Wheel Locks, Wherefore Art Thou?

One of my neighbors, seeing the precautions I’d taken for a then ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.

Wheel Locks, Wheel Locks, My Rims For A Set of Wheel Locks!

In a recent BrooklynDaily.com article, residents of the Bay Ridge community were crying the blues because of an uptick in the number of stolen tires and rims from their cars (http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/2016/36/br-rim-thefts-in-ridge-2016-08-26-bk.html?utm_source=20160829&utm_medium=email&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=newsletter). My question to the residents of the affected communities is a simple one: What, you never heard of wheel locks? How could you even think about parking any car on any street in New York City without wheel locks on each wheel? Since most criminals want to steal as quickly and simply as possible, the simple installation of one wheel lock on every wheel will solve the problem of stolen tires and rims quickly.

I remember the night I purchased the Subaru, the first accessory purchases I made were a set of wheel locks, and  a Club and Club Shield for the steering wheel from my local Auto Zone store.

The Nosy Neighbor

One of my neighbors, seeing the precautions I’d taken for a then ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.

Even a Mercedes baby, even a Mercedes
Even a Mercedes baby, even a Mercedes

Two days later, he came out of the house to find his car on blocks.

Three weeks later, after replacing the stolen rims and tires, the thieves didn’t go half-way.

They stole his car.

No, he lacked both wheel locks and a Club and Shield. Strange his Super-Duper, Organic Passive alarm neither sounded or protected his vehicle.

Some More Thefts

Two other tire thefts in my neighborhood come to mind when I think of the power of wheel locks to keep your wheels on your car.

I’d taken my daughter to meet her school bus at the intersection of Glenwood Road and East 18th Street. While parking my car, I noticed a brand-new, straight off the lot Nissan Maxima, well, not even on blocks. The wheel thieves added the ultimate indignity of leaving the car on the ground after stealing the wheels.

While I took pictures of this vehicle, the owner, a young woman, angrily asked me why I was taking pictures of her car. I responded, “Are you kidding? Your car is on the ground. Why didn’t you ask the dealer to install wheel locks on your car? Forget that, why didn’t you install your own wheel locks?”

“I bought wheel locks. My boyfriend told me to park on a safe block and my car would be all right for one night. He’s on his way with replacement rims and tires so I can get to work”

I am so glad I wasn’t him.

Just this past summer, I went for a Sunday afternoon walk, only to come upon another brand-new vehicle on bricks.

I Should've Bought Those Wheel Locks
I Should’ve Bought Those Wheel Locks

At least they put it on bricks.

Now the avenue where the car was parked has constant traffic at all hours of the day and night. It is also one of those streets where the police patrol constantly.

These thieves were good, but not that good. With the help of the local community and their barking dogs, the officers from the local precinct caught at least five of the thieves in the act of stealing rims and tires four (4) days later. This group of thieves worked in a six-man team, with two (2) driving cars, and the other four taking one wheel each on the target vehicle.

So, to my friends in Bay Ridge, and every other neighborhood, buy wheel locks. So what if they don’t look that good. At least you’ll still have your rims and tires.

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF,  is an independent insurance agent and broker and income tax preparer  based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment for your personal insurance review of your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace  by sending him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

 

8 Tips To Save Money On Your Auto Insurance

Many companies will charge more for an auto insurance policy if you cannot show evidence of being currently insured for at least one (1) to three (3) years prior to your application …

Ah, as the cool nights of autumn become the, well, the warm days of winter, and holiday joy becomes the pain of looming credit card payments, you, like many others, may begin an annual search of finding ways to save money on everything from the cellular phone bill to food. Let me help with these 8 ways to save money on your auto insurance.

1. Many companies will charge more for an automobile insurance policy if you cannot show evidence of being currently insured for at least one (1) to three (3) years prior to your application. So, even if you don’t own an automobile, consider the purchase of a Non-Owned Automobile Insurance Policy. You can also join an organization like ZipCar for about $19.00 each month, which includes liability coverage limits of $300,000. Either way, you can save thousands of premium dollars.

2. Take a Point and Insurance Reduction Class. You’ll automatically
qualify for a 10% discount on your personal liability, no-fault and collision
coverages. And make sure your children, and anyone else who regularly drives your car (and is hopefully listed on your automobile insurance policy as a driver),
takes the class.

