Our Current Blog Articles
March 13, 2018
Do Car Insurance Tracking Devices Save You Money
Do car insurance tracking devices save you money? Here at Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we are often asked about the pros and cons of these tracking devices. Several insurance companies advertise getting one with the promise of great discounts. Today, we provide some inside information on these devices so you know exactly what’s involved and can make up your own mind on whether or not to use one.
What Exactly Is a Tracking Device?
Car insurance tracking devices are small pieces of hardware, about the size of a matchbox that can be plugged directly into your car's computer. Built-in computers control the majority of cars produced in the last 25 years. With a tracking device plugged into the OBD II port, all types of vehicle data generated by this computer can be extracted, stored, and sent wirelessly to your insurance company. The car insurance company can then analyze this data and offer discounts to safe and careful drivers.
How Long Have Tracking Devices Been in Use?
Telematics tracking for the auto insurance market was pioneered in the United States by Progressive in 1998. They designed a standard opt-in program for motorists who wanted a reward for their good driving. Since then, telematics tracking has grown in popularity with European drivers now leading the board of most likely to sign up for monitoring by their insurance company.
What Information Can My Insurance Company Collect?
The data that auto insurers are most interested in gathering via the device in includes:
- Time of day driving takes place
- Distance driven
- Time spent driving
- Hard braking
This information can be collected over time and used to build up a profile of the driver. Certain habits such as driving irregular distances, driving late at night, breaking the speed limit and frequent hard braking (slamming on the brakes) can paint a picture of a risky driver.
Another critical piece of information transmitted by car insurance tracking devices is the car's location. While some may think this unnecessary, insurance companies defend the GPS tracking component as being beneficial. In the event of your car being stolen, they can easily track the location and share this information with the police. This often leads to a recovered vehicle instead of an insurance claim – your carrier doesn’t have to cut a huge check to replace the vehicle (if you even have the right coverage), nor do you have to cover the deductible or worry about rate increases after such a hefty claim.
The data collected by car insurance tracking devices can also be used to help analyze fault in an accident or collision. Having access to a replay of the exact location, speed, and sequence of braking, turning and acceleration can be a far more reliable source of evidence than the other driver involved or an impartial eye-witness. This will help both you and your car insurance carrier fight false claims made against you.
How Much Money Can I Save Using a Tracking Device?
Companies market their car insurance tracking devices as a way for ordinary drivers to save money on insurance costs. Usually, in return for good driving, the company will reduce the overall yearly premium cost or give credits on the driver's account. Typically, at least six months of uninterrupted use of the device is needed to collect enough data and earn a discount.
Forbes has reported that around two-thirds of drivers that participate in the program receive a discount, averaging out at $150 per year. A discount is not guaranteed, even if you feel that you have driven well over at least six months. Each car insurance company has its own algorithm in place to calculate risk factors based on your driving. What may be considered safe driving by one provider may not make the cut with another. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not release their formulas, so it is fairly impossible for a driver to hack their system.
Why Are Some Drivers Resistant to Using a Tracking Device?
Many drivers are averse to the idea of letting their insurance company become a Big Brother, surveying their every move. There are arguments that the GPS location tracker is unnecessary and crosses the line of privacy. However, there are millions of devices out there, making the chances that you are being watched by Flo at Progressive slim to none. Besides, if you’re out and about and want to find a good restaurant nearby, using an app like Yelp requires you to share your location with their servers. It’s not an invasion of privacy and neither are telematics devices – IF you decide to opt into the program.
So far, programs offered by insurance companies have always been based on rewards for good driving, rather than penalties for bad driving. This could change. The insurance industry could move towards UBI, or User Based Insurance, which would personalize the cost of insurance for each driver based on their performance. This means that drivers with good habits will get lower rates, and more risky drivers will be punished with extra charges. Many drivers view this in a positive light, however, as it means they will only be paying for their own risk, and not the collective risk of everybody insured by the company.
Is It Worth It?
While a discount is not a guaranteed result of using car insurance tracking devices, currently there are no penalties associated with having it installed. Right now it is a win-win system, so you may as well give your insurer the option to reward you. Remember, it is an opt-in program, and nobody will force you to continue if you don't want to. You can opt-out at any time. However, once the device has been turned off or disabled, you will lose any discount earned.
