The Myths and Facts of Car Infotainment Systems

Insurance Info & Safety Information

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Here are some myths and facts of car infotainment systems:

MYTH: My car came with an infotainment system. Since it’s built into my car, it must be safe.

FACT: Advancements in automotive technology can be broadly separated into two categories:

• Technologies related to vehicle performance and driving, such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, crash avoidance systems, adaptive headlights and stability control systems.

• Technologies unrelated to vehicle performance or the task of driving, such as hands-free phoning, speech-to-text and the ability to use social media while driving. There are many safety benefits to technologies related to vehicle performance and driving. Technology also can be a solution to the distracted driving problem with features such as call blocking. But not all technology is created equal. Anything that distracts a driver from performing an essential driving task can be dangerous and doesn’t belong in a dashboard infotainment system.

MYTH: I have an…

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Non Toxic Weed Control

Insurance Info & Safety Information

Herbicides, whether applied by themselves or in the form of weed and feed products that combine fertilizer and herbicide in one application, can easily run off into streams and lakes and can migrate into groundwater supplies in areas of porous soils.

weeds-fb-shutterstock_198399755Preventing Weeds in your Lawn
Weeds move into lawns when conditions favor their growth over that of turf grasses. A healthy lawn will be able to endure drought, diseases and pest infestations better than a stressed lawn. Healthy grasses can also compete better with undesirable weeds.

Promote lawn health by mowing and watering properly:

  • Mow at a 2.5 -3″ height. Taller grass develops deeper roots, an advantage during dry spells
  • Water deeply once a week. Lawns need about an inch of water a week. Supplement with irrigation only when necessary
  • Water early in the morning
  • Water at a rate that the soil can absorb

To control the spread of…

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Tornadoes: Before and During the Storm

Insurance Info & Safety Information

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a…

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Key Electrical Safety Facts and Top Hazards

Insurance Info & Safety Information

electrical_safety_2 Essential Facts about Electricity and Injury:

The most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that on average, there are over 400 electrocutions in the United States each year. Of these, approximately 180 are related to consumer products. Large appliances were responsible for the largest proportion of the electrocutions —10 percent.

  • Electrocutions from wiring hazards, including damaged or exposed wiring and household wiring together totaled approximately 20 percent.
  • Ladders contacting power lines caused 9 percent of electrocutions; in another 5 percent of deaths, victims contacted high voltage power lines.
  • Power tools were responsible for another 9 percent of deaths.
  • Landscaping, gardening and farming equipment cause 7 percent of electrocutions each year. In the work place, data from the National Safety Council indicate that electrical hazards cause nearly one workplace fatality every day.
  • Annually, electrical hazards are listed as the cause of approximately 4,000 injuries.
  • Electrical incidents, while…

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Penn. Offers Insurance Tips for Consumers Preparing for Summer Vacations

As the weather warms and countdowns until summer vacations begin, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is reminding consumers to make sure they are fully informed on their insurance coverage when preparing to leave for vacation.

“Before leaving for a trip, no matter how far, consumers need to make sure they are aware of how this will affect their insurance coverage,” said Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.

Personal property like clothing and electronics are typically covered under a homeowners insurance policy, even when the insureds take them on a vacation. While the extent of coverage varies between policies, this could cover the cost of the belongings in the event that they are lost, stolen, or destroyed during the trip, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department noted.

The department said consumers should consult their policy to be aware of the maximum amount the policy will cover when deciding which items to bring on a trip.

Consumers should also consult their health insurance policy and be aware of whether there are in-network healthcare options at their destination. The department said consumers should contact their insurance company’s member services hotline, which is often printed on the back of the insurance card, if they have questions regarding the health insurance options when traveling. Consumers may find that coverage ends when they leave the country, in which case a travel insurance policy may help fill network gaps.

