Tag Archives: auto insurance

Driving while high

Are you driving while high?

People are asking if it is ok? It is never ok to be caught driving while high. It is illegal!

Driving while high refers to alcohol toxication as well as other substances which interfere with your ability to drive. You can be charged even in a state that has legalized marijuana.

In order to define drugged driving is difficult. The reason is that there are many drugs which can impair driving ability. Furthermore, there is not a specific concentration that proves impairment.

State laws place the responsibility on law enforcement to decide if the driver is impaired whilst operating a vehicle. In addition, a drug recognition expert (DRE) may be called to the scene to check the driver for drug use.

Alternatively, the driver may be arrested immediately and then tested whilst in custody.

Driving under the while high results in unsafe driving habits and presents a higher risk for accidents. A DUI or DUID will result in higher auto insurance premiums. The premium could be increased by hundreds of dollars.

If found guilty of DUI or DUID you could be subject to:-
* Driver’s licence suspension
* Jail time
* Fines
* Reinstatement fees
* Mandatory driver’s training programs
* Alcohol and drug treatment programs
* DUI or DUID attorneys fees.

In certain instances, an auto policy could be cancelled. Finding vehicle insurance on the open market will be highly unlikely. You will need to join your state’s auto insurance plan, which usually costs more than the insurance in an open market.

Your driver’s licence may be suspended if you are stopped while driving high. In this instance, you will be required to file an SR-22 certificate in order to reinstate your licence.

This certificate is filed by your car insurance company on your behalf. It guarantees that you will hold insurance for a certain amount of time. (about 3 years). These certificates are expensive plus you will pay more for your car insurance.

Casualty Insurance Part 1 of 2

The lines of coverage addressed by casualty insurance are:

Automotive liability
general liability
products liability
umbrella liability
excess liability
workers’ compensation
professional liability (medical malpractice)
environmental products liability

Casualty Insurance is often equated to liability insurance of an individual or organisation for negligent acts or omissions.

The term has also been used for property insurance as well as aviation insurance.  Boiler,  machinery,  insurance, glass and crime insurance falls under this category.  It can include marine insurance for shipwrecks or losses at sea.  Also included may be earthquake, political risk insurance, terrorism insurance, fidelity and surety bonds.

One of the most common kinds of casualty insurance today is automobile insurance. In its most basic form, automobile insurance provides liability coverage in the event that a driver is found “at fault” in an accident. This can cover medical expenses of individuals involved in the accident.  Furthermore it can be for  restitution or repair of damaged property.

GENERAL LIABILITY (Under Casualty Insurance)

The number of lawsuits being filed against businesses is both surprising and alarming. General liability is the first line of defense. A business can be sued for almost any reason. Negligence, personal injury, libel, slander, errors, omissions, faulty products, advertising misprints and more.

It can cover things like bodily injury, property damage, contractual liability, damages to property you rent or occupy.  Data Breach is offered as an optional coverage that can help you comply with regulatory requirements.  It can provide guidance on how to prevent and handle a breach.  This can also cover response and liability expenses to quickly restore confidence in your practice or business.

PRODUCT LIABILITY (Under Casualty Insurance)

This is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause.

In the United States, the claims most commonly associated with product liability are negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty and various consumer protection claims. The majority of product liability laws are determined at the state level and vary widely from state to state. Each type of product liability claim requires different elements to be proven to present a successful claim.

There are three major types of product liability claims:
Manufacturing defect
Design defect
A failure to warn (also known as marketing defects)

However, in most states these are not legal claims in and of themselves, but are pleaded in terms of the theories mentioned above. For example, a plaintiff might plead negligent failure to warn or strict liability for defective design.
Manufacturing defects are also those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor quality materials or shoddy workmanship.

Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless no matter how carefully manufactured.

Failure- to- warn defects arise in products that carry inherent non-obvious dangers which could be mitigated through adequate warnings to the user, and these dangers are present regardless of how well the product is manufactured and designed for its intended purpose.

However, in most states these are not legal claims in and of themselves, but are pleaded in terms of the theories mentioned above. For example, a plaintiff might plead negligent failure to warn of liability for defective design. Manufacturing defect are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor quality materials or shoddy workmanship. Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless no matter how carefully manufactured.

A basic negligence claim consists of:-

a duty owed
a breach of that duty
the breach was the cause in fact of the plaintiff’s injury (actual cause)
the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury
and the plaintiff suffered actual quantifiable injury (damages)

Rather than focus on the behaviour of the manufacturer (as in negligence), strict liability claims focus on the product itself. Under strict liability, the manufacturer is liable if the product is defective, even if the manufacturer was not negligent in making that product defective.

UMBRELLA INSURANCE (Under Casualty Insurance)

Umbrella insurance refers to liability insurance that is in excess of specified other policies and also potentially primary insurance for losses not covered by the other policies.

