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Rutt Insurance Agency Blog: auto

View the latest blog posts from Rutt Insurance Agency.

You've Got the Car of Your Dreams, Now How Do You Protect It?

As anybody who’s dealt with an insurance claim on a classic will tell you, it’s an important question. The fact is, the everyday insurance policy that’s perfect for your daily-use cars just doesn’t cut it when it comes to classics. Even if your classic stays in your garage, undriven, it probably won’t be covered by your homeowner’s policy for a fire, theft or accident. So what’s the difference between specialty and everyday insurance? Specialty and everyday insurance policies differ greatly when it comes to vehicle value and how you are compensated in the event of a loss. There are three ways auto insurance pays out claims: Actual Cash Value Most everyday insurers offer Actual Cash Value policies. This is what an insurance adjuster says your car is worth, usually based on used car values – not the classic car market. So if your classic’s stolen or declared a total loss after an accident, it’s unlikely you’ll be compensated for its true value. Stated Value Many everyday insurers offer Stated Value policies for classic cars, allowing clients to set their own value. But here’s the problem: the insurer only has to pay up to the Stated Value, and in fact is allowed to pay the lesser of the Stated Value or the Actual Cash Value, less any deductible. Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value Most specialty insurers offer Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value, which means you and the insurance company agree on a value for your car. If there’s a covered total loss, you’ll receive that full value, less any deductibles. Some companies require appraisals at your expense, while others will only insure cars for book value – no negotiations. The best companies don’t require appraisals, and rely on their expertise and your opinion to determine an accurate value for your classic.

Is Classic Car Insurance Right for You and Your Car? 

Different companies have different vehicle and age requirements, but vehicles are generally considered classics if they maintain or appreciate in value and are of limited production or special interest. Drivers must have a good driving record. Some companies require drivers to be 25 or older. Vehicles typically need to be securely garaged. Vehicles typically can not be used for back-up or daily transportation. Some companies have strict mileage limitations; others are more flexible. How do you choose a classic car insurance expert? As you shop around, here are some things to look for: Agreed or Guaranteed Value coverage - It’s the only way to make sure you get the full value of your classic. • Good Reputation - Ask around and read online reviews. Find out how companies treat their clients and deal with claims. • Financial stability - Choose a company with an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or better. This means that the company is financially strong and benefits from good management. Lets you choose the repair shop - In event of a claim, you should choose who repairs your classic.

- Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Hagerty.
Posted 3:00 AM

Whether you’re traveling alone, with a buddy, or with your spouse and a car full of kids, there are few things more “American” than the long-distance road trip. Countless vacation travelers will drive the highways looking for fun and making memories with every mile.  You’ll have a more enjoyable vacation if you plan carefully. Here are a few driving tips to help you out along the way.


1. Maintain your car: Make sure your vehicle is up to date on its maintenance schedule, and be sure to check the battery and tires.


2. Plan your trip and know where you’re going: Call ahead for proper and safe directions to get you to your destination safely and have maps of the area on hand to help you navigate once you are off the main road. You’re more likely to make good decisions, even in dangerous situations, if you’re clearheaded and know where you’re going.


3. Stay Alert: Seems obvious, but driver inattention is surely the cause of a lot of accidents. If you stay focused behind the wheel and plan carefully, you will have a wonderful summer road trip.


4. Take precaution with cell phones: Cell phones can be a lifesaver when you need immediate access to emergency services after an accident. Keep your phone within easy reach and get to know its features. However, use it prudently. Reports suggest that driving while talking on the phone increases accident rates.


5. Wear your seat belt: Whether or not it’s required by law in the state through which you’re driving, always wear your seat belt as a safety precaution.


6. Protect your car against theft: Help deter criminals from taking your car with steering wheel locks, switches that disable fuel or ignition systems, and electronic tracking devices. Always lock your car, don't leave valuables in plain sight, and always park in a well-lit parking lot.


