• Liability-limits-in-Illinois

    In 1989 the Illinois General Assembly voted to require all motorists to carry auto liability insurance. At that time, Auto insurance liability limits in Illinois were set at a minimum of $20,000/ $40,000/ $15,000, and for more than 25 years those same limits have remained. Effective January 1, 2015 a new law increases the mandatory minimum auto liability insurance coverage’s to $25,000/$50,000/$20,000 on all new car insurance policies.

    Liability coverage pays for damages you cause to other peoples person, or property. It is divided into three parts.  Bodily Injury Liability pays for damages to others caused by covered drivers on your auto insurance policy.  In Illinois the minimum limits are increasing to $25,000 per person and $50,000 total Bodily Injury per accident if multiple people are injured.  The third part involves damage done to others property. Property Damage Liability will be going up to $20,000.

    The reason for the state of Illinois raising the required minimum limits of insurance is based on the realization that over the past 25 years the average cost of an accident has risen substantially while the required coverage has remained level.  According to Truecar.com, the average new-car was $30,084, twice the current insurance requirement of $15,000 for property damage. The cost of cars has not increased as much as the cost of a trip to the hospital, so the legislators were most concerned about the gap between the cost of injuries, and the coverage in place to compensate the victims.
    One of the vocal proponents for the new auto insurance law is state Rep. Laura Fine, her own husband received serious injuries in an auto accident with a driver that carried minimum coverage.

    “These rates have not been changed in 24 years and do not keep pace with rising medical costs,” “This will save people who are injured in an accident that is no fault of their own from some of the out-of-pocket medical costs they may incur.”

    Even with these new limits, it is still vital that you carry enough liability insurance, because if your the cause of a serious accident, you could be sued for a considerable amount of money. Medical bills arising from a serious accident, particularly if several people are hurt, will certainly exceed the basic mandatory limits.  While obtaining the State required limits will allow you to  be in compliance with Illinois laws, remember, you can be held responsible for damages in excess of your policy limits. Yes they can take your home or other assets. It is for this reason that people often opt to by higher limits.

    Call 1-800-680-0707

    or click here to get your free auto insurance quote.

  • I get over 100 channels on my TV, yet it  seem like every other commercial is for a company selling Car Insurance? Perhaps the fact that I sell “Car Insurance” has left me “Hyper-aware” of Auto Insurance commercials, truth is that it is not my imagination; auto insurance advertising has skyrocketed from $600 million in 2003 to more than $1.9 billion in 2008. And the spending has only increased throughout 20010 and again in 2011.  In fact last year Geico alone spent more than $1.18 billion annually on advertising, or about twice the amount the total industry spent advertising car Insurance in 2003. State Farm and Allstate,  unwilling to give up market share to Progressive and Geico. have also dramatically increased Spending over the past years. State Farm Automobile Insurance has increased spending to $803 Million.
    Yes the Gecko is cute, and Flo seems nice, but all of this spending has  resulted in a public that is watching and endless string of commercials from a dozen car insurance companies, each claiming to be some $500+ cheaper than any other company. After  30 years selling car insurance, two things are quite clear:

    1. Consumers are paying for that advertising via higher Car Insurance rates.

    2. Every company can’t be the cheapest insurance company.

    It should come as no surprise, that when an insurance company spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on advertising, millions more vanity sponsorships, plus millions of dollars in executive bonuses- that all of those costs will get passed down to consumers.

    At Urban Auto Insurance, there are no marble floors, mahogany desks, and certainly no seven figure salaries. Our lower overhead is passed on to policy holders through lower rates. Watching other companies ads, I am always amazed by claims that their policies will save people an Average of over $500; because, at Urban insurance the average TOTAL cost of a policy is only $426.

    Below is a one day list of customers that saved money switching to Urban.

    Urban Auto Insurance has been saving drivers money on their car insurance  for greater than 53 years. We can do so because we represent 18 different companies allowwing us to find you the lowest price on your auto insurance. While most insurance companies today factor credit-score, Urban will provide you Auto Insurance without “Running your Credit”, this can save you hundreds of dollars on your insurance.

    Get a quote from Urban Insurance today, then feel free to turn down the sound next time you see a insurance commercial.

    Looking for Auto Insurance ?

    Urban Insurance Agency has a BBB Rating of A+

    Using our Comparative Rater, you can QuoteBuy, and then Print your Policy,
    or you are welcome to contact us by phone at 800-680-0707.

  • Technology is a great thing and I love that we live in a country where people are rewarded for “Building a better mouse trap;” and in some real ways Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are “Better-Mousetraps,” – they also expose drivers to great financial risks when driving without uber or lyft insurance.

    On New Year’s Eve, Sofia Liu age 6 was killed and her mother and brother seriously injured as they crossed a street, by a Uber driver.  The girl’s parents have brought a wrongful death suit against Uber Technologies.  But Uber has declined responsibility because it claims the driver did not have a passenger in the car at the time of the accident. The lawyers for the parents insist Uber is liable because he had just dropped off a passenger and was “distracted by the app he used to look for new fares.” I’m not a lawyer, but it is clear that these new services are requiring the courts to fit possibly dated laws to a set of changing risks.  This can leave drivers for these services in legal limbo.

    Uber states Drivers must have personal auto insurance on their car, and that Uber carries $1,000,000 policy to protect passengers. I have heard passengers and drivers alike that quote that one million dollar figure as a reason to feel safe. The truth is that the contracts are worded in a way that can leave holes large enough to drive a limo through. First it is vital to understand the auto liability Uber, Lyft or Sidecar have in place is there to protect them and not the owner/drivers. These services expect drivers to show they have car insurance, I have had two drivers this month that ignored my advice to carry commercial insurance, instead switching to a competitor that was happy to sell them private passenger insurance despite knowing the customer planed on acting as a livery service and in the event of a loss could leave the owner of the car in a dreadful mess. Simply put, private passenger policies will not pay for damages arriving out of commercial use. Depending on the situation, Uber “Might” pay for the damage you do to other persons or property, but they will not pay for damage to your own auto. That means if your car is totaled- your out of luck.

    The terribly tragic death Sofia Liu, took place in California, which prompted the Department of Insurance in that state, to issue a warning to drivers about the insurance gaps that working for such companies can cause.

    “It’s very clear in California: If you drive your car and make money on it, you need a commercial license,” said Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California. “But because it’s so new, insurers don’t ask the question, which does open the process up to fraud.”

    “Uber Chicago” has been getting pressure from all sides, and in resent weeks the calls to require the service to follow the same rules as their old-world competitors face, have steadily grown. When Uber was thought of as a service from Limos, they had the advantage of splitting the limousine industry, since many drivers saw such services as a way to expand their own businesses by using them to put paying customers into their cars when they otherwise would have been empty. There were at the same time, also Limo providers that feared the prospect of too many cars out on the street and taking business away from them, especially during peak days and times. Well if Limo providers were divided; Chicago’s taxicab owners, led by business partners Pat Corrigan and Michael Levine, saw Uber and Lyft as a direct threat.

    Uber CEO Travis Kalanick addressed the pressure the Taxi companies are putting on Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
    “The technology has made limos viable alternatives to taxis,” and the taxi industry is not used to having an alternative. It’s not used to having to compete. It’s used to going to city officials and lobbying them to protect their business and keep competition out. And that has resulted in poor service in most cities across the country.”

    It is difficult to deny that these new players are bringing a service that appeals to many, and this country was built on letting the best idea win; the issue is whether this competition is taking place on a level playing-field? Are these new options not being required to obtain the same liability insurance coverage that are mandatory for Limousines and Taxis? Are the drivers aware they could be leaving them self open to a catastrophic financial loss?

    Uber Insurance

    At Urban Insurance we always advise customers  “After having a claim is a bad time to find you don’t have the coverage you need.”  That said, I know we loose customers to companies that will sell a customer what they ask for, rather than what they need.  While clearly drivers who carry passengers for money should be covered under a commercial auto policy, I understand the temptation to try to “Get-away” with cheaper auto insurance. I recently read that after reading about holes in his coverage, he asked Geico who told him the only option was commercial insurance, which Geico quoted at $8,000 per year-little wonder people are trying to avoid the proper insurance.

    At Urban Insurance we offer a range of commercial auto policies including Limo insurance starting from $159 per month.

    By having the correct type an amount of insurance, you are then also able to get the proper plate (LV) and use your vehicle outside of Uber or Lyft whether your vehicles are used for wedding transportation, client parties, airport service, or to and from any event. Urban offers Low-Cost insurance for Limousine companies that have a single car or a large Fleet including stretch SUV limousines and Limo Coaches Urban Insurance can shop multiple companies to find you the coverage you need at the lowest price.

    UPDATE 3/26/2014

    PCI testified yesterday before the Illinois House Businesses & Occupational Licenses Committee on legislation that would regulate ride sharing in the state.PCI is neutral on Amendment 1 to HB 4075 but offered suggestions that could help address insurance issues raised by ride sharing networks and activities and protect consumers statewide. PCI emphasized the addition of several critical elements: a “bright line rule” for when ride sharing drivers are acting as commercial drivers; that ride sharing companies provide primary insurance coverage; and that there be various disclosures to drivers and ride sharing passengers with respect to insurance coverage. PCI was joined in lobbying the issue from an insurance perspective by the Illinois Insurance Association.Following testimony, the Committee passed Amendment 1 to HB 4075 by a 9-2 vote. The bill now moves to the House floor for continued debate and consideration. PCI remains engaged with key stakeholders and legislative leaders.The Chicago City Council is also considering an ordinance on ride sharing, which is up for a vote next month, but PCI is advocating for a broader, uniform approach to these issues across the state.

    We will keep you updated with the newest information we can find on Uber and Lift drivers and insurance.

  • Car Repair Chicago
    It’s a nightmare that every car-owner has, you take your car in for general service and are told you need hundreds of dollars of additional repairs? You are not alone, most of us have been surprised by bad news. It makes you wonder if your getting ripped off or if you actually need to have the repairs done. Here is a guide to understand the most common car repairs that will help your car stay in good working order and may help you save money down the road, by having the repairs done before problem progress to major repair bills..

    1. Brakes are one of the most common car repairs. Most cars need a new set of brake pads every 40,000 miles or less if there is a lot of stop – and – go driving.
    You may hear a squeak that alerts you to the problem or maybe your getting new tires and the service person that makes you aware of it. Whatever the situation have them replaced immediately , if you don’t it can lead to major repair expenses like disc, drum and rotor repairs and that is costly. The safety hazard is obviously a serious factor as well.

    2. All owners of vehicle’s need to have the oil changes on a regular basis. Experts suggest the cars oil should be changed every four months or every few thousand miles to keep your car in the best possible running condition. Most newer cars automatically monitor oil life and alert drivers when it is time for an oil change with a dashboard light. It lengthens the life of the engine and having service records that show frequent oil changes can help the resale value of your car. Be aware that service shops might take the opportunity to get you to buy additional services like filter changes, coolant flush, or transmission serviced. Technically, these services will benefit your engine but your car may not need them so why spend the money. Consult the owners manual if you have any questions or need to know when they are needed.

    3. Tires are another common repair. Tires should be replaced when they show major signs of wear. Repairs or replacements are necessary when tires are damages. There are many ways a tire can fail perhaps the sidewall splits or it gets punctured with a sharp object like a nail. One way to prolong the life of tires is to have them rotated. The front tires often wear much more quickly than the rears because of the weight of the engine. Basically, tires wear out at different rates. By rotating tires every 5,000 miles it allows tires to wear more evenly. Which prolongs the life of the tire.

    4. Most of the time when cars won’t start they need a new battery. Batteries are designed to last four to six years. Batteries fail with no warning. However, there are a key things you can do to determine when to replace it so you won’t get stranded. Determine how often the battery gets used, the quality of the battery, the primary weather its used in, and the level of maintenance it’s had. This will help you know when it’s time to get the battery replaced. Batteries are fairly inexpensive so it’s better to purchase a new battery instead of trying to repair an old one.

    Be diligent about have your car serviced and parts replaced or repaired when needed. This will extend the life of your engine and keep you from getting stranded and left with major bills.Break-downs and mechanical problems can also result  in auto accidents; so many insurance companies will provide a discount on car insurance if you can show your car was recently serviced.

    Call 800-680-0707 or click here to get your free auto insurance quote.

    Hope this was helpful,
    Larry Lubell
    President, Urban Insurance Agency

  • Car Accidents and reporting claims

    What do I do if I have an accident?
    Car Accident
    In the 50 years that Urban Insurance has been in business, we have never spoken to a single customer that was “Happy” to have just been involved in an accident. The truth is accidents happen to even the best of drivers. When an accident does occur you need to remain calm, collect the needed information and make a timely report.

