Driving Safety: Deer in the Headlights

Watch For Deer While Driving!

Deer Crossing Minnesota

For those of us who live in Minnesota, we are well aware that most any season is “peak” for deer and auto collision. Here are some tips to prevent a collision between your car and a deer.

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings. 
    Look for the yellow traffic sign with a deer on it. If you see one, it means you’re entering an area with an active, concentrated deer population. Make sure your eyes are always moving, and pay  particular attention to the side of the road. AND, don’t forget to pay attention to what other cars are doing. The car in front of you may brake suddenly. If you notice something out of the ordinary, slow down.
  2. One deer probably equals many more.
    Deer usually travel in herds, so if you see one cross the road, look immediately to where the deer came from. There are probably others ready to cross. Deer are most active between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
  3. High beams, high beams, high beams.
    Use your high beams as much as oncoming traffic will allow. High beams do a great job lighting up the road in front of you, especially the side of the road where the herd may be hanging out. If you feel your head lights aren’t lighting up the road properly, consider taking your car to your local mechanic for a check up. A headlight may be burned out or need an adjustment.
  4. Never swerve for a deer or other animal.
    While swerving is an instinct many of us feel when an animal runs in the road, it can put you in a more dangerous situation. Swerving can cause you to lose control of your car, put you in the lane of oncoming traffic, or cause you to hit a tree or ditch and overturn your vehicle. The best techniques are to remind yourself not to swerve and to braked firmly.
  5. Consider purchasing deer whistles.
    While there is conflicting data on whether or not deer whistles actually work, they’re a cheap precautionary measure. I believe it’s worth giving them a try.
  6. Stay calm and safe.
    If you do hit a deer, another natural instinct is to get out of your car to check the damage. But can you really determine the extent of the damage just by looking at it? Probably not. I recommend you stay in your car. From there, you can do a number of things that will keep you and your family safe:
    Call 911           Turn on your hazard light          Call your insurance agent
  7. Knowledge is power.
    Make sure you understand what coverage’s and limits of insurance you have on your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for damage that results from hitting an animal. Without that coverage, you’ll be left with the bill.

Travel Trailer Insurance

Travel Trailer Insurance by Insurance AdvisorsDon’t let your adventure be interrupted with worry. Your auto or homeowners policy may not adequately cover your travel trailer and surroundings. Lucky for you, your Insurance Advisors Agent can help you choose the right policy for your travel trailer, so you can go out and enjoy the outdoors while someone else takes care of the paperwork!

Comprehensive Coverage

This is included with our travel trailer policies and is not automatically included in your typical auto insurance policy. This provides protection from just about any direct, sudden, and accidental loss including collision, fire, smoke, floods, landslides, hail, windstorms, animals, vandalism, low branches or overhangs, theft and lightning. Foremost also includes coverage for attached accessories including awnings, satellite dishes, and TV antennas. Some c overages are optional and subject to company approval.

Total Loss Replacement Coverage

This option can save you literally thousands of dollars when compared to typical auto policies which pay only the Actual Cash Value of your travel trailer at the time it’s destroyed. You are protected from the effects of depreciation if your new-model travel trailer is destroyed within its first five model years and  you are the original owner.

Additionally your personal belongings are covered for replacement cost as well. Talk to your agent about details.

Emergency Expenses Coverage

Pays for lodging or travel home if your rig is damaged or destroyed by a covered loss more than 50 miles away from home.

Towing and Roadside Assistance

“TraveLine” eliminates the hassle of buying a separate towing plan. Towing, jump starts, roadside service etc. are just a toll-free phone call away.

Campsite/Vacation Liability Coverage

Provides liability coverage when you are parked and using your travel trailer as a residence, typically seasonally or weeks at a time.

Full-Timer Coverage

This is a coverage very similar to a homeowners insurance policy. This option also covers you when you are parked and using your fifth-wheel as a residence for extended periods of time.

Stationary Travel Trailer Program

This option gives you extensive comprehensive contents coverage if you use your travel trailer as a seasonal or permanent residence.

If you are a “snowbird” or just traveling to enjoy the fall colors – Contact Insurance Advisors if you have any questions.

Source: Foremost Insurance Group

Garage Safety

Is Your Garage Safe?

