What Is High-Risk Car Insurance? A Guide

  • Car Insurance

High-risk car insurance is reserved for drivers who fall into the high-risk category, which includes anyone with multiple traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and other issues that result in higher costs for car insurance companies.

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If you’re in the high-risk category, your auto insurance quotes will be higher, and it may take several years for things to return to normal.

When are You Considered a High-Risk Driver?

You’re considered to be high-risk as soon as the statistics suggest that you’re more likely to make a claim.

For instance, you’ll be given the high-risk label if you are responsible for a major car accident or receive a DUI conviction. You’ll be given the same treatment if you have speeding tickets, run a red light, make an illegal turn, or fail to stop at the scene of an accident.

But that’s not all.

You also fall into the high-risk category if you’re a teenage driver who has just passed their test. Young drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in an accident and the same is true for male drivers and inexperienced drivers.

As a 16-year-old male getting behind the wheel for the first time, you’re considered to be just as much of a liability, if not more so, than an experienced driver who has previously been convicted of a serious driving offense.

The same is true for drivers over the age of 70, as the rate of accidents and claims increase after this milestone. That’s why many states insist on regular renewals along with vision tests, reaction tests, and letters from physicians.

How will Offenses Increase my Premiums?

Traffic violations can increase your car insurance rates and those increases will remain for several years. A DUI works in the same way, although, in this case, you may face an immediate suspension, as well as fines, and it could be some time before you’re allowed behind the wheel again.

The following price increases are based on national averages, but all auto insurance companies have different underwriting processes and take several other factors into consideration.

  • Driving Under the Influence = 70% to 80%
  • Reckless Driving = 75%
  • Racing = 70%
  • Speeding (30mph or more over the limit) = 30%
  • Texting While Driving = 22%
  • Distracted Driving = 21%
  • Speeding (15 to 30 mph over the limit) = 20%
  • Illegal Passing = 20%
  • Speeding (up to 15 mph over the limit) = 18%
  • Illegal Turn = 15%
  • Failure to Yield or Stop = 15%
  • Talking on Phone = 15%
  • Driving without Car Insurance = 10%
  • Not Wearing a Seatbelt (in New York) = 3%

Cost of High-Risk Insurance in Every State

Your location is one of the biggest factors determining the cost of your car insurance quotes and this is true whether you have a clean driving record or several moving violations.

In the list below, we have included the average cost of car insurance in each state, followed by the potential increases from speeding tickets and DUI/DWI convictions.

  • Alabama – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,670; Cost with One DUI = $2,500
  • Alaska – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,800
  • Arizona – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,450; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,780; Cost with One DUI = $1,800
  • Arkansas – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,400
  • California – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Cost with One DUI = $4,000
  • Colorado – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,780; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,400
  • Connecticut – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,650; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,300; Cost with One DUI = $3,200
  • Delaware – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • D.C. – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,900; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • Florida – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,230; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $3,000; Cost with One DUI = $3,700
  • Georgia – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • Hawaii – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Cost with One DUI = $4,200
  • Idaho – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,050; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Illinois – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Indiana – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,180; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Iowa – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,050; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,280; Cost with One DUI = $1,700
  • Kansas – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Kentucky – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,100; Cost with One DUI = $3,600
  • Louisiana – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $2,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,700; Cost with One DUI = $4,200
  • Maine – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,000; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Maryland – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • Massachusetts – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,250; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,350
  • Michigan – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $2,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $3,400; Cost with One DUI = $5,800
  • Minnesota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,380; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,700; Cost with One DUI = $2,350
  • Mississippi – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Cost with One DUI = $2,300
  • Missouri – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,280; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Montana – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Nebraska – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Cost with One DUI = $1,750
  • Nevada – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • New Hampshire – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • New Jersey – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,520; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • New Mexico – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,000
  • New York – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,450; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • North Carolina – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $4,400
  • North Dakota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,170; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Ohio – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,180; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,250; Cost with One DUI = $1,700
  • Oklahoma – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,500; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,500
  • Oregon – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • Pennsylvania – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • Rhode Island – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Cost with One DUI = $3,350
  • South Carolina – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,440; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • South Dakota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,270; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Tennessee – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,550; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Texas – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,300
  • Utah – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Vermont – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Cost with One DUI = $2,050
  • Virginia – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,070; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,200; Cost with One DUI = $1,550
  • Washington – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $2,000
  • West Virginia – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,480; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,750; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Wisconsin – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $950; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,950
  • Wyoming – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Cost with One DUI = $2,200

High-Risk Insurance Options

Many insurance carriers will still offer you a policy if you are in the high-risk category, you’ll just be quoted much higher prices until you clean up your driving record.

Try the following tips to ensure you get the best car insurance even when you are considered to be a higher risk.

1. Improve Your Credit Score

Underwriters look at your credit score to determine your risk. They know, for instance, that someone with bad credit is more likely to make a claim on their policy. As a result, bad credit drivers are charged much higher rates than those with good credit.

There are a few likely scenarios here. The first is that people with good credit are more financially responsible. Not only are they less likely to drive fast or recklessly, but they are also more likely to pay for small accidents out of pocket.

Perhaps more importantly, a good credit driver is more likely to pay for their premiums on time, thus causing fewer problems for the insurer. 

Maintain a good credit history by meeting all your monthly payments on time; avoid applying for any new loans or credit cards; increase your credit limits where possible, and clear as much of your current debt balances as you can.

All of these simple methods will ensure your credit score stays strong.