    1. Stay Calm. The first thing to do upon being involved in a car accident is to gain your composure. This might seem easy or even unimportant, but it is a critical step in resolving the situation and getting your car repaired quickly. I will say what should be understood, “Things can be replaced- people can not”. Job one is to assess if any one in your vehicle is hurt. Having the presence to ask, as well as to look for your self can save lives.

    2. Seek professional help. In the case of this article, let me assume you are not a trained EMT or medical doctor; but even if you are, it is questionable for one to attempt to treat themselves. Remember, today few of us walk out our door without a phone, if someone in your car need medical help call 911. If you believe injuries are “Borderline;” error on the side of caution and call for help.

    3. Check on others. Clearly the next step is to see if anyone in the other car or truck needs help. Don’t forget they call them “Accidents” for a reason. Keep your anger in check. There will be plenty of time to point fingers, first make sure no one is in need of medical help. Please take all reasonable steps to avoid further damage to person and or property by moving cars off to the side of the road and out of harms way.

    4. Exchange Information. The next step is to obtain all of the information you will need to report the loss to both your agent, as well as to the police. Your agent should have sent you an accident report card to be completed. Few companies will require that actual card be used, but it is a great tool to confirming that you have obtained the needed information.

    5. What Information do I need? If you do not have the card, try to picture the likely questions an agent, or claim representative will ask when you contact them. Begin with the most obvious, Name, Address, Phone number and Work Number all fall into the category of being able to reach this person. Next move to their insurance information. Remember to ask for the name of the company as well as the name of the office or agency, and get the corresponding phone numbers for each. Clearly it is wise to mark down information on the vehicle(s) in the crash. I already reminded you that you will likely have a phone, and odd are that phone will have a camera. Not only can a “Picture be worth a thousand words,” but the photo will give a more objective account.

    6. Report any accident promptly to both your Insurance agent, as well as to the police. Today, most police departments will not send out an officer to the scene unless there are injuries. However a report must be filed; that puts the job on you, the driver. If you fail to file a “Crash report,” this can result in your license being suspended or revoked. Also remember, if you fail to file a report but the driver of the other auto does- only that person’s account of the event will be recorded. Please do not forget to report the accident in to Urban. The sooner the loss is reported the sooner we can help you get your car fixed or replaced. If you wait too long you can put your coverage in jeopardy.

    Over the past 50 years, Urban Insurance has helped tens of thousands of our customers solve the problems caused by accidents. None of them enjoyed being involved in an accident, but we know that they were well served by having insurance in force.

    Call 800-680-0707 or click here to get your free auto insurance quote.

  • Music in Cars

    If I have Full coverage on my car, is the stuff inside my car covered on my car insurance?

    I mean my radio, my wheels, DVD player and all? What about my Laptop?

    The answer is Yes and No.

    Insurance companies make a distinction between “Standard equipment” and “Custom equipment,” Equipment that was factory installed is considered “Part of the auto” and is covered, “Custom equipment” is a different matter. Do not assume that custom equipment is covered!

    One of the common questions we get concerning “Special” and or custom equipment is whether tires and rims are covered under the physical damage portion of an insurance policy? Since no insurance company assumes that anyone will be driving a car without tires and wheels, of course they will be covered, but only that equipment that came as standard or a standard premium option from the manufacture. As stated earlier in this book, the price companies charge for insurance is based on the potential cost of a claim and the likelihood of the company having to pay that claim. When one replaces the wheels and tires on their car with a $4,000 upgrade, not only does that move increase the size of a possible loss, but also the likelihood that they will be stolen. Custom extras often CAN be covered for an additional premium.
    Always check with your agent and be specific.

    Also remember to keep receipts and pictures to support a future possible claim.

    Contents not permanently installed in your car ARE NOT COVERED. This includes thing like CDs, clothing and yes a laptop. These items should be covered on your homeowner’s policy.

    It is important to remember that there is not one policy that will cover all of your insurance needs. Different risks will require different separate insurance policies. The most common policies that individuals will need are Auto, Homeowners/Renters, Health and life insurance. Each of these products protect an individual from separate and also critical exposures.

    Auto insurance has two basic parts; LIABILITY which covers the damages you do to others, and PHYSICAL DAMAGE (sometimes called Comp. and collision), which covers your own car for damage.