3. If you have children in high school, and they are trying to choose between a college  88 miles away, and another one at least 100 miles away, choose the school at least 100 miles away. As long as both schools offer similar need-based tuition plans, you will save money by sending your offspring just another 10 or so miles away. Why? Many companies offer a “Student Away At School” discount, and depending on the company, you premium will either not increase, or only suffer a small increase.

You child must simply go to school at least 90 miles away from home.

4. If you have high-schoolers on your current family policy, encourage them to maintain at least a “B” average, so you will qualify for the Good Student discount. And they still get to live indoors.

5. Purchase your automobile and home, renter, condo or coop policies
from the same company. You’ll qualify for multi-policy discounts, which can
save you at least 10% on each policy.

6. Before you actually purchase a car, call your agent and ask them to give you the symbol for the vehicles you are considering. One young lady was going to purchase a car with the letters “XL” in the model name. I told her the model with only an “L” was two symbols lower, which would result in much lower comprehensive and collision insurance premiums. The major difference between the two models of the same car? One had sun visors with extensions, and the other did not. So, she purchased the “L” model, ordered the fancier sun visors from the dealership, and installed them herself, saving a ton of money on her auto insurance.

7. Improve your insurance credit score. The higher your insurance
credit score, the lower your premium will be. And do everything you can to
avoid having any of the “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins” on your credit report in the last five years.

The “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins”are:

a. Foreclosures

b. Judgments

c. Repossession

d. Bankruptcy, or filed for bankruptcy

e. Liens

Always remember, ‘the higher your insurance credit score, the lower your premium’ and the reverse, ‘ the lower your insurance credit score, the higher your premium.’ Any of the “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins” can hurt your chances of qualifying for a lower automobile insurance rate.

8. Lastly, whatever you do, never, never, never let your automobile
insurance, or any insurance policy for that matter, lapse due to the
non-payment of premium. This alone will disqualify you for coverage with
many preferred companies for several years.

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is an independent insurance agent and broker based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment to check your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace by sending an  email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

 

3 Reasons To Dislike Quoting Auto Insurance

What is the company’s name? (Word to the wise, many auto insurance companies will not write a policy for someone coming out of an indemnity company. Think New York Automobile Insurance Plan with a fancy name attached. Another reason to always ask which company you’re being written in and whether or not this is an indemnity company. Better to pay an exorbitant premium for a year or two, and then, all things considered, move into a less expensive company within that company’s family of companies.)

The New Realities of Quoting Auto Insurance

Now, don’t get me wrong, my profession is providing and servicing personal lines insurance, including auto insurance, and I love my profession. Over three decades as an insurance agent and broker, I’ve come to realize, however,  there are three main reasons I dislike quoting auto insurance for strangers calling on the phone who are just shopping around for the cheapest automobile insurance quote they can get.

Reason number 1:

Too many people are under the impression that just because they can fog up a mirror, they are entitled to buy good, cheap auto insurance whenever they want, no matter  their driving history.

So what if they have moving violations, haven’t ever been insured to drive a car, have a suspended or revoked license, or just had same reinstated?

So what if their father once put several cars under their child’s name, and on their child’s auto insurance policy, cars driven by other people who collected accidents like leaches suck blood?

So what if there are three tombstones in the local cemetery directly attributable to their inability to control a vehicle?

So what if they have a DUI, DWI, or DWAI in the last ten (10) years?

You see, their cousin has insurance with your company, and they pay a low premium so you should give me a better rate.

They don’t realize their cousin has done all the right things throughout their driving career to earn that premium.

Reason number 2:

Now, providing anyone with a quote will, in the best of circumstances, take at least 20 to 30 minutes. So now I open with a series of qualifying questions, the same questions I will need answered to develop an automobile insurance quote. Some of them are;

What is your date of birth? Your Social Security number?

What kind of work do you do? How long have you done this type of work?

What is the name of your employer? How long have you worked there? What’s the address of the firm?

Have you ever had your driver’s license suspended or revoked? If so, which one, for how long, and when did you regain the privilege to drive? (Word to the wise, many companies will automatically disqualify you for these transgressions. Come on, be honest, would you loan your car to a friend with a lousy driving record? Yet you want insurance companies to insure you?)

