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    You’re standing at the rental car counter with a long line behind you. You got a great rate on a car for the week, and you’re ready to go on vacation with the family. Then, you’re handed a clipboard with an intimidating rental car contract filled with confusing insurance options. Suddenly, you wish you’d spent less time packing and more time researching rental car insurance.

    Here’s your chance to be prepared at the rental car counter so you can be on your way faster, and you’ll keep the people in line behind you happy.

    I have car insurance. Do I really need to buy their coverage, too?

    This is the most common question when it comes to renting a car for domestic travel. The answer is: it depends. You want to make sure you’re covered, but you also don’t want to pay for unnecessary duplicate coverages that could double the price of your rental.

    The first step is to check your auto insurance policy, or contact your Independent Insurance Agent to see what type of coverage for rental cars may already be included in your personal auto insurance. If you carry comprehensive and liability coverage on your personal car, coverage typically will extend to your rental car. If you’re renting a car of similar value to your personal car, in all likelihood the insurance coverage will be adequate for the rental vehicle. Now if you’re off to a blowout beach weekend in a slick set of wheels like a Corvette Stingray and you’re leaving your 2008 Subaru Forester at home, the extra coverage offered by the rental company might be a good idea.

    You should also check with the credit card company—the credit card that you’ll be using for your car rental. If there are any gaps in coverage with your personal auto policy, the credit card company could provide secondary coverage.

    Understanding the Rental Car Insurance Options

    Rental car agencies typically break out their extra insurance offerings into four sections:

    Liability coverage is intended to help protect you if you injure someone or damage their property while driving. If you have sufficient liability coverage through your own auto insurance, you may not need to buy extra coverage from the rental agency.

    Collision/loss damage waiver (also known as an LDW or CDW) isn't technically insurance. If you damage the rental car, this waiver may help cover the cost of repairing it. The waiver typically excludes coverage for damage caused by speeding or driving on unpaved roads.

    An LDW may duplicate your existing coverage if you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your own car. However, if you've dropped collision or comprehensive coverage from your policy, and you don't purchase the waiver, you would likely have to pay for damage you cause to the rental car. Additionally, a rental agency could charge you for "loss of use" of the car (lost rental income) while the car is in the shop being repaired. Your own auto policy typically won't reimburse you for that. Be sure to read your car rental agreement carefully to clarify what kinds of charges you could incur if you were to damage the vehicle.

    Personal effects coverage may help cover your personal belongings, such as your laptop or clothing, if they're stolen from the rental car. If you have renters or homeowners insurance, the personal property coverage on that policy typically helps cover your personal items through what's known as "off-premises coverage." Off-premises items are usually only covered up to a certain percentage of your personal property coverage. The deductible on your homeowners or renters insurance will apply. Check with your agent about the limits of your coverage.

    Personal accident insurance may help pay your and your passengers' medical bills if you're injured in a rental car accident. If you have health insurance, medical payments coverage or personal injury protection on your car insurance policy, you may already have coverage comparable to what the rental company offers. Medical payments coverage and personal injury protection (not available in all states) may help pay for medical bills due to a covered car accident.

    Now you know...  The next time you rent a car you will be prepared when they hand you that annoying clipboard and put the high pressured sales pitch on you!  Knowledge is the key!


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    It’s the time of year when the temperatures warm and the flowers bloom, putting us all in a chipper mood. But, it’s also time for thunderstorms, which most often occur in the spring and summer months, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
    With spring in full bloom and summer right around the corner it’s the ideal time to review what your homeowners insurance, and even your car insurance, may or may not cover when it comes to damage from fallen trees.

