Why is My Car Insurance Going Up – And What Can I do About It?

1
Mar
2017

 

“Why did my insurance premium increase? I haven’t been in an accident, gotten any tickets, or made changes to my policy.”

Sound familiar? My friend asked me this last week, and it’s a question insurance agents receive all the time. When the cost of your car insurance goes up at renewal, the increase can feel unjustified — especially if you’ve been insured with the company for a long time and haven’t had any tickets or accidents. I felt the same way when the cost of my auto insurance increased by 28% last year (yes, insurance agents are impacted by premium increases, too!).

But before switching insurance companies, there are two important things to keep in mind. First, rate increases aren’t unique to any one insurance company or geographic area. Premium increases are impacting drivers across the country for a variety of reasons. Second, and more importantly, there are things you can do to off-set any premium increase you receive.

(Watch: ABC News Report “Auto insurance costs rise, in part due to texting by drivers”)

Why are insurance companies raising rates?

At its most basic form, the premise of insurance is sharing risk and shouldering costs with others. Although your individual circumstances or driving behaviors may not have changed, all of us are impacted by the following:

  • Worsening traffic. Increased population, higher employment rates, and lower gas prices led to vehicles travelling 653 billion miles on Washington’s roadways in 2015, an all-time high. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, freeway congestion in central Puget Sound also increased by 35.7% from 2013 to 2015. When more cars are on the road, the frequency of accidents inevitably increases.
  • Distracted driving. It’s no secret drivers do dangerous things behind the wheel. Talking and texting on cell phones, using in-vehicle technologies like navigation systems, and eating and drinking all take a driver’s attention off the road. A newly released survey by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission shows distracted driving deaths in Washington are up 32%. Nationwide, every day more than nine people are killed and 1,153 injured in crashed that are reported to involve a distracted driver (CDC).
  • Traffic Fatalities By Region

    In the Pacific Northwest, traffic fatalities increased 20% from 2014 to 2015. The increase in distracted driving is a contributing factor. Source: NHTSA

    More claims. Statistics from the Insurance Research Council point to  increasing frequency and severity of auto insurance claims. From 2005 to 2013, the average cost per bodily injury liability claim increased by a whopping 32.1%.

  • Rising costs. These days, it seems like we pay more for just about everything. The cost of repairing vehicles is no exception. Newer cars have advanced technology – like blind spot detection, forward collision warning, and backup cameras – that is more expensive to repair. The U.S. set a new car sales record of nearly 17.5 million vehicles in 2015, so this problem will only increase. (Strategy & Price WaterHouse Coopers)

How Can I Lower My Car Insurance Premium?

Believe it or not, Washington is the 33rd most expensive state for car insurance. Nationwide, the average driver pays $1,325 a year for car insurance. The average Washingtonian pays $1,168. Source: Insure.com

Most importantly, drive carefully. Observing traffic rules and speed limits and avoiding moving violations and accidents is the best way to reduce your insurance costs over time. There are also many immediate solutions to lowering your auto insurance premium:

  • Work with an independent insurance agent. There is no one-sized-fits-all solution when it comes to insurance. Unlike a “captive” insurance agent that works with only one company (think State Farm or Allstate), independent agents partner with a wide range of insurance companies. This means we can find the best combination of price and coverage for you. Insurance pricing is based on hundreds of variables and can vary dramatically from company to company. An independent agent can help navigate these variables and review your eligibility for premium discounts with each company. For example, many companies offer discounts based on billing plan, driver safety courses, school employees – even University of Washington graduates! We are truly working for you, not one single company. Best of all, our services are free!
  • Choose a higher deductible. It may be tempting to choose as low of a deductible as possible, but selecting $1,000 comprehensive and collision deductibles instead of $250 or $500 deductibles has multiple benefits. First, you immediately benefit from a lower premium (the lower the deductible, the higher the cost of the coverage). Higher deductibles also discourage you from turning in small claims. When you turn in a claim, you may lose eligibility for a company’s claims free discount. This means it can be more cost effective in the long run to pay out of pocket for a small claim, like replacing a broken windshield, versus turning it into your insurance company.

    Safeco RightTrack Insurance

    Telematics programs like Safeco’s RightTrack are a great way to customize your insurance rates. The safer you drive, the more you save!

  • Enroll in a company’s telematics program. Insurance company telematics programs, like Safeco RightTrack or Progressive SnapShot, are becoming more and more popular. These programs collect information about how you drive, how much you drive, and when you drive. Insurance companies use this data to personalize your car insurance rate based on your actual driving. Your safe driving habits can help you save on car insurance – in some cases up to 30% of the premium.
  • Bundle and save. Most insurance companies offer a multi-policy discount when you insure your home and auto with them. This discount can be as high as 25%, so it pays (literally!) to have your policies with the same company. Bonus: bundling your insurance with one company also simplifies billing, streamlines claims, and helps eliminate dangerous coverage gaps.