2. Take a Defensive Driving Course

A defensive driving course can undo some of the damage done by a traffic violation and give you the experience and skills you need to stay safe behind the wheel. A knowledgeable driver is a safe driver, which is why defensive driving certificates can save you money.

​3. Buy a Suitable Car

If you’re a new driver or you’re making a transition from one vehicle to the next and have the luxury of, then you’re in a very strong position. 

Many young drivers, for instance, will get the fastest and most powerful car they can afford. Either that, or they save every cent they can and purchase the latest trendy new vehicle. But neither of these options will result in an affordable car insurance policy.

A new car typically costs more to insure than an older car, as the cost of replacing it and repairing the electronics will be much higher. As for sports cars and luxury cars, they have much lower safety ratings and, as a result, will almost certainly drive those insurance premiums sky-high.

The ideal car is one that has a high safety rating, is affordable, comes with numerous safety features and anti-theft features, and doesn’t have many custom parts or hard-to-replace parts.

Not only will car insurance companies look more fondly on vehicles that fit this mold, but you can also take more liberties with regards to the deductible and the coverage options.

For example, a brand-new car will need New Car Replacement coverage, as well as collision cover and comprehensive cover. That way, if you hit a wall, a tree or an animal, or your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged following an extreme weather event, you don’t stand to lose all of your investment.

If the car is cheap, you can dismiss those potentially expensive options, knowing that you can cover all minor repairs yourself and write off the vehicle entirely if anything major happens to it.

4. Compare and Contrast

Hundreds of insurance companies operate in every single state and you can sign up over the phone, online or via an insurance agent. With so many choices and possibilities, you have no excuse not to shop around.

A car insurance policy is like any other big purchase you make. You wouldn’t buy a brand new $2,000 computer after visiting just one store, nor would you drop several grand on the first car you see.

With car insurance, you need to consult many reps from many major insurance companies (Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, Progressive, Nationwide) as well as a few local and specialized ones (The General, USAA).

It’s the only way to guarantee the best rates and this applies whether you have a clean driving history, or one filled with violations and insurance claims.

5. Get Some Car Insurance Discounts

Reduce your car insurance premiums by checking all possible discounts and getting as many of them as you can. Car insurance discounts differ from provider to provider and from state to state, but generally, they include:

  • Good Student Discount: Many state authorities require insurance carriers to offer discounts for students who maintain a high-grade point average. This is also true for high-risk auto insurance providers and for all qualifying applicants, the discounts can be incredibly generous.
  • Safety Features Discount: The addition of front-and-side airbags could save you as much as 40% on comprehensive insurance coverage. The risk of serious injuries and fatalities drops considerably when these basic safety features are installed. Discounts are also offered for anti-lock brakes, car alarms, and other features designed to keep drivers safe and prevent the vehicle from being stolen or vandalized.
  • Multi-Car Discount: Add multiple vehicles to the same policy to qualify for a discount. If you have multiple cars and drivers in your household, this discount is a must.
  • Multi-Policy Discount: Insurers use this discount to encourage policyholders to sign up for additional services. For instance, most major standard and non-standard auto insurance carriers will give you a discount if you purchase homeowners insurance along with auto insurance.
  • Student Away Discount: If you’re a young driver who lives and studies on campus, you may qualify for this discount, which takes advantage of the fact you will spend much less time on the roads.
  • Senior Discount: Some states offer discounts to senior drivers, and those drivers could save even more if they have a long and clean driving record behind them. Bear in mind, however, that many states also require additional vision/reaction tests to ensure you’re still capable and responsible.
  • Low Mileage: Mileage based car insurance providers charge you by the mile. You may pay more if you drive a lot but could save yourself a few dollars if you drive very little. The major providers offer something similar, installing apps that monitor your driving habits and use the data gathered to tweak your insurance premiums.
  • Married Homeowner Discount: Although it’s not a discount as such, you will receive a much cheaper auto insurance policy if you own your home and are married. Insurers covet married policyholders as they are more responsible, less likely to claim, and they can also get a two-for-one deal.

Bottom Line: Higher Premiums but Still Affordable

Receiving the high-risk label doesn’t mean you’re doomed forever, nor does it mean you’ll be paying through the nose for the most basic of car insurance policies. 

You’ll pay more than you would for a standard insurance policy, but by doing a little research and a lot of comparison shopping, and by keeping a clean driving record from this moment on, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars and avoid concerning rate increases in the future.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Figure Review: The Fastest Way to Tap Home Equity?

I received a letter in the mail the other day from a fintech company called “Figure” that claims it can approve me for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) online in five minutes.

Better yet, they can fund the thing in as little as five days, assuming I’m able to use their remote online notary and that five-day period doesn’t include a weekend or holiday.

You can thank their 100% digital application for that, along with their proprietary blockchain solution known as “Provenance,” which is also being used by Caliber Home Loans, an unaffiliated lender.

It all sounds lightning fast, so let’s learn more about Figure to determine if they could be a good solution for those looking to tap their home equity.

Figure Calls It the Fastest HELOC on the Planet

One of Figure’s taglines is “Fastest HELOC on the Planet,” which sounds pretty darn quick.

We know they promise to get you approved and funded fast, which is great if you need cash ASAP for say, pressing home renovations, but speed isn’t everything.

The underlying product also has to provide good value relative to similar offerings in the marketplace. It also has to make sense to take one out in the first place.

Most homeowners are aware of home equity products, with the most common and popular probably the home equity line of credit, or HELOC for short.

The Figure Home Equity Line is kind of a hybrid of two products, the HELOC and the home equity loan, though in some instances it may just act like a home equity loan.

