Category Archives: Auto

Don’t Get Burned By Insurance Claims This Summer

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Grange Insurance offers tips to have fun and stay safe

School is out for the summer, and for many, that means vacations, cookouts and pool parties. Summer is fun, but its activities can also lead to unnecessary and expensive claims if families do not take the right precautions.

Columbus, Ohio-based Grange Insurance offers tips to help families have fun, stay safe and avoid claims that could become financial inconveniences.

 

1. Prepare your house for ‘vacation mode.’   Security Alarm

Families should prepare their homes for ‘vacation mode’ if they’re planning to be gone for an extended period of time.

“Turn off the valve on the washing machine, check the back-up battery on the sump pump and put high-end electronics on a storm surge protector in case bad weather should occur that might lead to flooding or fires in the home while homeowners are away,” advises Ken Kozek, vice president of claims for Grange Insurance.

Kozek also advises families leaving town to have a trusted neighbor check the home periodically, alert the local police to increase neighbor check the home periodically, alert the local police to increase neighborhood watch, put lights on a timer, and stop mail and newspaper delivery.

 

2. Don’t be a target for theft.   Theft

Homes are a target for theft when homeowners are away, but thefts can occur just as easily when homeowners are home.

“Summer is open-window season for houses and cars and open-door season for the garage, so be mindful of your personal belongings,” adds Kozek. “If you’re going to leave windows or doors open, keep things like wallets, cell phones, golf clubs and jewelry out of sight.”

 

3. Be safe around water.   Swimming Pool

“Swimming is a great summer activity, but water can also be very dangerous if you’re not careful,” said Kozek. “Families should take precautions when it comes to activities that include water and keep an eye on kids at all times to avoid drowning.”

Kozek also advises families with pools to install a fence around the premise to prevent unwanted swimmers who, if injured, could become a liability for the homeowner.

“Homeowners should also consider installing motion-activated alarms around the pool that will sound an alert if someone falls in,” adds Kozek.

 

4. Don’t play with fire.   Fireworks

Fireworks are enjoyable and fun to watch, but they can also lead to serious injury, especially to children. They’re also a leading cause of summer house fires. Grange Insurance urges families to stay safe and leave fireworks to the professionals this summer.

 

5. Know your coverage options when you’re away from home.   summer_vacation

Grange Insurance encourages families to contact their independent agent before renting cars, boats or vacation homes this summer.

“Families should be aware of what their coverage options are before they leave for vacation,” said Kozek. “Additional coverage might be needed when renting cars, boats or homes, but in some cases, current auto and homeowner policies might provide all the coverage that is needed. Your independent agent is a great resource to help make sure you’re covered for any situation, and they can help you save money by avoiding potentially unnecessary rental charges too.”

 

For more information about staying safe and saving money this summer, visit www.grangeinsurance.com or call the Reno Agency today at 269.792.2232.

 

About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider founded in 1935 and based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life and business insurance protection. The company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.grangeinsurance.com.

Hot Off the Grange Insurance Press: Putting Together the Pieces of your Insurance Policy Puzzle

Grange Insurance Hi Res Version

Grange Insurance shares steps to reading insurance policies

Columbus, Ohio – According to Punxsutawney Phil, spring is just around the corner. For those of you who live in colder climates, this might be a welcome change. However, this also means that the sometimes volatile weather is right around the corner, making now a good time to review your insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need as we approach storm season.

Similar to putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, reading an insurance policy can seem daunting at first glance. This can make it hard to determine what you’re looking at and how much coverage you have. To cut through the clutter, Grange Insurance offers five tips to quickly understand the pieces of your insurance policy puzzle:

Start with the Declarations Page

The Declarations Page is typically the first page of an insurance policy, but policy holders might also receive this as a standalone document. “The Declarations Page is like the four corners of your puzzle, and it serves as a roadmap for your policy,” says Larry Tamasovich, manager of policy forms and compliance, Grange Insurance.

The Declarations Page includes a list of form numbers that apply to your policy, and it provides basic information such as name and address of the insurance agency, what is insured, for how much, under what circumstances, and for how long. It might also include additions to the policy beyond basic coverage.

Assemble your Policy

Once you’ve reviewed the Declarations Page, you can begin piecing it together. The first step is to identify the policy form numbers on your Declarations Page and match them up with the form numbers of your policy. You should also look for the edition dates of the policy forms shown on the Declarations Page and compare them to the edition dates of the forms received for your policy. This will help you determine if you have a complete, up-to-date policy. If you’re missing anything, contact your independent insurance agent or insurance company.