So, do car insurance tracking devices save you money? The answer is... probably if your driving habits fit into the good driver template devised by your insurer. At the very least, you won't lose any money. The benefits of having a tracking device may outweigh the disadvantages, especially when you take into account being able to track your car if it is stolen or involved in a collision. For more information or assistance in putting together an insurance package that fits your needs, don't hesitate to contact the friendly team at Affordable Insurance in Aurora, Colorado.
February 19, 2018
The Point System and Penalties in Colorado
If you don’t understand the point system and penalties in Colorado, Affordable Insurance in Aurora is here to help you out. Our team has been working in the auto insurance industry since 1990. If you have recently moved to Colorado, or are a new driver, you may not be very familiar with the Colorado DMV point system. Accumulating points can affect the cost of your insurance and even result in a license suspension. Avoid a sticky situation by reading up on the points system here.
Types of Penalties
A traffic violation on Colorado roads can result in a number of different penalties. Minor incidents such as parking in a no-parking zone or driving with a broken light will usually warrant a fine. More serious moving vehicle violations include DUI, driving recklessly, and driving over the speed limit. In order to track an individual driver's history of traffic violations, the DMV adds points to the records of drivers who commit these kinds of offenses. It's not unusual for drivers to receive jail time, license suspensions, community service or mandatory drug/alcohol programs for offenses that endanger the lives of others.
The Point System in Colorado
When it comes to the point system and penalties in Colorado, every driver starts with zero points on their record. Minor infractions will result in a low number of points added to your record. For example, failing to yield will earn you three points and misusing your turn signals will get two points. Failure to show proof of insurance will get four points while breaking the speed limit by 20-39MPH will result in six points. One of the most serious infractions is a DUI which will get you 12 points on your license and an automatic suspension. For drivers over 21, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for receiving a DUI is 0.08. Drivers under 21 will break the law with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08.
Points Needed to Suspend Your Driving License
According to the point system and penalties in Colorado, even an accumulation of points for numerous minor incidents can also result in a license suspension. License suspensions can last between six months and a year, but a hearing officer will decide the exact amount of time. In general, the rules are stricter for younger drivers and the punishment they receive is greater. The threshold at which your license is suspended in Colorado is also age dependent.
- For drivers under 18, the limit is six points within 12 months, or seven points total while under the age of 18
- For minor drivers between 18 and 21 years of age, the limit is nine points within 12 months, 12 points within 24 months or 14 points total between the ages of 18 and 21
- For drivers over 21, 12 points within 12 months or 18 points within 24 months is enough to get your license suspended
Points on Special Licenses
For taxi drivers and other commercial drivers holding Colorado chauffeur licenses, committing traffic violations comes with an even higher risk. If you are charged with an infraction during employment, you can expect to see points added to your special license. Having points on this license can negatively affect your employment opportunities. These chauffeur licenses are subject to their own set of regulations. A suspension will be invoked if you receive more than 16 points in 12 months, more than 24 points in 24 months or more than 28 points in 48 months. Those who depend on driving to make a living need to be extra aware of accumulating too many points in a short period of time.
Reducing Points in Colorado
One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, how can I reduce or eliminate points from my driving record? Drivers approaching the limit of points needed to suspend their license need to pay extra attention to the road and avoid even the most trivial of traffic offenses. According to the point system and penalties in Colorado, there is no specific program in place to reduce points or dismiss traffic tickets. In some states, attending traffic school or completing a defensive driving course can effectively take points off of your record. In Colorado, it is left up to the individual court to make the decision.
Although it is not guaranteed to reduce your points, attending a traffic school is the most proactive option for those that are hoping to lose points. Completing one of these courses can help to change some unsafe driving habits and help you avoid tickets in the future. They also deliver the bonus of a discounted premium on your car insurance in many cases. Judges will look more favorably on drivers who take the initiative to improve their driving voluntarily.
Disputing a Traffic Violation
Choosing to fight a traffic citation in Colorado can be a risky decision. If you fail to prove your innocence in court, you may receive more points on your driving record, even be subject to a license suspension. It is recommended to only go down this road if you are sure that you did not commit the alleged offense and have the evidence to prove it.