Consumers may consider the following travel insurance policies:

  • Trip cancellation, delay, or interruption insurance: These policies can help reimburse costs incurred if a trip is cancelled or delayed due to a medical emergency, a force of nature, or other interruptions beyond the consumer’s control.
  • Medical: Provides expanded network coverage in case the consumer or a family member needs medical attention during the course of the vacation. This may be necessary if traveling abroad.
  • Additional Property Insurance: Consumers may want to consider insuring baggage if they must travel with expensive property but they should research the policy and find out if loss or damage by an airline is covered and if so, to what extent. Rental car insurance is also available if the trip involves renting a vehicle.

Before purchasing a travel insurance policy, consumers should review the existing policies to make sure there are actually gaps that need to be covered, and review all policies to ensure they adequately meet the consumers’ needs. For consumers who are considering insuring against a cancellation or interruption, they should check with the airline, hotel(s), cruise line, or other companies they are traveling with. The companies may offer refunds or credits towards future trips in the event of a cancellation.

“You cannot plan on an accident, but you can go into a situation informed and ready to navigate which option is best for you and your family,” said Miller.

Miller also suggested that individuals take caution when posting about their upcoming trips on social media. By alerting audiences on their social media pages of their departure, consumers risk alerting the wrong people of their absence which raises the chance of becoming a victim of theft or other criminal action against their property.

“Taking the steps to prepare your home, property, and medical coverage options ahead of time will give you peace of mind to enjoy your time away,” said Miller.

Source: Pennsylvania Insurance Department

Retrieved from Insurance Journal: May 22nd, 2015

When Dogs Bite, Home Insurers Pay Average $32,000

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Max, Bella and their canine comrades cause more than one-third of all home insurance claims, adding $530 million a year to insurance costs.

And while the number of claims is down, the cost of the average claim from dog bites and other injuries is on the rise, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm, the nation’ largest writer of homeowners insurance.

I.I.I.’s analysis of homeowners insurance data found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 percent in 2014. However, the average cost per dog bite claim was up 15 percent to $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013.

The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67 percent from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing, according to Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I.

California continues to have the largest number of claims in the U.S. at 1,867. Ohio had the second highest number of claims at 1,009. While New York had only the third highest number of claims at 965, it registered the highest average cost per claim in the country: a whopping $56,628.

The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not simply to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists and senior citizens —all of which I.I.I. says can result in fractures and other injuries that increase the severity of the losses.

Experts say that even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. The most dangerous dogs are those that suffer from poor training, irresponsible owners and breeding practices that foster viciousness.

“All dogs have the potential to bite, but for most, biting is a last resort,” said Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s TV series, It’s Me or the Dog. “If time is taken to raise, teach and socialize a dog correctly, the likelihood of a bite incident occurring is extremely low. Confident dogs have less need to use aggressive behavior.”

Victims and homeowners insurers are not the only ones paying for dog bites. Workers’ compensation for the United States Postal Service (USPS) costs about $3.7 billion a year.  Dog bites are the most common cause of injury for walking postal workers, according to the USPS.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week(May 17-23, 2015) is designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of dog bites as a serious public health issue.

Originally posted on Insurance Journal on May 15, 2015

A Brief History Of Auto Insurance

Though you may not know the initial state to publish a newspaper or print a book, there are a few “firsts” that are pretty common knowledge. For instance, kids learn in elementary school that the first manned flight took place in North Carolina and the first Thanksgiving was in Massachusetts. But you probably don’t know where the first auto insurance policy was written or how it came to be.

First policy written in Ohio
According to multiple reports, the world’s first auto insurance was issued in Dayton, Ohio just before the turn of the 20th century in 1897. Though the concept of insurance traces back to ancient-day China around 3,000 B.C., and is a by-product of marine insurance, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that car insurance really started to take off with the introduction of the modern-day automobile – and the people who were involved in this world-changing development like the Ford Motor Company, the first business to mass produce automobiles like the 1908 Model T. A gentleman by the name of Gilbert J. Loomis was the first person to whom an automotive liability insurance policy was written, according to the Ohio Historical Society. Costing approximately $1,000 – right around what the average policy costs today in several states – liability financially protected Loomis should he be involved in an accident or if someone else was injured during a crash, provided premiums were paid.

