Auto Insurance

Winterizing your Vehicle for Colder Temperatures

With the arrival of winter, I wanted to remind you about the importance of winterizing your vehicle for the upcoming colder months.

As you know, winter weather presents numerous challenges on the road, like icy conditions and reduced visibility. Properly preparing your vehicle can help ensure your safety and minimize the risk of accidents or breakdowns.

Here are a few tips to help you to do just that: 

  • Fill up your tires. As the temperature drops outside, so does the tire inflation pressure. That’s why you should check your tire pressure more regularly in the winter months and ensure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation (which you can find in your owner’s manual). 
  • Have your battery tested. Cold weather can strain your vehicle’s battery. In fact, when temperatures go below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, car batteries lose 35% of their strength. With that in mind,  it’s crucial to have your battery tested before winter weather or temps hit to ensure it’s in good condition.
  • Replace windshield wipers and washer fluid. Windshield wipers are essential to your safety if you happen to be caught in icy conditions. You may want to consider temporarily installing winter wipers, which can better handle ice or snow. At the minimum, however, replace any worn windshield wipers, and make sure your windshield washer fluid is at appropriate levels.
  • Make an emergency kit for your car. It’s always good to have all the essentials in your vehicle in case of a breakdown or emergency. Supplies you may want to stock your car with include:
    • Ice scraper
    • Jumper cables
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Cell phone charger

I hope these tips are a helpful safety reminder this winter. You can visit the United States Department of Transportation website for more winter weather driving tips. And if you have questions or concerns about your auto coverage or other insurance needs, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Stay safe.

If A Tree Falls On Your House…Who’s Insurance Company Will Hear It?

Record setting rainfall in the region has many homeowners feeling a little unsettled at the thought of a tree falling and causing property damage, or even worse, injury. In the unfortunate event that this does happen, here are a few scenarios and general guidelines to follow.
If your neighbor’s healthy tree falls on your house, it is usually your own homeowner’s policy that covers any damage. Check your homeowner’s policy to take note of what it covers and perhaps any exclusions. Storms causing damage are an act of nature and therefore no one’s fault. General rule of thumb….Your property, your policy. Remember that this also applies the other way around as well. If said tree falls on your vehicle, your comprehensive auto policy will then cover the damages. Again, if your tree damages your neighbor’s vehicle, their auto policy will apply.
Maybe you’ve been trying to convince your neighbor that they have a diseased tree that looks like it could fall at any time? If it does come down and cause damage, it’s possible that your insurance carrier will try to get your deductible reimbursed from your neighbor’s policy. This is provided you have proof of your efforts, such as a certified letter, to get them to remove the tree prior to the incident. The same rules apply if it’s your tree in question and your neighbor’s property is damaged. If you are unsure of the condition of your trees, it’s recommended that you have them inspected by a professional arborist.
Check your policy to confirm if other unattached structures on your property are covered. i.e. a fence, unattached garage, shed, etc. Most will be at least partially covered.
Removal and clean up are generally covered if a downed tree blocks your driveway or pathway into your home. If it falls in the middle of your yard and doesn’t cause any damage, it will probably not be covered.
Check with your insurance broker to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding tree loss and damage. It’s important to have sufficient coverage for whatever might blow your way.

Traditionally boozy St. Patrick’s Day can affect your auto insurance rates!

Did you know that there are over 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day? And St. Patrick’s Day is the 4th most popular day of the year for drinking. While most people know it’s not only dangerous, it’s also a crime that will likely result in legal, financial, personal and even career ramifications.

According to industry insight, some of the likely consequences may result in:
* Most states will suspend your license for a varying lengths of time. Multiple convictions will sometimes result in revocation of a license.
*Some states require a mandatory jail sentence, even for a first offense, as well as a hefty fine and/or fees.
*A drunk driving conviction may lead to job loss or restrictions if you operate a company vehicle.
* Higher insurance rates almost always accompany a drunk driving conviction. if you are involved in an accident as a result of drunk driving, your insurance may deny payment for injury treatment.

To avoid higher insurance rates and other potentially disastrous results, don’t drink and drive!
Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day responsibly and use your ride share app!

