Auto Insurance for Canadians in Arizona

canadian flag

If you are a Canadian resident spending part of your year in Arizona – thank you! We appreciate all you bring to our fine State. I have learned over the years how valuable your business and presence is to Arizona. Canadians are friendly, educated, pay their bills, and cause no trouble. From an insurance perspective, you do your best to NOT file insurance claims. While claims happen, I know that our Canadian clients would rather avoid a claim if at all possible. They are some of our best clients!

When buying car insurance for Canadians in Arizona, please be aware that some insurance carriers charge a foreign drivers license surcharge. The reason – they are unable to run a U.S. motor vehicle report to track your driving history. With many carriers, the easy solution is to provide your driving abstract. Be sure to speak with your agent about any foreign drivers license surcharges.

If you own a vehicle in Arizona, be careful loaning your vehicle to friends and family who come to visit. For those of you who own a seasonal residence in Arizona and keep a car here, you may allow others access to your vehicle. Talk with your agent. You do not want to find yourself in a gray area with the carrier if a claim were to happen. More than likely, an insurance carrier would pay the claim and follow the guidelines of your insurance policy. And yet, they do not, for obvious reasons want drivers of the vehicle that they have no knowledge of.

When buying your car insurance, ask about some of the less understood coverage, such as medical, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist. These are optional items and you can decline to carry them. At first glance, you may feel medical is of little use because you have great health care back home. But what if you need care in the United States? Also, what if you have a passenger who is injured while in your vehicle? Medical coverage may be of great interest if you understand it’s purpose and reason for carrying.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist are designed to offer you some protection against drivers who carry low insurance limits or fail to carry any whatsoever. Again, speak with your insurance agent about these items and see if you feel a need to carry them.

That’s it! If you want a quote on your auto insurance for Canadians in Arizona, please let me know.
Gary Brown, Agent
(480) 659-0229

Law Changing for Wrong Way Drivers

According to a report on AZ Central the Arizona Department of Transportation wants to change the law for wrong way drivers in response to an accident that killed 7 people and injured 11 more.

Most, if not all, of the drivers involved in wrong way incidents are suspected to have been intoxicated.

Statistics kept from 2008 – 2012 show that 78 drivers were killed as a result of wrong way drivers. Back in May 2014 police officer Brandon Mendoza was killed by a wrong way driver. The blood alcohol limit of the accused driver was 3x higher than the legal limit. The impaired driver traveled over 30 miles in the wrong lane. Officer Mendoza had finished his shift and was headed home. The incident began at 12:30 am.

Representatives of DPS and ADOT have gathered to discuss ideas and ways that can avoid or curtail these incidents in the future. Ideas include studying freeway ramp configuration, informing and educating the driving public about defensive driving and enforcing even further existing impaired driver laws.

Former DPS director, Roger Vanderpool, suggested that prior cutbacks have affected the ability of law enforcement to do a better job in stopping wrong way driving accidents. More officers on the roads is his suggestion for combating the increase in fatalities due to wrong way drivers.

Wrong way accidents have been rising. 17 of the wrong way crashes happened on I-10, 6 were on I-17 and 9 were on the Loop 101. ADOT has already lowered wrong way signs on exit ramps and have also installed red reflectors that help warn wrong way drivers. Of course, if someone is intoxicated some of those measures probably won’t help. But even if one drunk driver recognizes and realizes he/she is in the wrong lane or about to travel down the wrong road – the changes are worth it to save one life or injury.

Motorists are always encouraged to call 9-1-1 anytime they see a driver on the wrong side of the road. However, they are cautioned to not get involved but to watch and wait for law enforcement.

Texting & Driving Puts Lives at Risk

A Florida driver sent or received upwards of 50 text messages during a one-hour commute to work. And yes, the story ends as badly as you might imagine. The driver hit another vehicle head on and two people were killed.

Roughly 3,000 people die each year from what is described as “distracted” driving. It includes more than just texting but texting is probably the biggest distraction most drivers face. There are other distractions on the road – women putting on make up, checking Facebook or the internet, and people reading things other than phone texts. I saw one driver reading a book once. Those with a GPS may be tempted to drive while typing an address into their GPS.