Excess insurance is similar in that it pays after an underlying primary policy is exhausted. Umbrella policies tend to provide broader coverage over one or more primary policies. An umbrella policy may cover certain risks from the first dollar of loss or liability incurred, which were never covered under the primary policies. As your wealth increases, so does your attractiveness as a target for lawsuits.  Examples of liability that an umbrella policy may cover that a homeowner’s policy often excludes include:
False arrest
Invasion of privacy

Liability settlements and verdicts can exceed $10 million, $20 million and higher. While trusts and other techniques can shield some assets from the court’s reach, prudence suggests choosing coverage at least equal to your current net worth and present value of your employment income stream.

It is also worth considering the moral obligation to be able to fully compensate someone who has perhaps suffered a lifelong debilitating injury for which you are responsible e. g. in a car accident where the driver was at fault.
Umbrella coverage typically costs a few hundred dollars in premium per million dollars of coverage and furthermore the cost per million decreases as the amount of coverage increases.

Usage Based Auto Insurance

Usage based auto insurance has arrived. Getting a discount on your auto insurance based on your specific driving habits is now possible. Insurance companies are now able to track your driving habits and base your auto insurance savings on how good of a driver you are. There are devices available that plug into one’s car to track the driving habits of the driver electronically. It is simply a device that plugs into one’s car’s onboard diagnostic port. The onboard diagnostic port is located under the steering column in most cars. It can be simply plugged into the port and through wireless technology one’s driving habits can be tracked and monitored to help the insurance company to determine a savings based on one’s specific driving habits. The driver can usually also view their own driving information through the insurance company’s website.

Usage based auto insurance is growing. Progressive Insurance was the first insurance company to widely offer its usage based auto insurance device and has been doing so for a while now with great success. Progressive offers a “pay as you drive” program called Snapshot. It gives you a personalised rate based on your driving. The better you drive, the more you can save. It is available in most states except AK, CA, HI, IN and NC. Snapshot collects driving data like how many miles you drive, the time of day you drive and how often you make sudden stops will be collected. You can review your driving snapshot anytime by logging in to your policy on ProgressiveAgent.com

Progressive will apply any discount you earn about 30 days after you plug in your Snapshot device. Then, when you renew your policy, Progressive will set your personalised Snapshot discount. You then keep your discount for as long as you are insured with Progressive. If you make a significant change to your policy, Progressive may ask you to take a new snapshot of your driving.

Sprint has launched a connected car offering for automotive insurance companies. The IMS UBI intelligence tool offers insurers a way to accurately determine a driver’s policy premium based on their driving behaviour. Drivers can choose to plug a telematics device into the port of their vehicle, which will measure metrics such as distance travelled and their braking and acceleration patterns. As a result, they may benefit from a lower premium for proving that they are a good driver. Insurers could also use the service to levy a higher premium on drivers who are not. The operator teamed up with connected car solutions provider Intelligent Mechatronic Systems (IMS) to devise the solution.

State Farm and Ford have recently announced that they are jumping in on the usage based auto insurance market as well. With all of these companies going in the direction of offering usage based auto insurance, it is important drivers determine if it is the best option for them.

Metromile is a California-based insurance startup funded by New Enterprise Associates, Index Ventures, National General Insurance/Amtrust Financial, and other investors. It offers a pay-per-mile insurance product using a device that connects to the OBD-11 port of all automobiles built after 1996. Metromile does not use behavioral statistics like type of driving or time of day to price their insurance. They offer consumers a low base rate per month and a per-mile rate ranging from 2 to 11 cents per mile, taking into account all traditional risk factors. Drivers who drive less than the average (10, 000 miles) per year will tend to save.

So, who would be best served by a usage based auto insurance device? Of course, anyone who is a great driver already and wants to make sure they are getting a good deal on their insurance for doing so. But, there are other applications where usage based auto insurance devices would be helpful. The first thing that comes to mind for parents out there would be how great of a device this would be to use to monitor their teen driver. We all know it is well documented that teen drivers have some of the highest accident rates. The usage based auto insurance device is probably one of the best tools a parent could have to keep track of how their teen is driving.

Along with tracking the driving habits of one’s teen, the usage based auto insurance device will also be able to track the actual time of day that the vehicle is being driven. Also, the parent can be alerted if the device is removed. It is easy to see why a usage based auto device would be helpful for a parent of a teen along with someone who knows they are a good driver and wants to pay less for their insurance based on their driving habits. A usage based auto insurance device can also be a good tool for the elderly to use so they can monitor their own driving habits in order to assist them in noticing any changes in their driving habits which could help them determine if a health problem is arising that could be impairing their driving.

In addition, it could be a great tool for someone who acknowledges that they do not have the best driving habits, knowing their insurance company is tracking their habits as if their agent was in the car with them, could be a great tool for changing one’s negative driving habits into positive ones.

Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle Insurance also known as auto insurance, GAP insurance, car insurance or motor insurance.  This is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, motorcycles and other road vehicles.  Its primary use is to provide financial protection against physical damage and/or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could also arise therefrom.  Vehicle insurance may additionally offer financial protection against theft of the vehicle and possibly damage of the vehicle sustained from events other than traffic collisions.

In the US,  some states require a motor vehicle owner to carry a minimum level of liability insurance.

Virginia does not require the vehicle owner to carry car insurance but an uninsured motor vehicle fee may be paid to the state.