How McClain Insurance Can Help

Talking on a cell phone with her hands off the wheel. Claudia’s granddaughter shows how easy it is to become distracted while driving.

Rest assured – the McClain Insurance team is here to help. As independent insurance agents, we represent the Pacific Northwest’s best insurance companies, including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers, and Progressive.

We can advise you on your insurance options and ensure you’re still receiving the combination of value and protection that is right for your family.

Not a McClain Insurance client yet? Click here to request an insurance review by one of our agents, or call text our office at (425) 379-9200.


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Frozen Pipes?

13
Jan
2017

Frozen Pipe Homeowners InsuranceDoes Homeowners Insurance Cover Frozen Pipes?

Plus: 5 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winter weather conditions can cause a homeowners’ worst nightmare — frozen pipes.

When water freezes, it expands by about 9%. This causes increased pressure in your home’s pipes, which can lead to pipes cracking or bursting. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing significant damage.

Does homeowners insurance cover frozen pipes? Yes and no.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover “sudden and accidental” discharge of water from a plumbing source. Damage caused by frozen pipes usually qualifies as “sudden and accidental.” This assumes you use reasonable care to maintain heat in your home and/or shut off your home’s water supply during a period when your home is unoccupied.

The coverage provided by most Washington and Oregon homeowners insurance policies includes:

  • The cost to access the burst pipe, such as tearing out a wall
  • Necessary repairs to your damaged property, including drying out wet carpets
  • The cost to repair and restore the wall once the pipe has been fixed
  • Additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to the extent of the damage

Homeowners insurance policies do not cover the cost to repair the section of broken pipe.

5 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Preventing frozen pipes is easier – and cheaper – than fixing the damage they cause. Protect your pipes before cold weather arrives with these five easy tips: CONTINUE READING


Free Flag Exchange at McClain Insurance

7
Jun
2016

Exchange your worn American flag for a new one at the McClain Insurance office June 6-10. All community members are invited to this free event, which is held annually in celebration of Flag Day. Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag by the Continental Congress in 1777.

“Our goal is to help Snohomish County residents showcase their American spirit this Flag Day and beyond,” said McClain Insurance owner Claudia McClain. “Our deepest thanks go out to those who serve and have fought in defense of our freedom.”

McClain Insurance Flag Exchange Participant

Flags will be exchanged June 6-10 from 8:30am to 5pm at the McClain Insurance office at 10410 19th Ave SE, Everett, directly south of Costco. New flags are limited to one per household, but we will gladly take as many worn flags as needed.

McClain Insurance proudly gives away flags made in America. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 90% of American flags are imported.

Retired flags will be respectfully disposed of in a ceremony held by local Boy Scouts.

Attending? Click here to RSVP to our Facebook event.
Other ways you can participate:

  • On June 14, display your American flag in celebration of Flag Day
  • Help us spread the world. Share your flag pictures on social media with the hashtag #McClainFlagExchange

About McClain Insurance: McClain Insurance Services is a nationally-acclaimed insurance agency in Everett, Wash. Since opening in 1977, our mission has been simple and clear: to help clients re-establish their lives as quickly and as completely as possible after a loss.

We advise clients on all their personal insurance needs, including homeowners and renters insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance. We can also assist with insuring more unique family needs, including electric bicycles, VRBO and other vacation rental properties, and in-home businesses.

As independent insurance agents, we partner with the Pacific Northwest’s best insurance companies. This allows us to offer choices to every client.

To learn more about McClain Insurance Services and our team of licensed insurance advisors, visit our website www.autohomeboat.com.


QuakeQuotes.com Website Launch

10
May
2016

We are thrilled to announce the re-design of our earthquake insurance website, QuakeQuotes.com. Quake Quotes is the go-to source for earthquake information and preparedness advice in the Pacific Northwest.

Don’t miss our first Quake Quotes blog post: Seattle Dangerously Unprepared for an Earthquake. In it, we discuss how earthquakes damage homes, retrofitting your home for an earthquake, purchasing earthquake insurance to protect your investment, and how to prepare for an earthquake.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

How do Earthquakes Damage Homes? 

During an earthquake, the back and forth ground shaking impacts a home’s foundation. If the home has structural weaknesses – as many older homes in Seattle, Portland, and the surrounding metro areas do – the shaking will begin to damage the home. According to the city of Seattle, “Many wood-frame homes, particularly those built in Washington before 1965, may not be adequately bolted to their foundation. Without this anchorage, a foundation can be literally jerked out from under the building above by a large earthquake.”

How can you mitigate your risk? Consider retrofitting your home (if needed), purchase QuakeQuotes.com insurance to protect your investment, and prepare for the Big One.

Click here to continue reading this post on QuakeQuotes.com.

We’re proud to work with multiple A-rated insurance companies that offer stand-alone earthquake insurance in Washington and Oregon. More than 95% of Washington and Oregon homes are approved, and no inspection or retro-fitting is required.

Would you like more information about earthquake insurance in the Pacific Northwest? Complete our earthquake insurance quote from QuakeQuotes.com. If we receive your request by 4pm PST, we will reach out to you the same business day.


2015 Year In Review

27
Dec
2015

Many thanks for a fantastic year 2015!  Join us for 365 days in 2 minutes:

We’re looking forward to 2016 with YOU!


Support the Everett Imagine Children’s Museum This Month!

11
Dec
2015

Since 1991, the Everett Imagine Children’s Museum has been a great place to play, read, pretend, create and learn.  It’s open for guests of all ages, but it’s even better when you bring your ‘own’ favorite little people to enjoy an afternoon of fun. Created for kids ages 1-12, each exhibit at the Children’s Museum is thoughtfully designed for exciting hands-on exploration in science, literacy, math, history and art.

McClain Insurance Services supports the Everett Imagine Children's Museum

McClain Insurance Team Members with some of their favorite kids.

Thankfully, the McClain Team is lucky enough to have lots of sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandkids in their lives to find plenty of reasons to visit the Children’s Museum often.

So, when we thought about our favorite local charities to support as part of our “Pay It Forward” Referral Rewards Program, the Everett Imagine Children’s Museum was a given!! To learn more about their exhibits and fabulous holiday programs, please visit www.imaginecm.org 

This month, you can support the Children’s Museum, simply by referring a friend to McClain Insurance for a policy review.  For each referral, we will donate $25.

Call 425-379-9200 for more information or a policy review, or visit www.AutoHomeBoat.com

Refer a friend to McClain Insurance Services in Everett, WA for a $25 donation to a local charity

*****

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency represents a select group of regional and national insurance companies, including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive.

Since 1977, McClain Insurance Services has offered quality insurance options to customers in Snohomish County and Washington state.  Our convenient full-service website and our team of licensed, professional brokers make insurance shopping personal, easy, quick and hassle-free.



Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: AutoHomeRentersLifeUmbrellaEarthquakeFloodBoatMotorcycle and RV Insurance.



McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.


WSP Gives Winter Driving Safety Advice

4
Dec
2015

As many of us travel to see family for the holidays, we’d like to remind you to please be safe – and if weather conditions change, consider changing your plans and staying at home.  If you are witness to an accident and pull over to help, do not put yourself in danger!  Freezing rain, or other dangerous driving conditions, can cause other drivers to lose control of their vehicles and you car – or you! – might be struck while attempting to help.

If you chose to travel in winter weather, take a few extra steps to be prepared if you get stuck, have a breakdown, or are involved in an accident.  Consider downloading our    and follow the Winter Driving Tips by the Washington State Patrol, below:

McClain Insurance Holiday Travel Tips

With winter weather approaching, the Washington State Patrol reminds drivers to prepare before hitting the road and plan ahead when road and weather conditions are not ideal. In some cases, it takes time for law enforcement and first responders to arrive on scene. Law enforcement and first responders are trained and equipped to provide protection on emergency scenes and know where to park to ensure the safety of all those at the roadway collision.

Remember:

·         If the weather is not ideal, stay off the roadways if you can.
·         If you do have to travel, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely.
·         Reduce your speed. Speed limits are set for ideal conditions
·         Increase your following distance.
·         To be seen better, use your headlights

If you witness a collision:

·         Call 911 and be prepared to answer questions regarding the details of the collision.
·         If you stop to help, pull your vehicle off of the roadway and activate your hazards.
·         Do not park where a car could slide into you or your vehicle.
·         If you stop to help the injured, do not put yourself in danger. Things can happen quickly and other vehicles may not see you putting you at greater risk. Weather and poor road conditions can compound the problem.
·         You may further injure someone involved in the collision. If there is no immediate need for the occupants to be removed do not remove them.

If you are involved in a collision:

·         Call 911
·         Activate your hazard lights and if possible, drive your vehicle as far off of the roadway as possible while remaining on level ground.
·         If your vehicle is inoperable, activate your hazards and wait for law enforcement and first responders to arrive. If you are concerned about your safety and think your vehicle might get struck from behind, get out of your vehicle and move away from the road to a safer location. This is only recommended as a last resort.


Drive Alert, Arrive Alive! It’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

3
Nov
2015

Arrive Alive and Avoid Drowsy Driving

As the days get shorter and darkness sets in sooner, you might notice increased fatigue throughout your day.  But be careful:  A sleepy driver can be just as dangerous to be around as a drunk driver or a speeding driver!  In fact, drowsy driving is a factor in over 20% of fatal crashes and sleeping less than six hours at night can triple your risk!

