Factors affecting vehicle sales, insurance and repairs

By Patricia L. Harman

March 7, 2018


Artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and changing consumer expectations are just some of the issues impacting auto sales, insurance and repairs according to the 2018 Crash Course study from CCC Information Services, Inc.

With 17.25 million vehicles sold in 2017, slightly down from 2016, the 2% increase in average vehicle prices to $36,113 meant it was still a strong year for manufacturers. Higher vehicle costs also means increased insurance premiums, leading insureds to opt for higher deductibles should they be involved in an accident. According to the CCC report, 19% of all collision claims had a deductible of $500 or more, although the average repair generally costs significantly more than the deductible.

Auto technology improves

Manufacturers are working towards greater “vehicle connectivity, vehicle autonomy and vehicle electrification, powered by advancements in computer power, machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Susanna Gotsch, Crash Course author and lead analyst for CCC. “Our industry has never moved faster or been so exciting. Advances in digitization, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and sensor and camera technology are driving dramatic changes and improvements in automotive technology.”

Connected vehicles are enabling vast amounts of information about a vehicle’s health, driving data (the vehicle and driver’s), performance, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle data to be collected by manufacturers, insurers and other parties. Some of the information can help insurers with more accurate policy underwriting.

SMA research anticipates that 70% of all auto insurers will be using telematics by 2020. The benefits include a shorter delay in filing the first notice of loss with an insurer, since crash data could conceivably be sent to the insurer, first responders (in the event of bodily injuries) and to the repairer.

Technology usage in other areas has affected policyholders’ expectations for the insurance industry. Like online retailers who provide constant updates when packages have been dispatched, are en-route and will be delivered, insurers and repairers are expected to provide similar information to policyholders about their claims. Recognizing the importance regular communication has on customer satisfaction ratings, multiple insurers are utilizing programs to provide policyholders with regular updates on their claims status.

The ups and downs of ride-sharing

As the use of ride-sharing increases, so does the number of vehicles on the road and miles driven. The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis studied ride-hailing in seven U.S. cities and found a 6% drop in the use of public bus transportation and a 3% drop in light rail use.

In New York City, increased ride-sharing usage accounted for declines in the use of taxi and private car services. For business travelers, ride-sharing now accounts for 65% of the ground transportation costs according to the Center for Automotive Research, while taxis only account for 7% and car rentals for 28%. Even airports are reporting a major drop in fees from parking, car rental companies and taxis.

Auto repair costs climb while collision severity drops

The increased use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as front crash prevention, blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, park assist, obstacle detection and back-over prevention is having a positive impact. While these technologies are not mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA announced in 2016 that 20 major auto manufacturers had voluntarily committed to making front crash prevention systems standard on most models (approximately 99%) by 2020.

Studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and IIHS have found that vehicles equipped with forward collision warning systems have reduced rear-end collisions by 23%, and accidents involving vehicles with automatic emergency braking dropped by 40%. The CCC report finds that in addition to fewer accidents, these systems may also help reduce the number of incidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.

While these technologies have shown promise in reducing the number and severity of accidents, the cost to repair vehicles continues to rise. CCC said the average cost for a repair increased 2% in 2017 to $2927. Repair costs for non-comprehensive losses ran 2.3% higher in 2017 than the previous year, with costs for current model vehicles running slightly higher at 3.7%. Costs to repair vehicles that were one to three years old increased 3%.

However, there is a significant difference in repair costs depending on the age of a vehicle. Average repair costs for new vehicles compared to older ones increased from 47% to 69% over the last five years. “Dollars for replaced parts as a share of total repair costs and the average number of replaced parts per claim have increased — particularly for newer vehicles,” said Gotsch in her report.

The increased use of driver assistance technologies can help mitigate or even prevent accidents, but like cell phones and other technology, they will also change driver behaviors. For insurers, this could also mean changes in liability and the types of insurance coverage required for a vehicle. The actual repair costs, while higher, could be offset by fewer overall accidents, which would have a long-term impact on parts suppliers and repair shops as well. The changes for all are probably coming more quickly than anyone expects.

What Is The Difference Between Whole Life And Term Insurance?

What is whole life insurance? What about term insurance? What is the difference between these two plans for residents of Peoria, AZ? The Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance has provided an analysis of the difference between whole life and term insurance.

