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Auto Insurance 101 Explained

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Auto Insurance 101 Explained

Auto insurance can be confusing for most consumers; there are so many different types of insurance and it can be difficult to determine the type of coverage you’re required to carry versus the types of coverage that you really should carry in order to protect yourself but that are not required.

When considering how much car insurance you should have, it is best to do some research and find out what type of insurance is required by the state in which you reside. Not all states require the same levels of insurance. Some states require more types of coverage than others and states also vary in terms of the amount of coverage that is required. So, be sure you know exactly what the minimums are in the state where you live.

You should also underst and what is covered by the different types of insurance in order to underst and whether you need insurance coverage above and beyond the minimum required by your state of residence.

Bodily injury liability covers injuries that you cause to someone else while driving your vehicle. Generally the rule of thumb for this type of coverage is to purchase more than is required by your state minimums in order to protect your private assets from a law suit in the event that you injure someone.

Medical payments or personal injury protection, commonly known as PIP covers the treatment of injuries for the driver and the passengers of the vehicle. Depending on the level of coverage, this type of policy will compensate lost wages as well as medical payments.

Collision covers any damage that occurs to your vehicle in the event of an accident, even if it is your fault. Of course, a deductible will apply. Your lender will generally require this type of coverage while you still owe on the vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage is for the loss of your vehicle due to damage by something other than a collision such as theft, fire, natural disaster, v andalism, etc. Again, your lender will probably require this coverage for a financed vehicle. Once your loan is paid off, it’s up to you whether you want to continue carrying comprehensive and collision coverage.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can come in h andy in the event that you are either involved in a hit and run or if you are hit by someone who does not have insurance or who is underinsured.

When considering how much insurance to take out, start with the amount that is required at a minimum by your state and then consider whether you’re required to take out any additional coverage due to lender requirements. Remember that while we all hope we won’t have a need for insurance, in the event that we do, it can be a financial lifesaver.

Finally, don’t forget to consider your options regarding deductibles. Raising your deductible can help you lower your premiums and that can make taking out additional insurance coverage more affordable. Just be sure you can reasonably afford the deductible in the event you need to use it.

Earthquakes – Not Just a California Problem

When you live in California, the song "I Feel the Earth Move" is more than just a fun tune for dancing. The Golden State is known for Hollywood, smog and earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Southern California experiences over 10,000 earthquakes a year. Most are so small, no one feels them. However, there are quakes that we do feel, and those are the ones that can do the most damage to property and cause injuries.So, to protect ourselves when the earth decides it needs to adjust itself, we have insurance.

But California isn’t the only state that deals with earthquakes, so don’t think that just because you live in Roanoke you don’t have to worry about it. The USGS reports that 39 states could experience an significant earthquake. Significant being a quake of at least a 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale. That means 75 million people at any given point might see their wedding pictures quiver, their china shimmy and their dogs running around barking at the ground.

Check with your insurance agent and find out your risk for an earthquake. Once you know the possibilties you can decide if earthquake insurance is right for you.

Texting and Driving Will Kill You

When a driver tries to text and drive there can be a fatal outcome to them, and others they share the road. In fact, more states are banning h and held devices while driving. Many drivers in society are being very stubborn about these laws and will try to ignore the laws and continue to text and use h and held devices while driving. Some drivers are even going one-step further and are using their laptop computers while driving.

Texting while driving is showing inconsideration of other drivers, their passengers and innocent children on the road. How can a driver who is involved in a serious accident where people are innocently maimed or killed because they were texting and driving live with this fact for the rest of their life?

Texting and driving are against the law, and it the person is in an accident caused by texting there is heavy fines. Some states are enacting jail time for texting and driving.

The possible ramifications of texting and driving are not worth it. There is nothing so important that texting cannot wait until he or she has parked their care safely. If the driver has an emergency, he or she must pull safely off the road and then text.

Why I love condo insurance

So you have finally got the condo that you have been desiring to buy for a long time. You may have searched for a long time and in a wide variety of locations to find one that is just right for you. Now comes the task of insuring your condo just in case there is a loss that happens.