To successfully contest a traffic citation, the driver needs to plead “not guilty” without any delay upon receiving the notification. An experienced lawyer will significantly improve the chances of a successful outcome. Disputing a traffic charge is a time and labor-intensive process in Colorado. An alternative path is to plea bargain before the hearing in exchange for a reduced penalty.
Navigating the point system and penalties in Colorado can seem daunting. Drivers with a lot of points on their record or a previous license suspension may notice insurance premiums increasing when renewing their policy. Shopping around can often reveal better prices than your current insurer is offering.
At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we work with over five different insurance providers to make sure that our clients are always getting the best deal available. Having points on your record does not mean you will lose access to budget-friendly insurance. Contact our team today for more information about the point system and penalties in Colorado, as well as help in securing affordable auto insurance.
January 11, 2018
What's SR-22 Insurance?
So what’s SR-22 insurance and why would you need it? At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we know that most drivers will never need to deal with an SR-22, however, if you are one of the few that requires an SR-22 it is important to know exactly what it is and how it will affect your driving. Although an SR-22 may seem like an obstacle to getting behind the wheel, with the right background knowledge, it doesn't have to be all that stressful.
What is the SR-22 document?
The first misconception we need to tackle is this, the SR-22 is not a type of insurance, but a document. This document can also be known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility or a financial responsibility filing. The SR-22 document can be required by most states after a driver has been found at fault in a serious accident or convicted of certain traffic offenses. If the driver is unable to prove financial responsibility after a serious incident, the state DMV can request an SR-22 to be filed in order to reinstate or maintain the driver's license.
Which Traffic Offenses Lead to an SR-22?
After asking what’s SR-22 insurance, you may be wondering why it’s required. Not all traffic violations are considered equal, and most will not lead to an SR-22. The state DMV is interested in issuing special requirements to drivers that they consider high-risk and likely to offend again. If you have been convicted of the following offenses and fail to show financial responsibility, it is likely that you will be issued with an SR-22 requirement.
- Driving without insurance or a license is a surefire way to draw attention to yourself as an irresponsible driver who ignores the most basic rules of the road.
- DUI or DWAI violations are some of the most common reasons for a driver to be issued with an SR22 requirement. A DUI conviction can stay on your record for up to 10 years and will mark you out as a high-risk driver.
- Repeating the same traffic violations can result in an SR-22. Usually, a few speeding tickets or breaking a red light will not be enough to warrant an SR-22, but racking up a lot of tickets in a short period can put you into the 'high-risk' category.
- Being found at fault in a serious accident, or any accident resulting in injuries can also lead to an SR-22.
- Having your license suspended or revoked for any reason will usually result in an SR-22.
How Do I Know I Need an SR-22?
An SR-22 can be court-ordered in response to the conviction of a serious traffic offense such as a DUI. If this is the case, you will be notified at the time of ruling that you need an SR-22. If your SR-22 is state-ordered, you will receive notification from your local DMV. Once you have received notice of needing an SR-22, you must file for the SR-22 with your state to continue driving legally with a valid license.
Who Files the SR-22?
The SR-22 request is sent from your insurance company to your state DMV. Filing for this document means that your insurance company is confirming that you have an active policy that meets the liability requirements of your state. To reinstate your driving privileges, contact your insurance company as soon as you receive notice of the SR-22 requirement.
How is the SR-22 Filed?
If your state offers electronic filing, you may be able to complete the request in just one day. If the SR-22 is filed by mail, allow 10-14 days for processing. Insurance companies usually charge a processing fee for this task, typically $20 or under. Once you receive your copy of the SR-22, you can take it to the local DMV office and have your license reinstated.
How Does the SR-22 Affect My Insurance?
After asking what’s SR-22 insurance, our customers most often ask how much it’s going to cost them. Most SR-22 carriers will see their premium increase significantly. This is not a direct effect of having the SR-22 but is a result of the traffic violation committed. Being involved in an accident while uninsured, or getting a DUI, are immediate red flags to any insurance company and will definitely result in more expensive coverage. In most states, an SR-22 carrier will then have to maintain continuous insurance coverage with the SR-22 for 2-5 years before they can return to a standard policy. The length of time you are required to carry the SR-22 depends on the type of violation committed and state laws.
Some insurance providers will refuse to insure drivers with an SR-22 requirement. The cost of insurance and the fees associated with the SR-22 can vary from company to company. If you have received notification of an SR-22 requirement, it is a good opportunity to shop around and compare the offers of different companies in your area. Whether you have let your insurance cover lapse or have been loyal to one company for years, it is never a bad idea to compare prices and see if you can find the best deal.
Once they find out what’s SR-22 insurance, some drivers may be tempted to just stop driving for the period of time they are required to hold it and avoid costly insurance premiums. Unfortunately, this strategy often backfires. The 2-5 year period of time that you are required to hold the SR-22 usually begins as soon as you request your license to be reinstated, and not at the time of notification. You can stop driving for 5 years, but as soon as you try to get your license back, you will probably be required to hold SR-22 insurance for the next 2-5 years.
Carrying an SR-22 doesn't need to destroy your budget or hinder your ability to get round town. At Affordable Insurance, we help SR-22 holders to acquire insurance coverage at a reasonable cost every year. We understand that receiving an SR-22 order can be a stressful and confusing experience. If you still have doubts about what’s SR-22 insurance or how to get it, our friendly customer service team can answer all of your questions. Don't hesitate to call us for more information.
December 12, 2017
Factors that Affect Car Insurance Rates
At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we know that when drivers understand the factors that affect car insurance rates, they are in a much better position to get a good deal. So, how do car insurance companies determine the cost of your insurance? Basically, the insurance company wants to calculate the overall risk of insuring a driver and charge them enough to make sure that on average, they don't lose money. Insurance experts use an algorithm that takes into account a huge range of different factors in order to come up with a rate personalized to each driver.
Factors that affect car insurance rates can include your personal and professional details, characteristics of your vehicle and your driving habits. Some of these factors can be controlled and even changed to potentially get a better rate, but others are just predetermined boxes that need to be ticked. Take a look at the following factors that affect your insurance rate:
- Where You Live
If you live in a high-risk location where collisions, auto theft, and uninsured drivers are frequent, your insurance rate will be more expensive. Taking into account that your are is where you will be using the car most of the time, insurance companies will rate your local area in terms of risk when calculating your car insurance premium. Urban areas with high unemployment are usually the most expensive locations.
- Age and Gender
Yes, age and gender are factors that affect car insurance rates. Teenage drivers are charged high rates due to their lack of experience on the road and high rates of accidents. Statistics also show that young men are more likely to be involved in an accident than young women, and this is reflected in the rates. As drivers get older, the price of insurance usually drops steadily, until around 70 years old when the risk of accidents due to impaired vision and slower reaction times bring the cost back up again.
Auto insurance companies can use information on your profession to predict the likelihood that you will get into an accident. Delivery drivers, journalists, and tradespeople spend more time on the road, often driving different routes every day and to unfamiliar locations. This activity increases the likelihood that they will experience a traffic accident. Paramedics, police, and insurance professionals are usually rated as more cautious drivers, so are given better rates.
- Marital Status
Single people tend to have more accidents than people that are married, and this is especially true for men. A lower insurance rate usually comes as an unexpected wedding gift to newly married couples.
- Credit Score
Unfortunately, low credit scores are one of the factors that affect car insurance rates and can have a negative influence on your premium. Keeping a good credit score shows insurance companies that you are an organized, cautious and reliable person, which they think will also be reflected in your driving.
- Vehicle Model and Size
Larger vehicles such as minivans and SUVs generally suffer less damage in collisions so are cheaper to insure. Smaller cars are more vulnerable to damage and seen as higher risk. Sports cars, luxury cars, and unusual or modified cars are often much more expensive to repair than standard models, so the auto insurance cost on these will be much higher than average.
- Vehicle Safety Rating
If you’re shopping for a car, remember that a vehicle’s safety rating is one of the factors that affect car insurance rates. A vehicle with a good rating will have features such as airbags, traction control, and automatic seatbelts. These vehicles are less likely to result in injured passengers in the event of an accident and so the cost of insuring them is lower compared to cars with an inferior safety rating.