Difference Between Whole Life and Term Life

Deciding to purchase a life insurance plan (whether whole life or term life) is a personal decision. Life insurance is powerful and highly flexible financial conveyance mechanism that can meet a variety of financial objectives, including providing financial security to creating financial assets. Below are some factors that will differentiate these two plans:

Features of Whole Life

  • Covers you for life.
  • You must be qualified via a health examination.
  • Offers death benefits and cash value accumulation during the duration of the policy.
  • Can be acquired without a medical examination, although at a higher cost.
  • An excellent option for estate planning.
  • Takes from 12 to 15 years to set up a reasonable cash value.
  • Part of cash value can be borrowed or withdrawn in the duration of the policy.
  • Cash value is typically based on the worth of return on investment.
  • Has more expensive premiums at the initial stage, but can save you money long term (if it’s active for a considerable period).

Features of Term Life

  • Only provides death benefits.
  • Only pays benefits if you die when the policy is in effect.
  • Can be purchased for a specific time frame (5, 10, or 15 years).
  • The most affordable policy to purchase and the easiest to navigate.
  • Becomes more expensive as you grow older (particularly after 50 years of age).
  • Has to be renewed if you require that the coverage is extended beyond the length of the term.
  • Is a good temporary additional coverage that can be paired with a permanent life plan.
  • Can be altered to whole life coverage.

For more information about life insurance coverage in Peoria, AZ contact Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance agency.


Benefits of Commercial Insurance Coverage

Setting up and running a business requires a lot of time and capital. Losing all that investment overnight is a nightmare nobody would wish to experience. Luckily, commercial insurance helps you protect your business from losses and damages caused by risks to your business property and income. The coverage ensures that if things go wrong, you will not go through financial frustrations and stress trying to get your business back on its feet. Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance is here to help all the residents of Peoria, AZ to acquire best insurance coverage to protect their business adequately and ensure that the coverage provided fulfills the requirements of the state of Arizona.

Why do you need commercial insurance?

Having this coverage is beneficial in numerous cases which include;

If a worker gets sick at the workplace – Slips and falls occur from time to time while the workers are carrying out their daily production activities. Moreover, if you own a restaurant, for example, things could go wrong where a worker suffers burns. Having workers’ compensation coverage helps you in paying the employee the lost wage during the recovery period and helps in clearing their medical bills.

If a client or guest is injured in your premises – You will get people coming in, and out of your premises time to time and unfortunately, they may get hurt probably from a slip, fall or consuming your products. In such unpleasant event, you will need to pay their medical bills. Also, you will need liability coverage in case the injured decides to solve the issue in a court of law to help you pay the legal fee.

In case of theft, vandalism, and fire –The coverage helps you protect your business from financial losses resulting from theft or vandalism. In cases of theft and fire, you will suffer the cost of repair and replacement of lost and damaged assets, and having a commercial coverage helps you in the payment of such expenses.

Understand more about the benefits of having commercial insurance coverage in Peoria, AZ by contacting or visiting Schaller & Thomas family insurance today and let us provide you with coverage that exceeds your expectations.

Can My Girlfriend or Boyfriend Take Out Life Insurance On Me?

Here at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, one of the questions that we are most often asked in regards to life insurance is whether a boyfriend or girlfriend can take out life insurance on their boyfriend or girlfriend. If this is a question you have, here is some information you will want to know. 

Can a Boyfriend or Girlfriend Take Out Life Insurance on the Other Person?

A boyfriend or girlfriend can take out life insurance on their boyfriend or girlfriend if they have a financial reason to do so. For example, if the parties are living together, the girlfriend may be significantly impacted without the help of her boyfriend to pay bills. Likewise, if a girlfriend is paying daycare costs for her boyfriends child so he can work, even if it isn’t her child, he has a financial reason to insure her life. As long as there is a financial reason to do so, non-married couples can take out policies on each other. 

Does the Partner Need to Authorize the Other Person To Take Out Life Insurance on Them?

If you are looking to take out a life insurance policy on your boyfriend or girlfriend, you will need them to sign off on a paper acknowledging that they are taking out a life insurance policy on you and you are allowing it. If your partner does not agree to you having a lie insurance policy on them, you will be unable to get one. 

