re canceling and request a copy of your policy’s end date in writing. You may need to submit a written request to cancel your policy. Although most insurers don’t penalize policyholders for switching, ask if you’ll be subject to any cancellation fees. You don't want to find out the hard way after you have switched companies.

Also, if you’re canceling in the middle of a policy, ask about how the remainder of your policy premium will be refunded. They’ll either mail a check or provide a credit to the card you used to pay the policy. 

#2 Avoid gaps in coverage.

It’s imperative you make sure there are no gaps between the end date of your old insurance and the start date of your new insurance. Set your new policy to start on the last day of coverage on the old policy.

This will ensure that you’re fully covered. Also, having continuous coverage is a discount offered by some insurance companies. Having a lapse in coverage can result in being charged more for insurance down the road. 

#3 Get your new ID card.

In case you’re pulled over or in an accident, you’ll want to have your most current insurance card handy. Many insurance companies now offer digital copies of insurance cards through the insurer’s app. Or you can download a digital copy and store it on your phone. If you want to keep a hard copy on hand, print it out and keep it in a convenient place should you need to access the information quickly. 

#4 Inform your lender or leasing company.

If you’re leasing your vehicle or paying off a car loan, you’ll need to inform them of your change in coverage. This is because they may require you to carry a minimum amount of coverage. They’ll want to make sure you have enough insurance for the vehicle you’re leasing or have a loan for. They might request proof of insurance from the new provider. 

Comparing rates is easy!

Comparing rates between auto insurance companies is a straightforward, painless process that can save a lot of money. Today’s technology makes it easy to shop around online for the coverages and rates that meet your particular needs. 5 Minute Insure provides an easy online way to compare rates.

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 7/9/2023

It is officially spooky season and Halloween is right around the corner, which means it's time to get ready for a hauntingly good night of fun! But before you put take out the candy and carve out that Jack-o-lantern, make sure your car is prepared too!

It is common knowledge among the insurance industry that car owners are more vulnerable on Halloween than on any other night of the year, which is supported by the staggering percentage of claims processed between Oct 31st and Nov 1st being car theft.

Insurance companies report a 25% increase in vandalism claims around this time of year, and if you live in one of the states with high populations of vandals on Halloween (we're looking at you, California), be forewarned: your car is a prime target for criminals.

Car damage caused by vandalism is only covered by your auto insurance if you have comprehensive coverage, which will also cover theft or other events that may happen while your vehicle is parked on the street.

But what if you don't have comprehensive coverage? Fear not; there are steps you can take to help keep your car safe on Halloween.

Park in a safe area

The simplest way is to park your car in a garage. If this isn't a viable option for you, the next best option is to park your car in a well-lit, safe area.

This may not completely eliminate the chance of vandalism, but it will make it harder for potential vandals to target your car if it is in an area where they can be caught easily.

car decor for Halloween

Get in the festive mood

If you must park your car on the street, make sure to also decorate it with a festive "Happy Halloween!" sign and throw some fake spider webs around it. The extra attention should deter criminals from targeting your vehicle.

Do not leave valuables in plain sight

Make sure to take anything valuable out of your car and either hide it in the trunk or leave it at home. This includes expensive audio systems, GPS units, phones, headphones, and laptop computers.

Set Up Anti-Theft Systems

Consider installing an anti-theft security device to discourage thieves from stealing your car. These include brake and wheel locks, steering wheel locks, and theft-deterrent decals. And, of course, don't forget to set up your car's alarm system before the night begins.

Wax your car

The application of a protective coat of hybrid car wax at least one week before Halloween can protect your car for 3-6 months. More importantly, it can help fight Halloween mess like dried eggs and pumpkins. Although not scratch-proof, the water-resistant sealant will also help prevent minor scratches.

car waxing before Halloween

Rinse off your car as soon as possible

Suppose you find out the morning after Halloween night that your car has been targeted and is covered with eggshells. In that case, your priority should be washing the exterior as soon as possible to remove any residue that can damage the paint. Using a waterless detail spray should help remove the majority of the mess.