    Here are five important things to keep in mind:
    1. Your homeowners insurance likely covers tree removal and damage repairs for your home and other insured structures, such as fences.
    A tree falls on your property and damages one or more insured structures. What now? Your homeowners insurance will likely help with the cost of removing the tree and repairing the damage. That’s once you pay your deductible, of course. Examples of covered incidents can include strong winds knocking a tree over onto your roof or lightning striking a tree, causing it to fall on your fence.
    However, if a tree falls due to neglect, you may not receive any coverage. So keep your trees in good shape, and ask your neighbors to do the same.
    2. If there’s no damage, there’s likely no insurance coverage.
    You may assume your homeowners insurance will cover the removal costs of any fallen tree, but that isn’t always the case. If a tree falls on your property without damaging any insured structures, you will likely need to cover the costs of tree removal yourself.
    3. Your city or municipality may clean up trees that fall into the street, but you may still have reason to file an insurance claim.
    Check with your city or municipality to determine who’s responsible for removing a tree that falls into the street. If your city takes responsibility, it may only be for the portion that’s in the street. Any of the felled tree that’s left on your property will be your responsibility. Your insurance may help if an insured structure was damaged in the incident.
    4. You may have coverage even if a tree falls from your neighbor’s property.
    When a fallen tree damages your property, your homeowners insurance may pitch in no matter who owned the tree. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance carrier may attempt to recoup some of the costs, including your deductible, from your neighbor’s insurance. This may occur, for example, if the neighbor was negligent in caring for the tree before it fell.
    5. Your car insurance may cover damage to your vehicle from a fallen tree.
    If a tree falls from your property onto your car, it’s your car insurance and not your homeowners insurance that will likely help cover the cost of repairs. But, the tree doesn’t have to be from your property. You likely have coverage if a tree falls on your car, no matter from where. What may not be covered? The cost to remove the tree from atop your car.

    Of course, every insurance carrier handles fallen trees differently. It all depends on the specifics of your policy and your coverage limits, as well as the specifics of your situation. If you need to file an insurance claim for a fallen tree, use the tips below.

    Take photos: Photos taken from many angles and vantage points help to establish the extent and cause of the damage. Be careful not to go near fallen trees that are entangled in power lines, however. And don’t climb onto an unstable surface to get better photos.  

    Provide as many details as possible: If, for example, a neighbor’s tree was neglected and fell onto your property, causing damage, be sure to tell your carrier. If a storm caused the tree to fall, be sure to provide details about the severity of the weather.  

    Be prepared to pay your deductible: If you experience a covered loss due to a fallen tree, you will be responsible for paying the appropriate deductible.

    Your homeowners insurance, or car insurance, covers damage from a fallen tree in many instances. But, it’s important to know when you’re covered and when you’re not. So review your policy with your local insurance agent and ask plenty of questions about when a fallen tree is covered by your insurance and when it isn’t.


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  • 05/09/17--13:57: Home Pool Safety
  • Millions of us enjoy warm weather every year by swimming in our backyard pools and relaxing in hot tubs. Tragically though, over 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year. The American Red Cross suggests owners make pool safety their priority by following these guidelines:

    • Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
    • Keep children under active supervision at all times. Stay in arm’s reach of young kids. Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool—never allow anyone to swim alone. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
    • Ensure everyone in the home knows how to swim well by enrolling them in age-appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
    • Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
    • Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
    • Ensure everyone in the home knows how to respond to aquatic emergencies by having appropriate safety equipment and taking water safety, first aid and CPR certified courses.

    These tips may seem simple and obvious, but if followed properly they can and will save lives!


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    Clients often think they don’t need renters insurance — “Nothing I have is worth that much,” they’ll say, or “I don’t have a lot of stuff.” That’s how most people think of renter’s coverage: protection for stuff, and nothing more. After all, it’s inexpensive and it doesn’t even cover the structure itself. So how important can it be, especially if you don’t think you have anything valuable to protect? Plenty important, because you have more to protect than you realize. You just have to stop thinking only about “stuff.” Here are three key financial protections a renters policy provides:

    Loss of use coverage. What would you do if a fire or other issue forced you out of your home? You’d have to find a temporary place to stay, maybe even for months — which might cost you more than your normal rent. Loss of use helps cover that and other additional expenses.

    Personal liability protection. If someone trips and injures themselves in your unit, they could sue you. If your dog bites one of your guests, they might file suit, too. Yes, lawsuits happen — even among friends. Renters insurance can help cover legal expenses and even judgments against you. (Some dog breeds may disqualify you from coverage, so be sure to inform your agent of all dogs in the household.)

    Personal property coverage. Wait, doesn’t this mean your stuff? Well, yes. But really, this coverage protects your finances. Even if you don’t think you have anything valuable, take a minute and mentally add up everything you own (note that if you do have any high-value items, such as jewelry or heirlooms, you may need additional coverage). Now imagine how much it would cost to replace it all. It’s probably a higher number than you thought — and that’s why renters insurance is so important.


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    It’s Not Just a Quote, It’s a Relationship

    Shopping for insurance? You may think you’re simply looking for an insurance policy. But, perhaps, what you’re really looking for isn’t a “what” but a “who” - someone you can trust to guide you through the plethora of insurance choices, rather than trying to make sense of all the options yourself online. That someone is an insurance agent, but there are countless agents out there – not to mention different types. So, how do you choose? Use these four steps to select the type of agent that’s right for you and find one you want to work with to purchase, review and manage your policies on an ongoing basis.

    1. Know the Types of Insurance Agents

    Some insurance agents represent only one insurance company. These are known as direct, or captive, agents, and they are direct employees of the company whose policies they sell. Any policy he or she sells will be from that company, and that company only.
    An independent insurance agent, on the other hand, represents a number of different carriers, oftentimes as an employee of a local agency in your community. An independent agent isn’t restricted by what any one carrier offers, so he or she has more flexibility to help you explore a broader range of options. .

    2. Get Recommendations

    The best way to predict what kind of service you can expect from an agent is to find out what kind of service he or she has provided in the past. Ask for recommendations from family, friends and neighbors, and then ask for more details.

    • What does your friend or co-worker like about that agent?
    • Have there been any problems or complications?
    • Was the agent helpful, attentive and friendly?
    • Was the agent knowledgeable, answering all questions satisfactorily?
    • Most importantly, were the agent and the company he or she represents dependable, timely and supportive through the process of resolving a claim?

    3. Research the Agency and Agent

    Once you have a few recommendations in hand, it’s time to research your prospective agents, the agencies where they work and the companies they represent. Here are a few places to check:

    • The website of your state’s Department of Insurance. Here you can likely see any complaints, investigations or disciplinary actions against agents, as well as ensure they have an active license. You can likely look up information about various carriers, as well.
    • Local chambers of commerce or the Better Business Bureau.
    • The agency’s own website, which should outline their services, the types of insurance they offer and the carriers they represent.
    • Online reviews, such as on Google and Yelp, for the agency.

    4. Interview the Agent

    Your research paid off, leading you to an agent in your area who seems like a good match for you. Now’s the time to ask some tough questions to be sure. Tell the agent what you’d like to insure, and ask how he or she would be able to help. If you or a friend has gone through difficult insurance experiences before, ask how he or she would deal with a similar situation. Ask if he or she gets involved in the claims process, or ask any of those other questions you’ve always wondered about insurance. Pay attention to whether the agent offers specific examples or speaks in generalities, as well as to whether he or she is talking about insurance in a way that makes sense to you. You can also ask for references. A prospective agent may be able to give you a quote at this point. But, what you really want is a sense of how well you could work with this person. Is this someone with whom you can communicate easily and in whom you can place your trust? Because, when you’re shopping for an insurance agent, you’re not just looking for an attractive quote. You’re looking for a good working relationship that can endure through new cars or homes, fender benders, storm damage and much more.


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    Feel like you’re paying more for homeowners insurance than you used to, it's a safe bet to say your feeling would be correct. Over the past 20 years, homeowners insurance rates have increased over 50% across the United States.

    You no doubt want to make sure your home is protected, but you don’t want to pay more than you have to, either. Here are a few tips you can do to make sure you get the best deal on homeowners insurance:

    1. Shop around. Rates can vary dramatically from one company to another - and there are hundreds of different insurers that offer homeowners insurance. If you haven’t researched the market in the past 24 months, it makes sense to shop. Paschall Insurance Group can help, and since we aren’t tied to one insurance company, we are able to offer you plenty of options.
    2. Increase your deductible. This one change can help significantly reduce or even eliminate your annual premium increase altogether. If making this change you should still be diligent about keeping funds set aside in case a claim needs to be filed.
    3. Don’t file small claims. If a homeowners claim would cost less than $1,000, it probably doesn’t make sense to file it. Insurance companies track customer claims, and even a claim of a few hundred dollars could cause a client to miss out on “loss-free” discounts.
    4. Bundle with auto or umbrella insurance. When you buy insurance for your home and car from the same company, you usually get a significant discount on both policies. Other policies, such as umbrella insurance, might qualify, too.
    5. Maintain good credit. In most states, insurers offer discounts to applicants with high credit scores, so keeping a solid credit history can lower your insurance costs. To protect your credit rating, pay your bills on time, keep outstanding balances low, and monitor your credit report regularly.
    6. Review your policy carefully. You likely are eligible for a number of discounts and credits, so make sure you get them! Homeowners often receive discounts for having newer homes, multiple policies with the same company, good credit and a clean claims history. Even your proximity to a fire hydrant might save you money. And if your situation has changed, let your insurer know immediately as you could be eligible for even more discounts.
    7. Improve your home security and safety. Deadbolts, burglar alarms, and other security devices are all ways to keep your home safe and potentially lower your insurance costs. For example, an alarm that connects to police, fire, or other monitoring stations can save you as much as 20% on your homeowners premium.