If you are looking to take out a life insurance policy on yourself or your boyfriend or girlfriend, let Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, help you. Call us today to get an estimate. 

Not All Commercial Insurance Policies Are the Same

You likely know just how important it is to have commercial insurance for your company. However, did you realize that there can be many differences between policies from various insurance providers? This is ideal since each industry requires different types of coverage and you will want to find something that is custom-fit to your unique needs. 

Getting Commercial Insurance from Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance Is an Easy Process

It is necessary to learn as much as you can before signing on for a policy you are considering. This will save you from undergoing headaches and stress at a later time. Talk to a qualified insurance agent serving Peoria, AZ first, like a professional from Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance. 

Coverage often includes the following: liability, workers’ compensation cases, and property damage. Each of these categories can have glaring differences that you should be aware of prior to taking any big steps. 

Liability Insurance 

This type of insurance deals with injuries or property damage that has happened to third parties. It serves to protect yourself and your business if a client becomes injured on your business property. It also applies if an employee causes damage to a client’s personal property, as well as an instance of your company getting sued by a third party. It includes automobile insurance, malpractice, and insurance of errors and omission. 

Property Insurance 

This is similar in many ways to homeowner’s insurance, as it is meant to provide a safeguard for the personal or real property after vandalism or a fire in your warehouse or another space where you conduct business. There are types of property insurance that exist for certain needs, such as the following: glass, builder’s risk, boil and machinery, crime, and tenant’s insurance. 

Workers’ Compensation 

You may not want to think about it, but there is a possibility of your employees getting into accidents in the workplace. Besides the emotional side, it also presents a financial burden to the company. When you have workers’ compensation, it will almost always keep your injured employee from being sued for work-related injuries. 

Different levels of commercial insurance are required in each state. If you would like to speak to an agent to find out more about what your Peoria, AZ company needs, reach out to us today. 

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

Responsible adults in Peoria, AZ know that having enough life insurance is important. Having adequate life insurance means that if you were to die unexpectedly, your family could focus on grieving their loss rather than fretting about how to pay the bills. If you are considering buying life insurance or increasing your coverage, you may be interested in these tips from Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance.

1. How is your health care coverage?

If you have excellent health insurance, your family may be in pretty good shape as far as medical bills if you were to die. Many people end up in the hospital for several days or weeks before they pass, and you don’t want those bills haunting your family after you’re gone. If your health insurance is not so great, you may want to figure in the cost of your medical deductible when determining your life insurance coverage amount.

2. What are your outstanding debts?

If you have a large amount of debt and your family depends on your salary to make the payments each month, you may want enough life insurance to pay these bills in full. 

3. Consider your final expenses.

Burial or cremation of your remains may cost more than you realize. Be sure that you have enough life insurance so that your family can lay you to rest without undue financial burdens. 

4. Money for life changes.

If you pass away, your family members may want to move closer to other relatives, go back to college, find a job, or put the kids in day care. You should provide enough money so that your family members can make these changes without financial stress. 

5. Consider your annual income.

A good rule of thumb is to buy enough life insurance so that your family can maintain their current lifestyle for several years. In other words, take your annual income and multiply it by three to five years to get a basic idea of how much insurance you will need.

If you need to purchase life insurance, contact Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, serving the Peoria, AZ area.

Do You Need Property Insurance With Your Commercial Plan?

Running a business in Peoria, AZ, it’s just decisions all day long. Sometimes you don’t have the data that you need to make an informed choice, sometimes you have to make your best guess. Sometimes you have to do a ton of research in order to make the best possible choice. Sometimes you need to listen to your advisors, or just take a look at what your competitor is doing and follow their example (or do the opposite). Decisions, decisions, decisions. Really, an entrepreneur is just someone who’s willing to make a choice and live with it. That’s a rare ability than you’d think.

So here’s another decision you have to make: Should you buy property insurance with your commercial plan?

Really that comes down to two other questions for small business owners: Do you need property insurance for your home business, and should you invest in a physical office or workspace knowing that you’re going to need property insurance?

For the first question, it is worth calling Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance for general liability if anyone is going to be on your property in relation to your business. That means business partners, couriers, clients, anyone.

For the latter, this brings up yet another question: Can you make use of the extra space? Having an actual business property, moving your company out of the garage, can be just the impetus you need to start growing. If you’re ready to grow.