Although auto insurance is not mandatory in New Hampshire,  most drivers opt to purchase it anyway.  Drivers who have been involved in car accidents or have been convicted of serious traffic violations, have to purchase car insurance.

In Mississippi other than buying car insurance, drivers can also post a bond for the minimum coverage amounts or make a cash or security deposit equal to the minimum coverage amounts.

Coverage in general:

Consumers may be protected by different levels of coverage.  Some states require drivers to carry at least liability insurance to ensure that their drivers can cover the cost of damage to other people or property in the event of an accident.

Liability coverage:

This coverage is offered for bodily injury or property damage, for which the insured driver is responsible.  The amount of coverage provided (a fixed dollar amount) will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In some states, such as New Jersey it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle that does not have liability insurance coverage.  In some jurisdictions. liability coverage is available either as a combined single limit policy, or as a split limit policy.

Combined Single Limit:

A combined single limit combines property damage liability coverage and bodily injury coverage under one single combined limit.  For example, an insured driver with a combined single liability strikes another vehicle and injures the driver and the passenger.  Payments for the damages to the other driver’s car, as well as payments for injury claims to the driver and passenger, would be paid out under the same coverage.

Split Limits:

A split limit liability coverage policy splits the coverages into property damage coverage and bodily injury coverage.  In the example given above, payments for the other driver’s vehicle would be paid out under property damage coverage, and payments for the injuries would be paid out under bodily injury coverage.  Bodily Injury damage is usually split into a maximum payment per person and a maximum payment per accident.  The limits are often expressed separated by slashes in the following form:  “bodily injury per person”/”bodily injury per accident”/”property damage”

For example, California requires the minimum coverage.

$15, 000 for injury/death to one person

$30, 000 for injury/death to more than one person

$5, 000 for damage to property.

This would be expressed $15, 000/$30, 000/$5, 000

Another example, in the state of Oklahoma, drivers must carry at least state minimum liability limits

of $25, 000/$50, 000/$25, 000.  In the state of Indiana, the minimum liability limits are

$25, 000/$50, 000/$10, 000 so there is a greater property damage exposure for only carrying the minimum limits.


Rental coverage:

Generally, liability coverage purchased through a private insurer extends to rental cars.  Comprehensive policies (“full coverage”) usually also apply to the rental vehicle, although this should be verified beforehand.  Full coverage premiums are based on, among other factors, the value of the insured’s vehicle.  This coverage however, cannot apply to rental cars because the insurance company does not want to assume responsibility for a claim greater than the value of the insured’s vehicle, assuming that a rental car may be worth more than the insured’s vehicle.

Most rental car companies offer insurance to cover damage to the rental vehicle.  These policies are unnecessary for many customers as credit card companies such as Visa and Master card provide coverage if the rental transaction is processed using one of their cards.

Full coverage:

Full coverage refers to the combination of comprehensive and collision coverage.  The term “full” coverage is a layman’s misnomer, that often results in drivers and vehicle owners being woefully underinsured.  A misconception in the US is that vehicles that are financed on credit are required to have “full” coverage in order for the financial institution to cover their losses in the case of an accident.  While most states do require additional coverage, some states such as Pennsylvania only require Comprehensive and Collision to be purchased in addition to liability and not “full” coverage.


Also known as other than collision, comprehensive provides coverage, subject to a deductible, for cars damaged by incidents that are not considered collisions.  For example, fire, theft, (or attempted theft), vandalism, weather, or impacts with animals, are types of comprehensive losses.  “Acts of God” are listed as an aspect of comprehensive coverage.  These are events beyond human control, such as, a tornado, flood, hurricane or hail storm.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage:

Also known as UM/UIM, provides coverage if an at-fault party either does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance.  In effect, the insurance company pays the insured’s medical bills, then would subrogate from the at-fault party.  This coverage is often overlooked and very important.  In Colorado, for example, it was estimated in 2009 that 15% of drivers were uninsured.  In the United States, the definition of an uninsured/underinsured motorist, and corresponding coverages, are set by state laws.  In some states, it is mandatory.

Loan/Lease payoff

Also known as GAP coverage or GAP insurance.  Due to the sharp decline in value immediately following purchase, there is generally a period in which the amount owed on the car loan exceeds the value of the vehicle, which is called “upside-down” or negative equity.

If the vehicle is damaged beyond economical repair at this point, the owner will still owe potentially thousands of dollars on the loan.  GAP waivers provide protection when a “gap” exists between the actual value of their vehicle and the amount of money owed to the bank or leasing company.  In many instances this insurance will also pay the deductible on the primary insurance policy.

What GAP insurance does not cover:

1.  Any unpaid delinquent payments due at the time of loss.

2.  Payment deferrals (known as “skips”)

3.  Refinancing of the vehicle loan after the policy was purchased.

4.  Late or administration fees assessed after the loan assessment.

Therefore, it is important for a policyholder to understand that they may still owe on the loan even though the GAP policy was purchased.  Failure to understand this can result in the lender continuing their legal remedies to collect the balance and the potential of damaged credit.