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Insurance Planning Service Blog: auto insurance

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You have work to do. You rely on your vehicle to make it happen. When you are hauling valuable, special, or high-risk equipment, be sure you have a commercial auto policy that protects it. Your policy should represent the types of risks you face. It should also meet any requirements for transport. Here isimage of truck hauling freight how to choose coverage.

Why What Is On Board Matters

Your commercial auto insurance covers the value of your vehicle. It can also sometimes cover the value of the contents of the vehicle. However, you’ll need to specialize coverage for vehicle contents. Depending on the type of car, you may need coverage designed for your load. The value of the items you plan to carry plays a role in how much coverage you need. Here are a few examples.

#1: Your company transports people to and from locations. You carry just the people and their personal belongings. Here, you generally do not have any added contents to worry about. A basic policy usually applies.

#2: Your company transports expensive manufacturing materials to and from locations. They may not be large components, but they are very valuable. An accident could be high risk. Here, those valuable items need protection.

#3: Another example occurs for companies using equipment for their work. For example, your truck contains equipment to allow you to handle tasks at customer homes. Here, your coverage needs to be enough to cover damage to those items.

For those hauling large loads in trucks, where the specific task is just moving the equipment, special trucking policies offer load protection. Still, you may need to adjust how much coverage you have here.

What to Do About Coverage

Talk to your business insurance agent. Gather insight into how much contents coverage your policy currently offers – some may not offer any contents coverage upfront. Discuss the valuables you routinely haul. Do you need more protection? Do you need to add a cargo rider to your policy? If so, your team can help you to obtain it. Additional coverage is possible to cover specific items on your truck. Or, you may just need different property insurance from your general commercial insurance.

Commercial auto insurance is flexible. This is why it is so important that your agent understands your business. Be open about how you operate. What do you do? What do you haul? How frequently do you do so? This information allows your agent to provide specific protections. It can make all of the difference if an accident occurs. It may be essential for your company.

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image of truck jumping car batteryWinter is upon us. Cold weather, deep freezes and winter precipitation can often damage car batteries. Batteries die at a higher rate during the winter.

During cold weather, it takes more energy for a car battery to start a car. If the battery has damage or is old, the excessive energy use may cause a battery to die or not function properly.

Battery maintenance should be a priority for every driver. The typical battery lasts around five years, and many can last much longer. The average cost of replacing a car battery is around $200 according to repairpal.com.

Battery replacement can be a very hefty cost. In most cases, your car insurance won’t cover battery replacement due to normal wear and tear or purposeful negligence.

It is your responsibility to make sure that a battery functions properly. Not only will a functioning battery protect your money, it can also protect your car itself. You don’t want a bad battery to put a drain on the rest of your car.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to manage your battery health and make small adjustments.

  • Don’t leave on your headlights, radio or other internal electrical systems. Turn them off before turning off the car. If you leave these on, they can drain your battery without your knowledge.
  • Make sure that battery cables are not loose. Also ensure that the battery does not leak and has no corrosion.
  • Consider keeping your car covered or in a garage. These steps help insulate the engine and the battery and can reduce the effects of cold on batteries.
  • If your battery does die, don’t attempt to restart the car multiple times. If the car won’t crank after one or two tries, don’t drain residual power by attempting to restart the car.
  • When you have to use jumper cables to restart a car, leave them connected long enough to build up power. Also, many experts recommend that you drive your car for a period of time after jumping it to rebuild power.
  • Have your mechanic regularly check your battery’s water levels, insulation and power terminals.
  • Batteries are sensitive systems. If you are not a car mechanic, you shouldn’t attempt to replace or fix a battery yourself.

Car batteries have long lives. They cost a large amount to replace. You want to do everything you can to keep your battery properly functioning for as long as possible. Following some of these steps will help you do so.

Insurance Planning Service is here to help you. If you want to learn more about Michigan auto insurance and battery maintenance, visit our auto insurance page on our website. You can also call us at (800) 220-5582.


man in rental carWhen buying a vehicle, your lender may require that you have comprehensive auto insurance on it. This provides a safety net for the lender. If the vehicle is a total loss, such as after a fire or a theft, the insurance plan helps to cover the loss. When leasing a vehicle, you may have the same requirements, or those that are similar. Those who lease a vehicle never fully own it outright, making it even more important for you to maintain the most appropriate and effective car insurance plan.

What Types of Auto Insurance Must You Have?