Follow the basics

Some of the easiest ways to prevent vandalism are by following the basics. Ensure that all your doors are locked, windows are up, and there is no clutter inside the car to reduce the temptation.

We know that the only thing scarier than the zombie apocalypse is thinking about your car getting vandalized or stolen during the scariest day of the year. In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is severely damaged on Halloween, make sure to document the scene and file a police report as soon as possible.

If you have comprehensive coverage, contact your insurance company and they will be able to provide an accurate assessment of what needs to be fixed. We hope you found these tips helpful! Stay safe and happy Halloween!

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 6/8/2023.

A drone in flight. 5 ways Drones are changing the insurance landscape.

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane!”

No, it’s just your insurance company’s drone flying around.

Drones are commercially available, relatively cheap, miniature helicopters that can record video and capture pictures from the air.

Drones are already being used in a wide range of business applications in the United States. From inspecting power lines and delivering products to playing a key role in search and rescue operations, they are quickly becoming an integral part of many business operations.

For decades, insurance companies have relied on statistical analysis to help determine their rates. If you drive your car in area X, you are likely to get in more accidents than in area Y. With this in mind, they charged higher premiums in the riskier zone. It is a tried and tested system but it is not perfect.

Drone usage by insurance companies has gained momentum in recent years thanks to technological advances and greater accessibility. From automated data collection to claims assessment, drones are providing insurance companies with new tools to improve their processes.

Tailored Pricing Models for Customers

For the past two decades, insurance companies have faced difficulties in obtaining accurate claims cost information. That’s because traditional methods of obtaining damage estimates are complicated and time-consuming.

Insurance companies are constantly looking for new ways to tailor their pricing models to individuals based on their risk profiles. They aim to charge higher prices for customers who are more likely to file claims but offer competitive rates for customers who will be less likely to need insurance. This is where drones can help with collecting better data and creating realistic 3D models of structures or objects for more accurate insurance pricing models.

Drones are able to resolve this problem as they have the capabilities to assess risks more effectively. They provide insurance brokers with accurate, real-time data about potential risks. As a result, insurers develop better pricing models before issuing a policy.

For example, capturing data about site vulnerabilities helps insurance companies predict damage susceptibility. This allows them to develop accurate, tailored pricing models at a lower cost than traditional inspection methods.

Nuanced Catastrophe Models

Drones are particularly useful in monitoring natural disaster emergencies such as floods, fires, and hurricanes. Drones can be employed in high-risk regions without endangering human life.

During an emergency, insurers can gain an accurate assessment of the damage before productively deploying relief efforts and assist in evacuating local residents who are in harm’s way.

Drones are also useful after an emergency situation. They are able to capture live footage and document damage more accurately. This allows insurance companies to quickly begin working with their customers on rebuilding efforts.

Another area where drones can help with disastrous events is through prevention. Drones equipped with thermal imaging devices can detect water or gas leaks that might otherwise go undetected.

Sophisticated Fraud Management Models

As the use of drones becomes more widespread and their capabilities grow, so will their value propositions for insurance companies. Insurance companies are already using drones as a tool to combat fraud and increase efficiencies in risk management strategies. As a result, a more sophisticated fraud management model is emerging.

Fraudulent claims amount to approximately $40 billion each year. One of the major benefits to an insurer using drones for monitoring purposes comes from its real-time data collection.

Unlike after-the-fact investigation methods (such as interviews or witness reports), drones allow insurance companies to take high-quality before and after pictures of properties, making it simpler to detect fraudulent claims. For example, drones can inspect car collision damage from a multi-angle view, instead of relying solely on testimonials.

Faster and More Accurate Inspections

Capturing data about a site’s susceptibility to damages is costly and time-consuming. The process involves on-site inspections by teams of experts that can take up to several weeks to complete.