A movie theatre that we frequent has a rather obnoxious direct message before the movie begins. It tells the audience to not text or even have the bright light of their phone visible during the movie because it distracts other movie goers. The message even goes so far to let you know they will ask you to leave the facility.

While a movie theatre is not the same as driving a car the hope (by me) is that announcements such as this will be another reminder of how texting can interfere with the lives of other people. I only wish this movie theater would add another line to remind people to not text and drive – in addition to not text and watch their movie.

Terrifying Insurance Words

I read an article that talked about words that you do not want to hear or see when it relates to your insurance.

1) Surcharge – meaning you have done something to cause your insurance premium to go up. The most common reason is an at-fault accident. But some insurance carriers can raise your rates for a speeding ticket too.

2) SR22 – is a financial responsibility form that shows you have at least basic Arizona auto insurance. Unfortunately, if you ever need an SR22 you will pay higher premiums. A DUI (for example) may cause you to need an SR22. Or driving without insurance may cause you to need it. An SR22 stays on your record for a few years. If you let your auto insurance lapse this period begins anew.

3) Teenager – all of us with kids who have reached driving age know and understand this all too well. Youthful drivers cause many more accidents than older drivers. As a result they cause insurance premiums to rise. If you are a parent with a teen driver you probably cover the added cost out of your pocket. I feel your pain with two young adults.

4) Non-Standard – Many consumers are not aware there even is such a thing as standard auto insurance companies and non-standard auto insurance companies. Premiums are generally higher with a non-standard carrier. If you have had incidents on your driving record you may be with a non-standard carrier. That does not mean you are stuck with a non-standard carrier forever.

Contact your Arizona independent insurance agent or insurance broker and let them re-shop your auto insurance, even if you like your current agent. We will work hard to give you great customer service so the real question is how much money we can save you.

Even if you must remain with a non-standard carrier sometimes you may find a different non-standard carrier offering a lower rate. This is why you always want to use an independent insurance agent who can compare and shop around on your behalf.

Black Box for Cars

If you buy a new vehicle model there is a extremely good chance it will be installed with a black box device that will keep a log of most of your driving habits. It is estimated that 90% or more of all new vehicles have this black box pre-installed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering making the installation of these black boxes mandatory in every new vehicle. This device has been installed in some models for many, many years already and the public has been none the wiser. According to this article approximately 96% of all new vehicles already have this device installed.

What is the reason, you ask?

More than likely – to help piece together the final moments before an accident – though proponents often point to the safety aspects of the black box. The box can tell your speed, braking and acceleration, all great things to know if you are researching an accident. The device includes sensors under the seats so the device can confirm how many occupants were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The technical term for the black box is Event Data Recorder.

Ironically the EDR was conceived and designed for consumer protection – telling the safety features in your vehicle whether to pull your seat belt tighter and whether to inflate the air bag. However, it has evolved into a way to assist in insurance investigations, lawsuits, and even criminal cases.

GM and Ford have been installing the devices in certain vehicles for at least a decade, according to one report.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

An auto insurance organization in New Jersey completed a study and found 28% of residents there admitted to texting and driving. Another 27% said they programmed their GPS while driving.

15% of New Jersey drivers said their own texting caused them to narrowly avoid causing an accident and 20% said they know someone involved in an accident resulting from texting while driving.

Texting while driving is illegal in New Jersey.

Chrysler Defies Recall Requests

The government claims upwards of 2.7 million Jeeps are at risk of a fuel tank fire in the event of a rear end collision.

Chrysler was sent a letter by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encouraging the company to recall Grand Cherokees from 1993 – 2004 along with Jeep Liberty models from 2002 – 2007 voluntarily.

However, Jeep’s response is to claim the vehicles are safe and a recall is not needed. It is a rare step in the motor industry. The government can go to court and force Jeep to comply. The government has 32 such incidents where rear impact crashed in the Grand Cherokee caused 44 deaths. The Liberty model was involved in five rear end crashes that took seven lives.