When signing a lease for a vehicle, the company can outline what your specific requirements may be. In most situations, you could be required to maintain the following types of coverage:

  • Comprehensive insurance. This pays for damage resulting from incidents such as storm damage, flooding, hail, fires, and theft.
  • Collision insurance. This type of insurance helps to pay for damage to the vehicle that occurs when you are involved in a collision that you caused, such as backing into a pole or hitting another vehicle.
  • Liability insurance. You may need to have at least the state required minimum liability insurance. The lease holder here wants to ensure you are operating the vehicle legally. Liability insurance offers no protection to you or the lease holder, but to other drivers when you cause damage to their person or vehicle.

Is that enough? It’s often advisable to have extended liability insurance since most state-required levels are very low and often not enough to pay for the damage resulting from a single incident. In addition to this, you may also need to carry under-insured and uninsured plans, medical payments, and coverage for any special equipment. You may also need gap insurance. It is nearly always more affordable to purchase gap insurance, often required by lease holders, from an insurance agency rather than buying it directly from the leasing company.

The right amount and type of insurance coverage can save you a great deal of money. And, it offers the protection you need to safeguard against risks that could occur while you are operating your leased vehicle. Ensure your policy meets all standards required under your lease agreement.

We’ll help keep you safe on the road. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan auto insurance.


image of mechanic working on a carWondering what that squealing sound is coming from your tires? Perhaps you are concerned because it seems it takes longer for your car to come to a full stop. These are key signs to pay attention to because they signal a need to get your brakes inspected. Not only does this keep you and your family safe on the road, but good maintenance can help to keep claims against your auto insurance policy low, making car insurance more affordable.

If you notice these signs, get your brakes inspected right away. That can help to keep you and your family safe on the road.

  1. You hear strange noises coming from your tires. Generally, this will be a screeching sound, a clicking noise or a grinding. When that happens, especially when you touch the brakes, it means they need attention.

  2. Vibration in the pedal when you touch it to stop also signals a need for an inspection and possible brake replacement. You may feel it pulse under your foot, even when road conditions are just fine.

  3. You feel your vehicle pulling to one side when driving. When this happens, it could mean one side of your brakes is more damaged and in need of replacement or repair.

  4. Does the pedal feel hard? That is, when you need to step on the brake, do you need to use a lot of pressure to get it to stop or more pressure than you have needed to use in the past?

  5. Check your dashboard. Many vehicles today have a brake light that will come on to indicate you need brake attention. Don't put off this warning because it generally occurs when a failure in the brakes is possible.

Taking care of your vehicle is essential for keeping your family safe. When the brakes are operating properly, your vehicle is less likely to be at risk of an accident, which keeps your car insurance costs low. And, auto insurance policies often require that you maintain proper maintenance on your vehicle. Check your owner's manual to know how frequently your brakes should be inspected and replaced. Let your mechanic help keep your family safe.

We’ll help keep you safe on the road. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan auto insurance.

Posted 8:05 PM


image of cop writing a ticketAuto insurance companies provide a specific product to drivers based on the amount of risk the individual has. If that risk level changes, there is more risk present to the insurance company. As a result, car insurance providers may raise rates to compensate. An incidents in which you get a ticket can lead to a higher premium because it shows insurance agencies you are more of a risk to them. But, how much will it impact you?

Here's What You Need to Know if You Get a Ticket

Non-moving violations, such as parking tickets, do not often lead to any change in premium. However, other types of traffic violations, especially those in which damage occurs, can lead to a higher premium for you. Reckless driving tickets or other moving violations can lead to a boost in your costs, but it's important to know that there are often steps you can take to minimize those costs.

First, consider how long it has been since your last ticket. If you have had several tickets in a year or so, this shows the insurance company you are a higher level of risk of another accident or instance, causing them to raise your rates. If you haven't had any prior moving violations, and thus do not have any or many points on your driver's license, you may not see an increase at all. Bear in mind, that each insurance provider has different regulations and guidelines that they follow when determining rates.

What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket

If you get a moving violation, don't ignore it. In many cases, you will be able to take a driving safety course or refresher. Doing so may amount to only a few hours spent online or at a local agency, but it may prevent points from being added to your driver's license (and therefore you may not have to worry about an increase in your rates).

In addition to this, be proactive. Take a defensive driving course. Work to reduce your points over time. By being a safe driver going forward, your car insurance rates are likely to come down again. And, if they do not, consider changing to a new auto insurance provider who can offer you a more affordable insurance premium.

Find out if your rates will be impacted. Call Insurance Planning Service at (800) 220-5582 for more information on Michigan auto insurance.


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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake