Leasing vs Buying a Car

July 28th, 2014

auto-leasing-vs-buying-car

Should you buy or lease your new car? Both choices have their clear benefits and drawbacks. Here is a guide outlining the pros and cons of each option, so that can help you decide which one is the right choice for you.

 

Leasing a Car

- The Pros -

  • pro-leasing-carMonthly payments and the initial down payment are generally much less to lease a car rather than buying a car.

  • You can get a car with virtually no maintenance expenses, as most new cars come with a 3-year warranty, which is the typical period for a car lease.

  • Leasing a car allows you to always have the latest model and upgrades, since you will most likely be upgrading to a newer model when your lease ends.

 

Leasing a Car

- The Cons -

  • cons-leasing-carCredit requirements are usually stricter for leasing cars than buying them.

  • Your lease contract will limit the number of miles you can drive each year. If you drive over the accepted mileage, you will be charged a per-mile fee for every mile you drive over the limit when you turn in the car, and these charges can be very high.

  • You can not make any major alterations to the car, and you have to keep it in good condition. If the car is not in as good or better condition when you return it than it was when you leased it, you will be charged repair costs.

  • Car insurance is usually higher on leased cars.

  • Unless you buy the car at the end of the lease term, you will never own the car outright, and will always have a monthly car payment if you continue to lease year after year.

 

Buying a Car

- The Pros -

  • pro-buying-carIf you’re planning to get a car for the long haul and want to keep it until it falls apart around you, then buying is definitely your best option. Your loan on the car will eventually be paid off, leaving you with a paid-for vehicle, no monthly payment, and the opportunity to save money by keeping it in good driving condition for years, or even decades, to come.

  • There are no mileage restrictions and you can alter the car in any way you like….it’s your car. You aren’t just renting it from someone else.

Buying a Car

- The Cons -

  • cons-buying-carIf you plan on trading the car in to get another one when you can afford a nicer vehicle, it can be difficult to predict what the car’s resale or trade-in value will be a few years down the road. You may not get as much back for it as you thought you would.

  • You are usually required to put a large down payment on a car that you’re buying. The average is 20 percent. This can run into thousands of dollars, depending on the price of the car.

  • Monthly payments can also be large, and if you need to get them smaller, you will need to stretch out the length of the loan. This means it will be longer until the car is paid off.

 

Make sure you take these things fully into consideration when considering whether to buy or lease a car. Only you know what is best for you. If you make the right decision, you’ll have a car you like at a price you can afford. If you have questions about insuring your leased or purchased vehicle, one of our insurance specialist would be happy to help you,

find the best rates! (888) 772-4247

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

It’s Cookout Season: Tips for Your Deck

July 27th, 2014

It’s Cookout Time!

Cookout season is finally here after a long winter and you are anxious to get those steaks and chops, burgers and dogs and veggies and taters served up to all your friends. Before you fire up the grill for the first time, we have a few tips designed to keep your deck safe and worry free for the rest of the season.

Deck Safety Tips

Think safety first and avoid injuries and lawsuits.

  • Deck-SafetyFire Safety – Be sure to have a fire extinguisher handy, avoid clutter around the grill and make precautions so your grill will not tip over in the wind.

  • Slipping – Many household accidents result from water or other liquids collecting in traffic areas. Be sure to check for any low spots or other issues that may allow for water collection.

  • Mark Steps – Tripping is another common cause and you can avoid this one by painting steps a bright yellow to alert your visitors of potential hazards.

  • Remove Clutter – Excess clutter in the form of too many chairs, tables, flower pots, balls and other items can also lead to injury and open yourself up to personal liability claims. Keep pathways clear from the house to the grill.

Deck Appearance Tips

Early in the season is the best time for sprucing it up

  • Pressure-Washing-DeckStain or Paint – Early in the season is a great time to freshen up the stain or paint on your deck. A spray painter works best and provides the best coverage. Consult your local home improvement center for the best materials and coverage.

  • Repair broken rails and flooring – Take the time to carefully walk the entire deck looking for loose flooring and check posts and railing for damage. Replacing them now will save you headaches later.

