This week’s ice storm has had a strong impact on the community in many ways. If you are driving through Bucks County, roads are closed, lights are out, trees are down and many still do not have power. Most people have not even assessed all of their damages thus far. People have damage to their homes from fallen tree limbs and with no power for the last 3 days more damage may follow. Heavy tree limbs and branches fell on cars denting hoods, breaking windows, cracking headlights and causing even more problems. If you are unsure if your damages to your vehicle or home are covered be sure to call your insurance agent. Keep in mind your deductibles as well. This winter which started early has proven to be a rough one so far.
What was really nice is the way the community reached out to those in need. Libraries and schools set up shelters; offering to charge phones and electronic devices. They also extended hospitality to come in from the cold and have coffee or hot chocolate. A high school even offered for residents to come in and use the shower facilities. Those who did have power opened their own Bed & Breakfasts…brought in friends and family, those in need, for warm a place to sleep and hot meal.
Smart phones have enabled people to learn about the resources available in the community in real time. I can’t even remember how we found out about school closings 20 years ago during power outages and knowing when the power should be restored. We have so many ways now to receive information by checking social media, websites, and simply opening our email. If you escaped damage to your home, car, and have power then count your blessings. And to the Moms and Dads who have been home with the kids for days…well Monday is just around the corner.
It’s here – your teenager is turning 16 and asks the question “Can I get my license?” You can look at it two ways….you will now have to worry about your teen on the roads or they can now drive to practices and stop at the store to pick up the milk. Allowing them to take the test and get their permit is a big decision. It is an exciting time for the teens, but stressful for the parents.
Your teen getting their drivers license will also affect the cost of your auto insurance. All companies are different. Some insurance companies want to you put the teen on your insurance policy at the time they get their permit and other companies allow you to wait until they get their actual drivers license. Make sure you call your insurance agent and ask them how the company you have works.
Here are some practical steps to prepare your teen to drive:
Make the decision that he or she is mature and ready to take on the responsibility of driving.
Get the state driving permit book.
Are you going to teach them to drive or will he/she take driving lessons with an driving school. Keep in mind you may get a discount on your auto insurance if your teen takes driver safety so it may be a good idea for them to learn from a certified driving school.
Let them practice with you in the car on the roads and in empty parking lots.
Add them to your policy. If your teen is a good student you may also be eligible for a Good Student discount on your auto insurance as well.
Take the Test.
Think about having your teen sign a driving contract with you. Some of the things you may want to include are:
Never Drink & Drive.
No texting or emailing while in the car.
Limit the number of teens in the car as passengers.
Will your teen pay for gas or pay for their share of the insurance and maintenance expenses?
List the days/times and usage when your teen will have access to the family car.
Always have proper car insurance.
Now is also good time to start teaching them the proper way to maintain a vehicle. That includes auto insurance including what the coverage means, registration, inspection, what to do in an accident and the responsibility of owning and operating a vehicle. If your teen wants to get their own auto insurance, go to our website and learn more about what you will need to get started. http://www.freedom4insurance.com/auto-insurance.html or call Freedom Insurance Group Inc. at 215-673-0300.
Be careful the next time you say, “baby, you can drive my car.” As classic as The Beatles song is, if someone else does something to your car and you do not have insurance, you will have hell to pay – whether that is to your parents or just for your car you have just totaled.
Getting the best insurance for your buck starts with your car. Well, really, it starts with who you are. Your rate will depend on several factors, including your age, gender, and where you live. Most of these factors you cannot change, unless you are willing to move to Oregon, where Americans pay the least amount of auto insurance.
What you do have control over is your driving record – anything from running a red light to getting in a fender bender can bump up the amount of premium you pay. Drivers with clean records pay the least amount of insurance premiums. In addition, the car that you drive can affect your premium. If you are looking to save money, make sure your car is not the type that is frequently in collisions or a car that is stolen often. Other than the obvious benefit of not having your car stolen, you will also pay less of a premium.
Based on these factors, you have to do your research and find out just how much coverage you need for protection for yourself, your car, and others affected in a collision. Compare prices between agencies and decide what is right for you. Everyone’s insurance will affect them differently, but be sure you are not just getting the one that allows you to pay the least, but the one that will sufficiently protect you, as well.
Emergencies are often sudden and completely unpredictable. And while we often think we know how to deal with unexpected circumstances, the shock of an emergency can make us think and act irrationally, which can be dangerous. These points will help you prepare for an emergency if one should occur.
While emergencies cannot usually be predicted, we can prepare ourselves for the eventuality. Take the time to think about what things might happen in your life that could have dangerous consequences. Events like stove fires, gas leaks, and electrical problems are all things we can prepare for. Make sure you know what you should do in disaster situations. Also, ensure the necessary emergency supplies like fire extinguishers and first aid kits are available at all times and that you are familiar with how to use them.
