Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Insurance Rates?

One landmark study found that credit-based insurance scores are used by about 95 percent of all auto and home insurers in calculating the cost of insurance to individuals.¹

While the vast majority of insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine the price of insurance, it is banned in the states of Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California. Some states only allow it as a factor for property insurance like auto and homeowners insurance. Other states allow it to be used with any type of insurance.

Several Factors

Generally, an insurance company will use a credit-based insurance score as just one factor in its underwriting process. Other factors may be considered, depending upon the type of insurance. For example, with auto insurance, other factors could include your zip code, the age of the drivers, the make, model and age of the car, and the number of miles you drive annually.

The use of credit scores to determine insurance rates is rooted in research that has shown individuals with lower credit scores had higher car insurance losses and higher claims payouts.

You can ask your insurance company if a credit-based insurance score was used to underwrite and rate your policy, and in which risk category you were placed.

If you want to improve your credit-based insurance score, you should consider taking the same steps you would to improve your credit rating: make timely debt payments, clear up past disputes and keep credit card balances low.

Gun Ownership and Your Homeowners Policy

If you own a gun, you need to consider whether you are covered in the event the gun is stolen or destroyed and protected against any potential liability should your firearm cause an injury.

Gun ownership is a big responsibility and having the proper insurance coverage is an important element in meeting that responsibility.¹

Personal Property

For most standard homeowners policies, guns are considered personal property and are covered as such. However, they may be subject to sub-limits that are lower than the overall property limit, primarily due to the fact that they are small, usually valuable and easily transportable.

You should check with your insurance agent to determine the extent of your coverage. If you need additional coverage, you can obtain it through a rider if your current provider offers it. If such a rider is not offered, you may want to ask about a separate policy for your firearm.

The liability risk that gun owners face is a complicated issue since it turns on the circumstances of any injury and the prevailing state laws and court decisions. Having said that, you may want to consider higher levels of liability coverage to protect yourself from this unique risk.

Speak with your agent to discuss how to raise the personal liability protection on your policy, including asking him or her if an umbrella policy may be an appropriate solution.

Keep Your Umbrella Handy

In 2020, the U.S. had a record 22 million millionaires, up from 20.2 million in the previous year. An increase in personal wealth may bring greater financial flexibility; it may also bring greater liability. Individuals with high net worth, or those who are perceived to have high net worth, may be more likely to be sued. And personal injury claims can reach into the millions.1

Umbrella liability insurance is designed to put an extra layer of protection between your assets and a potential lawsuit. It provides coverage over and above existing automobile and homeowners insurance limits.

For example, imagine your teenage son borrows your car and gets in an accident, seriously injuring the other driver. The accident results in a lawsuit and a $1 million judgment against you. If your car insurance policy has a liability limit of $500,000, that much should be covered. If you have additional umbrella liability coverage, your policy can be designed to kick in and cover the rest. Without umbrella coverage, you may be responsible for paying out of pocket for the other $500,000, which could mean liquidating assets, losing the equity in your home, or even having your wages garnished.

Umbrella liability insurance is usually sold in increments of $1 million and generally costs just a few hundred dollars a year. It typically covers a broad range of scenarios, including bodily injuries, property damage caused by you or a member of your household, libel, slander, false arrest, and defamation of character.

Deciding whether liability coverage is right for you may be a question of lifestyle. You might consider buying a policy if you:

  • Entertain frequently and serve your guests alcohol
  • Operate a business out of your home
  • Give interviews that may be published
  • Drive a lot of miles or have teenage drivers
  • Live in a manner that gives the appearance of wealth
  • Have a dog, especially if the breed is known to be aggressive
  • Own jet skis, a boat, motorcycles, or snowmobiles

Even if you don’t yet have a tent in the millionaire camp, you may want to consider the benefits of liability insurance. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued for a million dollars. Anyone who is carefully building a financial portfolio may want to limit their exposure to risk. Umbrella liability can be a fairly inexpensive way to help shelter current assets and future income from the unexpected.

This is a simplified description of coverage. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions, and limitations of applicable insurance policies. Please refer to actual policy documents for complete details regarding coverage.

Need Umbrella Coverage? Check Out These Common Liabilities

Also referred to as personal liability insurance, umbrella insurance cover is designed to help safeguard your assets and savings. If you’re sued for damages exceeding your boat insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or car insurance liability limits, umbrella insurance can cover what you owe. Unlike excess liability insurance that offers higher limits on your current liability coverage, an umbrella cover offers coverage that isn’t included in your insurance policy, like a false written statement or legal fees if you’re accused of slander.

Umbrella Insurance Coverage Options in Williamston, MI

If you take umbrella insurance from CG Insurance Agency, you and your family members can benefit from defamation, dog bite, and slander. Here’s a detailed overview of the umbrella insurance coverage options.

Accidents Caused By a Teenager

In the United States, motor vehicle accident is the second leading cause of death among teenagers (13 to 19 years). The liability costs caused by your car accident can rise significantly, especially if people with huge income sue for last wages or there are multiple cars involved. By taking umbrella insurance, it can increase your liability protection against such risks.

An Intoxicated Party Attendee

If you host a party in your home, you’re likely to have a guest who drinks too much and drives home intoxicated. If such an individual is involved in an accident, you may have to pay part of their expenses. The driver’s lawyer may argue that you could have taken their key or shouldn’t have overserved them alcohol. When you take umbrella insurance, it can help protect you against such issues.

Dog Bites

If you take your dog for a walk and another dog accidentally spooks him, and they end up in a fight, the other dog owner could be bitten as they try to separate the dogs. In cases where your dog bit first, you could be liable for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. These are costs that your homeowner’s insurance cannot cover.

Get Your Umbrella Coverage Today!

As a Williamston, MI resident, you should get umbrella insurance coverage to protect yourself against expenses above your usual insurance policy limits. At CG Insurance Agency, we can help you get umbrella insurance coverage within a short time; contact us today to discuss further.  

The ABC’s of Auto Insurance

The questions around auto insurance center not so much on whether to have it—it’s mandated by state law, required by your lender, and serves to protect your assets—but what kind of coverage you should purchase.

Types of Coverage

There are several forms of coverage that a car owner may purchase, some of which are required, others of which may be optional.

The coverage requirements in most states include:

  • Bodily injury liability (pays for the cost of injuries you cause to another individual), and
  • Property damage liability (pays for the damage you cause to another’s car or to objects or structures you hit).

Some, but not all, states will require that you have coverage for:

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists (covers the costs associated with being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or in the case of a hit-and-run accident), and
  • Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) (pays for medical treatment for you and your passengers). PIP coverage is available in “no-fault” states and may also cover lost wages and funeral costs.

If you borrowed to purchase your car, the lender may require collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage reimburses you for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object, or structure; a pothole; or from flipping over.

Comprehensive coverage is designed to pay for car damage not arising from a collision, e.g., theft, hail, windstorm, flood, fire, and hitting animals. This coverage may also pay for windshield repairs.

If you own your car outright, you may want to consider purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage if your car has a significant market value. You may find that the potential economic loss is sufficient to warrant the cost of collision and comprehensive protection.