How the Figure Home Equity Line Works

  • Apply online in minutes and get funding in as quickly as 5 days
  • Full loan amount is drawn at closing and deposited in your bank account
  • Cash can be used for anything you wish, home renovations, pay off debt, bills, etc.
  • Interest rate is fixed for the entire term, which can vary from 5-30 years
  • Can make additional draws as you repay the initial draw

As noted, we need to learn more about the product itself before making a verdict. Here’s how this thing works.

After approval, which promises to be fast, you receive the entire amount of your initial draw.

So if you request $50,000 from Figure, they give you the full $50,000 at closing.

They also tack on the loan origination fee, which in the example on their website is 3%. So your left with $51,500 because it’s financed as well.

But this fee can apparently range between 0-4.99%, so you may not have to pay anything.

From there, you get anywhere from 5-30 years to pay back the outstanding balance, depending on the term you choose.

How the Figure Line of Credit Is Unique

Figure compare

It differs from a traditional HELOC in that the rate is fixed, more similar to a closed-end home equity loan.

And you take the entire loan amount out at origination, which again is more like a home equity loan than a HELOC, which usually has a small (or no) minimum opening draw amount.

Another difference is that the Figure Home Equity Line is an open-end product that features a draw period, like a HELOC.

As you repay the initial draw, you can take additional draws up to 20% of your original loan amount, which is the initial draw amount plus the origination fee.

These subsequent draws must be at least $500, but cannot exceed 20% of the total loan amount or the available limit on your line.

If you take subsequent draws, the interest rate at the time of the draw applies to each draw and is fixed as well.

The interest rate is based on the prime rate at the time of the draw, plus a fixed margin, which likely varies based on your loan parameters, such as credit score, occupancy type, LTV, and so on.

These additional draws will not extend your loan term, though they can only be taken 2-5 years from your origination date, depending on the term of your loan.

Some Issues to Consider

One downside to a home equity loan is you may not need all the money right away, yet you’re borrowing it all anyway. With a traditional HELOC, you can draw only what you need over time.

So if you have an immediate need, you pull out X amount of cash at that time, as opposed to paying interest on it even when it’s just sitting there.

The downside to a HELOC is that it has a variable rate tied to prime, so you don’t get the security of a fixed interest rate.

Figure’s rate is fixed, even though it’s tied to prime, though rates can vary if you take additional draws and the prime rate has gone up or down since origination.

The gotcha with Figure is that the origination fee is based on the initial draw, which can be quite large depending on your chosen loan amount.

So you’d really only want to take out what you need today, not what you might need. This differs from HELOCs, which are often opened just as an emergency credit line, and may never be touched.

Ultimately, you probably want to compare Figure’s product to other home equity loans because you may never actually use the additional draw feature.

If you can find a home equity loan with no origination fee and a low, fixed interest rate, it may be more competitive.

Figure Home Equity Line Key Facts

  • Loan amounts from $15,000 to $150,000
  • Available on single-family homes and townhouses
  • Property can be primary residence, second home, or investment property
  • Minimum credit score is 600
  • Maximum LTV is 95%
  • Loan terms of 5, 10, 15, and 30 years
  • Only fee is an origination charge of 0%-4.99% of initial draw
  • No annual fee, prepayment penalty, or early closure fee
  • Discount for using AutoPay to make monthly payments
  • Figure has a 4.8/5 Trustpilot rating

Figure Now Offers Mortgage Refinances Too

Figure has since expanded into mortgage refinances as well, offering conventional financing on single-family homes and townhomes.

The property has to be owner-occupied at the moment, though that may change in the future.

The minimum FICO score accepted is 640, the max LTV is 80%, and the loan amount must be at or below the conforming loan limit for your county.

They only offer a 30-year fixed product currently, but you can take cash out up to $500,000.

Like their home equity product, it’s a 100% digital application that they say can be completed in around 10 minutes thanks to automated income and asset verification.

In terms of cost, they charge a 1% loan origination fee, which is common, though not all mortgage lenders charge such as fee.

Where Is Figure Currently Available?

At the moment, you can use Figure in most states, but there are still a few locations where they’ve yet to break ground.

For Figure home equity lines, the following 38 states (plus Washington D.C.) are live: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, VA, WA, WI, WY.

While they promise more states to come, they’re missing Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.

When it comes to mortgage refinances, they’re live in 32 states, including: AK, AL, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, PA, SD, TN, WA, WI, WV.

States that are missing include Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

5 Weird Reality Checks You’ll Get If You Buy a Country Home

City living may have its perks, but combine the congestion and crowds with the threat of the novel coronavirus, and it’s no wonder that many city dwellers these days are fleeing to greener pastures (or thinking about it).

But what is it really like to transition from the hustle and bustle of a city to the more relaxed pace of rural life? As a New Yorker who bought a summer cottage with my husband in upstate New York six years ago, I’ve come to realize that country life isn’t always so serene. In fact, certain things have happened out yonder that make me very glad that we’ve kept New York City as our main residence.

Curious about what curveballs might await if you buy a country home? Here are a few of my more surprising discoveries.

Country life: Is it right for you?
Country life: Is it right for you?

William Geddes

1. The country’s serene silence is often punctuated by gunfire

People in the country love their guns. I’m fully behind the Second Amendment, but we didn’t realize how much shooting takes place in small towns, especially at local gun and hunt clubs, of which there are many in our upstate county.