Garage Safety| Insurance AdvisorsAmericans suffer nearly 21 million preventable household injuries each year, and many of them occur in the garage. That’s because most of the 65 million U.S. garages are cluttered, disorganized and potentially unsafe!

Nearly all homeowners have at least one potentially dangerous item in the garage, including sharp tools and chemicals. What you may not know is that many of the chemicals stored in the garage are highly flammable – and may even be susceptible to spontaneous combustion. If not stored properly, gasoline and oily rags containing linseed oil or turpentine oil can be fire hazards.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the garage is the most common area of origin for home structure fires (20 percent of fires), and oily rags were the most common item to ignite first.

To help you safely store household items that may be flammable or combustible, here are some important safety tips from the NFPA

Gasoline

  • Store gasoline in a tightly sealed metal or plastic container that has been approved by local or state fire authorities or an independent testing laboratory. Never store it in glass jars or non-reusable plastic containers such as milk jugs.
  • Do not use or store gasoline near possible sources of ignition.
  • Fill portable gasoline containers outdoors only, and place the container on the ground before filling.

Oily Rags

  • Keep rags that have absorbed oils, such as linseed oil or turpentine, in a covered. metal can with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Be sure the oily rags are thoroughly dried before collection or transport.

Other

  • Make sure pesticides, paint thinner, antifreeze and poisonous products are stored on high shelves out of reach or in locked cabinets.
  • Mount a fire extinguisher & first aid in the garage.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector rated for the garage.
  • Install a smoke alarm.

Sources: MN Safety Council
insurancenewsnet.com

Motorcycle Safety: Rally Time

Motorcycle Insurance| Insurance AdvisorsBikers & Motorists Need to Share the Road

Heavier than normal traffic during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally requires bikers and drivers to share the road for safety, officials with the South Dakota Highway Patrol and Office of Highway Safety caution.

Motorcycle traffic has increased since early summer and likely will continue to be heavy through the end of August. There has already been eight fatal crashes involving motorcycles this year. “Rally Time” puts thousands more motorcycles on the highways. Many of the fatal injury crashes involving motor cycles happen to inexperienced drivers.

The Highway Patrol reminds motorcyclists and motorists alike of the rules for sharing the road. Once again, it pays to follow a few safety tips.

  1. Motorcyclists should ride in single-file lines and avoid crowding he center line or crowding motorists.
  2. Motorists should remember not to crowd cycles. Motorcycles have the same rights on the road as motorists.
  3. Motorists and cyclists should follow the recommended speed limits. Motorcyclists should be especially aware of speed limits on curves.
  4. It is against the law to drink and drive. Motorists and cyclists must be sober when driving.
  5. Motorists, remember to buckle up. It’s the law.
  6. Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear helmets.

plainsman.com

Driving Safety: 5 New Safety Features

Car Safety Features| Insurance AdvisorsThere are 5 new safety features that could be on your next car.

Technology that saves lives – and fuel- is getting better and cheaper. That means it’s no longer confined to luxury brands like Mercedes and Volvo. It’s showing up in mainstream vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and Ford Fusion.

“What we see today as slightly elitist technology is changing very, very fast,” said Steven Lunn, chief operating officer for TRW Automotive, which supplies electronics and other parts to car makers.

TRW says its newest radar is a quarter of the price of the model it sold 10 years ago. Its cameras are smaller and cheaper, too, making it easier to put multiple ones on each car.

Here are some up-and-coming features that drivers can expect on their next cars:

• Collision warning with automatic breaking:

New cars have radar and camera systems that warn you, with beeping sounds, of a possible front-end crash. Some even stop the vehicle, or at least slow it enough to make a crash less severe. More sophisticated systems apply the brakes if a car veers off the road and heads toward a moving or fixed object.

Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti, Volvo and other brands offer automatic braking to avoid a collision, but more automakers will follow soon.

• Advanced cameras:

Auto cameras are showing up on more cars ahead of a government requirement to install backup cameras, which is expected by 2015. But with cameras getting smaller and cheaper, automakers aren’t just putting them on the back of the car anymore. Honda has side cameras that come on automatically when a turn signal is employed, so drivers can spot obstacles while turning. Some car companies are adding cameras that can read wrong-way signs, detect large animals such as deer, and even note the colors of traffic lights.

