Progressive and esurance customers, be aware of fees

Imagine you are exactly in the middle of an auto or homeowner insurance policy period. So you “used” half of the protection you bought at the beginning of the period. In Insurance Industry lingo, half of what you paid is now “earned premium” while the other half is “unearned premium”. Insurance company can’t keep the “unearned premium” if you cancel the policy, at which point it must issue a prorated refund of your premium. Fair and square.

However, some insurance companies made things more complicated and less consumer friendly than that. For example, in California, Progressive and esurance charges a $50 cancellation fee for auto insurance. Progressive also keeps 10% of the “unearned premium” upon cancellation for motorcycle insurance. The only way to avoid these fees is to switch at end of the policy period. As consumers, stuff like this is probably not worth your energy and brain power. At SafeButler, we are the experts in dealing with all these ugly details. So leave it to us. Simply enjoy savings without having to think about it. After all, we are your insurance butlers. 🙂

What is Uninsured Motorist coverage for?

Isn’t every driver legally required to carry insurance? Yes, in theory. Unfortunately, the reality is that 1 out of 7 drivers on the road are uninsured. They typically don’t have much asset or income. Collecting from them could take years. If, God forbid, you got injured by another car, it is painful enough to deal with your medical problems. It’s not time to fight a medical+financial double whammy.

This is where the Uninsured Motorist coverage really helps. Now, your own insurance pays you immediately if you are hit by an uninsured driver. This is a vital protection for yourself and your family. The good news is that it doesn’t cost much. To save money on insurance, it is much more sensible to have at least $100K Uninsured Motorist coverage than having rental reimbursement or low deductibles. To see more details about what auto insurance coverages are vital and what are not, please check out Getting enough coverage is easier and cheaper than you thought.

Insurance for Uber Drivers

As a Uber driver, you are probably happy about the money you are making using your car. But don’t let a simple oversight ruin your financial life. Did you know that driving for Uber is considered driving-for-hire? Did you also know that by default your personal auto insurance does NOT cover driving-for-hire?

According to Uber, “while you’re online with Uber before you accept a request, you are covered by our insurance policy for your liability to a third party if you are in an accident when you’re at fault.” Did you notice that Uber did not mention any coverage for yourself or your car? That’s correct. Before you accept a request, if your car is damaged, Uber would NOT cover it; if you are injured by an uninsured driver, Uber would NOT cover it either. Because the accident happens while you drive for hire, your personal auto insurance would NOT pay you either even if it would have covered you otherwise!

Fortunately, fixing this coverage gap is easy. Simply make sure your personal auto insurance has a ride-sharing endorsement. (An endorsement in an insurance policy is an add-on coverage.) A lot of insurance companies in California provide this endorsement, including Allstate and Farmers. The cost is only $15-20 per year, according to Allstate. Now that is money well spent for a great protection.

How to make sure you have the ride-sharing endorsement?

Option 1. Ask your agent to add it for you.

You can call your insurance agent to add the ride-sharing endorsement for you. This usually can take effect immediately. In some states though, your insurance provider may not support this option. For instance, in California, Geico doesn’t offer ride-sharing endorsement.

Option 2.  Switch your insurance company

If your current insurer doesn’t offer ride-sharing endorsement, you can switch to another insurer which does. During quoting, look for “ride-sharing” and make sure you select it. If the quoting process doesn’t ask you about “ride-sharing”, you can assume that the quote doesn’t have this endorsement.

Option 3. Use independent insurance services

The easiest option may be using a service like SafeButler.  It has helped hundreds of Uber drivers get the right protection while saving them money. Although it’s by invitation only, for limited time, you can sign up as an Uber driver for free. It will automatically ensure your auto insurance has the ride-sharing endorsement. In addition, it’ll quote from multiple top brands to get you the best deal.