  • Exposed nails and screws – Same as above, replace worn out nails and screws to avoid those nasty cuts on fingers and toes

  • Power Cleaning – If the deck is not necessarily in need of painting or staining, a good power washing will spruce it up for the season.

Other Ideas

  • backyard-lightsExtra Fuel Tank – Buy an extra tank of propane before you run out to avoid those embarrassing times when everything is ready except the meat!

  • Insects – Citronella candles and fuel ready? Avoid the uninvited guests.

  • Umbrella – Check to see how it made it through the winter.

Enjoy the season and think safety. You and your guests will be glad you did!

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

How to Insure Your Jewlery

July 25th, 2014

Jewlery-Coverage-Insurance

Homeowners’ or renters’ insurance is designed to protect your property from disasters and theft; however; many individuals are not aware that these policies place dollar value limitations on certain items. Here are following points of advice that can allow you peace of mind for the safety of your jewelry.

Standard limits

Insurance companies have standard limits on special collections, which includes jewelry, fine art and a few other select groups. The limits are often around $2,000 to $3,000 and may be less under a renters’ insurance policy. If you have any amount of valuable jewelry, this figure is not sufficient to cover the loss; for example, an engagement ring and wedding band set can easily exceed this limit.

jewlery-coverage-insurance-safe

Keep documents and photos

You should maintain an inventory of your property so it is readily available if you ever have to file claim. It’s a good idea to keep receipts from purchases and take photos of your belongings for your records that are held in a safe location.

It is important to use a fire-resistant safe or a safe deposit box in order to avoid loss of important documents in event of a fire; however, with the ease of cloud storage, it is possible to upload copies of your documents and photos to a private host. Because many services provide large enough storage for free, you will not need to worry about losing your important information.

Get an Appraisal

Most insurance companies will require appraisals for individual jewelry pieces over a set value, which can vary by the insurer. Appraisals provide you with proof of what the jewelry item is worth and can also benefit as many pieces will increase in value over time.

Add an Endorsement

jewlery-coverage-insurance-ringYou can contact your agent or insurance company to have a blanket endorsement added to your insurance. You will need to know the value of the jewelry pieces that you are adding to your policy. The items do not have to be insured separately, but you need to know the amount of the total value.

Another option is using a scheduled endorsement, which can be used if you only have one or two valuable pieces. The additional premium for either choice is usually not high and you have peace of mind knowing that your jewelry is fully covered.

jewlery-coverage-insurance-deductibleWhen you discuss this coverage with your agent, you also need to ask about any deductibles and what is included in the coverage. Many endorsement policies do not have a deductible, but you should verify this before signing.

One of our AIS agents will be glad to explain the process and answer any questions you have or you can visit our homeowners’ or renters’ insurance pages at -

> AIS Renters Insurance <

 

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Driving With Semi-Trucks (How To Stay Safe)

July 23rd, 2014

Semi-Truck-Safety

Whether you are embarking on a family road trip or just have a long daily commute, it’s important to follow proper driving techniques around large semi trucks. Semis react very differently to ordinary driving situations, and even small errors can cause serious accidents. We want you and your family to stay safe, which is why we have compiled some driving tips to keep you out of dangerous situations.

Stay Out of Blind Spots

Large trucks have certain areas, also known as blind spots, which prevent them from seeing other cars in their mirrors. These blind spots typically occur on the front sides of the truck as you approach the cabin. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see your reflection in the side mirrors on the truck, the driver cannot see you. Don’t become invisible to the truck driver by lingering in these areas any longer than necessary.

Semi-Truck-Safety-tires

Stay Away From the Tires

Highways are littered with shredded tires and treads because blowouts are fairly common among semi trucks. Because they stay on the road almost constantly and carry large weights, semi tires deteriorate quickly. This means that other drivers should never tailgate a large truck to avoid flying debris if a tire comes apart. In addition, pass as quickly and efficiently as possible to avoid remaining near these large wheels.

 

Never Pass on the Right

If you are driving in stop-and-go traffic never pass a truck on the right. Because of their long bodies, these trucks must swing wide when making turns. It’s not uncommon for a truck to make a right turn from an inner lane to avoid hitting the sidewalk or light poles.