How long have you been continuously licensed in the United States?

How long have you had auto insurance in your name, or been insured under someone else’s policy? (If you’ve neither owned a policy nor been insured under someone else for as little as one week you will pay a higher premium.)

How long have you been insured with the other auto insurance company? (If you’ve had a license for 15 years, but never owned a car, only rented when you had to, you will pay a higher premium.)

What is the company’s name? (Word to the wise, many auto insurance companies will not write a policy for someone coming out of an indemnity company. Think New York Automobile Insurance Plan, (NYAIP), with a fancy name attached. Another reason to always ask which company you’re being written in and whether or not this is an indemnity company. Better to pay an exorbitant premium for a year or two, and then, all things considered, move into a less expensive company within that company’s family of companies.)

How many and what kinds of accidents were you involved in during the last five (5) years? (Word to the wise, having two or more “incidents” involving either accidents or moving violations during the last two (2) to three (3) years will make you ineligible for insurance with many companies, forcing you to go into the NYAIP for what I call rehabilitation.)

While we’re on the topic, how many moving violations, and how many points have you accumulated during the last five (5) years?

Recently a young man from Baldwin, NY called my office for a quote.First, he called and didn’t leave a number, so I used my caller ID to call him back. He asked me if I was Travelers, and I informed him my agency is an independent insurance agency associated with Travelers. Then, came the dreaded request of “I want a quote.”

So I began to ask him my qualifying questions, and  he hesitated (always a bad sign) when I asked him if his license had ever been suspended and/or revoked (it had been). To top it off, he hadn’t been insured for over 5 months, was under the age of 25, and unmarried.

So, informing him my main companies wouldn’t insure him, I prepared a New York Automobile Insurance Plan quote for him. He only asked for liability on a relatively new automobile, and simply hung up when I gave him the premium.

Not even so much as a goodbye.

He could afford to buy the car. Can’t afford to insure it.

You can click here to see a copy of my Auto Insurance Quote Worksheet.

Reason number 3:

You see, just because you can buy a car doesn’t mean you can afford to insure it.

You can buy a car with no money down, but  you can’t buy auto insurance without making at least a minimum downpayment. Owning a car means you must maintain it, keep it insured, and avoid parking it on the wrong side of the street on alternate days. My clients usually call me before they buy a new car based on the year, make and model, so they will have a good idea of what their new budget will look like. That’s when I love to quote auto insurance, when it’s a client or a client referral on the phone. Those referred to me are usually fully compliant with all the questions, and it’s just a matter of getting the information into the computer.

So, you shouldn’t get mad at me because you now own, or are trying to pick up some beauty from the lot, and the insurance is too high for you.

Suggestions?

Suggestion number 1:

If you don’t own a vehicle, buy a Non-Owned Automobile Insurance policy from say, me. Then when you do purchase a car, you will be able to answer “how long have you been continuously insured” question satisfactorily. Purchase your renters, condo, coop, or homeowners insurance from say, me, and you’ll not only realize discounts on both policies, you stand a better chance of a great rate when you are ready to own a car.

Suggestion number 2:

You can join a car-share program like Zipcar, and take advantage of being insured under their policy until you buy your own Non-Owned policy, or buy your own car.

Suggestion number 3:

Lastly, you can speak to a family member about being placed on their policy. WARNING! WARNING! Don’t take offense if they are hesitant to do this. Remember, should you cause or be involved in an accident, (see Reason number 1), this will affect their premium, and perhaps their own insurability for up to five (5) years. Get moving violations and this will affect their premium. And God forbid you get arrested for a DUI after causing an accident which leads to the death of the other driver or their passenger or the passenger in your car. Your family member could stand to lose everything they’ve worked for, just to help you out.

For my money, I’d use suggestions numbers one and two. Just safer that way.

So, in closing, be ready to establish a relationship with an independent agent, and do what you need to do today to guarantee a great automobile insurance rate tomorrow.

For 33 years, the last 20 of those operating his own financial services agency, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF has enjoyed providing his clients with the personal lines insurance coverages, income tax services, and defensive driving workshops they need to better their financial lives. 

Call him at 718-783-2722, or send him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com for a competitive quote for all of your insurance needs.

And please, don’t make fun of him if he groans when you say, “I’d like a quote.”