Insurance companies are able to perform a complete property inspection with drones, cutting down on turnaround time and overall costs.

Drones are able to inspect properties with greater speed by capturing photographs and videos instantaneously from multiple angles. As such, inspectors don’t have to revisit the site for a more in-depth investigation following the initial inspection.

Drones are also more accurate than humans when it comes to measurement precision. As such, drones help insurance companies make fewer errors when measuring property damage or assessing liability for multi-party accidents.

Reduced Site Accidents and Injuries

Insurance companies can leverage drones to obtain accurate, real-time site safety data and identify potential threats to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

Drones can inspect properties that are difficult or dangerous for humans to access, such as high-rise buildings, bridges, and dams. Insurance companies can leverage drones to map hard-to-reach areas and identify high-risk terrain and obstacles that could result in accidents. Drones are able to monitor sites from above, providing a bird’s eye view.

By using drones, insurance companies can create precise heat maps that highlight areas of concern and increase visibility into potential problem spots.

Commercial drones may be relatively new but they’ve already made an impact in the insurance industry. Insurance carriers need a fast, reliable, and cost-effective way to inspect and process claims, and drones fit the bill. Drones deliver a cheaper and safer way for carriers to access data and process claims more efficiently, which ultimately promotes a better customer experience. 

We’ll definitely see a lot of drones buzzing around in the near future as more insurance companies continue to adopt them for a competitive advantage. So the next time you see a drone in your neighborhood, don’t be alarmed. It may very well belong to your insurance company!

Want to learn more about disruptive technology that is impacting the insurance landscape? Visit the 5 Minute Insure blog

This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman on 5/30/2023.

The right auto insurance policy can help you avoid being saddled with unexpected costs in case of an auto accident, so it is important to choose the coverage that best aligns with your needs.

Auto insurance premium prices vary widely by company and risk factors that are tailored for each driver. Some auto insurance companies charge higher rates than others, but there are several ways to reduce your monthly premiums without compromising your level of coverage.

Combine forces for added insurance savings

Combining auto insurance policies is a great way for families and friends who live together to get a discounted premium. Insurance companies often provide additional benefits when insuring multiple types of vehicles through one company.

In addition, most insurance companies offer discounts for bundling several types of insurance with them. Bundling auto and home insurance policies under the same carrier can save you 5%-25% on premium costs!

Inquire about available discounts

Reach out to your insurance agent and inquire about discounts you may qualify for. Some auto insurance companies offer discounts based on your driving history, academic success, and safer driving course completion.

Invest in safety gadgets for greater insurance savings

A great way to reduce your car insurance premiums is by investing in safety features for your vehicle to reduce the likelihood of theft or damage.

Some insurance companies offer discounts for anti-theft system installation, like an electric immobilizer or anti-lock brakes. Others may even offer discounts for investing in parking sensors or blind-spot monitors to reduce the likelihood of auto damage.

Park your car at a safer spot

Where you park your car at night can have a big impact on auto insurance premiums. Auto insurance companies consider drivers who leave their cars parked in high crime or bad neighborhoods overnight as risky drivers. Next time your park your car, consider parking in a safer area to avoid a higher auto premium.

Compare Insurance Premiums

The best way to see if you are getting the most for your money is by comparing auto insurance rates at least once a year (pssst..we can help!). Leveraging a free tool that can compare auto insurance rates will save you time and effort when shopping around.

For example, our system scans through hundreds of providers' premium rates and finds the most up-to-date rates in your area. Then, it recommends the top 3 quotes for your circumstances and preferred coverage levels.

You can compare and purchase car insurance quotes in a matter of minutes, and don't even need to pick up the phone (unless you want to, of course!).

Keep the following factors in mind when shopping for auto insurance

Auto insurance is a necessity for as long as you own a car. While auto insurance can be fairly expensive, there are ways to reduce your monthly payments. If you follow the suggestions written above, auto insurance payments should be lower within a few months!

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