Identify your Coverage

With the Declarations Page and policy in-hand, you have the proper forms to start filling in the middle pieces of your policy puzzle. Each policy is typically broken out into broad coverage sections identified by titles that include an insuring agreement and an exclusions section. The policy itself should have an index page to make it easier to identify sections within the policy. To identify your coverage, follow these four steps:

1.  Turn to the section in your policy that you want to review, such as homeowners property protection.
2.  Refer to the insuring agreement section to see your broad coverage.
3.  Turn back to your Declarations Page to verify if that coverage applies to your specific policy, what your limit and/or premium is, and if you have a deductible.
4.  Once you’ve determined that this coverage applies to you, refer back to your policy and read the exclusions page for that section to get an understanding of what is not included.

“For example, maybe you’re concerned your basement might flood during the upcoming rainy season,” said Tamasovich. “The insuring agreement will tell you what is covered in your house, but the exclusions section might tell you that floods are not covered unless you have a separate flood policy. If flooding is truly a concern, this would be a red flag to contact your agent about a flood policy to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place to fully protect your home.”

Refer to the Definitions Section

Insurance policies can be loaded with legal language and industry jargon, and that can make the meat of your policy hard to digest at times. Every policy should include a Definitions Section. If ay any time you are unsure of what the policy is stating, refer to the Definitions Section to see if you can find an explanation.

Call your Agent

Even after these steps, your insurance policy may still be overwhelming, says Tamasovich. At that point, it may be time to call your independent agent.

“We’re coming up on the most volatile time of the year in terms of weather, making now a good time to get your ducks in a row before bad weather hits,” said Tamasovich. “If ay any time you’re unsure of what you’re reading or what your coverage is, call your agent. He or she can help explain what’s in your policy, and more importantly, help make sure that you’re appropriately protected for the future.”

For more information about insurance policies and the types of insurance available to you, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com or call your independent agent today.

 

About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life, and business insurance protection. Established in 1935, the company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com.

 

Keynote Recognizes Progressive as Dominate Leader in Car Insurance Websites

Direct news report from http://www.progressive.com/newsroom/2013/February/keynote-2013.aspx.

Progressive official logo black

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — February 25, 2013 —Keynote® Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems, once again recognized Progressive.com as number one among online car insurance websites.

Progressive has sat atop the list for 20 of the last 21 scorecards dating back to 2000, demonstrating consistent excellence in the insurance space. The Keynote Insurance Carrier Scorecard praises the site for offering so many features to the customer in real-time, while providing excellent customer support options that make the insurance shopping experience easy.

“Our goal remains laser-focused — to continually strive to cut through the clutter and make buying and servicing insurance easy, understandable and transparent when you come to Progressive.com,” said Progressive’s Acquisition Leader, Toby Alfred. “Your online experience should mirror our beloved Superstore ads and offer you the best service possible.”

Keynote reviewed websites and interviewed company representatives from well-known insurance companies. Sites were then ranked in order of how well they met industry-specific criteria as well as performed specific functions, such as buying and quoting car insurance.

Areas where Progressive excelled included:

  • Name Your Price: Prospects can enter their insurance budget and view the closest-matching coverage page
  • Mobile buy: Prospects can bind their auto insurance quote via a smartphone app or mobile-optimized interface; we offer coverage needs assessment tools
  • Mobile prefill: Prospects can prefill information into their quote by taking a picture of their driver’s license or insurance ID card
  • Bundled quoting: Prospects can get home and auto quotes within one flow

About Progressive
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies (collectively, “Progressive Insurance”) makes it easy to understand, buy and use auto insurance. Progressive offers choices so consumers can reach us whenever, wherever and however it’s most convenient for them — online at progressive.com, by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, on a mobile device or in-person with a local agent.

Progressive offers insurance for personal and commercial autos and trucks, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles and homes. It’s the fourth largest auto insurer in the country, the largest seller of motorcycle insurance and a leader in commercial auto insurance. Progressive also offers car insurance online in Australia at http://www.progressiveonline.com.au.

Founded in 1937, Progressive continues its long history of offering shopping tools and services that save customers time and money, like Name Your Price®, the Snapshot Discount®, and a concierge level of claims service.

The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR.

Information You Should Get/Give After An Auto Accident

This article was taken from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website, http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_page.htm, highlighting a great new mobile app, called “WreckCheck,” that can help insured’s capture the appropriate information after an auto accident. This is very important information to know since providing too much information after an accident is a very easy way for your personal information to fall into the wrong hands.