Getting enough coverage is easier and cheaper than you thought

In a casino, the house always wins. When it comes to insurance, the insurance companies always collect more in premiums than paying out in claims. Otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. Then why do we buy insurance? Other than it is legally required, we want to use predictable and affordable losses (i.e. premium payments) to prevent unpredictable and catastrophic ones that could ruin our lives. When it comes auto insurance, we recommend spending money on the following three “vital coverages“.

  • Bodily Injury Liability

If you hit someone, you’d be responsible for the injured person’s medical bills, lost wages, plus pain and suffering. In addition, if sued, you would likely have to pay a hefty legal bill. With so many highly-paid professionals driving in the Bay Area, $50K may not be enough. (The per occurrence coverage is less relevant because most cars on the road have only one person in it.) So we recommend carrying at least $100K-per-person.

  • Property Damage Liability

With so many Tesla’s and other luxury cars on the road in the Bay Area, damaging one of them could easily generate a loss of over $50K, costing potentially tens of thousands out of your pocket. So we recommend carrying a $100K coverage. The good news is that doubling this coverage from $50K to $100K cost you almost nothing.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

1 out of 7 drivers on the road are uninsured. They typically don’t have much asset. Collecting from them could take years. With this coverage, your own insurance pays you immediately if you are hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver. This is a vital yet inexpensive protection for yourself and your family.

All other coverages are merely “convenience”. e.g. Compared with a $1000 deductible, the additional benefit of a $500 deductible is at most $500. The interesting thing is that giving up this $500 benefit in deductible is often more than enough to boost the vital coverages from $15K to $100K. In addition, Medical Payment coverage pretty much overlaps with your regular health insurance coverage. You can remove it to save money.

At SafeButler, your insurance coverages are automatically and continuously reviewed by licensed professionals whose sole objective is to ensure you and your family are well protected, and your insurance dollars are spent wisely.

Protecting Assets as Young Professionals

You just graduated and landed a job. Congrats! Did you know that, before you receive the first paycheck, you already have assets worth protecting? You may wonder, hey, I don’t own any real estate, my car is a piece of beaten-up junk, and my bank account balance is zero. If I hurt someone in a car accident, what can they take away from me anyway? Do I really need to carry good coverage other than the state-mandated minimum?

Well, the surprise is called “wage garnishment”. In California, up to 25% of income may be garnished by court order. If your Bodily Injury Liability coverage is exhausted, the remaining liability doesn’t automatically disappear even if you have no asset. The injured party could come after your future income. So don’t incorrectly assume you don’t need good liability coverage even if you currently have no asset. Your future is worth protecting too. If you would like to save money on auto insurance, it is important to differentiate what coverages are vital and what are merely convenience. You can boost your liability coverage while saving money by cutting out the convenience coverages. Now that is a smart new grad!

Shouldn’t Everyone Get a Butler?

What’s SafeButler about? The idea originated from my own pain point. When I moved to California a few months ago, I had to switch auto insurance. Incredulously I found that the auto insurance shopping still sucked as it did 10 years ago. To really shop around, it came down to several hours of boring old-school phone calls to repeat the same info to multiple insurance agents. The Internet comparison sites were mostly bait-n-switch (for good reasons as I found out later). The prices they “quoted” were merely “estimates“. At the end of their flow, I was either given a “Call” button or sent to an insurance company’s website. This makes no sense. So I set out to solve my own problem.

For whatever reason, the picture of George Costanza pitching the butler idea jumped in my head. Hah, shouldn’t everyone get a butler? Think of Bill Gates. He probably has a butler handling insurance for him. Now how about giving everyone else an insurance butler too. Why not?

So SafeButler was born. We are making auto/home/renter insurance shopping/switching effortless for consumers. All you have to do is upload a few photos. We will get you real *guaranteed* quotes and make an intelligent recommendation. Once you approve the recommendation, we’ll automatically buy the new policy and cancel the old policy.

As your true butler, without any effort on your part, we will automatically and continuously review your coverage, shop around on your behalf and recommend better policies or coverage adjustments. So insurance shopping/switching/adjustment become a one-button tap for the rest of your life. Now that’s the butler I wished I had a few months ago. 🙂