7. Be proactive if you are in an accident: Taking immediate steps if you’ve been in an accident can protect your family and your car from further damage. Stop immediately and make sure your car is not blocking traffic. Turn off your car to keep it from overheating or catching fire. Warn oncoming cars using road flares or orange triangle reflectors. If you are unable to move out of traffic, or if there are any injuries call 911 immediately. After you have protected yourself and your family, call Rutt Insurance or your insurance company's claims hotline. Secure names, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, and addresses of other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Take photos, notes, or sketches of the accident scene including make, model, and license numbers of all vehicles involved.


8. Make sure your auto insurance is up to date. Before you even leave the driveway, you want to be sure you’re protected when you’re on the road and far from home. Make sure you have a current, up-to-date insurance ID Card. If you are unable to find yours give us a call at 717-653-1816 or submit an Insurance ID Card request online.

Posted 3:01 AM

As winter has reluctantly said its final goodbye, and school bells will soon ring marking the last day of school, many Pennsylvania families are turning their thoughts to family vacations. Here are some frequent questions we get each year from families looking to rent a car on vacation.

Q: I'm going on vacation and plan to rent a car. I've been told my personal auto policy will cover the rental vehicle. Is this true?
A: The majority of auto insurance companies will extend coverage from your personal auto policy to a rental vehicle. With most policies, coverage pays for actual repairs to the rental car, but you remain responsible for your policy deductible. In addition, the rental agreement often makes you responsible for "additional" items, and that’s where many issues can arise.

NOTE: If your personal auto policy does not include physical damage coverage, the rental car will not be covered if it's damaged. In addition, if you rent a car outside of the United States, coverage may not be extended.

Q: I've also heard that if I use my credit card to pay for the rental vehicle, the rental vehicle will be covered. Is this true?
A: Many, but not all, credit card companies offer rental insurance, and will pay for damage to a rental car if you pay for the rental vehicle with that card. However, the coverage will be secondary to your personal auto policy. In other words, your credit card company may pick up certain things that your personal auto policy does not cover, such as your deductible. It is best to check with your specific credit card company to see what coverage may be provided.

Q: If my personal auto policy covers my rental car, and if my credit card covers my deductible, doesn't this mean I'm fully covered?
A: While your personal auto policy and use of a credit card may provide adequate coverage, they frequently fall short.
The rental car company may come after you to pay certain fees such as towing, loss of use (the period the rental car is out of service for repairs), diminished value (wrecked and repaired cars are viewed as less valuable than undamaged, factory originals) and administrative fees. All of these fees may be tacked on by the rental car company in the event of an accident, and all of which you can be held liable for. By signing the rental agreement, the renter is always responsible for any loss or damage to a rental vehicle, regardless of who is at fault.

Q: Would it be wise to purchase the "extra insurance" offered by the rental car company?
A: A loss damage waiver (LDW), sometimes called a collision damage waiver, purchased from a rental car company essentially takes the place of your own collision and comprehensive insurance, letting you and your insurance company off the hook if you wreck the rental car, or if it's stolen or vandalized. In exchange for purchasing the LDW, the rental company agrees to "waive" claims against you for damages in the event of an accident. But, your LDW coverage could become void if the accident was caused because you were speeding, driving under the influence, or the accident was the result of a reckless act or error on your part. 
Before renting, familiarize yourself with your insurance options by:
* Contacting a Rutt Insurance agent and finding out if you have enough coverage under your existing policy; and
* Contacting your credit card company to find out if it offers rental car coverage, and what the restrictions and limitations may be.

If the two coverage methods mentioned above seem inadequate for your needs, you may wish to consider the purchase of a LDW. 

Q:  Are there any other options?
A.  Because of the prohibitive cost of purchasing Loss Damage Waivers from rental car companies, many people choose to forego the purchase and take the risk of being hit with fees. Realizing the need for a more affordable solution some companies specializing in travel insurance have begun offering Rental Car Insurance. Companies such as Allianz Global Assistance, are now offering a more affordable alternative to the Loss Damage Waivers offered by many rental car companies.

Q: What should I do?
A: Making such a personal decision about your options is yours - and yours alone under the law. As your independent insurance agent, we will do our best to help explain your options. Our agency's job is to help provide you with information on these choices so you can make the best informed decision for you and your family.
Posted 3:01 AM

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