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Personal Protection Bulletin
Personal Protection
September 2013
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Floods happen - and nearly half of all deaths related to them involve vehicles, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The best advice for drivers during periods of heavy rain or flooding is to stay off the road. If that's not possible and you see signs of high water or stranded vehicles, pull over or take a different route ( "Turn around, don't drown").

However, an unexpected flash flood can easily catch you unawares. If this happens, safety experts recommend taking these precautions to prevent an accident or a water-damaged car:

  • Never drive beneath an underpass during a heavy rainstorm because they're prone to flooding.
  • Be wary of water levels. According to FEMA it takes only one foot of water to float a car, or even an SUV, sweeping it off a bridge or down a road.
  • If your vehicle gets caught in a flood and stalls, or you lose control, get out before the car is carried downstream.
  • If you can't escape and your vehicle is going under, don't panic. Once the car is submerged, open the doors, hold your breath, and climb out.

The good news: If your car is involved in a flood-related accident, Auto insurance can make sure that you don't get swept away financially. Comprehensive coverage will pay for any type of damage to your car up to its actual cash value caused by natural events, such as flooding. If you hydroplane during a storm and flip your car or hit another vehicle or tree, Collision insurance will pay to repair it or cover the actual cash value of the car.

To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with our agency.

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Preparing for a vacation can be one of the most exciting times in life. However, it comes with responsibilities beyond buying plane tickets and making hotel reservations.

For example, it's all too easy to overlook the need for Travel Insurance. These "'peace of mind" policies can protect travelers against everything from trip cancellation, and travel delays to lost luggage, medical emergencies (most Health policies have only limited coverage abroad) - and more.

Because coverages and rates vary widely, it can be difficult to choose the policy that's best for you - and your pocketbook. To help you make the right decision, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have a tight flight connection?
  2. Am I going to be travelling on non-refundable flights?
  3. Where am I going and what are the risks associated with traveling and the situation at my destination?
  4. Do I have any health problems that might crop up during my trip?
  5. Will I be driving?
  6. Will I be taking part in downhill skiing, surfing, or other high-risk activities?
  7. If I missed a flight or get injured, would I be able to afford a return ticket?
  8. What is the refund policy on my coverage?
  9. Have I read the fine print make sure that you understand exactly what is covered and - just as important - what isn't?
  10. Have I compared similar policies to note any major price discrepancies?

Our Personal insurance specialists would be happy to help you answer these and other questions, to help ensure your peace of mind as you travel.

Bon voyage!

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Despite a dramatic rise in the level of home break-ins, nearly one in three homeowners (30%) don't take basic steps to protect their homes. That's the bottom line of a survey sponsored by Nationwide Insurance of more than 1,000 policyholders coast-to-coast who carry Homeowners or Condo insurance.

"We conducted this survey to identify common behaviors that could expose home and personal property to thieves," says Pete Lore, Nationwide' Associate Vice President of Property Technical Claims. "What we found was that homeowners can, and should, do more to protect their belongings."

To help keep your home safe from thieves - and, in some cases, benefit from significant premium discounts - we'd recommend that you:

  • Put deadbolts on doors and always lock them (nearly one third of all thieves enter homes through front doors, which are often unlocked, according to National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association).
  • Make sure that doors and windows (on all levels) are locked.
  • Install a home security system and keep it on 24-7 (one in five respondents to the Nationwide survey turned off their systems during the day - even though that's when home burglars are busiest).
  • Have motion-detection lights on the outside of your property.
  • Do not hide a spare key outside the home - burglars know the most common hiding places.

If you're going on vacation, tell police or the neighborhood watch about trip plans and ask them to drive by your house to see if it's secure. While you're away, put newspaper and mail delivery on hold or have someone pick them up for you. Keep quiet online about your travel plans; bad guys often use social media to target people who are out of town.

For a comprehensive complimentary, review of your home security needs, just give us a call at any time.

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Strokes, heart attacks, seizures, undiagnosed diabetic comas, or other medical emergencies trigger auto accidents every day.

If you suffer a medical emergency while driving, an Auto policy can provide financial protection against your losses.

Consider these scenarios:

You have a medical crisis behind the wheel that injures another driver and damages their vehicle. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance company might or might not cover a Bodily Injury Liability or Property Damage claim. Many states allow a medical emergency defense against Liability claims, provided the driver hasn't had previous health problems or shown negligence (for example, if a diabetic hadn't taken insulin and went into a coma behind the wheel).

You experience a medical emergency while driving and damage your own car - say by running into a sign pole. Repairs will be paid by your Collision coverage, if you carry it (Bear in mind that many drivers, especially those with older cars, choose not to buy Collision insurance).

Your car is damaged by a driver who has a medical emergency. In most cases, the other driver's Liability insurance will pay for the repair. However, if the driver's insurance company decides that he or she isn't liable for the accident, your Collision coverage will pick up the tab.

An Auto policy will remain in effect after a medical emergency because insurance follows the car, not the driver. Depending on the nature of the problem, a doctor might recommend that you don't drive anymore. If your doctor OKs driving after you recover, the insurance company can raise your rates, impose a premium surcharge, or not renew your policy when it expires.

To learn more about how Auto insurance can help protect your pocketbook, just give us a call. We're always ready to help!

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