In fact, there’s one right across the road from our house, and the members shoot skeet early every Sunday morning—without fail. It’s loud and probably should’ve been a deal breaker for us when we considered the house, but we bought it anyway.  Now we take a long walk with the dog when the popping begins.

2. Cute woodland critters will eat everything you plant

I listened to the nursery specialists and planted the flowers that deer weren’t supposed to eat, but they still come by regularly to nibble. Apparently, in a bad winter, if these animals are hungry enough they’ll forgo their usual diet and consume just about anything.

So I nixed the flowers and went with wild grasses and herbs—and the bunnies thanked me by enjoying a nice salad every chance they could. As a last resort, I’m now letting the garden slowly grow over to grass and adding mulch to tamp down any errant weeds. My dream of colorful flower beds has turned into a patchy lawn with brown bits for accent.

Dozens of flats later,and still the garden is spotty
Dozens of flats later,and still the garden is spotty

William Geddes

3. Cute woodland critters probably live inside your house

Rodents are expected in a 200-plus-year-old house, so we set traps every weekend during the colder months. (My husband is charged with mouse eradication.) But I never expected the mice would nest—and birth babies—between our bed sheets. After finding a furry family tucked inside my comfy queen bed, going to sleep has become a bit of a nail-biter, since I’m always wondering what I might find there next.

4. Dogs can’t run free

Our rescue pup pretends to guard the front lawn.
Our rescue pup pretends to guard the front lawn.

William Geddes

One great joy in owning a country house (we thought) would be the ability to open the door and let Django, our sweet dog, race around. But when she did venture forth, everything went south.

While chasing a possum, Django apparently charged (and frightened) the neighbor across the way and her two lap dogs. Said neighbor let me know that this was not OK on her property. Clearly getting to know our neighbors was getting off to a great start!

Next, Django proceeded to chase a mouse into the downspout of another neighbor’s house and then punctured the metal with her jaws to get the creature out. Needless to say, I was on the hook for a new downspout that had to be custom-fit and painted to match my (now irate) neighbor’s house.

5. Country dogs are huge and scary

Meanwhile, my neighbor on the other side of me has an enormous black shepherd that, I kid you not, looks a whole lot like a black bear. Even worse, this dog doesn’t have tags that jingle when it approaches, so every time it appears on our lawn, I’m convinced it’s a bear and start to panic.

Every. Time.

I’m thinking of giving this neighbor a set of cute tags for the dog’s collar with the hope that it’ll be worn and my blood pressure will finally recover. Until then, I keep practicing deep breaths as I sink back into the deck chair on the porch of my country house and try—and fail—to relax.

All I’m saying is if you think owning a country house ushers you into a life of peace and quiet, don’t be so sure.

It wasn't me—I didn't do it!
It wasn’t me—I didn’t do it!

William Geddes

Source: realtor.com

7 Myths About Buying a Foreclosure Home That’ll Surprise Deal Seekers

Considering buying a foreclosed home? Any home buyer looking to pay below market value should be paying attention to foreclosure listings. But the process of buying a repossessed home is full of misconceptions—and we’re here to help separate the false stereotypes from the reality.

These are some common myths that need to be set straight.

Myth 1: The house must be bought in cash

That all depends on what stage a foreclosure property is in, says Bill Gassett with Re/Max Executive Realty in Hopkinton, MA. If the home is in pre-foreclosure or “short sale,” the buyer does not need to shell out an all-cash offer.

“They can procure a mortgage just like any traditional sale,” Gassett says.

If the bank sells a property at public auction, the mortgage holder usually does require that the home is bought with cash and mortgage contingencies are not allowed in the sale.

If you don’t have a lot of cash on hand but know you’d like to buy a home in foreclosure, Bobbi Dempsey, author of “Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures,” suggests drawing from a line of credit obtained using current property.

When the foreclosure is a bank-owned property, Gassett says the bank is usually actively looking for an end buyer.

“The purchaser of a bank-owned property is almost always able to procure a mortgage as part of the contract with the bank,” he says.

Myth 2: Buyers forfeit their right to have a home inspection

Definitely not true! Buyers have the right to do a home inspection and ask for repairs, but banks or sellers aren’t required to make them, says Rob Jensen, broker and president of Rob Jensen Co., in Las Vegas. But home inspections are actually encouraged since nearly all banks sell their foreclosed homes in as-is condition, and want to avoid liability down the line.

“It is common for structural, electrical, and plumbing issues that pertain to the safety and integrity of the home to be repaired, but there’s no guarantee,” says Jensen. “Every bank and every deal is different.” However, don’t count on the bank to fix those cosmetic issues.

Jensen says paint, carpet stains, and other minor blemishes are not likely to be addressed.

Buyers considering a foreclosure should make sure the sales contract has a contingency clause that requires a passing home inspection. This way, buyers can either choose to accept any issues with the home or back out of the contract.

With courthouse sales, however, homes are sold as they are, with no inspection.

Myth 3: Foreclosure homes require huge overhauls

It’s incorrect to assume that all homes in foreclosure are in shoddy condition. A large percentage of foreclosures are the result of job loss, illness, death, divorce, or even fluctuations in the real estate market, which means many of these homes were well maintained and may need only minor touch-ups.

“It quite often depends on the attitude of who last owned the property and whether or not they went out of their way to destroy the place,” says Jensen.

Myth 4: Foreclosures sell at heavy discounts

A common belief is that a foreclosure home will sell for at least half of its original value. But remember, the bank still wants to make a profit. Buying a foreclosure home can save you green, but the seller will hold out for the maximum price possible.