Semi-Truck-Safety-passing

Passing Protocol

Trucks often slow considerably when going up a hill, which causes them to drop below the speed limit on highways. If you’re behind a truck, follow these tips on passing them safely. First, start the pass as soon as you notice they are slowing down instead of waiting until you are inches from the bumper. Then, pass in the left lane and stay there until you can see the entire truck in your rear view mirror. Next, turn on your signal and move in front of the truck once you are far enough ahead. Finally, maintain a constant speed and don’t slow down once you are in front.

Leave Enough Space

Semis cannot slow down as quickly as other vehicles and that means drivers must leave additional space around them. When driving at highway speeds or on wet roads, leave at least 6 seconds of space between your vehicle and the truck.

Semi-Truck-Safety-stopping-distance

It is important to follow these tips in order to safely share the road with semi trucks.  Most of the accidents between a car and truck can be avoided by safe driving precautions being used by both the car and truck driver

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Boat Safety Tips

July 21st, 2014

boat-safety-tips

Boating is a great way to unwind, whether you spend the day fishing, skiing or just riding the waves. With summer in full swing, many families will be heading out to the lake or the beach for a day of water fun. Before heading out, we want to make sure that you have all the items necessary to stay legal and comfortable.

Legally Required Items

There are some items that state and federal governments require you to have on board the boat. Failure to pack these items can mean a hefty fine and a possible court date.

Review our checklist below before heading out to ensure you haven’t missed one of these items.

boat-safety-life-jacket

  • - A wearable life jacket for every person on the boat- Life jackets must be coast guard approved. Children under 13 must wear life jackets at all times, while others must simply be able to access them quickly.

  • - A throwable life-preserver device for each person on the boat- This law only applies to boats that are 16 feet or longer.

  • - A visual distress signal- Distress signals can be flares, a flag or a flashing light and are required when boating in coastal waters, the Great Lakes or at sea.

  • - A fire extinguisher- If the engine compartment of the boat is enclosed or below the hull, a functioning fire extinguisher is required.

Although not required by law, it’s also a good idea to have a whistle, which can help alert other boaters if help is needed. Check with state laws before heading out, as some of them have additional requirements. For example, if someone under the age of 18 will drive the boat, some states require that they have proof of completing a boating safety course.

Other Helpful Items

There are other items that while not required by law, are critical to staying safe on the water.

 

  • - Broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher- If you will be swimming while out on the water, opt for a waterproof sunscreen.

  • - Pre-filled water bottles- Take one to two bottles of water for each person on the boat to avoid dehydration. Avoid drinking soda or caffeinated beverages, which can speed dehydration. In addition, avoid drinking alcohol which can cause impairment and increase the risk of harm. It is unlawful for anyone consuming alcohol to operate a boat.

  • - First aid kit- In addition to containing supplies for standard scrapes and cuts, make sure the kit has anti-nausea medication to treat sea sickness.
  • - Appropriate clothing- Pack a long sleeve shirt and a broad-brimmed hat to put on for protection in case the sun gets to be too much.

 

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

How To Save Money This Summer

July 20th, 2014

Summer is all about getting out and enjoying the warm, sunny weather while it lasts, but before you kick off your shoes and hit the beaches it is important to make sure your home is safe and protected.

save-money-this-summer

Don’t let the excitement of the summer season prevent you from protecting one of the most valuable possessions you own – your home. Take a few moments to go over these summer home tips and you will have a safe, energy-efficient home to come back to after a long day out in the sun.

Making a Home More Energy Efficient for the Summer

It is always nice and refreshing to come home to a nice cool home after a day at the beach or out in the sun. Unfortunately, running an air conditioner during the summer season can really increase your energy bill.

Luckily, there are a few things homeowners can do to make their home more energy efficient during the summer season. The following are some easy energy efficient tips for a home that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars:

  • - Check for possible leaks around the windows and doors – this will help keep the air conditioner running smoothly

  • - Clean the filters of the AC unit regularly

  • - Turn off lights when not in use

  • - Purchase and use a programmable thermostat – this will keep the temperatures even throughout the day

  • - Install window shades to keep sunlight out of the rooms and prevent them from heating up

Preparing for Summer Emergencies

Summer is supposed to be filled with fun and excitement, but it can occasionally be filled with the occasional emergency situation. Emergency situations are impossible to predict, so it is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

The following are some tips on how homeowners can prepare for all types of summer emergencies:

save-money-summer-emergencies

  • - Keep a first aid kit in the home

  • - Create an evacuation route with your family for fires, floods, and earthquakes

  • - Review emergency procedures with the entire family to keep them prepared

  • - Keep records of important information, such as emergency numbers, insurance policies, and a list of personal belongings

  • - Review information on the proper emergency preparation procedures for lightning storms, floods, earthquakes, etc.

