3 Biggest Mistakes People Make After An Accident (and how to avoid them)

Car accidents are confusing and stressful. Learning what to do and what not to do will save you time, headaches, and money. Here are 3 of the biggest mistakes people make:

1. Admitting fault. Believe it or not, even if you feel an accident was your fault, the police and insurance companies may disagree. Unless there is really no question (hitting a parked car), you don’t do yourself any favors by admitting fault. It’s best to exchange information with the other driver, submit it to your insurance company, and let them do the investigation and hard work. Many times an accident isn’t declared 100% one person’s fault, and your DMV report will only show the accident as “at-fault” if you are determined to be 51% at fault or greater.

2. Not calling the police. Very minor fender benders may not need a police officer to come, but any time there is an injury, a dispute, or moderate (or greater) damage, you need to call the police. They prepare a police report which gives their initial opinion on who is at fault, and police can help calm down a tense situation. Any damage, location information, and injuries get logged into the police report, which helps make your case.

3. Not getting contact information from witnesses. A witness can be your best friend if there is a question to who was at fault. If you have a different version of what happened in an accident, a 3rd party can the proof you need to back your side of the story up. Insurance adjusters compare both parties’ stories, and damage to the vehicles to determine who is at fault. When that’s inconclusive, they look to anyone else who saw the accident.

Covered California Open Enrollment 2018

Covered California open enrollment for policy renewals is beginning October 11, and new rates will be available same day. Overall, the process and coverage is going to be very similar to what you’ve experienced with prior renewals, however there are a couple important changes I want to make you aware of:

Rates are increasing for most plans, like they do every year. EMost plans should be seeing adjustments in line, or slightly more, than in years past. One exception is if you have any children under 19 enrolled in Covered California (does not apply to Medi-Cal) on your account. Currently, all children under 19 are charged the same rate regardless of age. On Dec. 31. a provision in the ACA is expiring, and each age will now have their own set of rates. Some of you will see a decrease specifically for your child, and some of you may see a significant increase.

Kaiser Permanente is looking to be a very strong option in Santa Cruz county going forward. They have facilities in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Scotts Valley, and are aggressively expanding in the area. Some of their plans are nearly 50% less expensive than the Blue Shield and Healthnet equivalent. Kaiser is an HMO, which may mean you’ll need to select a new primary case physician.

Lastly, Anthem is not going to offer individual plans in Santa Cruz County in 2018. If you have an Anthem plan, you’ll need to select a new insurance company.

Update 08/12/17: Silver tier plan rates will be increasing more than other tiers, due to the executive order signed by the president to remove cost-share subsidies.

Bike

What To Do Before Your Bike Gets Stolen

There’s a great article in the Santa Cruz Good Times paper this week (June 26’th edition) about bike theft and recovery efforts in Santa Cruz. The article mentions that through May 2013 there have been 219 bikes reported stolen in the city of Santa Cruz (66 in May alone!), with a total value of nearly $190,000. Most of them never make it back to their original owner because the serial numbers were undocumented.

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Nelson Insurance Is Making The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Free on July 3!

As a thank you to our great clients, Nelson Insurance is sponsoring the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History on Wednesday, July 3’rd and making admission FREE to you, your friends, and family! We’re excited for our second opportunity to sponsor a day this season, and hope you’re able to make it down and check out a great local treasure.

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Drought

California Experiences Record Levels of Dryness in 2013

You’ve probably noticed already it’s been pretty dry this year. Just how bad has it been? The 4’th driest in nearly 150 years!The National Interagency Fire Center is predicting an earlier and potentially more widespread fire season than we’ve seen in decades. For those of us living in the Bay Area this is particularly startling news because we live in an area rich with trees, forests, and of course brush. Whether you live in a wooded area or in the city, there are important pre-emptive measures you can take to protect your home and your family from our increasing threat of fires and wildfires.

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Driving on Phone

Why Full Coverage Auto Insurance Isn’t Actually “Full Coverage”

When I talk to a potential client and ask what coverage they currently have for their auto insurance, the two most commons responses are “liability only” and “full coverage”. Liability only is fairly straight forward; if you’re at fault in an accident, liability coverage provides protection for damage to the other person’s vehicle, their medical expenses, and lawsuits arising from the accident, up to your policy limits. There is no coverage for damage to your own vehicle. When someone mentions full coverage, they’re typically referring to collision (repairs your own vehicle if you’re at fault), and comprehensive (damage to your vehicle other than collision, i.e., theft, vandalism, fire). But does having full coverage mean you’re covered for everything? Far from it!

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Meeting

What’s the difference between an Admitted and Non-admitted insurance company?

Admitted Insurance Companies
In California these are companies that are licensed with the state and must file and have rate changes approved by the Department of Insurance. Admitted companies are considered “standard” insurance companies, and they specialize in low-medium risk insurance. Unless you have several tickets and accidents, or have a high risk home, you’re probably insured by one of these standard companies. Because they’re licensed with the state, they participate in the State Guarantee Fund, which provides consumers with protection if their insurance company becomes insolvent or goes bankrupt.

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