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cost of auto insurance - determining my car insurance premiumAsk 10 people how their Auto Insurance premium is determined, and you’ll get 10 different answers. 

The reason that you'll get different answers is largely because of the many elements that influence the amount of your auto insurance premium.  In addition to the amount of coverage and type of coverage, insurers must consider many other factors – some of which you can control but others you cannot.  The relative importance and weight of these factors varies from insurer to insurer. Thus, your Auto Insurance premium will vary as well. 

Just what is involved? Check out this infographic from the Insurance Information Institute to see the WHAT and the WHY of factors that impact your auto insurance premium. http://bit.ly/2XUsrCB

Before you purchase an auto insurance policy, we suggest that you consult with a trusted insurance agent who will ask the right questions and get to know you.  Only then can your agent help you find the insurance policy that is right for you and explain the process involved in arriving at the amount you’ll pay. 

Do you already have Auto Insurance? Then, maybe it’s time to sit down with your agent to review your current coverage and determine whether you still have the best policy for your needs at the best rate available. 

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium, MD to discuss your insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances. 

 

Thursday, 21 March 2019 16:18

happy new year carIt’s that time of year when we all decide the improve ourselves. We set out New Year’s resolutions, usually designed to enhance our health or our appearance. Those are admirable goals for sure. But if you’ve been there and done that, year after year, you might be ready for something fresh – something that will polish your skills and keep you safe at the same time.

We’re talking about resolutions to become a better driver. To make it a little easier for you, click on READ MORE below for some suggested resolutions to keep you safe on the road...

Saturday, 14 January 2017 18:44

Beware of Parking Lot Pilferers who gain access to your vehicle and steal items of value.We are a society that depends on our vehicles. Just look at our landscapes – dotted with parking lots everywhere. We are accustomed to parking and leaving our cars unattended, sometimes for long periods of time most often with no concern. However, your parked vehicle can be a prime target for thieves known as Parking Lot Pilferers.

This is especially true in peak shopping seasons such as Christmas when people tend to do high volumes of shopping and stow their purchases in their car as they go about shopping in different stores. These thieves will often lurk around parking lots, targeting those vehicles in which they can see packages or other valuables. They have no interest in stealing the car but will gain access to items in plain view by breaking the window or punching the lock.

So how can you protect against such a crime or at least diminish the risk? Here are some tips that could help you avoid damage to your vehicle or loss of personal belongings.

  • Always lock your doors, even if you know you’ll be right back.
  • Close all of the car windows when leaving your car unattended.
  • Always try to leave your vehicle in well-lit area with traffic moving about.
  • Avoid parking near larger vehicles or shrubs that tend to hide your car from view. Thieves prefer such isolated vehicles because they can break in without being seen.
  • Do not keep any personal items in plain view by someone walking past the car.
  • Be sure to secure all packages out of sight before leaving your vehicle.
  • Remove all portable accessories, such as GPS units and other electronics when leaving your car.

Auto Insurance Tip

Don’t wait until you have become a victim of a Parking Lot Pilferer. Check with your Insurance Agent to be sure that such thefts and damages are covered by your auto insurance and/or homeowners insurance.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium, MD to discuss your insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances. 


Thursday, 08 December 2016 22:33

college and nsuranceIs your student off to college this semester? Have you done an insurance review?

Can you believe that summer is coming to an end and it’s now back-to-school time once again? It’s the time of year when we notice more than ever the way our children are growing and how their lives are changing. So this makes it the perfect time of year to also evaluate your family’s auto insurance and homeowners insurance coverage. Is this the year when your teen goes to college? Will your son or daughter get a drivers license? Will you be replacing your vehicle to make room for school carpooling? Will you be adding an addition to your home to accommodate space for home schooling? Keep your children safe in the new school year— review your car and home insurance coverage this fall.

Car Insurance

  • Before you decide on that new vehicle, check with your insurance agent to see how its purchase will affect your auto insurance rates. Also, you’ll want to discuss how carpooling impacts your coverage as well.
  • Teen drivers can be expensive to insure, but don’t forget to check for a student discount. Typically, getting the discount requires that your child carry a good grade-point average, so you’ll need the details on that as well. In addition, if your teen passes a driver safety course, you might qualify for reduced car insurance rates.
  • If your child in college, it’s possible that you might receive a further discount, provided they meet the requirements – typically attending school outside of a specific distance from home without a vehicle while away.   Again, your insurance agent will know the details.

