We had a chance to sit down and discuss auto insurance, amongst other things, with James Conners. James is a Financial Representative with Country Financial located in Eugene, Oregon. James left a career in the non-profit world and joined up with Country Financial. He hoped to provide a good living for his family while still helping people in his community. James provides financial services, including auto insurance, to help his clients achieve their goals.
Understanding Your Auto Policy
James said the most critical thing you should do is sit down with your agent to make sure you understand your auto policy. Your agent should be able to discuss the policy in detail with you so you understand your coverage. James advised that driving a vehicle is a risk. It is his job to help you mitigate that risk with the right coverage. “When you drive, you are risking your car, your income, your home, everything you own,” James said. “The protection you put between yourself and those risks is insurance. It is important to understand these risks and discuss them with an agent.”
Here are some of our takeaways from our conversation with James and our experiences with our clients:
1. What are your policy limits, and do they align with your situation?
You should discuss your policy limits thoroughly with your agent to ensure you are protected if an accident happens. In addition to your auto policy, you may want to consider a personal umbrella policy. James says an umbrella policy typically has a low monthly cost but can provide a lot of extra coverage.
2. Should I consider GAP insurance?
When you purchase a new vehicle, you quickly lose value and can be underwater on your loan. In some situations, purchasing GAP insurance can help protect you if your car is totaled or stolen. Talk to your agent about the advantages and costs to decide if this coverage is a good idea for you.
3. What type of rental coverage is on my policy?
Rental coverage provides a rental car to you when your vehicle needs to be repaired at an auto body shop. It is essential to know what type of coverage you carry. This is because repair time can vary depending on the amount of damage, parts available, and how busy your local auto body repair shops are. Auto body repairs can range from 3 days to 1 ½ months. Whether you will be covered in a rental for this period and what type of vehicle is available depends on the coverage you sign up for with your insurer.
- Confirm your daily rate to make sure you are covered for the correct size car. Do not assume that since you drive an SUV, you will be covered for an SUV.
- Confirm if you will have any out-of-pocket expenses. Some policies cover 80% of the daily rental rate, meaning you will owe the other 20%. This could save you money monthly but will add up if a long repair time is needed.
- Confirm your total coverage limit. Policies will have a daily rate and maximum covered amount. For example, you may have $25/day coverage that will cover an economy car with a $500 maximum. That means if your auto repair goes over 20 days, you will have out of pocket rental expenses.
4. What would it cost to add an OEM endorsement to my policy?
Most policies are written so that the insurer is only responsible for aftermarket parts during your auto body repair. For a small monthly cost, you can have peace of mind that a body shop will repair your car with original, factory parts. We are firm believers that it’s essential to repair your vehicle with original factory parts. It’s much easier to repair your car with factory parts when your policy includes it.
5. Am I receiving all the discounts and savings that I can?
Be sure to check in and keep your agent up to date on any changes in your life. This helps ensure you are receiving the best discounts and savings available and that you are fully covered. Did a teenage driver move out recently or did you move? Did your commute change? James suggests keeping your agent updated so they can provide the best coverage and discounts possible.
6. Am I covered for roadside assistance?
Many insurance companies have roadside assistance options with their policies. These packages can include towing, lockouts, dead batteries, and flat tire fixes. You may be paying monthly for AAA when your insurance company already provides some of these services.
7. What other services can you help me with?
Often your insurance agent can help provide other financial services. James can help clients with life insurance plans, health insurance, retirement planning, college-savings, renters or homeowners plans, and pet policies.
Counting on Country Financial With James Conners
Auto accidents are already stressful. The last thing you want to worry about is whether you carry the right kinds of coverage. If you are looking for a new agent, you can contact James Conners with Country Financial at 541-225-3900.
For more valuable information about repairing and maintaining your vehicle, read our other blogs.