Condo Insurance at a Glance

  • Condo insurance is much like home insurance except the condo association will have a policy for the basic structure of the complex. This may be referred to as a master policy.
  • Usually the owner is responsible for repairing from the studs in case of a total loss.
  • The owner will have to buy a condo policy to cover not only the inside of the structure but also their own belongings
  • The owner must also choose how much liability amount they need in case of a lawsuit.

Make sure to get the right kind of policy for your condo. After all, you do not want to have live in a house with no drywall or floor coverings. The reason why condo insurance is loved by a lot of people is because it takes care of repairing a persons home when nothing else will.

How to use a fire extinguisher

How to use a fire extinguisher

In the event of a fire, you may be required to use a fire extinguisher. It is important to underst and what type of fire extinguisher to use, when to use it, and how to use it. To learn more, click the appropriate links below.

Fight or flee

Your safety is most important when it comes to extinguishing a fire. If you are unsure about whether it is safe to fight the fire, you should leave the scene and let the fire department h andle it.

Learn more »

Fire extinguisher basics

Underst anding how a fire forms and how a fire extinguisher operates can help you fight a fire more effectively.

Learn more »

Types of fire extinguishers

There are different types of fire extinguishers, each designed to fight a different type of fire. Using an incorrect fire extinguisher may cause a fire to intensify.

Learn more »

Using a fire extinguisher

You should know exactly how to use a fire extinguisher in the event a fire develops and you feel you are safely able to fight it.

Learn more »

Portable fire extinguishers – test your knowledge

Think you know everything about fire extinguishers? Test your knowledge.

Learn more »

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.

  • More

    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.

  • More

    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.

Hail storms

Hail storms

Did you know that hail is one of the biggest causes of home damage in America? Learn more about how hail damage occurs and what to look out for.

Staying safe in a hailstorm

  • If there is a hail storm in your area, make personal safety your first priority. Take shelter during the storm. Large hail can cause serious injuries.
  • Hail is often accompanied by strong winds and lightning, both of which pose their own dangers.
  • After the storm passes, keep in mind that windows may have been broken and high winds may have knocked down trees and power lines. Look for broken glass, sharp objects and live wires. Be sure to wear proper shoes and gloves when walking around your property.
  • If necessary, protect your property immediately against further damage and theft. Use plywood, tarps or other materials to cover broken windows or holes in roofs. Keep receipts for reimbursement of all expenses covered by your policy.

Underst anding hail damage

  • Hail is frozen precipitation that forms in storm clouds when super-cooled water droplets freeze on contact with dust or dirt in the air. Hailstones can be as small as the tip of a pen or as large as a softball. The larger they are, the more damage they can do.
  • By underst anding the signs of hail damage you can be better prepared to work with contractors and your claim professional after a storm.
    • Roofing:
      • Cracked or missing shingles or lost granules may be the result of hail. They also may be the result of normal wear and tear.
      • If there is damage from hail, your claim professional will determine whether the whole roof needs replacing or whether only part of the roof requires repair or replacement. This will generally depend on how extensive the hail damage is, among other factors.
    • Siding:
      • Hail may cause small dings in aluminum siding or cracks in vinyl siding. The winds that accompany the storm may pull off pieces of siding. Check your exterior walls closely for hail damage, preferably when the sun is lower in the sky (morning or evening). This will make it easier to see any denting.
      • The claim professional will determine whether one section can be replaced or the entire house needs re-siding. This will depend on the extent of the damage and the age of the siding. The claim professional will then advise you of the best way to repair the damage to achieve a reasonably uniform appearance.
  • Travelers recommends you speak with your claim professional before engaging a contractor to repair any damage. When selecting a contractor, be sure to check references. Your contactor should be insured and bonded.
  • Our claim professionals will inspect your property to determine whether it was damaged by the hailstorm. If so, we will provide you with a detailed written estimate outlining what needs to be replaced and what you can expect the repairs to cost.
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