    Keep in mind that different companies offer different discounts, and options will vary depending on where you live.  It is important to sit down and review your policy with your agent every couple of years.  The insurance market is constantly changing so make sure you are always getting the best coverage at the best price for your insurance needs.


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    You like your roommate. You trust your roommate. But should you both be on the same renters policy?

    The answer, in most instances, is “No,” even though some insurance companies will allow it.

    Renters insurance covers your belongings, along with providing protections for loss of use, liability, etc. Roommates are not included by default on a policy, even if you’re both on the lease. Also, there’s no “insurable interest” between roommates, which means they typically don’t have any financial interest in your stuff, and you don’t have any in theirs.

    To put it another way: If you didn’t renew your lease, you’d take your things, and they would take theirs. It’s not like a divorce, with a lot of shared property. (Although maybe you’d both fight to take that rice cooker you bought together and never used).

    Here are three reasons not to share a renters policy with a roommate:

    1. If they get sued, you could get hurt. Say your roommate’s dog bites somebody. If it’s even covered (some policies exclude certain dog breeds), a shared policy means you could be part of the lawsuit. That would be a hassle, and it might mean higher premiums for you down the road.
    2. Your stuff isn’t all the same. Does your roommate have expensive items, such as jewelry? If they have a lot of valuables and you don’t, you could end up paying more than your fair share for coverage.
    3. It’s more complicated than sharing the power bill. First of all, sharing a policy means you need to make sure your roommate pays their part of the bill. But things can really get complicated if there’s a claim. The check will be made out to both of you, even if it’s just your stuff that was damaged or stolen. If they don’t sign it, you can’t cash it. (Important note: If your roommate steals your stuff, it is not covered by renters insurance... and it's probably a good time to find a new roommate, too.)

    While you already share a place with your roommate, you probably don’t need to share your insurance. Having your own policy will provide the protection you need, usually at a very affordable price.


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    Having a flat tire when driving is always a problem. But experiencing a flat or blowout while traveling on an interstate highway or other high-speed roadway can present special dangers. The National Safety Council offers these tips for coping with tire trouble:

    • At the first sign of tire trouble, grip the steering wheel firmly.
    • Don't slam on the brakes.
    • Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas pedal.
    • Work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or, if possible, toward an exit.
    • If it is necessary to change lanes, signal your intentions to drivers behind and do so smoothly and carefully, watching your mirrors and the traffic around you very closely.
    • Steer as your vehicle slows down. It is better to roll the car off the roadway (when you have slowed to 30 miles per hour) and into a safe place than it is to stop in traffic and risk a rear-end or side collision from other vehicles.
    • When all four wheels are off the pavement—brake lightly and cautiously until you stop.
    • Turn your emergency flashers on.
    • It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping, even if proceeding to a place of safety means rolling along slowly with the bad tire flapping. You can drive on a flat if you take it easy and avoid sudden moves. Don't worry about damaging the tire. It is probably ruined anyway.
    • Once off the road, put out reflectorized triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. Keep your emergency flashers on. If you know how to change a tire, have the equipment and can do it safely without being near traffic, change the tire as you normally would.
    • Remember that being safe must take precedence over your schedule or whatever other concerns you may have. Changing a tire with traffic whizzing past can be nerve-wracking at best and dangerous at worst. Therefore, it may be best to get professional help if you have a tire problem or other breakdown on a multi-lane highway.
    • Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators will know that you need help.
    • DO NOT stand behind or next to your vehicle. If possible, stand away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
    • All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly. Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones. If you have a cell phone you can call right from the roadside. It is inadvisable to walk on a multi-lane highway. However, if you can see a source of help and are able to reach it on foot, try the direct approach by walking but keeping as far from traffic as possible.

