12/18/2012 10:17 PM

Tips on Protecting Your Home While You're Away

Vacations are fun, but they may be costly if you fail to secure your home while you are away.  Burglars see this as an opportunity to target empty homes. There are over 2 million burglaries each year, mostly residential. Here are five preventative steps to keep your home safe: ~Dead-bold window and door locks to help slow a burglar down.  You may also receive a discount on your insurance policy for installing these devices. ~Invest in a burglar alarm.  An alarm system can result in an insurance discount. ~Make sure you have strong doors.  Outside doors and frames should be made of metal or solid hardwood and be at least 1 ¾ - inches thick.  Garage doors also need strong locks. ~If you save personal information on your computer, make sure it’s difficult to access. ~Keep valuables locked and well hidden.  Don’t leave personal documents in your desk since burglars know to look for them there.  Expensive jewelry should be hidden somewhere other than the ...

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11/26/2012 5:05 AM

Negligent Entrustment

Employers have a responsibility to know if a person has something in their driving record that can create risk to others.  Negligent entrustment is when a company knows or should have known that they put an unsafe driver behind the wheel of a company car.  Injury caused by the driver must have several elements proven in order to establish a lawsuit for negligent entrustment. ~The owner of the company knew the driver ~The driver  was unlicensed or incompetent, and the owner was aware of it. ~The driver was negligent in operation of the vehicle, and his negligence resulted in damages.    A driver may be incompetent if he or she is intoxicated, unlicensed, inexperienced, or has a record of reckless driving.  Some examples include: ~Not have a drivers' license or driving with a suspended license. ~Not having a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) when it is required. ~No experience in operating a specific kind of vehicle. ~The driver's motor vehicle record has several violat ...

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10/9/2012 3:42 AM

Trees and Insurance

Fallen trees can cause huge damage to a home or car.  Most trees should be pruned during seasons when they are dormant or winter months. During a storm trees, shrubs and branches can become projectile causing massive damage to property.  Whether you own a tree or not, that lands on your home you should file a claim with your insurance company.  If a tree hits an insured structure such as your house, there is coverage for the cost of removing it, depending on the type of policy purchased. If the tree did not hit an insured structure, then there is no coverage for removal of debris.  Some insurance companies may pay for the cost of removing a tree if it’s blocking a driveway or handicap ramp. Cars that are damaged but a down tree are covered under the comprehensive portion of the auto insurance policy.Standard home insurance policies also cover damage to trees caused by fire, lighting, theft, and vehicles now owned by the resident, to name a few.   Trees and plants grown for ...

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10/3/2012 12:32 AM

Dog Ownership and Bite Laws

We all love our furry friends, but did you know that pet owners could be liable if your dog attacks?  A well-trained dog is the best way to protect owners and other animals. There are about 78 million dogs owned in the US and each year more than 350,000 people are seen in emergency rooms due to dog bites.  Despite the number of victims, only 16,000 of them per year receive money from homeowners and renters insurance.  Dog Bite Law When a dog bites someone, that person can usually recover full compensation from the dog owner’s homeowners or renter’s insurance policy.  The legal grounds vary from place to place.  The One Bite Rule Dog owners are liable if they know their dog has biting tendencies before an incident occurs.  However, it’s the most difficult for the victim to prove that the dog previously bit someone.  This rule also covers injuries other than bites such as tripping and “knock-downs”.  It’s also the basis for hold ...

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9/11/2012 11:52 PM

Terrorism Insurance

Terrorism coverage is offered by most insurance companies but very few business owners and individuals have selected any amount.  Terrorism insurance provides coverage to individuals and business for losses due to acts of terrorism. Homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage for damage done to personal possessions, even though it’s usually not referenced.  The policy does cover loss due to explosions, fire and smoke, caused by a terrorist attack. Condo, co-op’s, and renters personal possessions are also covered; however damages due to the common areas of the building such as the roof, basement, and boiler would only be covered if the property owner has purchased terrorism coverage. Auto insurance policies will cover a car that is damaged in a terrorist attack only if the policy holder has purchased comprehensive coverage. Life insurance policies do not contain terrorism exclusions, but proceeds will be paid to the beneficiary as stated on the policy.  Health and disabili ...

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9/4/2012 4:35 AM

Back to School Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 149 school-age pedestrians have died in school transportation related crashes since 1998.  Sixty nine percent have been killed by school buses, while 24 percent by other vehicles involved in crashes. Parents should discuss with their children the importance of busing safely along with other transportation risks that involve traveling to and from school.  Below are some tips to help the conversation get started:  At the Bus Stop ~Arrive to the bus stop five minutes before its scheduled arrival. ~When the bus approaches, make sure to stand at least 6 feet away from the curb. ~Be sure you can see the bus driver as well as them being able to see you. ~Never walk behind the bus.    On the School Bus ~Children should always stay seating while the bus is moving. ~Do not jump, fight, or make a lot of noise on the bus. This can distract the driver from paying attention to the road. ~Check to see that no other traffic is co ...

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8/29/2012 1:30 AM

Labor Day Weekend Safe Driving Tips

The National Safety Council has estimated that 400 traffic fatalities will occur over the holiday weekend with an additional 38,800 resulting in injuries. With the upcoming holiday, millions of drivers are taking to the road.  Here are some tips to help you stay safe: ~Make sure you are rested before driving. Tired drivers are a hazard to themselves and to those around them and mistakes can be made in judgment.  ~Wear a seatbelt. Make sure everyone else in the car is also buckled up.  ~Remember the two-second rule and don’t tailgate. Keeping a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you can help prevent an accident.  ~Obey traffic signals and speed limits. Be aware that police officers will be out to ensure that everyone is obeying traffic laws.  ~Don’t drink and drive.  ~Don’t text and drive.  ~Pay attention to emergency signals. If you see an emergency vehicle lights flashing, move over and slow down.  ~Enforce a driver&rsq ...

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8/14/2012 12:57 AM

Tips on Preventing Backing Accidents

The majority of backing up accidents are usually caused by driver unawareness or improper techniques.  Many of these accidents can be prevented just by remembering these simple tips:   ~When entering an alley that doesn’t permit drive through or turnaround, back into the alley.  This will allow you to see the traffic as you exit.  Also, ask someone to be your guide and signal when it’s safe as opposed to verbal commands.  ~Most accidents that cause injury involve children.  Make sure you do a walk around inspection of your vehicle before backing.  ~If parking on an incline, turn the front wheels into the curb to prevent the vehicle from rolling.  ~Park in the middle of the parking space and remember to evaluate the location to determine if there are obstacles present.  ~Learn how the rear of the vehicle responds and practice backing.  ~Be aware of your surrounds and perform all maneuvers slowly.  ~Check all of your mirrors and blind ...

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8/7/2012 11:39 PM

Keeping Your Eyes On the Road and Off the Cell Phone

The increase use of cell phones has lead to the rise of the number of people who use this device while driving.  As convenient and simple as this modern day technology may be, there’s also responsibility that comes along with it.  There are several dangers associated with driving and cell phone use with the main cause being driver distraction.  When people become too absorbed in their conversation, text messages, or Web surfing, this may lead to near crashes or crashes which can be fatal. Texting while driving has become a growing trend and is one of the country’s top killers.  Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving but the numbers don’t lie. Here are some causes as a result of texting and driving: ~According to the National Safety Council, texting causes 1,600,000 accidents per year.  ~330,000 injuries per year, as reported by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study  ~11 teen deaths EVERY DAY, according to the Insurance Institute for ...

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7/31/2012 1:51 AM

Insurance Implications for College Bound Students

The parents of college students that are moving to on or off-campus housing should review their insurance policies to make sure their children’s personal possessions are covered while they are away at school. Before your child heads off to college, take the following steps:  1. Create a ‘dorm inventory’—a list of items the student plans to bring to school, along with its estimated value. Having an up-to-date inventory can help determine how much insurance to purchase and get insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, fire or other types of disasters.  2. Contact your insurance agent—college is a major life event that may trigger the need for changes in insurance coverage, so ask about the insurance implications of your child becoming a full-time student and determine if supplemental insurance is needed.  Some homeowners and/or renters policies include protection for a college student’s personal possessions away from home, if they l ...

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