Documents you should always have in your vehicle

To drive in Florida, you must have a driver’s license, drive a registered motor vehicle, and have auto insurance on that vehicle. If you don’t comply with any of these, you are violating the law and could be subject to fines. At Runnels Insurance in Brandon, FL, we know the laws in Florida, and we are here to help our customers comply with all of the requirements. 

Insurance card

Your insurance card is proof that you have insurance coverage. When you renew or take out a new policy, the insurance company will send you a copy of your insurance card. If you lose it, you should be able to print a new one out online or call the insurance company, and they can send you a new one. It must be carried in your vehicle’s glove box at all times. Placing it in a clear plastic sleeve will protect it from damage. It should be placed with your vehicle registration. 

Vehicle registration

Cars in Florida must be registered. You can choose to register the vehicle for one year or two years. Vehicles can be registered online at the MyDMV Portal, and your registration will be mailed to you. If you can’t do it online, you can go to a local service center. Place your registration in your glove box with your insurance card. 

Drivers license 

Everyone needs a driver’s license to drive in Florida. Driver’s licenses in Florida are good for eight years. Since a license is also a picture ID used for identification, most people carry it on their person at all times. Therefore, it should be in the vehicle when you are there. 

Contact Runnels Insurance in Brandon, FL to discuss any questions about auto insurance and get a no-obligation quote.

Do I always need to have auto insurance in Florida?

In the Brandon, FL area, it will be very important to own a vehicle as it makes it much easier to get around town and to and from work. As you are going to look for a vehicle in this area, picking an insurance plan is also important. There are a lot of reasons why you will always need to have a full auto insurance plan when you are in this part of Florida. 

Insurance is Mandatory by Law to Drive

A reason that you will need to have an auto insurance plan when you are in Florida is so you can drive legally. Drivers that are in this state need to carry liability insurance if they want to drive on a public road. This law ultimately protects all other motorists on the road as it offers assurances that someone who causes an accident can cover damages. If you don’t have coverage, you may be penalized. 

Insurance Protects Car

You also should get an auto insurance policy to ensure your car is protected. Having a full policy that has collision and comprehensive protection is helpful as it ensures you can repair or replace your vehicle if you incur a loss. Without this protection, you would need to pay for all repairs or even a full vehicle replacement with personal savings. 

People that would like to purchase a car in the Brandon, FL area should always have auto insurance. When you are in the process of picking a new insurance plan, calling  Runnels Insurance can be quite helpful. As you are looking for an insurance plan here, Runnels Insurance can help by explaining all of your options and giving the support you need to choose a plan that will give the right coverage for you and your vehicle. 

Auto Insurance Add Ons to Consider

Your driving habits are unique to you. So too is the kind of vehicle you drive, how you use it, and even who uses the vehicle. You need to do what you can to protect it, as damage to your vehicle can result in expensive repairs and out of pocket expenses. At Runnels Insurance we’re here to help assist in finding the right kind of auto insurance and auto insurance add ons when you live in greater Brandon, FL. So, here are some of the basics regarding auto insurance add ons. 

Roadside Assistance

This helps provide assistance if your vehicle runs into trouble, which can range from changing a battery to replacing a tire to more serious issues. Whatever the problem might be, if you’re on the side of the road and need help, roadside assistance insurance can help. 

Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Nobody likes being involved in an accident, but what makes matters worse is if the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance. You could push a lawsuit on the driver for not having insurance, but chances are if they don’t have insurance they probably don’t have much money, and a lawsuit will only drag out. With uninsured motorists insurance, you will protect your vehicle and ensure you receive the necessary coverage you need for your vehicle. 

Finding Auto Insurance Add Ons

There is almost no limit to the kind of add ons for your vehicle. But what is the right kind of insurance add on for you to go for? That is ultimately up to you. Our staff here at Runnels Insurance can help address all of the questions or concerns you might have, so, if you live around Brandon, FL, you’ll want to give our staff a call at your earliest convenience. 

3 Tips About Auto Insurance For Teenagers

When teens reach driving age, they get excited about everything that entails their new journey as a driver. Everything except for car insurance, that is. Between learning how to drive, choosing a cool car, planning where to drive with friends once they get their permit or driver’s license, to finding a job that will cover their gas costs, teens may even forget to think about auto insurance in the first place.

However, the opposite should be the case: Runnels Insurance agents believe that auto insurance should be at the forefront of the minds of teens and their parents. Finding the right policy is not just up to the teen; a parent’s help and input are priceless in this case. Auto insurance for teens in Brandon, FL can be a tricky purchase. Here are some tips for teens and their parents to consider while shopping for that coveted first auto insurance policy.

1. Add The Teen To An Existing Family Auto Insurance Policy

While a straightforward approach to car insurance for teens may be to buy a brand new policy, parents should consider adding their kids to an existing family policy. Not only can this save money, but it can also offer the brand-new driver with a better start to their driving track record.

To accommodate this addition, parents can choose to raise their overall deductible. This allows for adequate coverage for the new driver, since teenagers are typically considered a risky demographic for insurance companies.

In addition to increasing their deductible, parents can purchase a personal liability umbrella policy. This type of addition cushions an existing policy from its own limits. This way, if the teen gets involved in an accident where the cost of damages exceeds the existing policy, the umbrella policy can kick in.

2. The Teen Should Attend Driving School

As a parent, are you planning to teach your own child how to drive?

Of course, this is certainly an option, and it may seem like you would save money by taking this route. Driving school can be costly, after all.

However, consider letting your child attend driving school anyway. The cost of driving school may lower your insurance policy payment and increase your child’s coverage. When a teen enrolls in driving school, there is a clear record of driving performance which can be shown to your insurance provider. This typically makes the teen less of a liability for the purposes of insurance.

3. Purchase A Safe Vehicle

Did you know that the type of vehicle tied to an insurance policy can affect its cost and coverage parameters?

Teens often hope to score a flashy, sporty car that looks cool and drives fast. Sports cars and small cars in general can be interpreted as a liability by an insurance provider. In fact, most brand-new cars can cause an increased insurance rate.

If you hope to keep your insurance rate reasonable, go with a safe, used car. Any car that has a good track record in the industry, has four doors, and average mileage should work well as a starter vehicle.

Are You Ready To Purchase Your Teen’s Auto Insurance?

Before the teen goes out into the world with his or her fancy new license to freedom, it’s time to invest in some protection. Runnels Insurance can help you purchase a policy that works for the entire family. Contact us today for a quote that works with your budget and provides you with the best in terms of coverage.

How Motorcycle Insurance Differs From Auto Insurance

If you have been driving a motorcycle for any amount of time, you know that driving a motorcycle is vastly different from driving a car. For this reason, insurance coverage of a motorcycle is also vastly different. In order to be safe and insured properly, it is important to understand these differences. 

Two Wheels Just Isn’t The Same

Driving on two wheels just is not the same as driving on four. The risk factors are increased drastically. For this reason, insurance must be different. If you have never insured a motorcycle before, be prepared to have a different rate and possibly a different policy for your motorcycle. 


There are also significant distinctions when it comes to passengers. In an automobile, it is assumed that there will be more than one passenger since the vehicle is built for multiple passengers. This is not the case with a motorcycle. With a motorcycle, it is assumed there will only be one passenger. Therefore, if you plan to have passengers ride with you, you will need to add this to your insurance policy. If you overlook this step and allow passengers to ride with you without adding passengers to your policy you could get into a lot of trouble. 

Time of Use

Motorcycle insurance also gives you the option of only paying for coverage when you will be using the bike. This is very handy for people who only use their bike during certain seasons of the year. If you do not ride all year long, then you can save money by only getting part-time coverage. 

If you would like to learn more about motorcycle coverage, please contact our friendly staff today at Runnels Insurance in Brandon, FL. We would be delighted to answer your questions. 

3 Tips to Avoid Being a Distracted Driver

Driving and navigating the roadways in Brandon, FL can be a stressful and complicated process. Even traveling the same streets on a daily basis can suddenly have surprises and obstructions, such as stopped traffic or road work, making navigation even more difficult. Because of the risks that come with driving, it is essential that you take the appropriate measures to remain focused while driving. Everyday activities that many drivers engage in while behind the wheel constitute distracted driving, which can lead to serious, even fatal accidents. Here are 3 tips to help you avoid being a distracted driver.

Do Not Drive Fatigued

Staying focused on the roadway is critical for your safety and the safety of the other drivers around you. One of the most common causes of fatal accidents is driving while fatigued. Driving while you are tired produces the same effects as driving while under the influence; you may fall asleep at the wheel, you can easily lose focus on what is around you and you will not have the alertness that is necessary when driving.

Do Not Groom While Driving

The rearview mirror in your vehicle is designed to help you see what is behind you it is not designed to be used as a bathroom mirror. You should either complete your grooming before leaving home or wait until you reach your destination-this includes shaving your face, fixing your hair and/or putting on makeup. It only takes one second of not focusing on the road to cause serious injuries to yourself and/or others on the roadway.

Silence Cell Phone While Driving

Keep your cell phone put away while you are driving. You shouldn’t ever, under any circumstances text, dial a number or video record while you are driving. If you must make a call, either pull over to a safe place or use a hands-free set to make the process safer for everyone. It is best to turn your phone off or to vibrate to avoid the distraction of answering calls while driving.

It is also important that you always keep your hands on the wheel, so do not eat or drink while driving and if you are listening to the radio, be sure to keep the sound low enough so you can hear other drivers on the roadway.

Residents of Brandon, FL who are interested in reviewing their current auto insurance policy or purchasing a new policy should contact Runnels Insurance.

Should You Drop Full Coverage Once You’ve Fully Paid For Your Car?

Most lenders require you to carry full coverage on your vehicle while you owe on your loan. Once you own your car outright though, you have the option of dropping full coverage. Should you though? Although you may save a little on premiums if your vehicle becomes damaged the repair or replacement cost without full coverage may exceed costs you can bear.

When It Becomes an Option
There comes a time in the life of every car when it makes more sense for its owner to drop down from full coverage to liability. 

  • You’ve paid it off in full.
  • The annual cost of full coverage becomes greater than 10 percent of the car’s current Blue Book value.
  • The vehicle is eight years old or older.

But Is It a Good Option?
Consider what you lose if you drop coverage down to liability only. Liability covers damage and injury to the other person’s vehicle. That’s it. You’ll lose: 

  • collision insurance that covers damage to your own vehicle due to any type of collision accident (i.e. another car or a tree).
  • comprehensive insurance that covers damage to your own vehicle from weather, fire, fallen tree limbs, etc. It also covers vehicle theft.
  • rental car in case of an accident that renders your vehicle undrivable.

If your regular driving requirements mean you are regularly subjected to dangerous driving conditions, it may serve you better to keep full coverage. Also, if you don’t have the funds on hand to replace your car or pay for expensive repairs, keeping full coverage makes sense.

Visit Runnels Insurance serving Brandon, FL to discuss your car insurance options. We’ll help you make an informed insurance decision. 

How Good Credit Affects Your Auto Insurance

Many Brandon, FL residents have come to us at Runnels Insurance confused by the ways that their insurance premiums can be affected by their credit score. The truth is, your credit score can affect your insurance rates, and having a good credit score is one of the best ways to ensure that your rates don’t end up too high.

Credit Scores Will Affect Your Insurance

While it is not a national practice in all insurance companies, up to 92 percent of all auto insurance companies use credit to assess premiums. Why? The belief here is that your credit indicates a chance of insurance losses. For example, those with bad credit may not be able to afford to maintain their vehicle, leading to an increased risk of breakdowns.

How Good Credit Helps

Improving your credits helps increase your premiums by showing a decreased risk of insurance loss. Good credit showcases that you have paid your bills on time, worked hard to avoid excessive debt, and are a reliable person. Insurance companies believe that this indicates a lower chance of suffering from a serious car accident.

Improving Your Credit

The best way to keep your credit at a suitable level is to make your payments on time. Don’t skip payments, pay everything on time, and work hard to pay off everything you owe. In this way, you can create a solid credit score that will decrease your premium.

And if your identity gets stolen and your credit is affected, don’t be afraid to talk to a credit tracking company. They can help sort through the confusion and avoid this situation causing too much damage to your credit.

At Runnels Insurance, we can help you and anyone else from Brandon, FL get the help they need to get high-quality insurance at low prices. We can help walk you through the difficult credit assessment process and give you a leg up on cheaper premiums.

How to Stay Cooler in Your Car While Driving

When the weather is hot and humid outside, and you’re driving a vehicle, the natural tendency is stay as cool as possible while inside your car. An automobile can easily trap in heat with the sun beating down on it and when the windows are closed, at this point, it becomes an incubator. There are ways to cool off when inside your vehicle, so you can keep comfortable and cool during your drive.

To start off with, when storing your car, it’s helpful to keep your car in a cool garage area where the cooling cement and darkness maintains a less warm environment for the vehicle. If you don’t have a garage accessible for your automobile, you can pick a shaded area and crack the windows to allow for any hot air to escape and for the air to circulate. Of course, if there’s rain in the forecast, nix keeping the windows slightly ajar. Since a sunroof provides opportunity for the sun to enter and warm up the car’s interior, try keeping the cover over it to block out the sun. A portable cover for the front wind shield also acts as a barrier for the sunlight, keeping the interior cooler and preventing the seats from absorbing the sunlight and, in return, burning your bottom. Keeping your car cooler before you enter it is key to starting off your drive on a cooler foot.

Once inside the car, roll, roll, roll down all your windows both front and back and open the sun roof to allow any trapped heat and warm air to escape and reduce the temperature inside the vehicle. As you start driving, there’s nothing like a fresh man-made cross breeze that enters through the open windows to cool you off. Try keeping the interior lights off, since lights emit heat, especially if left on for long periods of time. Now, as your start your journey, it’s helpful to have a cold drink in your coffee cup holder for hydration, and a spray bottle of cool water, so you can mist your body with a fine stream of it.

There are many accessories on the market to cool the interior of your car. You can carry a portable mini fan or a hand held fan to help provide a reprieve from the warm weather. Try filling a water bottle with cold water, as well as, ice, and lay it on your lap; or keep skin wipes with a dash of peppermint oil on them in your refrigerator. When you go to use them on your car travel, they’ll be nice and cold – now that’s a great way to cool off.

Along with these portable items to cool you off, it’s a good idea to dress cooler, so forego any hats, they may protect your face from the sun, but they trap in heat that’s released from the top of your head. It’s a better choice to wear loose, light-colored clothing, which absorbs less heat than dark clothing. Besides a cooler clothing choice, opt for shoes or sandals that don’t trap the heat in your feet, but let it out.

The hot weather is a great excuse for a cold treat, so indulge in an ice pop on your drive or bring a cup of ice and keep it in your vehicle’s cup holder. As the ice melts, the cool vapors will be released into the air to help keep down the temperature of the interior.

Utilize your shopping experience to your advantage. After food shopping, any bag of cold vegetables or frozen grocery item can be temporarily placed on your lap, just don’t let them thaw out.

There’s always the good old air conditioning option. If you need it, use it, and crank it up to its coldest setting, aiming the air vents in your direction. Try putting it on the coldest temperature setting to give you some fast warm weather relief. When it’s warm outside, try some of these tips to keep you cool while in your vehicle. This way, you’re comfortable while traveling, making the experience more enjoyable. Just as important as a cool and comfortable vehicle ride in the warm weather is car insurance; and Runnels Insurance, serving the Brandon, Florida location, is here it help you cover your automobile risks,



Promoting safety in teen drivers

Any parent will have some level of anxiety when it comes to letting their teenager out on the roads. Most people that age really can’t understand the gravity of responsibility before they get behind the wheel. You obviously don’t want to run the risk of making them too nervous though, as they’ll certainly never learn properly that way. Here are a few ways to promote safety in your home. 

Setting Them Up for Success 

Show them your commitment to safety first and foremost. Start by enrolling them in the best safety course in your area, and get them instructors who will care about their progress. You’ll also want them in a vehicle with the best in safety features. Automatic Emergency Brakes in newer cars will actually apply the brakes if your teen has too slow of a reaction period. Rearview cameras means they can see everything behind them in clear color. At the very least, their car should be equipped with airbags for accidents of any kind. 

Talk to Them 

Having a real conversation can sometimes be just what a teen needs to connect with you and the safety matters in question. Let them know that you’re there for them if they make a mistake and have too much to drink one night. Work out a plan for phone use, and ask specifically what they’ll do to keep themselves off their mobile device when they’re in motion. Be honest about your own driving experiences, and let them know just how much safety counts

Buying Insurance 

Runnels Insurance serves Brandon, FL, and they can help you find the right policy for your teen. Call for a quote and get the affordable policy you need to keep your child safe from criminals, accidents and more.