Home buyers often make a beeline to foreclosures because they think they can get a home for pennies on the dollar. But, Jensen says, by the time they factor in the time and renovation costs, they may reconsider.

“Foreclosures can provide opportunity to save, but you usually need time and extra cash to take advantage of it,” he says.

Myth 5: Foreclosure homes carry hidden costs

The fear of hidden costs may send would-be buyers running, but it’s not necessarily a worthwhile concern.

“A lot of the costs involved are typical for any real estate purchase—things like inspections, appraisals, transfer fees, etc.,” says Dempsey.

Yes, repairs or liens on a foreclosure can prove costly, but a home inspection will reveal any potential problems during escrow (this is where that inspection contingency comes in handy).

Also, the property deed can be researched on a foreclosed home. And, buying a HUD home or REO (or real estate–owned property) means the Department of Housing and Urban Development is required to clear the title of liens before it resells the home. Lenders will usually clear them, too, but buyers should make sure of that before they purchase.

“Generally speaking, there are not any more hidden expenses in purchasing a foreclosed home than there would be in a traditional sale,” says Gassett.

Myth 6: Foreclosures lose value faster than regular homes

Foreclosed homes actually tend to rise quickly in value. With any home, there’s no guarantee it will deliver increases, but buying a foreclosure sold below market value can provide instant equity. And any extra work done to the home can only increase the value.

“There are a variety of factors that influence home values, including economic conditions, local market conditions, and the overall condition of the property,” says Andrew Leff, senior vice president and head of strategic alliance programs at Wells Fargo in New York City.

Myth 7: Buying a foreclosure is risky

Let’s be honest. Any real estate purchase comes with risk. Gassett says the only scenario where there’s some extreme risk is when buying at auction, since you are buying the property as is. Buyers are not able to conduct a professional home inspection and often not even able to see the inside of the property. Plus, they will be inheriting whatever came with the home.

“For example, if there is a lien on the property, you could become responsible for it. When buying a home at auction, it is essential to do a title search first,” says Gassett.

Leff says buyers should be informed before entering into any type of real estate transaction. This means aligning themselves with resources that can help them navigate the purchase and financing process with confidence.

“A knowledgeable real estate agent and lender can help ensure that a buyer is making an educated decision so that the property and any resulting financing is the right fit for them,” says Leff.

Source: realtor.com

19 of the Best Home Decor Shops and Galleries in New York, According to Top Designers – Architectural Digest

NiLu

“As a longtime Harlem resident, I believe the presence of mom-and-pop shops is vital to maintaining a sense of community in our neighborhood. I’ve known owners Katrina Parris and her husband, Mark Pinn, for several years—when they first opened [now-shuttered] Katrina Parris Flowers—so it’s good to see they’re still servicing our area with their current shop NiLu, which promotes artworks, decorative housewares, home fragrances, and gifts by local makers and creatives.” —Keita Turner

191 Malcolm X Boulevard

NiLu.

NiLu.

Photo: Courtesy of NiLu

Noble Showroom by Incausa

“I’m a sucker for a gorgeous basket, but I also love Incausa’s emphasis on process and the makers behind each product.” —Kelly Behun

162 Noble Street, Brooklyn

Noble Showroom by Incausa.

Noble Showroom by Incausa.

Photo: Vinicius Vieira de Vieira

MoMA Design Store

“This shop is perfect for gifts and decor for the design-obsessed. It also stocks fun objects that are awesome conversation starters.” —Joy Moyler

11 West 53rd Street; 44 West 53rd Street; 81 Spring Street

MoMA Design Store.

MoMA Design Store.

Photo: Noah Kalina/MoMA Design Store

Ralph Lauren

“You can never go wrong with the high style of R.L. I love the barware for gift-giving. The bedding is outstanding.” —Joy Moyler

888 Madison Avenue

Ralph Lauren Madison Avenue.

Ralph Lauren Madison Avenue.

Photo: Joshua W. Mchugh 

Ralph Pucci

“Pucci has a fantastic design program, bridging exceptional European and American designers to the U.S. market. His collection of designers are classic and timeless, all connected by their impeccable focus on craftsmanship and hypnotic detail. Hervé van der Straeten and Eric Schmitt, in particular, are masters among many found there.” —Tony Ingrao

44 West 18th Street

Ralph Pucci.
Ralph Pucci.Photo: Antoine Bootz

Roman and Williams Guild

“This is the place for wonderful handmade ceramics, dinnerware, candlesticks, and vases. The pieces are seductive.” —Joy Moyler

53 Howard Street

Roman and Williams Guild.

Roman and Williams Guild.

Photo: Adrian Gaut

Shop Cooper Hewitt

“I love a good museum shop. Shop Cooper Hewitt is the perfect choice for finding unique and stylish housewarming gifts or decorative wares. Curated by the team at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Shop is filled with eclectic treasures that will bring both delight and inspiration to your environment.” —Keita Turner

2 East 91st Street

SHOP Cooper Hewitt.
SHOP Cooper Hewitt.Photo: Matt Flynn

Source: architecturaldigest.com

Home Prices vs. COVID-19: Will They Go Up or Down?

Posted on May 7th, 2020

It’s time to take a look at how COVID-19 could impact home prices given the massive disruption to the local, state, national, and global economy.

On the one hand, inflation is expected due to all the government spending, which could lead to a price increase since real estate often acts as an inflation hedge.

Conversely, if tons of borrowers lose their homes due to unemployment, we could see properties flood the market. And when combined with fewer eligible buyers, it could lead to a supply glut.

