Are You Renting a Car? Read This and Save
Many travelers operate under the misconception that car rental rates are all about the same, and that shopping is a waste of time. But rates do vary, sometimes by quite a bit, between companies and destinations. Columbia River Insurance Services has a few tips for you.
- Book on-line: The web often offers the best deals.
- Try renting mid-week, if your travel plans allow.
- Avoiding unnecessary insurance: Car rental companies try to sell insurance to accompany your rental. Contact Columbia River Insurance Services to make sure you have the necessary insurance.
- Always buy your gas away from the airport; it can be as much as .25 per gallon less.
- Join reward programs: Many car rental agencies, hotels and airlines offer discounts if you are a member of a travel program.
- Look into renting the car for longer than you need, some agencies give you better daily rates for a week, and don't charge you for early returns.
- Supply your own car seat if possible, they really up charge you for this.
- Many rental car companies will try to up-sell you to a bigger vehicle or ask you add other features like GPS. Don't do it. Remember your smart phone can be your GPS.
- Double check all fees.
- Join AAA: AAA always offer great discounts.
- When you rent a car you are going to be responsible for damage to the vehicle. You will be asked if you want to waive coverage or add the coverage. The simplest solution is to buy a collision damage waiver (CDW) from the car-rental company. This technically isn't insurance; rather, it's a waiver: The car-rental company waives its right to collect a high deductible from you in the event the car is damaged.
Before you drive away from the pickup station, inspect the car carefully for damage. Be sure the lights and turn signals are working properly, and check the mileage odometer. Report any defects at once. You can always contact Columbia River Insurance Services for a review of your coverage and how it might apply when you rent a car.
Medicare and Health Care Reform
We receive many questions from clients wanting to know how the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) impacts Medicare. There is a lot of misinformation floating around and we wanted to address some of these items:
- The ACA does not cut Medicare benefits. There are provisions in the ACA to help slow increasing Medicare costs, but not benefits.
- The Medicare Advantage Plan is still in place and is not eliminated.
- There should not be any issues around long lines at the doctor's office, unless the doctor overbooked the day's appointments.
- Some people have confused the ACA's "individual mandate" with a requirement to obtain additional insurance on top of Medicare. It is our understanding that the ACA does not affect your individual choices.
- The ACA should not cause Medicare premiums to increase at any higher rate than the "market". There are many in the industry that do believe the ACA will create increases in health costs, and that will have an impact on all health premiums.
The law closes the infamous Medicare Part D prescription drug "doughnut hole," in which Medicare beneficiaries paid full price for prescription drugs after exceeding a certain dollar limit each year. By 2020, the hole will close.
How to Save Money on Your Auto Insurance
We are always searching for ways to help our clients save money on their auto insurance. Saving money on car insurance is a relatively quick way to lower the cost of operating your car, and can be accomplished with a quick phone call to our office There are many ways to lower your insurance costs without eliminating needed coverage. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Use an independent agent to provide a quote. Columbia River Insurance Services is independent and has access to many markets that provide competitive premiums.
- Many insurers offer discounts if you have some of the following features on your car:
- Anti-lock brakes
- Airbags (driver/passenger, driver/passenger/rear seat, side impact, etc.)
- Automatic seat belts
- Anti-theft device (active or passive)
- Daytime running lights
- Multi-vehicle discount (if you have more than one vehicle on the policy).
- You can receive discounts if you combine your home and auto with the same carrier.
- Good student discount.
- Good driver discounts.
- Consider raising your collision and comprehensive deductibles if your vehicles are older.
- Customer loyalty- if you stay with a company for a period of time, you can receive discounts each year.
- Maintain good credit. Credit scores have an impact on your premiums.
- Drive safely and don't get tickets.
- Consider insurance when making your car purchase. Some vehicles are more expensive to insure.
As your independent agent, Columbia River Insurance Services is here to help you find the best possible combination of price and coverage.