There are so many decisions to make, but here’s an easy one: When you’re ready for property insurance, call Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance and have it added to your commercial insurance plan.

Are Your Friends Covered Under Your Auto Insurance?

Contrary to popular belief, auto insurance doesn’t follow the driver of a vehicle, it follows the vehicle.  This means that whoever drives your car with your permission is covered under your auto insurance. By obtaining comprehensive auto insurance from Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, your vehicle will be fully protected against accidents, whether you or a friend are driving.

Repercussions of Loaning Out Your Vehicle

If you loan your car to a friend and he causes an accident, your insurance would cover the claim as per the coverage in your policy. The claim, however, would go on your record as the owner of the vehicle. Claims from other drivers could eventually cause your insurance rates to rise. Loaning your vehicle to multiple drivers increases the risk of accidents which could result in higher insurance costs.

Permissive Use

Drivers who have your permission to operate your vehicle are covered under your policy. Those who live with you in Peoria, AZ should be put on your insurance policy to benefit from full insurance coverage. Family or friends who visit from time to time and occasionally borrow your vehicle don’t need to be listed on your policy to receive insurance coverage. As long as they have permission to drive your car, they will be automatically covered under your policy.

Non-permissive Use

On the flip side, if someone drives your car without permission and has an accident, you can’t be held liable for injuries or property damage to others as a result of the accident. The insurance company of the individual who took your car would be responsible for damages. If the individual has no insurance, your insurer may have to cover the damages.

For personalized auto insurance coverage that suits your specific needs, contact Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, Peoria, AZ.

What You Need to Know About Professional Disputes and Umbrella Insurance

A professional dispute can happen to anyone, and they can be much more serious than anyone even realizes. See how they work, and why umbrella insurance may be able to save you from a situation you can’t afford. Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance wants everyone to be as prepared as possible. 

Professional Disputes 

A professional dispute is typically a conflict between business owner and customer. Let’s say you own a bakery that makes custom birthday cakes for its clientele. One day, you have two orders for a strawberry and a chocolate cake, but you mix up the two orders and send them off to the wrong people. The child who receives the wrong cake is allergic to strawberries and manages to take a bite before they realize it’s not chocolate. As the bakery owner, you may be liable for not just the medical bills of the child, but potential emotional damages over a ruined birthday. 

Umbrella Insurance 

If you work in Peoria, AZ, it’s time to learn more about how umbrella insurance can provide extra liability protection for professional disputes. Chances are you already have some type of liability insurance, but it doesn’t hurt to consider extending your limits. A single lawsuit can add up quickly when it comes to time off work, court fees, legal costs, etc. Settling a case isn’t exactly going to be much cheaper, depending on what you choose to settle for. 

Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance is happy to help the people of Peoria, AZ get the coverage they need, so they can keep their business alive even in the midst of a professional dispute. Calling us today may be the best way to get yourself the protection that will count when you need it the most. 

Types of Life Insurance Policies

Are you a resident of Peoria, AZ? Do you ever wonder about the differences between life insurance policies? Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance can answer your questions. Life insurance policies come in two different types: term-life and permanent.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance only pays a benefit if death happens when the policy is still in place. The term can be anywhere between one and 30 years. This type of insurance will either be a level term or a decreasing term. A level term means that the benefit stays the same throughout your entire policy. A decreasing term has a benefit amount that will get smaller over time, which usually happens annually.

Whole Life and Permanent Insurance

In a whole-life or permanent insurance plan, there is no term for the policy. This type of insurance plan can be split into four different types.

Traditional whole life is the first kind. It is much like a level term life insurance plan in that the benefit amount will stay the same throughout the policy. This type of insurance includes a death benefit and has an account for savings.

The next type is called universal whole life. It is a little bit more flexible than the traditional kind of life insurance. It is a smart choice because your benefit amount will actually earn interest over time.

Variable life is the third kind. It includes a death benefit and also has a savings account that you can invest in bonds, mutual funds, and stocks.

The fourth and final type of whole life insurance is called variable-universal. It combines the interest-gaining death benefit of the universal whole life plan and the investment account of the variable plan.

Contact Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance today if you have any more questions regarding life insurance in Peoria, AZ.