Drowsy driving has serious consequences. Between 2012 and October 2015, there were over 4700 collisions investigated in Washington State where the driver either fell asleep, was fatigued or both behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

People who drive tired or drowsy have impaired reaction time, judgment, vision, awareness of surroundings, and decision making skills. The warning signs of a tired or drowsy driver are trouble keeping eyes open and head up, difficulty focusing, yawning repeatedly, and missing highway exits or traffic signs.

“Drowsy driving is as dangerous as getting behind the wheel while under the influence,” said Chief John Batiste, Washington State Patrol. “A simple awareness by drivers can prevent them from getting behind the wheel tired and taking a life.”

That’s why the National Sleep Foundation and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee have declared November 2-8 “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.”  Join us in “waking up” and practicing alert driving strategies. If you know you’re tired, but you have to drive somewhere, plan a little extra time to prepare:

– Have a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage
– Get some fresh air
– Take a power nap before you hit the road
– Listen to energizing music or a podcast that interests you
– Keep the temperature in the car cooler

For longer trips, observe these tips for staying awake behind the wheel:

– Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road
– Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination
– Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to refresh
– Use the buddy system to keep you awake and share driving chores
– Avoid alcohol, drugs and medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect
– Avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping

Then, slowly adjust your bedtime an hour or two earlier than usual and remember:  A good night’s sleep is not a luxury.  It’s a necessity!

Drowsy Driving Banner

For more information about drowsy driving and how to prevent it, please visit DrowsyDriving.org or aaafoundation.org/drowsydriving


It’s Teen Driver Safety Week – Talk About the “5 to Drive”

19
Oct
2015

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety Week with McClain Insurance

Every year in October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hosts ‘National Teen Driver Safety Week’ to raise awareness for the fact that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for 15 – 19-year olds in the US.  In 2013, over 2,600 teen drivers lost their lives in a motor vehicle crash, and an estimated 130,000 were injured.

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety Week with McClain Insurance Services Everett WA

The “5 to Drive” are the necessary safety rules that address the five biggest dangers teens face when operating a vehicle: Texting – Speeding – Seat Belts – Alcohol and Passengers.

Even though it’s hard to believe that your teen is actually listening to what you have to say (let alone follow what you say when you aren’t there), talking about the safety rules is the most important thing you can do as a parent!

That’s why we encourage you to be persistent, and give ‘the talk’ every time they head out!  Join parents across the country in the “5 to Drive” campaign.  Here are your talking points:

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety with McClain Insurance Services Everett WA1. No Drinking and Driving.

Despite the fact that the possession or the consumption of alcohol before the age of 21 is illegal, almost one in five teen driver crashes involves alcohol.  Remind your teen that alcohol and driving should never mix – no matter your age.

 

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety with McClain Insurance Services Everett WA2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.

Studies show that teens aren’t buckling up.  In 64% of fatal crashes, teen drivers’ passengers weren’t buckled.  If the teen driver himself wasn’t buckled, the percentage of unrestrained passengers jumped to 90 percent!   Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far or how fast. 

 

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety Week with McClain Insurance Services Everett WA

3. Put the Phone Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.

Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road.  (That said, remind them that any distraction – including eating, applying make-up, or changing the music – can have deadly consequences.)

 

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety with McClain Insurance Services Everett WA4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.

Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.

 

 

5 to Drive - Teen Driver Safety with McClain Insurance Services Everett WA5. No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.

Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up with in direct relation to the number of teens in a car:  More passengers equal more distractions and increased peer pressure.  That’s why many states have adopted a restricted passenger law for teen drivers. Washington State Teen Driving Law states:

  • For the first six months, no passengers under age 20, except for family members;
  • For the second six months, no more than three passengers under age 20.

 

Start the conversation now, and more importantly:  Keep the conversation going!

Don’t be afraid to get creative – leave sticky notes, sing a song, write a letter or even use social media to get your message across.  They might roll their eyes – but they’ll get your message.

Having a little fun is good and well, but remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and should be taken seriously.  A signed parent-teen driver contract can be a great tool to create accountability and outline the rules and consequences.

Last but not least:  Be a good example.  The old rule of “Do as I say, not as I do” does not apply here — your teen’s life depends on it.  Show consistency by observing the rules you set:  Put away the phone, obey the speed limit, don’t drink and drive and buckle up.

 

 

 

 


Is Your Vehicle Ready for Fall?

15
Oct
2015

Is your vehicle ready for the cold and rainy season?  A little preparation now can save you lots of hassle later… Check out our tips, invest some TLC, and take fall by storm!  Here’s to a safer winter commute!

Is Your Car Ready for Fall? Fall and winter car safety tips