Stay Protected This Summer with the Proper Insurance Policy

Even with all the precautionary measures you take to stay safe this summer, it still might not be enough. Purchasing an insurance policy that provides protection against some of the most common summer emergencies can help you recover from some of the many types of situations you may encounter.

Some types of insurance policies to consider purchasing include:

  • - Renters insurance

  • - Homeowners insurance – typically includes fire and water damage coverage

  • - Flood coverage

  • - Earthquake coverage

  • - Umbrella insurance

Don’t be caught in a situation where you are uninsured or underinsured this summer. Speak to one of our Specialist today to explore various insurance policies that may be available to you. Our Specialist will shop multiple insurance providers to find which one offers the best rates for the coverage you need.

saving-money-during-summer

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

July 18th, 2014

AIS-Motorcycle-safety-tips

Safety Tips for Your Next Ride

There’s nothing like hopping on a motorcycle and cruising down the road with the wind in your hair on a gorgeous summer day. In fact, there are more bikes on the road during the warmer months than there are any other time of the year. That also means a greater risk for motorcycle-related accidents. Before you set out on your next road trip, heed the following tips for safety while riding.

Wear the Right Gear

motorcycle-safety-gearIn 2012 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 40 percent of riders did not wear helmets. The only thing protecting you from the pavement is the clothes on your back. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of non-fatal motorcycle accident-related injuries treated by emergency rooms in the U.S. affect the legs, feet, head and neck. These areas are all vulnerable during an accident and should be protected with a quality DOT-approved helmet and boots that cover your ankles.

Prepare Your Bike

Before you pull your bike out of the garage for the first time, look it over to ensure everything is working properly. Check the oil, lights, signals and brakes, as well as the cables and lube chain. Ensure the tires have plenty of tread and are properly inflated, as under-inflated tires can diminish steering ability.

Practice Defensive Driving

Motorcycles are small and agile, making them less obvious to other drivers than cars. In collisions that involve both a motorcycle and a car, it is the driver of the car who is at-fault 3 out of 5 times. Keep this in mind as you drive, watching for cars entering the roadway and being cautious before pulling into an intersection. Remember, more people than ever are practicing distracted driving – eating, texting, or talking on the phone behind the wheel. Be judicious around other vehicles, and always use signals when riding.

Avoid Riding in Poor Weather Conditions

motorcycle-safety-weatherRain and fog are common during summer, making for riskier riding conditions. Precipitation of any kind dampens the roadways, making them slippery and more difficult to navigate. Not to mention, both rain and fog reduce driver visibility, which means other motorists are less likely to see you when driving. If you must ride in the rain or fog, do so wearing bright clothing, being cautious of your speed, and avoiding any sudden maneuvers.

Bring Your Insurance Up-to-Date

Vehicle insurance is necessary for all motorists – including motorcycle riders. Make sure that your bike is properly insured with adequate liability protections, collision coverage and personal injury protection. Despite your best efforts to avoid an accident, nothing can prepare you more for the unexpected than a comprehensive motorcycle insurance policy. Whether you already have insurance coverage or are in the market for a new policy, contact our agency for your free quote today. We’ll evaluate your insurance needs and find coverage that protects your financial interests out on the open road.
motorcycle-safety-tips-insurance-card

You can now carry your insurance with you on your phone!

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Things You Should Know Before Taking Your Next Road Trip

July 16th, 2014

It is the call of the open road and the idea of experiencing unexpected, exciting events that makes road trips so much fun. Unfortunately, without the proper planning what could be a fun adventure could quickly turn into a nightmare.

If you are planning on hitting the open road and taking a road trip, here are some tips and tricks that will help you prepare for such an adventure.

road-trip-things-to-bring

What to Pack in the Car?