Consider the Lack of Housing Supply and Mortgage Quality

  • The housing market has three great things working in its favor right now
  • Housing supply is low enough even if buyer demand wavers during this uncertain time
  • The quality of today’s mortgages is excellent any many homeowners have lots of equity
  • Mortgage rates are at record lows, which further increases home buyer appetite

First, let’s compare today’s housing market to the one in 2006. They really couldn’t be any different, both from an inventory standpoint and from a mortgage perspective.

Simply put, back then there were way too many homes being built, and not enough demand to meet that supply.

At the same time, banks and lenders were doling out home loans to anyone with a pulse, knowing they could quickly bundle the underlying mortgages and sell them to Wall Street shortly after origination.

Taken together, it was a recipe for disaster. Homeowners had massive mortgages they couldn’t truly afford that were often set to adjust higher just months after they took them out.

They also had no skin in the game, aka home equity, so there wasn’t much incentive to stick around and try in vain to keep a sinking ship afloat.

Today, Americans are sitting on the most home equity in history, and very little of it is being tapped thanks to tighter underwriting guidelines that have only become more restrictive since COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

Meanwhile, there’s an inventory shortage that has likely only worsened as fewer existing homeowners list their properties, and mortgage rates are at record lows.

In short, homeowners today have tons of equity and historically cheap mortgages, and home buyers have fewer properties to choose from and ridiculously low mortgage rates at their disposal.

The Great Unknown Ahead

  • Ultimately nobody knows what the future holds or how we recover post-coronavirus
  • 1 in 5 Americans have already filed for first-time unemployment benefits since mid-March
  • That will likely worsen over time and lead to increased mortgage forbearance requests
  • The big question – is this income hit temporary for most homeowners or permanent?

Now it’s wonderful that today’s mortgages are mostly pristine, and that homeowners have tons of equity to serve as a cushion if forced to sell.

But we’re living in a very fluid and strange environment at the moment that could change in no time at all.

For example, one in five Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, and that’s likely only going to get worse.

So even if many of these homeowners had super affordable mortgages, a lack of income and the inability to tap their equity could put them at risk quickly.

To counter that we’ve got the mortgage forbearance offered via the CARES Act, which is great for struggling homeowners but only lasts for 12 months.

What happens after that? At best, if they simply have to resume making normal payments, there’s a decent chance not everyone will be re-employed and able to do so.

The world has changed and may not go back to “normal,” and thus not everyone will have the realistic ability to return to making monthly mortgage payments.

Even if they’re offered a loan modification to lower their payment, it still might not be enough if they can’t find work.

The same goes for investment properties such as those offered by Airbnb and other short-term vacation companies, or kiddie condos owned by parents in college towns, which might remain vacant.

If this is the case, we could see a flood of new properties hit the market similar to what we saw back in 2008, 2009, etc.

That’s where these two very different housing markets could begin to intersect. The good news is we didn’t have a supply glut before COVID-19 came around.

Back in 2006, we had a massive oversupply that was further exacerbated by a financial bubble, so it was a one-two punch.

Additionally, one could argue that both homeowners and lenders were to blame for what happened back then.

Sure, lenders offered high-risk products, but borrowers happily pulled out billions in cash out along the way to spend on who knows what.

Today, you can’t really blame a homeowner who is unable to make their mortgage payment due to the coronavirus epidemic.

And it’d look really bad to foreclose on this type of homeowner, which could limit the damage and keep inventory tight.

But here’s the thing – no one can sit here today and say they know what’s going to happen with COVID-19. And data models can’t forecast properly in this environment.

So really anything right now is a guess.

What Are We Seeing So Far in the Housing Market?

homebuyer demand

  • Home sellers mostly haven’t budged on listing prices
  • Prospective sellers are ready to go once stay-at-home orders are lifted
  • Amenities like big yards and home offices are becoming more important to buyers
  • Home buying demand is recovering and listing prices are up from a year ago

Everyone seems to want to call this event temporary – a moment in time that will magically fix itself once the economy opens up.

I don’t subscribe to that, as much as I wish it were true. You can’t simply erase what’s happened the past several months, nor what lies ahead in the aftermath.

Speaking of, are we even “after” yet, or is this still in the early innings. While that too can be debated all day long, again no one really knows.

But we can look at early impact to get some sort of a clue.

The MBA reported that seasonally adjusted home purchase applications increased 6% from a week earlier, with even bigger gains seen in California and New York.

The ever-cheerful National Association of Realtors reported that home sellers have not lowered their listing prices as a result of COVID-19.

In the latest week, 73% of Realtors said their clients did not reduce listing prices to attract home buyers.

That’s been pretty steady for the past few weeks since NAR began reporting on it.

Additionally, they said today that 77% of prospective sellers “are preparing to sell their homes following the end of stay-at-home orders.”

In other words, once this blows over it’s going to be real estate business as usual, sans discount!

Interestingly, buyer needs might have changed – they now want a big backyard to play in and grow their own food, along with a home office and possibly a home gym too.

The less is more thing may no longer be a hot trend, nor is urban living possibly as popular. The Burbs are back!

Over at Redfin, it’s also good news with nearly 53,000 homes hitting the market during the week ending April 24th, compared to just over 48,000 for the week ended April 13th.

Additionally, pending home sales have increased from less than 31,000 to more than 32,500 during those same periods.

Despite the rise in new listings, there were less than 700,000 homes for sale in Redfin markets nationwide, the lowest amount the real estate brokerage has seen during the past five years.

That might explain why the median listing price was $308,000 for the week ending April 24th, up 1% compared to the same period last year.

