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CURE Auto Insurance Review

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New Jersey’s Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange (CURE) Auto insurance is a company in the business of providing auto insurance coverage to consumers at a fair price. The company, based in Princeton, New Jersey, has been in the business since 1990 and employs a not-for-profit business model.

CURE provides automotive insurance which includes the following: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, personal injury protection, and coverage for accidents involving uninsured and underinsured motorists, as well as collision and non-collision coverage.

vehicle collision

A Different Kind of Insurance Company

Founder Dr. Lena Chang and co-Founder James J. Sheeran lead the executive management team for CURE. According to the CURE website, the company was founded in in response to auto insurers reluctance to write new auto insurance policies due to low profit margins and legislative constrains.

The company was organized by Reciprocal Management Corporation as what is known as a reciprocal exchange, a type of insurance company consisting of an unincorporated group that pools risk and retains the cost of loss incurred by its subscribers.

CURE’s Strengths

CURE has an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau of New Jersey (BBB). This rating is based on several factors including the length of time the company has been doing business, which is nearly 25 years. Other factors that warrant a high rating for NJ CURE include the complaint volume against the company filed with the BBB, handling and disposition of complaints and the existence of sufficient business background information.

The company prides itself with being able to offer insurance products and services regardless of the income status of their customers. The company does not engage in the practice of using credit checks as a risk criteria when determining premium rates for motorists looking for auto insurance coverage. CURE also does not consider occupation, education level, or home ownership in calculating rates, factors most other insurers use.

Limited Coverage Area and Shortcomings?

The solutions that CURE provides for motorists are limited to those drivers located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania only. There is no information available as to whether the company is looking to expand its product offerings to additional states in the foreseeable future. The company’s recent TV commercial has brought it some added attention:

Additionally, according to the BBB, the company received seven customer complaints within the past three years, three of which were received in the last 12 months. The complaints received against the company were in the area of advertising and sales, billing and collection and problems with a product or service offering. Although under no requirement to file, the company is no accredited by the BBB.

The company also entered into a Consent Order with the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance on January 5, 2011 and paid a fine of $26,000. The Consent Order and fine related to market conduct practices uncovered during a 2008 examination including a high error ratio relative to new and renewal business, failure to properly maintain its company complaint log and other general business practices.

In the insurance world where profits are king and companies discriminate and penalize those considered ‘high risk’, it’s refreshing to see CURE’s approach. It will be interesting to see how CURE evolves as it expands and reaches new customers.

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Reduce Your Insurance Costs? There’s An App For That

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It’s long been an established rule of the auto insurance industry: by keeping rates fairly uniform, people who drive their cars less are, on average, paying more for their insurance based on use than heavy drivers. One San Francisco-based tech company, however, is aiming to change that for good.

metrommile

How it Works

Metromile is a new startup that’s packed a one-two technological punch to save drivers money on their insurance: installing a small GPS device that attaches to your car, the company records your actual mileage. That gets sent back to Metromile, who can charge a lower, per-mile rate through their insurance brand under National General Insurance Group.

Large carrier programs such as Progressive’s Snapshot, State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save program, Allstate Drive Wise, The Hartford TrueLane, and Travelers IntelliChoice use telematics to gather more information on driver behavior and mileage with the possibility of lower rates for the driver. However, these programs don’t integrate with an app the way Metromile does.

Smartphone, Smart Car: Smart Insurance

Meanwhile, Metromile takes it even further with their new smartphone app: it uses that same GPS data to help you calculate routes and avoid street-cleaning areas to avoid parking tickets.

The entire system is designed around saving low-mileage drivers money, which is not typically the focus of traditional insurance companies. For many carriers, since low-mileage drivers pay more on aggregate for their insurance, they are subsidizing higher-mileage drivers.

Meanwhile, the device also tracks diagnostics on the vehicle, making any car function as a smart car– and one that becomes easier to maintain, thus making it an even safer bet for insurance companies.

metromile app

Is Per-Mile Insurance a Winning Proposition?

Metromile allows drivers to use their diagnostics system free, in exchange for a monthly message telling them how much they would have saved with Metromile.

This leads to a problem for traditional insurance carriers: if companies switch over to per-mile billing and charge lower-mileage drivers based on usage, they’d have to compensate for the higher-mileage drivers by passing those costs on to them. The entire auto insurance system as understood today would be substantially strained, and this allows Metromile far more control over its niche.

Metromile isn’t available everywhere–as of this writing, it’s available in four states – but it’s growing quickly enough to change the auto industry in short order.

70% of drivers in America drive less than 10,000 miles a year: that’s a very large market to tap into. If Metromile succeeds in its goal of bringing per-mile insurance to the masses through convenient apps and technology, it could spell big changes in auto insurance as the industry knows it.

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Is Car Rental Insurance Worth the Money?

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You’re at the checkout counter getting ready to pull off in your rental car, and a sales rep asks if you’ll be taking the optional rental car insurance… what should you do? On one hand, adding the rental car insurance would cost you an extra $20 or more per day. However, if you should happen to get into an accident in the rental car, are you covered and are you willing to take that risk?

rental car companies

Cost of Rental Insurance vs. Traditional Insurance

Before saying yes or no to this insurance policy you should first consider all of your options. Factors that should be considered include the cost of the rental company’s insurance per day vs. the cost of your car insurance policy, as well as what coverage you’re offered while driving a rental car.

