Although most of the articles at Insurance.com deal with insurance (go figure), we did touch on some of the larger topics as well. Money and the economy dominated the headlines for most of 2008, with other topics scattered here and there. Some other notable stories included high gas prices, the election, and the collapse of the financial sector. In chronological order, here are our top 10 articles from 2008.
1. Can You Really Save Money On Gas?
"You might be able to save money on gas by combining multiple trips, or walking and biking more often. Reducing your annual mileage to below 10,000 miles could also reduce your car insurance rate by letting you qualify for a low-mileage discount (if available)."
Remember in April and May of 2008, when gas prices started to soar, and no one knew where (or if) they would stop? Well, they peaked at over $4 a gallon in July, and then started falling along with the world economy. Where they will go in 2009 and beyond is anyone's guess, although a strong worldwide green energy push could keep them low.
2. Insurance.com's Tips for Hurricane Homeowners and Car Insurance Claims.
"As Dostoyevsky said, 'You are wise to provide yourself with what you need, for it will all come in handy in the future.'"
We hope you didn't have to use this article, but it has good information about preparing for and making claims related to hurricanes and other natural disasters. The worst hurricane to hit the U.S. in 2008 was Hurricane Ike, although Hurricanes Dolly, Gustav, Hanna and Omar also affected many Americans.
3. Look Before You Peep: A Leafer's Guide
"Even though leaf-peeping sounds rather naughty, it actually involves looking at trees."
Ah, trees. As Ronald Reagan said, "I mean, if you've looked at a hundred thousand acres or so of trees—you know, a tree is a tree, how many more do you need to look at?" Obviously many people feel otherwise, which is why so many of them go leafing. This article also contains an interesting literary exercise that, like many of the best leaves, is hard to spot.
4. Usage-Based Car Insurance: The Freedom to Choose in California - and Elsewhere
"So, are the potential savings worth it? Would you voluntarily place a tracking device in your vehicle for auto insurance savings?"
Proposed insurance regulation in California stirred controversy because one of its mileage-verification options is a device installed in your car to track your mileage. Many consumer advocacy groups argue that visual verification is sufficient. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see how putting an electronic device in your car that can communicate with your car insurance company via cell phone conjures up images of Big Brother, regardless of what it's actually used for.
5. National Drive Safely Work Week: Save Lives and Money
"Insurance.com's data supports the relationship between safe driving and lower premiums."
This article answers the often-asked question of how much a ticket or accident increases your car insurance. It turns out that it can be quite a lot: as much as $200–$400. If your safety and everyone else's wasn't enough to get you excited about safe driving, maybe the opportunity for significant savings will be.
6. Nitrogen in Tires: Hot Air or a Cool Breeze?
"If you can get your tires filled with nitrogen for free (as part of a deal with new tires, for example) it's probably not a bad idea—the advantages are minor, but a free advantage is always a good one."
Unfortunately, filling your tires with nitrogen is not a substitute for regularly checking their pressure. Still, the debate is interesting, and some people adamantly insist that they get better gas mileage and improved handling.
7. Racing to Find Car Insurance
"Driving well above the street-legal speed limit was simply not what your insurance company expected when you said you drive your car "primarily for pleasure"—and your rates are based on expected driving—not racing."
If you like to race or are a performance enthusiast, you need to read this article. In the past, car insurance may have covered driving improvement classes where you were able to safely exceed normal street speeds. Now, however, most insurance companies have closed loopholes in their standard policies that allowed it, leaving you without coverage.
8. How Did Your Vote Affect the Future of Driving?
"Energy issues were high profile while gas prices were sky-rocketing, but will this administration remain focused on this issue for the long-haul?"
The 2008 election was historic and important. The country needs leadership that will guide us out of our current situation. Will the energy and environmental promises of the campaign trail take a backseat to the economic recovery, or will the Obama administration find a way to link the two?
9. How Bankruptcy Affects Car Insurance Rates
"We believe that insurance companies can and should evaluate their risk criteria based on insurance risk scores and determine ways to help consumers retain their insurance coverage."
Usually, things like bankruptcy and foreclosure hurt your credit score and can also raise the car insurance rates you receive. Because the economic crisis is reaching well into the middle class, more people than ever before are declaring bankruptcy. We hope that when insurance companies set rates, they consider that a poor financial situation may not mean what it used to.
10. Will Insurance Companies Weather the Financial Storm?
"Because of the strict state regulation of insurance companies, your insurance policy is one of the safer financial products available, and your insurance company is probably safe as well."
There's some good news about your finances after all! If you're confused about why your insurance policies are still good even though you've heard so much about insurance companies failing, this article is for you.
Looking Forward to 2009
2008 was an unforgettable year in many ways, not all of them good. Insurance.com's articles focus on insurance, but also address current events and other interesting topics. Did you like one of our articles this year? What would you like us to write about in 2009? Let us know today!
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