If an emergency does occur, the most dangerous thing you can do is panic. Keep calm and take deep breaths. If you don’t think you can handle the emergency without help, then call 911 and stay on the line while the responder talks you through what you should do.
Although emergencies generally require quick action, take the time to think about your decisions. Act rapidly, but not so fast that you lose your calm. As hard as it may seem, think logically about what needs to happen and how you can accomplish that. Then commit to your decision and follow through.
Care for any wounded
If anyone has been injured, do not leave them unless absolutely necessary. Call 911 as soon as possible and explain the situation. Unless you are a doctor or trained emergency worker, do not try to correct injuries or move the injured person yourself. Simply keep them calm and stop any bleeding until the professionals arrive.
Emergencies can be scary, but if you follow these guidelines, your preparedness can help save your life and the lives of others.
Have you had the same insurance for years and years? Your loyalty may be costing you money. All insurance companies do not determine their rates the same. There are driving factors and non driving factors that go into the rate. Driving factors are accidents, moving violations, and tickets. Non driving factors are age, marital status, credit, education, and occupation.
Contrary to popular thought, different insurance companies utilize and weight each of those factors according to their own matrix. So you would have no idea if their matrix was working for or against you. This is where it is beneficial to have an independent agent working for you. They plug your information into all the companies they represent and find the best coverage at the best price for you. Should the matrix change or rates go up, an independent agent will have other options for you to consider. Freedom Insurance Group Inc. represents over 10 A+ rated insurance companies. Talk about options. Most companies also offer a discount if you bundle your homeowners and auto insurance. They will also be able to tell you if bundling is a good option or not. An independent agent can also offer you car insurance with one company and homeowners insurance with another. Those are great options to have. In today’s day none of us can afford to pay more that we have to for insurance.
Many people stay with their current company because they perceive switching as a hassle, even if it does save them a couple bucks. It is so easy to get an auto insurance, homeowners insurance or renters insurance quote. It takes less than 15 minutes to give an agent your information and then they do the rest. If you are tired of paying the insurance company for yourloyalty, call Freedom Insurance Group Inc. today for a free no obligation quote at 215-673-0300.
September was Life Insurance Awareness month. Most people don’t think about life insurance until they marry, have children, adopt and for some, until it’s too late. There are different types of life insurance. There are term policies and cash value policies. Many times the reason people don’t look into life insurance is because of the cost. They feel like they have bills or other priorities and they will look into life insurance later. There are people who have life insurance as part of their benefit package at their workplace, but what if you were to lose that job? Sometimes those policies are transferable, but in a job loss you may not continue the policy as you will have to now make the payments.
Term life insurance is reasonable and flexible. You choose the length of time you would like to carry the policy 10,15,20, 25 years and how much coverage you will need. There are so many things to consider before choosing a policy. First you have to decide who will be my beneficiary? That will depend on who relies on you and your income – a spouse, children? What would their needs be if I die unexpectedly? Would they need to pay off the mortgage? Would they need money to supplement my spouses income? Am I currently the sole provider? Am I a stay at home mom/dad? Would there be child care expenses? How would future education costs be covered? How would my funeral expenses be paid? Yes, even a stay at home mom/dad needs life insurance. If you add up all the hours they put in and all of their duties…their salary would be well over $100,000 a year.
Clearly the best time to get life insurance is when you are young and healthy. That is when you will get the best rate. The most beneficial part of life insurance is the piece of mind knowing your family is protected. We all hear stories about people who lose their spouse at a young age and have small children. That should be our wake up call to research life insurance today and find a way to fit it into our budget. Once you make the decision to purchase life insurance the process is simple and an agent can walk you through all the steps.
Your agent can price out various terms as well as coverage, so you can find a policy that fits your needs and your budget. Freedom Insurance Group Inc. currently writes life insurance through The Hartford and Grange Insurance companies. Go to our website and click on http://www.freedom4insurance.com/life-insurance.html to find out how easy it is to get life insurance, or call 215-673-0300.
When you think Road Trip, you think adventure, singing in the car, anticipation and creating fond memories. Add kids to the mix and suddenly Road Trip may not carry the same meaning. Things can go down hill pretty quickly if you are not prepared.
Besides the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” and “Im Bored.” a war may break out in your car if the kids aren’t getting along. Which also becomes a safety hazard when you are driving. You can become distracted without notice. Therefore, it is important to take the necessary precautions.
When you prepare for a road trip, you typically ask yourself these questions; Is my vehicle properly maintained and ready for a road trip? Have I checked my tires, tire pressure, windshield wiper blades, gotten an oil and filter change? Do I have my owners card and insurance card in the glove compartment? Do I have roadside assistance? (If not, do you know that for only a couple dollars a month you may be able to add roadside assistance to your insurance policy? Companies like Safeco and Progressive offer this service to its policy holders.) Do I have a navigation system, map or my route planned out? Do I know where the rest stops are to refuel or use the rest rooms? Did I pack my cell phone, charger and car charger? Do I have a first aid kit? A spare tire or roadside emergency kit? If you are bringing kids ask yourself these questions as well….. Did I pack movies, books on disc, books, card games, hand held video games? Do I have a cooler with drinks, snacks and sandwiches if I am not stopping for a meal?