Anything can happen when on a road trip. A tire could go flat, oil could start to leak, or the car could overheat. While there is no way to tell exactly what could happen while on a road trip, there are things you can pack so you are prepared for the unexpected. Some of the essential auto supplies that should be packed in a car include:
● An empty gas can                                              ● Spare tire

● Extra motor oil                                                  ● Carjack

● Basic tools                                                        ● Flares

● Extra set of car keys                                          ● Copies of essential insurance information

In addition to these items, it is also a good idea to pack the following supplies. These supplies could help you in the event that you are stuck for prolonged periods in the car.

road-trip-kit

Other essential items to pack while on a road trip include:

Non-perishable snacks                                       ● Bottled water

First aid kit                                                       ● Map

Basic toiletries – tissues, hand sanitizer, roll of toilet paper, etc.

● Blankets, pillows                                                ● Electricity power inverter

road-trip-freeway-signs

Preparing for the Unexpected Emergency

There is no way to fully prepare for an emergency situation while on a road trip, but there are a few things that you can do to make it easier should you experience such a situation. While driving and enjoying your road trip, keep the following things in mind:

● Always know your location – road markers, mile markers – it’ll make it easier for emergency crews to help in the event of an accident

● Brush up on basic car repairs

● Send a general itinerary to friends/family and keep them updated about progress through the trip

● Join a roadside assistance club that can help with basic emergency situations

Keeping Important Insurance Information on Hand When preparing for a road trip, it can be easy to forget one of the most essential items to have – insurance information. No one going on a road trip wants to have cause to use their auto insurance, but it is best to be prepared for anything.

Some essential insurance information to keep on hand – usually stored in the glove compartment – include:

● Copies of the insurance policy that is on the car

● Outline of important insurance information – including phone number to call for an agent

A road trip is about exploring the great, wide open road and creating memories that last a lifetime, but that can only be done if the trip is a safe one. Using these tips and tricks for a road trip can help you stay safe by preparing for the unexpected.

 



The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

 

The Future of Auto Insurance and Driverless Cars

July 14th, 2014

Google is famous as the world’s most used search engine, for its Google Earth mapping system, Gmail, and many other things that you can bring up on your computer or portable device. Google has recently been investing in a multitude of companies to increase their umbrella. One of its most talked about projects at the moment is its driver-less car.

Once your destination has been set in the car you can read a book, watch a tv show, or even sleep while the car delivers you to the destination. There is an option to override the Google car system but when you do that, watch out; the only times these cars have ever been in an accident were when a human was driving it. Every mile driven without a driver has been a safe one. Google is not alone in the quest to build a driverless car. BMW, Toyota, Nissan, and General Motors are also developing self-driving cars, though Google appears far ahead of others.

Driverless-car-auto-insurance

How Will Driver-less Cars Affect the Future?

More than 90 percent of all auto accidents result from driver error. It might be due to drowsiness, distracted driving, or other reasons, and inventors are hard at work trying to end needless fatalities with smart cars. Right now, in 2014, cars come with possible life-saving technology that detects problems and avoids accidents. It is only a matter of time before the driver is gone from the equation.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Cheapest (and Most Expensive) Cities for Missouri Auto Insurance

July 1st, 2014

Why do they call Missouri the Show Me State? Maybe it is because there are so many things to show people. A driver in Missouri might say, “Show me a resort getaway like Branson, a college town like Columbia, or a government hub like Jefferson City. Show me northern towns like St. Joseph or Hannibal. Show me southern cities like Springfield or Cape Girardeau. Show me BIG metropolises like Kansas City to the west or St. Louis to the east. Then show me all types of land from rich, agricultural farms to the Mark Twain National Forest to the mighty Mississippi River.”

And the driver would be able to see all of those places without leaving Missouri. Assuming that he or she had the proper auto insurance, of course.

Is Missouri Auto Insurance Expensive or Inexpensive?

State law requires all drivers in Missouri to have two types of auto insurance. The first kind is liability insurance with minimum limits of $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 property damage. The second is uninsured motorist insurance with minimum limits of $25,000 bodily injury per person and $50,000 bodily injury per accident.

Missouri auto insurance Read the rest of this entry »