Home buyer demand has also begun to climb back after taking a hit in March, a sign potential buyers are unfazed and ready to move forward.

A Home Price Projection from Zillow

Zillow scenarios

  • Company sees home prices falling just 2-3% by the end of 2020
  • With a recovery in home prices throughout 2021
  • Their pessimistic model sees a 3-4% decline in prices and no recovery in 2021
  • Home sales are expected to fall 50-60% in all their models before rebounding at varying speeds

Now let’s take a look at a projection from Zillow, the creator of the Zestimate that should know a thing or two about home prices.

They have forecast a mere 2-3% drop in home prices through the end of 2020, which will be followed by a recovery in prices throughout 2021.

That means a small drop this year that is recovered next year could mean no material change for home prices due to COVID-19.

So they appear to be on the “this is temporary” wagon. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, home prices were expected to rise 3.3% on average in 2020, and 2.7% in 2021, per the Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which includes a panel of more than 100 economists and experts.

But again, their “proprietary macroeconomic and housing data” might not be well-equipped to take into account a pandemic.

They have three different scenarios for home prices, including an optimistic, medium, and pessimistic outlook.

At best, they drop only 1-2% this year, at worse they fall 3-4% and “remain depressed through 2021.”

In all cases, home sales are expected to take a big hit of 50-60%, though when they recover varies.

That might hurt real estate agents and mortgage lenders if mortgage refinance volume begins to waver.

The good news, despite all the horrible news, is that homeowners are a lot better off today than they were in 2006, which means more of them should be able to get through this crisis without losing their home.

And that should bode well for home prices.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York

After recently taking my first excursion to a snow-covered Lake Tahoe, I was reminded of how much I  love the look of a wintery cabin – when done well. Case in point, Scribner’s Lodge in the Catskills. Once a kitschy 1960’s motor inn, the space has been completely reimagined into a alpine-inspired cool kids hangout.

Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34

A modern cabin looks relies on the simplest of elements. Pine. Whitewashed walls. Strong injections of black. But there’s nothing overly complicated. Utilitarian comforts are all you need, but there’s also no need to sacrifice style.

Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34

While we probably can’t live this simply all the time, it’s such a relief – a breath of fresh mountain air- when we do for even a few days. As I make my way through the Marie Kondo show on Netflix, I’m going to being taking a good look at what is absolutely necessary to have around.

Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34Modern Cabin Vibes in Upstate New York on apartment 34

So while your inbox may be inundated by brands who want you to think spring has arrived two months early, I say escape to a cozy cabin while you can still can. I’m making my reservation right now.

For more design inspiration, CLICK HERE.

images via nicole franzen, colin king, remodelista, and north, the cuff

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Source: apartment34.com

What Is a Bedroom Community? All About Those In-Demand Locales Just Outside Cities

For people looking for a place to live that’s budget-friendly and near a major city, a bedroom community may be the ideal choice. It was for Susan French Gennace, a writer who grew up in Lehigh Valley, PA—a bedroom community of both Philadelphia and New York City.

“When I got a job in New York, I couldn’t afford to actually live there, so I made the commute,” she recalls.

Many people just like Gennace work for city-based companies and then head home to bedroom communities, usually within an hour’s drive, because they enjoy either the residential environment or the lower cost of housing—or both.

Simply put, “bedroom community” is used to describe a suburb or exurb populated primarily by professionals who commute to work in the city.

Characteristics of a bedroom community

Houses in these communities generally offer more space and a lower cost of living. Because there’s less hustle and bustle, people are seemingly more relaxed.

The challenge with bedroom communities, however, is that they can be a significant distance away from urban centers. So even though you get plenty of benefits, you may still have a lengthy work commute.

“Longer commutes and more traffic mean you have to leave earlier in the morning to avoid rush-hour traffic and you get home later at night—just in time to go to bed and wake up to do it all over again,” Gennace says.

Unlike large cities, bedroom communities often have limited options for entertainment, dining out, public transportation, employment opportunities, shopping, and schools.

“Residents who move to bedroom communities typically consist of couples with children where one or both parents travel to the city for their jobs,” says Dave Hyman, a Re/Max real estate agent based in Encinitas, CA. “Rather than apartments or condos, people in bedroom communities tend to live in single-family homes.”

Is a bedroom community for you?

Where you choose to live and work is obviously a personal choice, for which you must weigh both the pros and the cons. For some young adults, bedroom communities only emphasize what they’re missing.

“They are a reminder that you are somewhat close to where all the fun and action is, but far enough away that visiting the city is still a special occasion,” Gennace says. “Some people might complain how boring they are and count down the days until they can finally leave them.”

But for many working professionals, the cons of bedroom communities are minor compared to the following perks:

  • Affordability: Housing costs and taxes on property, food, and sales tend to be lower.
  • Less noise: Noise from automobile traffic, emergency vehicles, and construction projects is replaced by relative peace and quiet.
  • More privacy: Crowding is not a problem as homes tend to be more spread out, keeping nosy neighbors at bay.
  • Lower crime rates: Let’s be clear: Crime happens everywhere. But in bedroom communities, a smaller population means fewer people are behind bars.

Source: realtor.com

Mercury Insurance Review

  • Car Insurance

Founded in 1961, Mercury is an insurance provider that has received a wealth of prestigious accolades over the years and is ranked as one of the cheapest providers across the 11 states in which it operates. 

Find your best rate on Car Insurance!

Attention: Still Open During the Financial Crisis…

Tip: Act now to see if you qualify for lower rates!

Compare free personalized quotes from the nation’s top providers.