With humankind being what they are, though – i.e. inherently imperfect beings – it didn’t take long to realize that vehicles moving at a high rate of speed had the potential to lead to other types of accidents, only on a more consistent basis. In fact, the first car accident is believed to have occurred in Ohio, somewhere between 1891 and 1895. As a result of this – and no doubt, other crash incidents that arose in what was then a much smaller version of the United States – Massachusetts and Connecticut became the first states to require that residents be obligated to purchase insurance. After their first accident, vehicle owners had to establish that they had the means with which to pay for damages that resulted.

Every state has auto insurance laws
Today, 49 of the 50 states require motorists to purchase auto insurance, the exception being New Hampshire, according to the Insurance Research Council. Even in the Granite State, though, drivers have to prove that they have the financial means to pay for an accident should they be involved in one, in accordance with state law.

As you might imagine, car insurance has gone through a number of different reforms over the past 100 years or so – like what the required amount of liability protection that driver needs, which varies from state to state – but the basic premise of insurance has remained the same. In short, in return for an annual premium from the buyer, insurers pledge to pay for claims where compensation is required, up to the limits of the policy.

This article was originally posted by Selective Insurance company on April 28th, 2015.

Flood Concerns Arise With Spring Nearing

Just three months into the new year, it really hasn’t taken very long to be reminded of what Mother Nature is capable of. Perhaps nowhere has weather’s wrath been more apparent than in the New England region.

In February, for example, Boston saw more snow than it has in any month in history, totaling more than 90 inches, according to the National Weather Service. In fact, over a period of 21 days last month, Boston homeowners and business owners saw more snow than Chicago has ever had in an entire winter!

Accompanying what seemed to be an endless cycle of snow storms were bitter cold temperatures. As of Feb. 18, Boston had been at or above freezing for a grand total of 28 hours in the entire month, based on NWS data.

With only a few days left in the cold weather season, temperatures are expected to improve, as is normally the case when spring rolls around. But with much of the United States covered in snow, the risk of flooding may present itself in the days ahead, depending on how quickly the ground thaws out.

With this being National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, you may want to take some time over the next few days to build a basic disaster supplies kit. In the past five years, all 50 states have experienced flooding of some kind, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Of course, the hope is that no one will have to deal with the effects of high water levels, but having an emergency supplies kit will give you the tools you need to deal with disasters like flooding. It will also help set you up for other weather-based catastrophes that are more common in the summer, such as tornadoes if you live in the Midwest and hurricanes if you live along the coast.

What should go into an emergency preparedness kit
Generally speaking, a disaster supplies kit should have enough resources to last you three days for everyone that’s in your family. For instance, each person should have about one gallon of water per day, as well as a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Canned goods, trail mix and pre-packaged meals are the ideal foods to include, as they’re resistant to spoilage.

Other important items to have in your emergency preparedness kit includes a flashlight with extra batteries, a manual can opener for food, moist towelettes, maps, contact numbers for people that are important to reach when there’s a disaster and a battery-powered radio so you can tune into any alerts that are broadcast over the airwaves.

You should also have a first-aid kit in the event you or someone in your family is injured. Adhesive bandages, ointments for burns, eye wash, scissors, latex gloves, bar soap, over-the-counter and prescription-based medicines as well as a pair of tweezers are some of the most useful things to be sure your first-aid kit is supplied with.

Ready.gov has other tips that will help you prepare for whatever Mother Nature has in store with more than two-thirds of the year remaining.

This article was originally posted on Selective.com

10 things you pay for if you only have minimum liability insurance

Opting for your state’s car insurance may be fine if you only want to comply with the insurance laws required to get behind the wheel. But you’ll have to buy more coverage, higher liability limits and comprehensive and collision insurance, if you want protection from other highway risks while safeguarding all your financial assets.

Here are 10 things that you may have to pay for with only a bare-bones policy: Continue reading