Home Insurance

  • Perhaps home schooling is your plan, and you know you’ll need to expand your home to accommodate the space. There are many insurance questions to resolve before you move forward. For example, if your home is expanded and the property value increases, then how will this affect your homeowners insurance cost. Not to be forgotten, also, is the need for sufficient liability coverage if your home schooling will include others beyond your immediate family.
  • If your college-bound teen will be living on campus, then most of his or her belongings will typically be covered – at least in part – by your homeowners insurance policy. This includes all those expensive items like a laptop, TV, bike, smartphone and other electronics, among others. 
  • If your college student will be living off campus while away at school, then it is likely that your homeowners insurance will not cover, and renters insurance will then be your answer. Renters insurance is typically very affordable, and a discussion with your insurance agent will let you know your options.

Home and Auto Insurance Tip

The start of another new school year can be an exciting time for your family. Giving yourself the peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. The first step to doing so is to meet with your insurance agent who can help you explore your options.

The William M. Sparks Insurance Agency located in Lutherville / Timonium, MD, is a full-service insurance agency offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) and Pennsylvania (PA) since 1981. Our experienced insurance agents welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.


Monday, 08 August 2016 21:26

Drivers are distracted in many ways, including everything from dealing with children, pets and other passengers, to operating the car’s climate controls, audio or navigation device, and from eating to old-fashioned map reading.  However, by far the deadliest distractions come from talking on the cell phone and texting while driving.  Moreover, using your cell phone while driving has been found to impair your ability to drive your car just as much as driving while drunk.

Types of Distractions

No matter what your distractions might be, they all fall into one of the following three categories according to which of your senses are distracted by the activity, and texting and other cell phone use combine all three. 

  • Manual distractions – causing you to take your hands off the steering wheel
  • Visual distractions – causing you to take your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive distractions – causing you to take your mind off the road

According to research done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over half a million people were injured and over 6000 people died because of distracted or inattentive drivers in 2008.

When so many injuries and deaths occur from such a cause – and the number is increasing, then it raises our collective awareness and repercussions occur.

The Impact on Insurance and Industry

Obviously, the situation threatens a rise in auto insurance costs because insurance companies must pay increasing numbers of payouts; and this could result in increased premiums for all of us.  Therefore, insurers are taking part in the movement to control distracted drivers.

This growing problem has also captured the attention of industry because of the potential for lawsuits against employers for injuries and damage caused by employees who carry out their business by cell phone while they drive. 

Campaign Against Distracted Driving

As a result, a cross-section of safety and industry organizations, including the NHTSA, have joined in a campaign against distracted driving.  They are encouraging states to enact laws to prohibit texting while driving and have drafted a sample state law which was unveiled by U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, in February, 2010.

In fact, 19 states and the District of Columbia have texting laws in place covering all drivers, and others are pending.  State laws vary, and below are some examples as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association: 

  • Maryland bans hand-held cell phone use and texting for all drivers.  The law allows citation for hand-held cell phone use only if other violations are being cited; but Maryland drivers may be cited for texting even if no other violation has occurred. (Reflects law chnge in Maryland effective on October 1, 2010)
  • District of Columbia bans use of cell phones and all handheld devices for all drivers (novice drivers with learners permit included), and citation is allowed even without other violations.
  • Virginia bans cell phone use for all novice drivers under age 18 but allows citation only if other violations are being cited.  Cell phone use by Virginia school bus drivers is banned and allows citing even if no other violation exists.  Texting is banned for all bus drivers but allows citing only if another violation exists.
  • West Virginia bans all use of cell phones including text messaging vices for novice drivers with learners and intermediate permits, and citation is allowed even without other violations.

Media Taking Action Against Distracted Driving

The public campaign to stop distracted driving – especially driving while texting and using a cell phone – is spreading, and the media is doing its part, as well.  Here are just a couple of recent examples: 

  • You can find all the information and great resources on a new website opened by the NHTSA at www.distraction.gov .
  • Among other high-profile public figures, Oprah Winfrey has made this cause a priority on her television show as well as on her website at www.oprah.com .  There, you can catch videos, stories and other features that will inform and challenge you to do your part.  You can take a quiz to test your knowledge about this serious topic, and you can even sign a pledge to make your vehicle a “no-phone-zone”.

What You Can Do

Whether you are a business owner, employer or just an individual concerned about your loved ones, you will want to minimize your risk by limiting your cell phone use and texting to non-driving time and by encouraging others who drive your vehicles to do the same.

Saturday, 16 October 2010 16:58
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