In this Mercury Insurance Review, we will compare this insurance company’s products, services, and prices to other insurance carriers and see how it stacks up.

Mercury Auto Insurance Coverage: Main Options

Mercury provides varying degrees of coverage. You can opt for the bare minimum requirement in your state or choose an extended coverage plan that will cover you for most eventualities.

To buy insurance from Mercury, you need to go through an agent. You can find details of Mercury insurance agents through the Mercury website or work directly with a local agent you already know.

The insurance coverage options include:

  • Liability Coverage: Bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage are both provided to help you meet the state minimum requirements. They can also be increased if you need a little more cover. Liability insurance is a requirement in most states.
  • Collision Coverage: Liability insurance covers the other driver during an at-fault accident. It does not cover you if you hit a tree or a wall. For that, you need collision coverage, which is provided by Mercury for an additional cost.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: An extensive policy option that will cover you for damage not related to car accidents, such as vandalism and weather/environmental damage. Comprehensive insurance also covers you in the event of a collision with an animal, which, surprisingly is not covered by collision insurance.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This insurance option covers you for personal damages, as well as lost wages, childcare costs, and other expenses that result from injuries sustained during a car accident. It will also cover you for these injuries if you are a passenger.
  • Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage is designed to cover your medical bills following an accident. It is required in a couple of states and often provides cover up to a few thousand dollars.
  • Rental Car Coverage: If your car is being repaired or was stolen, rental car coverage will ensure you can stay on the roads by providing you with a replacement vehicle for a fixed period of time.
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage: A type of insurance that covers you when you are hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, essentially filling in the gaps that would otherwise have been paid by their insurer. 

Mercury Auto Insurance Coverage: Extra Insurance Options

In addition to the insurance options outlined above, Mercury Insurance also offers policyholders the chance to add the following:

  • Rideshare Insurance: The need for this insurance type has grown exponentially in the last few years, with more Uber and Lyft cars on the roads than ever. With rideshare insurance, you’ll be covered when you have passengers in your vehicle. It’s an important consideration if you drive for these services.
  • Roadside Assistance: If you’re stranded by the side of the road, roadside assistance will help with towing costs, tire changes, fuel deliveries, and other essentials. It’s worth noting, however, that this service is provided elsewhere and if you have a premium credit card or are part of an auto vehicle organization, you may already be covered.
  • Mechanical Breakdown Protection: Will cover the costs associated with a car breakdown and is important if your warranty has expired. A complete breakdown can be costly if you don’t have the necessary warranties, but this coverage option will step in to help.

Mercury Car Insurance Discounts

Mercury offers all the following discounts, allowing policyholders to save big on their insurance premiums:

  • RealDrive: The RealDrive program will track how many miles you drive and could offer you discounts if you’re a low mileage driver. Policyholders can save 5% just by signing up, with further discounts to come once the low mileage begins to register.
  • Good Student Discount: Save up to 10% if you can achieve and maintain a good grade point average as a student driver.
  • Good Credit Discount: Mercury rewards drivers with a good credit score and a clean credit history. In fact, the savings offered here can be as high as 75%, which is more than you find with the majority of other major insurance providers.
  • Good Driver Discount: Maintain a good driving record for a discount of between 15% and 20%.
  • Student Away Discount: Students who live on campus can save up to 10% on their premiums.
  • Anti-Theft Devices: If you have these devices in your car, the risk of theft will be reduced, and Mercury will offer you savings of up to 5%.
  • Multi-Car Discount: By adding a second car to your policy you could save as much as 25%.

Other Types of Insurance Policies Offered by Mercury

​Mercury offers homeowners insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance, business insurance, umbrella insurance, and commercial auto insurance, although many of these are restricted to just a handful of states and may not be available where you live.

If you purchase car insurance with any of the home insurance options outlined above, you can get a multi-policy discount, also known as bundling. The amount that you can save differs from state to state but averages out at around 10%.

Is Mercury Insurance Available Everywhere?

Mercury is offered in all of the following states: 

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Oklahoma
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Texas

It also offers specific services and coverage options that are limited to a handful of states, such as rideshare insurance, which is offered only in California, Nevada, and Arizona, and commercial insurance, which is offered everywhere except for New Jersey and New York.

Mercury Insurance Claims

To make a claim with Mercury, simply phone the claims hotline (1 (800) 503-3724) any time of the day or night. A support rep will take all information from you, so describe the accident and the damage in as much detail as you can. The claim will be recorded, so you won’t need to repeat yourself in the future.

The rep will walk you through the details of your policy and can also arrange for your car to go to a body shop or to be towed. You can also find a body shop yourself by going through the Mercury website.

Customer Satisfaction

The Mercury Insurance Group has a high financial strength rating from AM Best and good ratings from JD Power. It’s a reputable, established, and award-winning company that has been going strong for over 50 years and has insured millions of drivers in that time.

But as promising as all of this is, there is one thing that lets Mercury down, and that’s its customer support. Mercury scores fairly poorly in this department and while the majority of customers are happy with the service provided, there is a disproportionate number of dissatisfied and even angry consumers.

Bottom Line

Mercury may offer the cheapest insurance rates in your state. It may offer the best coverage options and the most dedicated service. At the same time, you could find a better service and much better prices elsewhere.

Many policyholders switch to Mercury from GEICO and Progressive. In fact, these are the two main providers that Mercury customers switch from. But that does not mean Mercury is better than GEICO and Progressive. And even if it did provide better rates and options for one person, that doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.

That’s why it is important to get auto insurance quotes from multiple providers.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com