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Sarasota Insurance News

15 Cheapest Cars to Insure

When buying a new vehicle, a good portion of the decision comes down to money. The final price a customer pays at the dealership isn’t the end of the financial story, either. Each vehicle has ongoing costs in things like fuel consumption, general maintenance and auto insurance. With so many cost variables, it can be tough for a consumer to know how make the best purchase for his or her wallet.

Fortunately, the folks at Insure.com have compiled a list of average insurance rates for over 1500 vehicles, allowing us to identify the most affordable vehicles when it comes to annual premiums. Rates were averaged from six major auto insurance companies, and based on a hypothetical 40-year-old male consumer with a clean driving record, good credit and a fairly reasonable daily commute of approximately 12 miles. The estimated annual premiums listed below may vary based on a given consumer’s background.

  1. Jeep Wrangler Sport ($1,134)
    Topping the list of cheapest premiums is the standard 4×4 Wrangler SUV.
  2. Jeep Patriot Sport, 2WD ($1,136)
    The Sport boasts a generally cheaper price than its Wrangler sibling with only a $2 estimated increase in insurance.
  3. Honda CR-V LX, AWD ($1,160)
    A compact SUV with a spacious interior, responsive steering and a fantastic fuel economy.
  4. Dodge Grand Caravan SE Plus ($1,162)
    A top-ranking minivan with features focused on creating cargo space, this affordable vehicle is a time-sensitive purchase, as it’s disappearing from the Dodge lineup after this year.
  5. Honda Odyssey LX ($1,163)
    A minivan with a top safety rating, smooth handling, and a cornucopia of base features like Pandora, Bluetooth and a rearview camera.
  6. Jeep Compass Sport, 2WD ($1,164)
    Less suited to off-roading than its Wrangler and Sport relatives, this is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with decent reviews.
  7. Subaru Outback 2.5i ($1,176)
  8. An all-wheel-drive vehicle with a roomy interior that’s perfect for outdoor adventures.
  9. Ford Edge SE, 2WD ($1,176)
    Comparable to the Honda CR-V LX, this mid-size crossover comfortably seats five.
  10. Smart Fortwo Pure ($1,186)
    A small, bare-bones, two-seater vehicle with options to add features like power windows, radio, and steering as needed.
  11. Ford Escape S, 2WD ($1,190)
    A best-selling crossover with fantastic standard features like power accessories, a six-speaker sound system and Sync voice command.
  12. Nissan Xterra X, 2WD ($1,200)
    A spacious, versatile SUV with an easy-to-clean-interior and a readiness for off-roading.
  13. Dodge Journey AVP ($1,201)
    This mid-size crossover comes at a great price with the “American Value Package.” This base model seats five, with an option to add two more seats.
  14. Buick Encore ($1,205)
    A sub-compact crossover with a luxurious feel, this vehicle is lightly larger than a standard hatchback and has seats for five.
  15. Chevrolet Spark LS, Manual ($1,206)
    An affordable four-door hatchback with great gas mileage and standard features like air conditioning, power windows and a four-speaker sound system.

Toyota Tacoma Access Cab, 2WD ($1,210)
A leader in the compact/midsize class, this durable two-door access cab pickup comes with air conditioning, manual transmission, and two rear seats.

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Affordable Holiday Travel: Best Time to Book a Flight

The holidays are some of the most expensive times to book airfare—usually the most expensive, depending on the destination—and when to book a flight during the holidays has always been a hot topic. Moreover, airline prices can fluctuate by the hour, and there are numerous factors to take into account when booking; making it even more difficult to know when find the best deal.

Holidays included, studies conducted by The Huffington Post have shown that domestic airline tickets are at their lowest 54 days before departure. International flights are even worse: flights to Europe, Asia, Mexico, The Caribbean and Latin America are at their lowest between 80-151 days before takeoff.

Another set of studies cited by Kayak’s 2014 travel guide shows that domestic holiday airfare is at its most affordable between three and seven weeks in advance. According to CheapAir.com, the most affordable time to book domestic airfare is approximately 27 and 114 days before takeoff. CheapAir states that the average savings could amount to huge savings along the lines of $201 per flight.

It’s highly recommended that passengers check flight prices as soon as they know they’re flying for the holidays, and check them often. Additionally, it’s good to know a deal when you see it: study the average ticket amounts for your destination and compare it to the price of your flight over time. This type of approach is vital to finding the best deals, no matter when or where you’re traveling.

On one travel agent’s personal blog, she noted that booking flights early is valuable because the cheapest classes typically sell out first.

Booking flights as soon as possible is a recommendation that has been upheld by travel agents over the years. In addition, one agent noted that the daily price fluctuations could indicate that tickets were placed on hold and then released. As takeoff approaches, though, fares can drop dramatically in this type of situation, as unused seats cost airlines real money. Betting on an excess of seats in order to save on ticket prices is dangerous, though—especially for a holiday flight—airlines have access to historic seating data for specific flights and can raise prices dramatically for hot flights at the last minute.