• Lane Centering:

A camera can follow the road and gently nudge a car – using the brakes – to stay in the center of a lane. Some lane-keeping systems, sound a beep or vibrate the driver’s seat if a camera senses that a car is swerving out of its lane.

• Adaptive headlights:

Audi, Mercedes, Mazda and Acura have adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction the car is going to help drivers see around corners as they turn. And, many cars now have high-beam lights that sense oncoming traffic and dim automatically.

• Stop-start:

By 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gas. One feature will almost be a must-have; a stop-start device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and automatically turns it on when the driver releases the brake. – //insurancenewsnet.com

Umbrella Insurance: What is it?

Do you need one?

Insurance Advisors| Umbrella Insurance

People buy insurance policies to protect themselves and their families from unexpected events that could end up costing them a significant amount of money. Homeowner and auto insurance are two types of insurance policies that help to reduce the risk of financial liability. However, what many people do not realize is that most insurance policies do not cover the entire financial risk. This creates a coverage gap.

 Definition

An umbrella insurance policy covers liability that go beyond the limits of your homeowners, auto, renters, watercraft or motorcycle and/or other personal policies.

Function

Your homeowners, auto, and other personal insurance policies have limits; a maximum they will pay on a single incident. If you are sued or a claim is settled against you for more than the maximum the insurance company allows, you are personally responsible for the rest.

Features

An umbrella policy is only used if you exceed the liability limits of coverage under your other personal insurance policies, so the premiums are usually very affordable.

Benefits

An  umbrella policy helps protect your assets from being seized or attached in the event you are held liable for paying a claim or lawsuit that it exceeds the limits of your other insurance policies; a policy like this can also prevent a judgment against you that can eventually lead to a lien on your house or business.

Limits

Umbrella insurance policies typically offer coverage limits starting at $1 million; some police limits can be up to $5 million. You can enlist the advice of your insurance agent to help you decide if an umbrella policy would be appropriate for your financial situation.

Download our free claims process tip sheet!

Click here for our free claims process tip sheet.

Sources: New York Times, Smart Money

Boat Insurance: What You Should Know

What You Need To Know About Bout Insurance.Boat Insurance

If you have a boat of any kind, it pays to learn about boat insurance. Also known as watercraft insurance, boat insurance will protect you, your boat and others in the case of a loss. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended for all boat and personal watercraft owners.

The Basics

Boat insurance is very similar to car insurance. Many of the same options and choices you have for your auto insurance policy will be presented to you for your boat insurance. The most important of these is liability coverage.  Liability insurance is extremely important to carry,  because if another person is injured or killed due to an at-fault accident with your boat, or another’s personal property is damaged, you can suffer huge financial losses.

Collision and comprehensive coverage will protect your investment in your boat. They will cover the cost to repair or replace your boat, motor, trailer and any equipment that is permanently attached to your boat in case of loss. Collision coverage is in case your boat collides with another boat or property and you are at fault. Comprehensive coverage is for other types of loss, such as storm damage, theft, fire or vandalism. Claims of these types are subject to a deductible that you choose when you take out your policy.

The Not-So-Basics

The amount that you can receive from a collision or comprehensive claim is based on the type of policy you choose. An actual cash value policy is based on the replacement cost of your boat minus any depreciation up to the date of loss. Claims are paid out for this amount minus the deductible. Agreed amount value is the other type of policy that does not factor in depreciation. Premiums are set based on an amount agreed to by the insurer and the insured, as to how much the boat is worth.

Boat insurance varies in price not only from company to company, but also from insured to insured. As with other types of insurance, the premium you pay depends on the rate set by the insurer. The rate is determined by underwriters who look at a variety of factors to determine exactly how much risk they are assuming by offering you boat insurance.

The boat itself is one of the major variables considered by an insurer when setting rates. The insurer will need to know the length of the boat, the horsepower of the motor and the year, make and model of both boat and motor.

Information about the boat owner will also make a difference in your boat insurance premium. You will need to give information about your driving record. If it is less than perfect, expect to pay more for boat insurance. Your claims history will also impact the rate.  If you have made multiple claims in recent years on any type of insurance, your rate will be higher. If you have a poor credit history, you will be deemed higher risk and charged accordingly, as research has shown that those with poor credit scores are more likely to make insurance claims.