    These are the most important things to remember when dealing with a flat tire on the highway:

    • DO NOT stop in traffic.
    • Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before attempting to change a tire.
    • Tackle changing a tire only if you can do so without placing yourself in danger.
    • Finally, the Council recommends that you have a qualified mechanic check your vehicle after having a flat tire to be sure there is no residual damage from the bad tire or the aftermath of the flat.

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    A lot of people don’t realize that damage from floods is excluded in their homeowners insurance policy. That’s likely a big reason why a 2016 Insurance Institute of America survey showed that just 12% have flood insurance — many might think their homeowners policy covers them already.

    So why isn’t it covered? After all, insurance is supposed to protect you from the bad things that can happen to your home, and a flood can be particularly devastating.

    Before we go any further, it is important to know that your homeowners insurance does cover a lot of those bad things that can happen — including some that you might even think of as “flooding.” But there is a big difference, insurance-wise, between “water damage” and “flood damage.” Water damage, for example, is when a pipe bursts in your home. Your homeowners policy covers that. What isn’t covered is the type of flooding that occurs when a body of water outside your home overflows to a point where it enters your home.

    A question of financial health

    Flooding isn’t covered by standard homeowners policies because it simply doesn’t make financial sense for insurance companies. And it’s not just about profits — companies need to remain financially healthy in order to pay claims and provide the protection promised to policyholders.

    Before 1950, homeowners insurance used to cover flooding, but over time, the astronomical losses incurred from floods became too much of a burden. And by the early 1960s, all private insurance companies stopped covering flood damage because the risk was too high. This forced homeowners to bear these losses, which was an untenable situation; it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for the average homeowner to pay the entire cost of rebuilding their home.

    What are your options?

    The government eventually stepped in to offer a solution, providing disaster aid to homeowners and ultimately establishing the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968. Depending on where your home is located, you might be required to purchase flood insurance. And some lenders require it even in lower-risk areas: More than 20% of flood claims come from outside of known flood zones, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    The government program is somewhat limited, however. It is available only in participating communities, and it offers only up to $350,000 in coverage — limits are $250,000 for the house structure and $100,000 for the contents of the house. That’s why many private companies also offer additional insurance, known as “excess coverage,” on top of the flood insurance the government offers.

    Do you need flood insurance? If you’re not in an area where it is required, it still might be worth considering. Your local independent agent can answer your questions easily and help you decide what is right for you.


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    Your home protects you from the elements, but heavy rains can weaken that protection. With a little maintenance and a lot of vigilance, it’s not hard to stay safe and dry.

    Rainstorms are a fact of life in many areas of the country, and they help keep things green, even if they keep you inside. But when they get heavy, it’s time to start thinking about the potential impact all that water has on your home. The first step is finding and fixing any immediate problems as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then, you’ll want to take measures to prevent those problems from happening during the next downpour!

    Where is all that rain going?
    Your roof and gutters form a key line of defense for your home - and in a storm, they’re vulnerable, because so many things can damage them. Trees, hail, and other objects can create weaknesses that might lead to leaks in your roof, so check for missing shingles and other issues. And keep your gutters clear so all that water drains properly.

    Are you checking everywhere?
    Water dripping from the ceiling is hard to miss. Water in your crawl space, however, can easily go undetected because hardly anyone ever checks there. Don’t forget to look down there after a storm (or have a professional do it) to make sure everything is nice and dry. If you do see moisture, you’ll want to get it out with a sump pump as soon as possible.

    And don’t just look up - another place to check is your home’s exterior, whether it’s siding, brick, or another material. Weak spots can be hard to see, so look at various times of the day in different lighting conditions.

    Of course, you’ll want to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep the elements out, too.

    What about around your property?
    Storm water has to go somewhere, and if your property doesn’t drain well, or if runoff goes toward your foundation, you could have problems. So watch for patterns, and grade property so it drains away from your home if possible. Always be wary of hillsides and tilting trees after heavy storms, because the land might not be stable.

    And don’t forget to keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris. This can prevent flooding both on the streets and your own property.