 

Accidents Happen 
Take steps to protect yourself, your property and your identity

In an automobile accident, you are concerned first about your safety and secondly about your vehicle. Likely, the last thing on your mind is protecting your identity. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests that, after an accident, many Americans do not really know what information they should share with the other driver. State laws vary, but in most cases you need only provide your name and vehicle insurance information, which should include the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Sharing personal information such as your address and phone number may put your privacy and identity at risk. However, if another driver is unable to provide vehicle ownership and/or insurance information it is appropriate to ask for their phone number, address and driver’s license number.

According to the July 2012 survey:

  • Thirty-eight percent of consumers believed they should share their driver’s license number with the other driver — one in six would even allow the other driver to photograph the license as a convenient way to exchange information.
      • So what’s the risk? Many retailers accept driver’s license information to verify your identity over the phone. In fact, your license number is the most common way to confirm your identity after Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Twenty-five percent of consumers surveyed said they would share their home address.
      • Actually, your home address gives identity thieves the physical location of your mail or garbage, the first place criminals often look for personal financial information. And, now a stranger knows where you live, possibly putting your personal safety at risk.
  • Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents believed they are required to share personal phone numbers. In fact, sharing your phone number is rarely necessary.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission estimates nearly nine million consumers have their identities stolen each year, disrupting finances and damaging credit histories and reputation. Knowing what to share helps keep property and identities safe.

The survey also found that consumers were unsure about other auto accident best practices. For example, nearly 20 percent of respondents believe the only reason to call police after an accident is if someone is injured. However, filing a police report can help facilitate the insurance claims process.

Wreck Check App

New WreckCheck App for Smartphones

To take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation, the NAIC has developed WreckCheck, a new, free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones. The new app outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report. The app directs them to capture photos and helps document and share only what is necessary to file an insurance claim. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents.

No smartphone? NAIC offers a downloadable accident checklist and tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.

For more tips and tools to make sure you are protected in case of an auto accident, visit www.insureuonline.org

Tips For At The Scene Photography After An Auto Accident

Taking pictures of the scene of a car accident can be very beneficial to handling your auto insurance claim. Pictures can help claim adjusters determine what happened, who hit who, and if there were any street signs or signals that weren’t obeyed.Accident Pics by Insured copy

 

Have you ever wondered what pictures to take after your vehicle has been involved in a car accident?

Property & Casualty 360: A National Underwriter Website, has shared six photography tips that an insured can follow to make sure they have the essential documentation for their auto claim. Not everyone wants to take their own pictures, or has the capability of taking pictures at the scene of the accident, but if you are one of those who do, these tips will help capture the damage that the claims adjusters are looking for.

  1. Photograph all the vehicles involved and their relative positions from all angles to establish the boundaries of the crash scene and the impact zone. Think about tracing the main points of a compass to catch all those angles.

  2. Broaden the view and take photographs of the street layout, landmarks, traffic controls, and signage. Try to include pictures that show the vehicle’s position relative to its closest landmark. Investigators deployed later rely on such distinguishing details to help them reconstruct accident events accurately.

  3. Focus on the damages sustained by all the vehicles involved in the crash. Photograph the vehicle’s four corners, making sure to capture two sides of that vehicle in the viewfinder with each shot. (Example, front of car and passenger side of car.) Next, photograph each side of the vehicle straight on before focusing on documenting the damaged areas of the car. Take close-up photos of the damage and broader views for context.

  4. Make sure also to take shots of the vehicles’ identifying features like license plates and VIN numbers.

  5. Look inside the vehicle and take photographs of any interior damage, deployed airbags, seatbelts, and so forth.

  6. Document roadside debris, marks, and gouges on the roadway; strewn vehicle parts; and anything else pertinent to the accident. Try to show the relationship of the vehicle(s) to the debris depicted in image.

Above all else, make sure you take care of any injuries and safety concerns FIRST. Be mindful of traffic around the accident scene and stay safe while taking pictures.

Read the full article from Property & Casualty 360 here.

 

Gov. Rick Snyder Talks Auto Insurance Overhaul for Michigan

Gov Rick Snyder Pic
Photo courtesy of www.battlecreekenquirer.com.

In Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State address, he mentioned that “Michigan is the 10th most expensive state for auto insurance.” This isn’t new information to anyone who has auto insurance in Michigan because we’ve continually seen our auto insurance premiums increasing every year.

