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Saturday, February 22, 2014

If I lend you my heart, shall I lend you my insurance?

Love is in the air all February long, but don’t be a fool in love.  Let’s discuss how lending your car to a loved one affects your beloved insurance policy!


Contrary to popular belief, car insurance follows the car – not the driver.  What this means to you is; if you lend your car to a loved one, and an accident occurs, you could be liable. If you give a driver permission to get behind the wheel of your vehicle, your car insurance would be liable in the event of an accident.  The permitted driver’s own insurance could serve as secondary coverage if the claim exceeds your policy limits.  For example, if you loan your car to your best friend for a quick run to the market and your friend rear ends a vehicle at a caution light during that run, you will have to do the following; file a claim with your insurer, pay your deductible, and possibly face a rate increase at your policy renewal. If your friend was not at fault in the accident , in most cases you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and avoid a messy situation. 


Of course, some at-fault drivers won’t have insurance or won’t have enough insurance.  This is when you would need to use Uninsured Motorist Coverage / Underinsured Motorist Coverage.  And now is a great time to review your insurance policy to be sure you are properly protected in the event of this type of claim.  Many people disregard Uninsured Motorist Coverage for various reasons, feeling the savings outweighs the need.  Truthfully, UM Coverage is relatively cheap and is highly recommended, because even if your state requires drivers to be insured, that law is broken daily by thousands of people on the road nationwide.


We all know love is blind, and we all love our best friends, but what if our best friend isn’t the most responsible person on the planet? Love them anyway, but know this – if you lend your car to that irresponsible friend who doesn’t have his or her own insurance, trouble can ensue.  What if, at that same caution light, your uninsured friend rear ends the car in front of yours? Well, you would file the claim as previously discussed, but if the claim pay-out exceeds your policy limits, the other party can sue you for the financial differences in medical bills, repairs, and more.  These things can add up quickly --- Very quickly.  Statistics show the average car repair claim is over $3,500, and the minimum medical bill per person in a car accident is $15,000.  These figures do not include other damages which can be added to a lawsuit.  So, if your friend injured 4 people in one accident, you could be facing a minimum of $63,500 being due to the injured party.  Does this exceed your coverage?  Again, we’d like to remind you that there is no time like the present to review your coverage, and make sure it is suited for modern claim costs and the value of your assets.  You should carry enough coverage to protect your assets – so if you own a home, your limits should be higher than the value of your home plus your other assets, because you have much to lose.


Unfortunately, when speaking about love, heartache is also on the forefront.  What if your loved one isn’t so beloved after all and takes your car on a joy ride without permission? Well, if that so-called-friend causes an auto accident, get ready for a lot of heartache! Pray that your so-called-friend has his or her insurance policy.  If your friend does not have his or her own insurance policy, plan on your insurance paying the full amount of the claim, and leaving a black mark on your record.  Also, unless you are able to prove that you did not give permission; most car insurance companies will usually assume that your loved one had permission to drive your vehicle. So, if an accident were to occur, chances are you'll still be liable for damages, even if you didn't personally or verbally hand over the keys.


Before you lend your vehicle to anyone; review your insurance policy with your Trusted Choice agent to verify policy terms, conditions or any restrictions, and verify your friend has a valid driver’s license and insurance policy.  If you have someone special that you allow to drive your vehicle on a regular basis, consider adding him or her as an additional driver to your insurance policy.  Take note that your insurer may consider a habitual borrower as a regular driver, and, if an accident occurs, and he or she is not listed as an additional driver, claim coverage could be denied. 


SouthGroup Insurance Services Gulf Coast is staffed with professional agents who are eager to answer all of your insurance questions.  We encourage you to contact our office to discuss any topic, like this, with those foggy areas that you want clarity on! A full insurance review is the best way to answer all of your questions and educate you on what coverages best suit your personal needs. 


Your Trusted Choice Insurance Agent stands ready to assist you. We help you through the maze of insurance coverages, carriers, and premiums, and we find the best personal and business coverage for you at affordable rates. We help you save money on insurance --- and we save you time!  And remember, when it comes to insurance, one size does not fit all.

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast
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SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Wendy Johnson, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: , phone:228-466-4498, fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook, or Twitter !


We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.

Don’t go breakin’ our hearts, come in today so we can share our love for our clients with you-no appointment necessary!  

Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!


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