    What should you do during the storm?
    During powerful storms, stay inside. This is not the time to check your roof, your exterior, or your property unless there’s an emergency and you know it’s safe to go out. Monitor your interior, making sure no water is getting in. If it is, do what you can to alleviate the situation in the moment, even if it means just placing something under a leak to collect the water. For more serious problems, though, remember that safety is the most important thing. If your basement is flooding, for example, don’t go down there - you could be trapped and even drown.

    Thankfully, powerful storms only hit once in a while. Preparing for them, however, should be on your mind a lot more frequently, because the next one could be tomorrow.

     


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    You like your roommate. You trust your roommate. But should you both be on the same renters policy?

    The answer, in most instances, is “No,” even though some insurance companies will allow it.

    Renters insurance covers your belongings, along with providing protections for loss of use, liability, etc. Roommates are not included by default on a policy, even if you’re both on the lease. Also, there’s no “insurable interest” between roommates, which means they typically don’t have any financial interest in your stuff, and you don’t have any in theirs.

    To put it another way: If you didn’t renew your lease, you’d take your things, and they would take theirs. It’s not like a divorce, with a lot of shared property. (Although maybe you’d both fight to take that rice cooker you bought together and never used).

    Here are three reasons not to share a renters policy with a roommate:

    1. If they get sued, you could get hurt. Say your roommate’s dog bites somebody. If it’s even covered (some policies exclude certain dog breeds), a shared policy means you could be part of the lawsuit. That would be a hassle, and it might mean higher premiums for you down the road.
    2. Your stuff isn’t all the same. Does your roommate have expensive items, such as jewelry? If they have a lot of valuables and you don’t, you could end up paying more than your fair share for coverage.
    3. It’s more complicated than sharing the power bill. First of all, sharing a policy means you need to make sure your roommate pays their part of the bill. But things can really get complicated if there’s a claim. The check will be made out to both of you, even if it’s just your stuff that was damaged or stolen. If they don’t sign it, you can’t cash it. (Important note: If your roommate steals your stuff, it is not covered by renters insurance... and it's probably a good time to find a new roommate, too.)

    While you already share a place with your roommate, you probably don’t need to share your insurance. Having your own policy will provide the protection you need, usually at a very affordable price.


    0 0

    Having a flat tire when driving is always a problem. But experiencing a flat or blowout while traveling on an interstate highway or other high-speed roadway can present special dangers. The National Safety Council offers these tips for coping with tire trouble:

    • At the first sign of tire trouble, grip the steering wheel firmly.
    • Don't slam on the brakes.
    • Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas pedal.
    • Work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or, if possible, toward an exit.
    • If it is necessary to change lanes, signal your intentions to drivers behind and do so smoothly and carefully, watching your mirrors and the traffic around you very closely.
    • Steer as your vehicle slows down. It is better to roll the car off the roadway (when you have slowed to 30 miles per hour) and into a safe place than it is to stop in traffic and risk a rear-end or side collision from other vehicles.
    • When all four wheels are off the pavement—brake lightly and cautiously until you stop.
    • Turn your emergency flashers on.
    • It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping, even if proceeding to a place of safety means rolling along slowly with the bad tire flapping. You can drive on a flat if you take it easy and avoid sudden moves. Don't worry about damaging the tire. It is probably ruined anyway.
    • Once off the road, put out reflectorized triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. Keep your emergency flashers on. If you know how to change a tire, have the equipment and can do it safely without being near traffic, change the tire as you normally would.
    • Remember that being safe must take precedence over your schedule or whatever other concerns you may have. Changing a tire with traffic whizzing past can be nerve-wracking at best and dangerous at worst. Therefore, it may be best to get professional help if you have a tire problem or other breakdown on a multi-lane highway.
    • Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators will know that you need help.
    • DO NOT stand behind or next to your vehicle. If possible, stand away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
    • All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly. Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones. If you have a cell phone you can call right from the roadside. It is inadvisable to walk on a multi-lane highway. However, if you can see a source of help and are able to reach it on foot, try the direct approach by walking but keeping as far from traffic as possible.

    These are the most important things to remember when dealing with a flat tire on the highway:

    • DO NOT stop in traffic.
    • Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before attempting to change a tire.
    • