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Car Insurance. Bad Eyesight Threatens Your Insurance Cover.

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Car Insurance. Bad Eyesight Threatens Your Insurance Cover.

If you have an accident and it’s found that you’d failed to keep your car roadworthy, for example excessively worn tyres, and that was a contributory factor in the accident, your insurer will probably refuse to pay up. And the police may also show an interest too! Quite reasonable many of you will say. But what if it’s you that’s un-roadworthy?

How many driving accidents are accompanied by the comment “I didn’t see the other vehicle”? And what happens if the problem was your eyesight? Has it deteriorated to a dangerous extent?

Well all of us clearly know if we have an eyesight problem but there are opticians to help on every high street. Remember, if you need contact lenses or glasses for driving then you must wear them and if your eyesight deteriorates you should get a new prescription. It’s the legal responsibility of all drivers to ensure that they’re safe to drive.

Only last week I drew up alongside an elderly driver who was clearly having trouble reading the junction signs. He was leaning forward trying to read the signs indicating towards Leeds and rolling forward at 10 mph – all this at traffic lights that by this time had turned red – and he clearly hadn’t seen those! He was lucky that the cars coming across from the right saw him early. I’m not even sure he saw them either!

The law is quite straightforward – it states that any driving licence holder who cannot meet the minimum level of eyesight must not drive. They are also required to surrender their licence.

The eyesight test for drivers’ states that you must be able to read a number plate containing letters and figures 50 mm wide and 79mm high (that’s a legal number plate) from a distance of 20 meters. But you can use your driving glasses.

Having said that there’s no legal obligation for you to have regular eyesight tests but you are required to tell the DVLA if you develop any medical problem that affects your fitness to drive. If you don’t tell them, it’s a criminal offence.

In some American states drivers have to take an eye test every five years but not in the UK. Here, driver aged 70 and over must complete a medical form every three years confirming their fitness to drive and the definition of “fitness” includes eyesight. If theses drivers fail to send in their medical form, they lose their driving licence. (I wonder what that elderly gentleman at the traffic lights said on his?)

On the insurance front, if you are involved in an accident where your defective eyesight was a contributory factor, your insurance company may well argue that you were negligent and refuse to pay out. This could be simply because you needed glasses to drive but weren’t wearing them at the time.

So drive carefully, and keep your eyes peeled – elderly gentleman in Leeds please take note!

Flood/water damage

Flood/water damage

Severe weather, flooding, and interior water leaks each pose their own risks. Underst anding the different ways water damage can occur helps you take the right steps to protect your property, which includes purchasing the right insurance coverage.

Underst anding causes of water damage.

While fire may be a common concern among homeowners, Travelers claim data suggests that homes could be as much as 10 times more likely to be damaged by water than by fire.

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    Water damage to property can come from many sources with weather-related moisture or flooding being one significant source: leaking roofs, blocked gutters and downspouts leading to foundation and siding damage, ice dams; flooding from heavy rains, flash floods, dam and levee failures, snowmelt and spring thaws, tidal storm surges and mudflows. New construction development of buildings, roads or bridges can often alter the potential and flow of floods. Being located within a flood zone can put individuals at risk, but being outside an established zone does not mean homeowners are safe: flooding is always a possibility due to causes such as heavy rains, snowmelt and spring thaws.

    Water damage also can come from non-weather related sources within the home, including leaky baseboard heating, plugged air conditioning unit condensation drains, furnaces/boilers, water heaters, washing machines, and leaky plumbing. Homeowners may also have wet basements resulting from water entering through cracks in foundations, improper l andscape grading, downspouts placed too close to the foundation or from seepage through floor drains and sewer pipes, among other reasons.

    In all cases, water can cause major damage to your property, valuables and equipment. In severe damage, such as from flooding, it may mean the need to rebuild or move to another location.

Protect your property through prepare and prevent measures.

In addition to purchasing the right insurance coverage, no matter the source of damage-causing water (weather-related or not) there are a number of things you can do to help minimize or prevent water damage to your property.

Protect your property with the right flood insurance.

The average cost for homeowner flood loss is $48,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While floods can cause major destruction, the damage caused by floods is not covered by st andard homeowners insurance policies. However, flood insurance is offered by the NFIP and available through Travelers.

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    A flood insurance policy provides specialized coverage to help you protect your home and condo from rising waters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. In general, flood policies can provide coverage for your home’s structure, furnace, water heater, furniture, appliances, clothing, rugs (with certain limitations for basement areas) and certain expenses you incur to protect your home from imminent flood damage and clean up costs. Generally, there is a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance.

    If you have any questions regarding homeowners insurance or flood insurance, contact your agent or company representative.

Prepare & Prevent: Weather-related sources of floodwater damage

Before

  • Know your flood zone risk. Evaluate your flood risk.
  • Have your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment elevated above the expected flood levels of your area.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • If you own a generator, have a licensed electrician provide a transfer switch to your sump pump so you can operate it in the event of flooding.
  • To help prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  • Keep s andbags on h and to help divert unusually high water away from your foundation.
  • In snowy climates, flag drains to avoid plowing snow on top of them.
  • Learn the flood alert signals of your community.
  • Collect emergency building materials if you live in a frequently flooded area. These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, shovels and s andbags.
  • Plan and practice an evacuation route. Designate a place for family members to meet in the event they become separated.
  • Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
  • Plan a kit with important documents, including insurance documents, medications and critical items in the event you need to leave your home.

During

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If advised to evacuate, shut off all utilities and evacuate immediately.
  • Move to high ground, avoid rising waters and do not walk or drive through any floodwaters.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.

After

  • Listen to the radio and do not return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
  • Be watchful of snakes that may have found their way into your home.
  • Throw away all food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Remove st anding water as quickly as possible, including from your basement. If your basement is flooded, pump out the water gradually. Remove about 1/3 per day to avoid structural damage.
  • Properly dry or remove soaked carpets, padding and upholstery within 24-48 hours after a flood to prevent mold growth. Discard anything that cannot be properly dried.
  • Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded. This includes walls, floors, closets, shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems.
  • Do not energize electrical or electronic equipment that may have suffered water damage without first having a qualified electrician inspect and/or test it.
  • Promptly report the loss to Travelers using the toll-free claim reporting number.

More on tips for wet basements.
Floodsmart Tips

Prepare & Prevent: Weather-related sources of water damage

You can minimize or help prevent water damage from sources from within the home through home maintenance steps, including:

  • Keep drains, gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Maintain your roof to prevent water from seeping into your home.
  • Move downspouts minimally three feet away from the base of your home.
  • Inspect and repair foundation wall cracks.
  • Grade your l andscape away from your building so water is directed away from the basement.

Prepare & Prevent: Non-weather, interior sources of water damage

You can minimize or help prevent water damage from sources from within the home through home maintenance steps, including:

  • Inspect washing machine hoses annually and replace every three–five years–or immediately, if there are any signs of cracking or bulging.
  • Inspect plumbing around water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, and dishwashers annually and repair if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in an area with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
  • Inspect refrigerator icemaker connections, usually located behind the refrigerator, annually and replace hoses if they appear cracked or corroded.
  • Check air conditioning drain lines yearly and clean if clogged.

The storm is over – now what do you do?

 

 

The storm is over –
now what do you do?

After it is confirmed by authorities that the storm has passed and it is safe to go outdoors, you can begin to assess any potential damage. If you have property damage, you should report your claim as soon as possible. The more information you can provide when you report the loss, the better we can begin our response. However, if you have missing information but have sustained damage, please report your claim in any event.

  1. Stay inside and make sure everyone is safe.

Stay tuned to the radio or television until an official “all clear” is given (if you were evacuated, return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so.)

  1. Avoid downed power lines.

Never touch anything in contact with power lines, including water or water puddles that may be near the downed power lines.

  1. Protect property from further damage.

Board up broken windows to protect against v andalism or additional weather damage. Arrange for reasonable temporary repairs.

  1. Keep accurate expense records.

Save bills and materials receipts from your temporary repairs. (Do not make permanent repairs until the insurance adjuster has reviewed the damage.) Also, keep accurate records of other expenses incurred.

  1. Separate and inventory the damaged property.

Write a list of any damaged contents. Include the item description, name of the manufacturer, the br and name, age, the place and date of purchase, if known. Use any photographs, videotapes or personal property inventories you may already have to help.

Driving While Texting: States Are Creating Bans To Safeguard Drivers

As you are driving down the freeway at 80mph to get to work, your cell phone buzzes to let you know that you just received an email. You snatch up the phone with one h and while the other holds the steering wheel, as you read and laugh over the satirical digital newsletter about the world’s dumbest drivers.

As you swerve to miss a loading van, you decide to send a text message about the email to your friend at the office. With both h ands typing on the tiny keyboard on your cell phone, you rely on your knee on the steering wheel ( and your cousin Billy Bob’s mechanical genius on repairing cars) to guide your high speeding vehicle down the road.

The irony should be obvious. Driving while all your attention is focused on typing out a text to a friend you are going to see in the next 20 minutes at work is dangerous. Both h ands are off the steering wheel, you are traveling at high speeds, and your eyes and attention are split between typing out the text and staying in your traffic lane. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,092 people were killed in vehicle crashes in 2010 that had involved a distracted driver and 416,000 people were injured in vehicle accidents caused by a distracted driver. In addition, text messaging while you are distracted creates a 23-times greater risk in causing a serious crash than a driver who is paying attention to the road.

Individual States Take Action To Ban Texting While Driving

When people hear statistics like this, some will start shaking their heads and proclaiming to the sky that they are an excellent driver who can multitask. But why would you multitask while driving several tons of moving metal down the road at dangerous speeds? Why would you risk your safety, the safety of your passengers, the safety of other drivers, and the safety of pedestrians all because you can’t wait to park your car and turn it off before sending a text message?

With the growing concerns of distracted drivers causing serious accidents while texting, the government has stepped in to introduce bills to address this dangerous problem. In 2009, the Distracted Driving Prevention Act and the ALERT Drivers Act encourages states to take action in creating laws about drivers and texting, according to Consumer Reports. While one government act gives financial incentives to states who create texting bans, the other act takes away state funding for highway services in an attempt to force states to become proactive towards the problem.

As stated by The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, text messaging has been banned in 38 states, including California, for all drivers. Only 5 states ban texting for drivers under the age of 21 or for novice drivers who only have their learner’s permit. The states that have not created a ban are Arizona, Florida, Montana, South Dakota, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Keep Your Teens Safe Behind The Wheel

Even if you decide to practice highway safety, your teen drivers might still feel the itch of placing their typing fingers on the phone’s keyboard while driving. As the Federal Communications Commission stresses, parents need to talk with their children about driving safely. Discuss how important their lives are and that no message is important enough to become distracted while behind the steering wheel.

Also, lead by example yourself and show your kids at an early age that you can keep your h ands off the cell phone while driving.