    Homeowner’s insurance covers damage done to your home, but also will cover the contents inside, as well as provide liability coverage against people slipping or in any other way, being hurt on your property.

    Homeowner policies are where miscellaneous property such as a bicycle, a guitar and your clothes are covered. Keep in mind there are definite limits spelled out in each policy.

  • Insurance for Drivers with DUI

    Do you have a pending Hearing in Traffic Court?

    If you have been stopped for DUI or DWI, the judge will want to see proof of current Auto Insurance, and verification that have your insurance company has filed the required SR22 form with the State Of Illinois.

    Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are serious violations which can result in you loosing your license, being hit with large fines, or even spending some time behind bars- just ask Lindsey Lohan . So it is important that you avoid getting the behind the wheel after you have been drinking. Clearly, even greater than the penalties handed down by the State, imagine going through life knowing that your momentary bad judgment resulted in injuries or even death.

    If you have been stopped it is important that you know your rights, and follow the prescribed path toward getting your license returned. DUI Tickets are often a good time to seek legal representation. Below is a chart that can help identify what constitutes the “Legal Limit” in the state.

    How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Illinois?

    Under 21 .00% – zero tolerance
    21 or older .08%
    Commercial .04%

    * BAC = blood alcohol content

    New DUI Laws in Illinois -

    Laws effecting DUI change, Effective January 1, 2011, Illinois has changed the Unified Code of Corrections providing that those convicted of a DUI accident that occurred on or after the amendment date where the accident was the proximate cause of great bodily harm or permanent shall receive no more than 4.5 days of good conduct credit for each month of the offender’s sentence of imprisonment.

    Additionally, Illinois increases the amount of technology fees from $500 to $750 usually imposed on first-time offenders who are found guilty or who plead guilty to violating the DUI provision of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Also, Illinois adds a ”summary revocation” to the summary suspension procedures. This provides that a person who refuses to submit to alcohol testing following a DUI arrest involving an accident that causes a Type A personal injury (or death) to another will have his or her license revoked summarily on the 46th day following the arrest.

    Urban Insurance has specialized in SR22 insurance policies for over 50 years. We’ll get your car insurance started quickly, and we’ll handle the necessary paperwork and provide you with a Same Day Electronic Filing to the Illinois Secretary of State, as well as provide you proof for any court appearance.

    Call 1-800-680-0707 or click here to get your free auto insurance quote.

  • Sighting an ever growing body of research confirming that drivers distracted by electrical devices have accident rate similar to that of drunk drivers,  yesterday Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addressed the idea of preventing such distractions. The Secretary made it clear that he doesn’t want drivers texting, tweeting, toying with the GPS or dialing in any car while that car in moving.  Evidence indicates that many will not follow the basic common sense of not taking your eyes off the road while driving.; So he’s proposing rules that would require car makers to install devices that stop working whenever the auto begins to move. The idea is his believe that this will save lives.

    The danger of Texting while driving, claimed it’s latest victim; this time a your girl. This case is particularly troublesome because it was her own father who’s texting led to her death. Jonathan Harp of Lima, pleaded guilty to attempted vehicular homicide in the accident that took the life of one of his children and left the other in critical care.

    According to his own admission, Mr. Harp was going 55 miles an hour while writing a text, when he crashed into the back of a truck. If found guilty he may go to prison for a year; though, as a father my self, I can’t imagine any punishment greater than knowing your carelessness led to the death of your child. I wonder if you are already “Living in Hell”, do you care about being moved to a prison.

    Getting a ticket for “Texting while driving” will effect you car insurance rates for up to the next three years.  Police are starting to focus on drivers that are violating the no texting law and insurance companies are charging more for car insurance based on the points on your MVR.
    MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has done a great job drawing attention to Drunk Driving. It is clear that driving while intoxicated is irresponsible, dangerous and illegal; it is time to recognize Texting while driving as an even greater distraction. While Seven states and the District of Columbia have banned “Driving while texting,” it has failed to seriously limit people from continuing what statistics show is reckless behavior.  A new survey found that 26% of drivers admit to Texting while driving. With a son a year away from driving, I find it additionally frightening that nearly 60% of drivers between ages 16 to 19 admitted on the survey to doing so. For those under 25, texting is the principle way they communicate; actually using a cell phone to TALK, is only done after several texts back and forth.
    We need to raise awareness, before more parents need to bury their child.

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