Federal law states that flights booked seven or more days before takeoff can be cancelled without a penalty within 24 hours. For this reason, booking a flight that seems like a good deal is a good idea: you have a day to cancel it if you find a better deal. There are services to keep passengers track price fluctuations, too; Yapta.com will notify you if a refund is possible and will share information about cheaper flights.

Travelers are advised to always check the fees associated with canceling flights after the 24-hour grace period. Domestic flights booked with United, Delta, and American charge as much as $200 for cancelled flights, and other carriers, such as Allegiant Air, charge up to $75. Southwest Airlines is one of the only carriers that does not charge for cancellations or changes, and Alaska Airlines will give a full refund if the cancellation or flight change is made at least 60 days in advance.

With most airlines, it pays to book holiday airfare well in advance. If the ticket drops enough to counter the cost of rebooking, travelers can still save money.






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Teaching Your Teenager To Drive

It’s something parents have been looking forward to and dreading for nearly a century–teaching their 15 or 16 year old how to drive. Although teens who know how to drive do make it easier for parents to manage their busy lives, all parents inevitably suffer the worry and stress associated with not only teaching their teen to drive but the potential for disaster after teens receive their licenses.

5 Great Tips to Remember While Teaching Your Teenager to Drive

  1. Avoid using “I” statements when correcting your teen’s driving mistakes . For example, don’t say “That’s not how I make a turn” or “I always put my signal on a block before I turn”. Try asking a question instead of making an “I” statement, such as “Do you think that turn was too wide or just right?” or “When do you think you should put on your turn signal?” Using an “I” statement only seems antagonistic and authoritative to a teenager who is on the verge of becoming fully independent.
  2. Be aware that some teenagers don’t want to learn how to drive at 15 1/2 years old simply because they feel they aren’t ready. Instead of constantly talking about how the “big day” is fast approaching, let your teenager come to you about learning to drive. Pushing the issue of getting a driver’s license to teens who are anxious about driving is not only ill-advised but potentially dangerous as well.
  3. Never start teaching a teenage driver the basics of driving on a busy street. Find an empty parking lot (school parking lots in the summer work well) and begin there. Let your teen practice driving up and down the lot, making turns, stopping, parking and using panel instruments. Building your teen’s confidence before allowing him to drive in traffic is essential to raising a safe, defensive-style driver.
  4. Give your teen directions well in advance. Don’t wait until you are within a few feet of making a turn before telling him to turn left or right. Say “OK, we are going to be turning left at the next stop sign or traffic light”.  Telling your teen to perform a driving action at the last minute may confuse him and definitely make him more anxious.
  5. Watch your driving habits when your teen is riding in the car with you. Although his/her face may be buried in his/her iPhone, she is still paying attention to how fast you are driving, if you are using your turn signal properly, how soon you apply the brakes when approaching a stop sign and whether you are prone to “road rage”.


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Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

When protecting their property and its valuables, many homeowners seek insurance for potential destruction due to fire, burglary, and natural disaster. But depending upon the location of your home, it’s important to consider the extent of your coverage and whether or not it safeguards your possessions from the effects of unexpected water damage. Living in a designated flood zone poses a serious risk to your structure, and your basic homeowner’s policy most likely has gaps that will cause great financial hardship if you experience a water-related disaster. Renters should also educate themselves about the benefits of a flood policy, as their possessions may be at risk.

Many unsuspecting homeowners are astounded when they realize the financial damage just an inch of water can cause in their homes. Whether on the coast, near a frequently rising river, or an area where snow melt invades their property, people seek flood insurance to cover their belongings in the event of any water-related catastrophe. Living in moderate to severe risk locations, policyholders have peace of mind knowing they can recover costs to rebuild their home to its original condition. For owners and renters, it’s also crucial that they recuperate partial to full value of their possessions.

A number of private insurance providers offer separate flood insurance to complement your existing policy. You can also inquire about affordable coverage with FEMA and its National Flood Insurance Program. Their policy insures your structure for up to $250,000 and its contents for up to $100,000. In many flood insurance plans, reimbursement for actual versus replacement cost varies, so you should investigate your options before committing to an agreement.

For many people, their homes are the most valuable assets they’re vulnerable to lose in the event of a natural disaster. But depending upon your specific concerns and property, it’s smart to consider the restrictions placed upon most flood insurance policies. Many insurers will not reimburse damages done to cars, outside landscaping, swimming pools, or patios. There are also limitations to the structure itself, as companies reject claims related to basements or underground crawl spaces. Despite these rules, the benefits of flood coverage outweigh the negative. When an extreme water event strikes, you’ll be reimbursed for your home and its foundation, major appliances, furniture, electrical and other utility work, and the cost to haul away your damaged property.

When moving to a new geographical location, remember that homes in specific flood zones require flood insurance as a condition of your securing a loan. For homeowners looking to outfit their regular policies with optional added protection, be careful about timing when you apply for insurance. If an emergency flood warning takes effect in your area, it may be too late considering most companies’ 30-day grace period. Finally, if you’re worried about the hefty cost of additional coverage, an experienced insurance agent can educate you about the limited to extensive policies available to insure your home for flood damage. You can negotiate deductibles, perform cost-saving home improvements, or invest in restricted coverage if it means protecting your home and family from an unexpected tragedy.

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