Find out from the rental car company how much it is going to cost you to purchase their insurance policy. Some companies charge a flat rate, while others charge a daily rate for insurance. If the cost of the insurance is approximately $30 per day and you’re using the rental car for 5 days, you’re looking at an added expense of $150, no small sum. Drivers in some states pay less than $50 per month for their entire auto insurance policies.

You already know what the cost of your insurance premium is per month; however, consider how much it will cost in the event that there is an issue while driving a rental car. What is your current deductible? Most people have a deductible between $500 to $1,000.

What Is Covered by Rental Car Insurance?

Now you should factor in what is covered under both insurance policies. You want to make sure that the rental car is covered entirely to avoid high out of pocket expenses or duplicate coverage. Most rental car companies provide loss and damage coverage which would essentially cover the cost of any physical damage or the expenses in the event that the car is stolen or vandalized.

Traditional car insurance providers generally cover collision expenses, but you’ll need comprehensive to cover expenses in the event that the vehicle has been stolen or vandalized. Also, keep in mind that a deductible will be involved in the collision or comprehensive coverage.

car hire companies

Does Rental Car Insurance Make Sense?

If you currently have full coverage insurance, purchasing additional rental insurance likely does not make sense. Why? Because you’re already paying a monthly premium for insurance, and unless you’re a bad driver or visiting a high crime area, the chances of you getting in an accident, or having the car stolen are slim. However, if you do not have any type of car insurance or have minimal liability coverage, it may make sense to go ahead and pay the extra few bucks for the rental insurance.

Weighing your options is imperative when deciding on whether or not you should obtain rental car insurance. You may also check with your credit card companies as many of them offer rental car insurance protection which may prevent you from having to pay an extra daily fee for something you have no need for.

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How Much Does Mileage Affect Auto Insurance Rates?

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There are several factors that impact car insurance rates—mainly, what the person is using the car for, how often the person drives, and the annual mileage. The annual mileage can be described as the amount of miles the motorist puts on the vehicle per year whether it is commuting for work, errands, business trips, or road trips.

Average Mileage

The average person with a car drives between 12,000 and 15,000 miles. It is the range that most car insurance companies use as a yardstick. A few companies, however, adhere to limits that are a little higher or lower than the aforementioned numbers; some are known to have the cutoff mark as low as 7,500 miles.

road trip

Obtaining Discounts

Usually, car insurance companies offer ‘low-mileage’ discounts to motorists who drive fewer miles than the average. A prime example is National General Insurance, notable as the only insurance company in the United States from the automotive industry itself, and which was formerly known as GMAC Insurance.

In most states, motorists with OnStar subscriptions can get a low-mileage discount—anywhere from 10 to 50 percent—when they drive less than 15,000 miles a year. The mileage is tracked by OnStar’s telematics technology. In the car insurance industry, this type of insurance is sometimes referred to as usage-based insurance (UBI).

More Mileage = More Risk

Regardless of the maximum mileage limits, though, each car insurance company increases the insurance rate once the motorist goes above the maximum annual mileage limit. That’s because higher premiums are based on the theory that the motorist increases his or her risk of getting into an accident with increased time on the road.

This is especially applicable to people who frequently travel long distances, experience congested traffic or drive in large cities. The car is more exposed to sleep deprivation, tailgating, and rougher roads.

On the other hand, motorists who primarily drive on highways or rural roads, or drive short distances, do not have as much of a risk, since driving conditions are generally a lot more favorable. Thus, insurance companies make sure that they evaluate other factors alongside mileage, since there is never a “one-size-fits-all” concept when it comes to insuring motorists and their vehicles.

saving money

Tips to Save

By keeping annual mileage down, you can keep your auto insurance rates lower. If your driving situation changes such as your work commute is reduced or you are no longer working, be sure to let your insurance company know so your rate can be adjusted accordingly.

One word of caution – don’t try to cut corners on your insurance by under-reporting mileage. You could be committing insurance fraud and if a claim is filed, untruthful statements could be used to deny the claim, which could put you at serious financial risk.

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When Do You Need Short Term Car Insurance?

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Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to take out a full policy for coverage on an automobile. This circumstance may arise if you plan to borrow a friend’s car for a few days, add someone to your insurance for a week, are visiting a particular area only for a short time, or need drive-away insurance upon purchasing a car.

Lasting up to 28 days, adding on a separate short-term car insurance policy gives you temporary coverage for other drivers on your vehicle without putting added stress or expense on your main car insurance, according to the Automobile Association.

woman driving

Benefits

Short-term policies such as these allow you to avoid the long-term commitment that comes with a standard auto insurance policy. Let’s face it: insurance premium on annual policies are pricey. When you need to save money and you know you only need the vehicle for a few days or weeks, you can use short-term car insurance to meet your financial security needs but keep cash in your wallet at the same time.

With short term insurance, you don’t have to sign up for a full year like your standard insurance policy, so you don’t have to face that added expense, especially when you only need it for a week. Adding another driver is expensive, especially if the other driver gets in an accident while in your car.

How to Obtain It

The best method to get short-term car insurance is to apply for it through the insurance provider you already have. The process should go quite quickly because your paperwork is already on file, including your driving records and history. You will likely get a discount when you go this route as well. If you decide to go through another insurance carrier, do your research thoroughly, as prices vary widely among competitors.

There are a few pieces of information you should have handy, such as the name of the borrowed car, the vehicle owner’s name and contact information, and a valid driver’s license. It’s best to get quotes from at least three insurance providers so you can choose the most affordable and comprehensive one for your needs.

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