The fact is, “this ‘one size fits all’ system is expensive, has few cost controls and does not provide any incentives for thrift,” says Jeffrey Junkas, the regional manager of the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America. “As a result Michigan drivers pay 20-30 percent more than in neighboring states.”

I am certainly not the first insurance agent who has heard customers complain about their increasing premiums, but good news! Hope may be on its way. Read the Property & Casualty 360 article titled, “Michigan Governor Talks Auto-Insurance Reform in Address,” highlighting the auto insurance reform Gov. Rick Snyder proposes.

IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2013

As as insurance agent, I am frequently asked auto questions from ‘what is the best car to look for when purchasing a new vehicle’, to ‘which vehicle is the least expensive to insure’.

Hopefully I’m not the first to tell you that vehicle safety is one of the many components to determining your insurance rate. If a vehicle does a poor job at keeping its passengers safe during accidents, then that increases the cost of the claim that the vehicle’s owner would file. Injuries from auto accidents can add up quickly, so if a vehicle does a good job at minimizing those injuries, then insurance companies reward that with lower rates.

“IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in a moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, side impact and rollover, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. Top Safety Pick+ winners must earn good ratings for occupant protection in at least 4 of 5 evaluations, with no less than acceptable in the fifth test.”

Here is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Picks for 2013. To read the full article, click here.

 

IIHS logo   News Release | December 20, 2012


New TOP SAFETY PICK+ award goes to 13 cars;
117 additional vehicles earn Top Safety Pick

To qualify for Top Safety Pick vehicles must have good ratings for occupant protection in the moderate overlap frontal test, side impact, rollover and rear tests, regardless of their small overlap rating.

“Models that earn Top Safety Pick also offer outstanding protection in many crashes,” Lund says. “These vehicles are much safer choices than most vehicles on the market just five years ago.”

Midsize moderately priced cars Midsize luxury/near luxury cars
Chrysler 200 4-door Acura TL
Dodge Avenger Volvo S60
Ford Fusion built after Dec. 2012
Honda Accord 2-door
Honda Accord 4-door
Kia Optima
Nissan Altima 4-door built after Nov. 2012
Subaru Legacy built after Aug. 2012
Subaru Outback built after Aug. 2012
Suzuki Kizashi
Volkswagen Passat built after Oct. 2012

Drive With Caution, It’s Deer Season

Opening day of firearm season in Michigan is quickly approaching, beginning November 15th. Hunters are making final preparations by purchasing and gathering their gear, and selecting the best location in the woods to set them up for success.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resourses website

For many, this date signals the beginning of a season where heightened alertness while driving is necessary. Tens of thousands of drivers each year fall victim to deer-car accidents, and as we’ve recently seen this week along US-131, some are fatal. Unfortunately, this woman was not killed as a result of hitting the deer, but from another driver failing to react in time as she tried to avoid the deer.

So what does this cautionary tale mean for you?

  • Be alert! Don’t drive intoxicated or under the influence. If you are feeling sleepy, call someone to drive you to where you need to go. Minimize all distractions including the radio, cell phones, and too many passengers. You not only need to watch out for deer, but also for other drivers around you. If your reaction time is jeopardized, it could cost you your life or another.
  • Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. Keep a watchful eye for what is happening around you especially during these times.
  • Deer are almost always found in herds. If you see one deer, chances are more are following.
  • If a crash is unavoidable, don’t swerve! Brake firmly and hold on to the steering wheel to bring your vehicle to a controlled stop. Pull off to the side of the road and turn your emergency flashers on to alert other drivers. Report the accident to the police and also to your insurance agent.

Question: Is there a specific coverage I should have in my auto insurance policy to protect me in a deer-car accident?

Answer: YES! It is called Comprehensive Coverage, (also known as “Other Than Collision Coverage”).

Comprehensive coverage protects you from having to pay the full repair bill in the event that your vehicle hits an animal while driving, an object falls onto your vehicle, your vehicle is stolen or vandalized, and in most cases, auto glass damage. Similar to Collision coverage, you select a deductible. This is the amount of the claim that is your responsibility to pay for, such as $100. The insurance company would then pay everything above and beyond this once coverage is determined. Call us today at 269.792.2232 to make sure this valuable coverage is on your policy, or if you have additional questions.

Now, one question I have for you: If you are in a fatal car-deer accident (or any car accident for that matter), how would that situation look for your family?

Answer: __________?_____________

Life Insurance can help when your loved ones pass away, and while you are living. Call or email me today at 269.792.2232 or mike@renoagency.com so we can talk about your family’s life insurance needs so you can make sure you are able to fill in the blank.