Source:  insuranceproviders.com

MN Auto Insurance: Pet Car Insurance

A Peace Of Mind With Fluffy In The Car

Pet Auto Insurance

Some auto insurers are providing motorists with a little more peace of mind when they’re behind the wheel with Fido or Fluffy. Special car insurance helps cover the cost of care if pets are injured in an auto accident.

 

This isn’t pet health insurance which covers a pet that needs treatment at a veterinarian’s office. Instead an auto insurer’s pet-injury coverage typically kicks in if a pet is traveling in your car, is injured in an accident and needs veterinary care. Some policies also pay out if the pet is killed in a crash. (Also be aware that pet owners can take precautions to keep their pets safer in cars.)

Progressive was the first car insurance company to offer pet coverage, starting in 2007. Other car insurance companies have followed suit. If you are shopping for a car insurance plan that covers pets, be aware that coverage varies by insurer.

Tips for traveling by car with pets

Cats should be in a cage or in a special carrier to allow them to feel secure and prevent them from crawling under your feet while you’re driving.

A dog that must ride in a truck bed should be in a protective kennel that is fastened to the truck bed. Dogs riding in a car should not ride in the passenger seat if it equipped with an airbag, and should not be allowed to sit on the driver’s lap.

Harnesses, tethers and other accessories to secure pets during car travel are available at most pet stores.

Pets should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside car windows. Particles of dirt or other debris can enter the eyes, ears and nose, causing injury or infection.

Insurance Advisors, Inc.

Sources: http://money.msn.com/auto-insurance
American Veterinary Medical Association

 

First Time Driver: Best Car

What’s The Best Car For A First Time Driver?First Car

Parents who are car shopping for teen drivers know that deciding which factors to prioritize can be difficult. The goal is to make the most sensible choice.  You will need to consider three factors above all others:  safety, reliability, and true cost to own. Auto insurance is the first element of added cost because of the experience and risk factor. The second cost is related to maintenance and reliability.

Things To Consider

The size of your teen’s vehicle plays a significant role in its overall safety. Parents should avoid the smallest vehicle, since even a subcompact with the best crash test scores won’t provide as much collision protection as a large vehicle. Parents should avoid the largest vehicles as well, since these can be difficult to maneuver for new drivers. Midsize cars are best because of their ideal mix of crash protection and maneuverability. AAA recommends that parents avoid SUVs when shopping for teens, saying that the vehicles are “more prone to roll over in extreme driving conditions.” The newer models are safer than older ones because they offer stability control.

Four-cylinder engines offer adequate power, but not so much that they’re likely to tempt teen drivers into engaging in risky behavior. “Teens overestimate their skills and underestimate the risks of driving, so choose a vehicle accordingly. Driving behavior is the most crucial factor affecting your teen driver’s safety behind the wheel. Still, it’s clear a safe vehicle fosters a safer driving experience.

The 2009-2013 models listed below all offer top crash test scores and low TCO (True Cost to Own). And, all used models appear on CarMD’s Vehicle Health Index, which means they rank among the top 10 percent of all vehicles on the road when it comes to dependability.

  1. 2009 Honda Accord
  2. 2009 Toyota Camry
  3. 2010 Chevrolet Malibu
  4. 2010 Volkswagen Jetta
  5. 2011 Hyundai Sonata
  6. 2012 Honda Accord
  7. 2012 Hyundai Sonata
  8. 2012 Toyota Camry
  9. 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
  10. 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

Source http://www.edmunds.com/


Distracted Driving: Is It Still LOL?

Don't text & drive| Driving SafetyDistracted driving is a serious and growing problem, quickly becoming a habit for some –  a habit that is deadlier than drunk driving.

Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind of your primary task:  driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. Here are a few sobering statistics:

  • Drivers who use a hand-held device are four times more likely to get into a crash serious enough to cause injury.
  • Using a cell phone while driving delays your reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, which is the legal limit for drunk driving.
  • Research indicates that the burden of talking on a cell phone – even if it’s hands-free – saps your brain of 39 percent of the energy it takes to devote to safe driving.
  • Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash. Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual and cognitive distraction at the same time. Sending or reading text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field, blindfolded. It’s incredibly dangerous!
  • Remember, in Minnesota, it is a primary offense for all drivers to text and drive. Any use of a cell phone while driving is also a primary offense for bus drivers and novice drivers (anyone under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license.