Summertime is the worst for distracted drivers, causing more claims for auto insurance companies

This article is from Property and Casualty magazine, By Danielle Ling | July 24, 2018 at 03:36 PM

Summertime: school is out, children are at play, and for some reason or another, distracted driving is at its peak, as new research from Travelers and TrueMotion shows.

In their study, researchers at TrueMotion, a leading smartphone telematics platform, analyzed the behavior of more than 20,000 drivers from January 2017 to May 2018. The results found that drivers spent less time looking at the road and more time looking at their phones during the months of June, July and August, more than any other time of the year.

With this information in hand, experts at Travelers are working to warn drivers about the increased risks of distracted driving.

As technology develops, new cars are made safer year after year. Despite this adoption of safer technologies, vehicular deaths continue to rise. A major explanation for this is distracted driving, which Rafi Finegold, VP of Product and Experience at TrueMotion, says is an obvious takeaway from the data study.

Travelers and TrueMotion research found that on average, nearly 40% of drivers are distracted for 15 minutes or more per hour driven during the summer. The study results also found that nearly 10% more distracted driving happens in summer through June, July and August than any other season.

Many employees (43%) say they respond to work-related communications (phone calls or emails); 38% say they always need to be available for their bosses, making this a big issue for employees and employers.

Why are we so distracted?

So, why can’t the phone wait?

According to the study, 61% of respondents say they respond to texts, emails and calls while driving because there may be an emergency. Roughly a quarter (23%) say they pick up the phone in fear of missing out on something.

What’s interesting is that 85% of respondents acknowledge that driving while using personal technology is risky, but 25 % say they believe they can do so safely.

To explain the rise in distracted driving in the summer months, Finegold offers two hypotheses. One is a change in demographic profiles on the road. School’s out, and more high schoolers and younger drivers, who are statistically a more dangerous demographic, are more active on our roadways.

The second hypothesis Finegold suggests focuses on a change in travel patterns. More drivers are going on vacations and day trips with more passengers in the car, breaking away from their typical routine, and taking alternate, unfamiliar routes.

Every second matters

Vehicular deaths are the number one cause of death of young people in the United States, and distracted driving continues to be a major contributor to these fatalities.

Looking at the numbers, Woodward says she and her colleagues at Travelers were extremely concerned about the continued increase in policy prices and vehicular deaths related to distracted driving. In an effort to save lives and spread awareness, Travelers launched its Every Second Matters campaign in the summer of 2017 to combat distracted driving.

The initiative of Every Second Matters recognizes that every driver, passenger and pedestrian has a role to play in changing social norms around distraction. The campaign’s mission is to drive change with data and research through its many partnerships, and to empower others to drive and walk present.

“The bottom line reason why we’ve taken this on is because the fatality rates are through the roof,” says Joan Woodward, executive vice president of Public Policy at Travelers and president of the Travelers Institute.

“Pedestrian fatalities are also through the roof. There’s a toxic mix of both distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians that can intersect to create deadly accidents. Almost 6,000 pedestrians died in vehicular accidents last year. It is a crisis.”

So maybe it’s time to put the phone down and limit our activity in the car to simply driving!!?

Protect your car from sun and heat.

Auto insurance will repair your car from an accident, however, it’s up to you and me to keep it in tip top condition to maintain it’s value. To help keep your car looking great, please take proper precautions to keep the sun from severely damaging key components of your vehicle. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the exterior to reach 194 degrees when exposed to direct sunlight! This amount of heat can not only wreak havoc on your car’s finish, but its interior as well!  Ways to protect your vehicles:

  • Park in the shade – this will keep your interior and exterior from drying and cracking.
  • Use a windshield sun protector – Very affordable and will keep your interior cool and help prevent sun damage.
  • Install seat covers- to protect leather and keep your seats cool.
  • Wash and dry your exterior often – sun and heat can fade and crack the paint of your car. Frequent washing and drying can help remove dirt and dust particles that can cause issues to a vehicles finish.
  • Wax your car – This will add a layer of protection against ultraviolet rays.
  • Check the tire pressure – Hot pavement and underinflated tires can easily lead to blowouts. Even good tires can lose about one pound of air pressure a month, so it’s important to check them often.