- Vehicle Age
Newer automobiles are more expensive to insure than older ones of the same model. As the car ages, it loses its value. If an old car undergoes serious damage, the cost of repairs may be higher than the overall worth of the vehicle and the owner is more likely to choose to replace it rather than repair it. Due to this, insurance companies often don´t end up having to pay for repairs on older cars, so they can set the cost of insuring older cars lower.
- Driving Habits
Drivers who use their cars for work purposes or long commutes will spend more time on the road and thus have a higher rate of insurance. Those who use their vehicle less frequently can benefit from lower rates. If the car is stored in a secure garage, the insurance company may further reduce the rate, as there is less probability of theft or vandalism.
- Driving History
A driver´s record is one of the most significant factors that affect car insurance rates. A clean record goes a long way in helping to keep insurance rates down. If the insurance company sees evidence of previous accidents resulting in claims, this is a major red flag. Speeding tickets, collisions resulting in injuries and DUIs will deem you a high-risk driver with a probability of repeating the offenses. To counteract the risk of insuring such a driver, they will set the cost at a much higher than average.
These are the basic factors used by insurance companies to decide the cost of your premium. Obviously, some factors such as your age, profession, and hometown are fairly difficult to alter on a whim. Other factors are easier to control, including your credit score, driving record and choice of vehicle. Choosing a newer, larger car with a high safety rating can lower your insurance cost significantly. Avoiding traffic misdemeanors and DUIs will go even further to reduce your yearly insurance premium.
If you want to learn more about the factors that affect car insurance rates, and how to get the best deal, don't hesitate to contact the team at Affordable Insurance in Aurora. We specialize in creating customized insurance plans for drivers on a tight budget. Explore your options with us and see if you qualify for any discounts we offer. Whether you are purchasing auto insurance for the very first time or considering switching from an existing plan, we can help you get the best deal for 2018.
November 21, 2017
What to Do After a Car Accident
At Affordable Insurance, we like to help our clients out in every way possible. Here are some indispensable tips on what to do after a car accident. Just in case it ever happens to you, it is better to know, ahead of time, the best way to react and be more prepared, even when taken by surprise in an automobile accident.
Find a Safe Zone
If the car is still in motion after an accident, try to steer the vehicle to the safest spot, pulling completely off the road and out of traffic whenever possible. That way, if it is unable to move again, you, your passengers, and your car will be out of harm's way. Turn on hazard lights to signal other drivers of the situation. For larger auto accidents, such as those with injuries or involving several vehicles, it may be best to leave vehicles where they are.
Exit the Vehicle
Once your vehicle has ceased to move, put it in park with the emergency brake on and turn the ignition off. Try to breathe slowly for a moment before taking the next step. Look around to ensure that it is safe to exit the vehicle before doing so and keep an eye on traffic at all times once you’re out of the vehicle. Put out emergency flares or cones if you have them.
Check on All Involved
Take an inventory of your passengers, the other drivers, and passengers or any pedestrians involved. If anyone states any medical needs or is visibly in need of help, call for emergency services immediately. The sooner help comes, the better.
Call the Police
If no one is injured in the accident, police may not respond by coming to the scene. If they do show up, get a police report started with an officer. Never admit blame but try to objectively recount the events of the car accident for later reference by a judge in your case. If no police arrive, go online to file a report with the DMV as soon as possible.
It is a good idea to write down as much information as you can remember after an accident occurs. Try to gather:
- Names and contact info for other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and eyewitnesses
- Make and model of all vehicles involved
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Location description (sketch a map if you can)
- Name and badge number of police officer
Also, take photos with your smartphone for later use. Photos can be invaluable in filing your claim for insurance coverage.
File a Claim
Talk to your car insurance company and file a claim. Once you provide all of the information required, your insurer will walk you through next steps.
Hopefully, you will never have to deal with what to do after a car accident. But, in order to be prepared ahead of time, take these precautions:
- Keep a safety kit inside of your vehicle including water, snacks, blankets, extra clothes, flares, safety cones, etc.
- Relevant documents should be in a convenient location, including your ID, insurance information, and vehicle registration
- Make sure that your cell phone is always charged whenever you go out on the road
Thanks for checking out these safety tips on what to do after a car accident. Of course, before you find yourself in a tough situation, come see the team at Affordable Insurance for proper coverage for you and your vehicle. We’ll find the right fit for your budget and needs.