Do I know any back seat games the kids can play in the car?
If you haven’t played car games while on a long drive here are some you can plan on: I spy, 20 questions, name that tune, the picnic game, and various versions of games using out of state license plates. If all else fails, you can always turn on the radio and start belting out the tunes! Remember when it comes to kids, they are best behaved when they are occupied and enjoying themselves. A little preparation goes a long way and the ride will certainly become part of the fun and fond memories!
If you are 50 or older and were a licensed driver at 16, do you realize you have been driving for over 34 years? When you are on the road safety is important. Driving provides us great independence, just ask someone you know who doesn’t have a driver’s license and has to rely on others to drive them around.
We all know our skills can diminish over time. AARP has developed a Driver Safey program for motorists that are 50 years or older which may benefit you or a loved one. The program teaches safe driving practices, in addition to tips on how to compensate for some changes in your hearing or vision. AARP currently offers an online program. You can find out more information by going to www.aarpdriversafety.org. If you prefer traditional classroom instruction, Bucks County Community College in Newtown PA is offering the program in the fall as well. This program is available for AARP members as well as non-AARP members. Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a certificate. This may entitle you to receive a discount on your auto insurance. Your independent insurance agent can let you know if your insurance company offers this discount.
If you have already taken the course and feel you could use a refresher they have a refresher course as well. To enroll in the refresher course you would just need your certificate or a letter/bill from your insurance company stating you have successfully taken the AARP driver safety course.
You insure your vehicle. Take the time to help ensure your safety while driving as well.
Give Progressive a snapshot of your driving usage and you could earn up to a 30% discount on your auto insurance. Snapshot SM is Progressive’s pay-as-you-drive program. If your driving is minimal, you don’t slam on your breaks often and you drive safely during the “safer times” of the day, you could save Big!
How does it all work? First you enroll in the program which is free. In 7-10 days Progressive will mail out the Snapshot device to you. Simply plug it in and drive. This device is tracking the time of day usage and vehicle speed in order to determine miles driven. The device does not track if you are going above the speed limit or your vehicle’s location, as it does not have GPS technology. In about 30 days you will find out if you qualify for a discount, (which is finalized upon your renewal) the best part is….your rate can’t go up. This is available for cars built in 1996 to the present. You can log into your policy to review your driving habits and get an estimate of a possible discount. The program is available in Pennsylvania and so far there is no technology fee assessed, as there are in some other states. You can cancel at any time.
This sounds like a great program for Stay home moms, telecommuters and retirees. Is this the new era of determining our Auto insurance rates? This technology could override current underwriting guidelines in the future…we’ll just have to wait and see. So if you think this program is for you …give it a try. Call your Freedom Insurance Group agent today to get more information at 215-673-0300.
How important is your insurance agent? More important than you might think. When you go to purchase car insurance, homeowners insurance or life insurance…where do you begin?
First you need to find a local agent. They know the area you live in and the type of risks and/or what can effect your insurance policies.
Now it’s time to check references. Have they been referred to you? Do they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau? Do they belong to professional associations like the IIAB? How many Insurance companies do they represent? Chances are if they represent several insurance companies – big insurance companies find them reputable and trustworthy to represent their insurance products. Does the Independent Insurance agent offer A+ companies like Travelers, Safeco, Progressive and the Hartford? The answer should be yes. You want a stable insurance company that has been in business a long time and is stable. This way in the event you have any insurance claims to recover, they will pay.
Next step is getting a quote. A good agent will quote your insurance apples to apples. This way you can see if you are truly saving money. Some not so good agents will leave off coverages you currently have and need, to make it appear as though they are saving you money. You don’t want that. You want a good agent that will explain coverages thoroughly before you make your decision.
You also want an Independent Insurance Agent that works for you. This way if your rates go up significantly they can quote you in the other companies they represent to get you the same or better coverage at a good rate. When your agent is appointed to 10 or more A+ companies that is good for you, the customer. This way you can stay with an agent you are comfortable with and trust. In this case, you won’t have to provide a new company with all your information and take a chance on not getting quality customer service.
Do your homework. You don’t want to find out you chose the wrong agent when you go to put in a claim for a loss and realize you do not have the appropriate coverage. Here is an example: You’ve always had coverage on your homeowners policy for you engagement ring. You loose your ring and your new policy has general jewelry coverage of $1000. Your ring is worth $10,000. You have a $500 deductible. You are now out a ring and will only get $500 for your claim. A good Insurance Agent would have added a rider to your policy for the ring and made sure you had a current appraisal on the ring.
Take your time when shopping for Car Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Renters Insurance and Life Insurance. These are important decisions that you must make with the help of an experienced, trustworthy Insurance Agent.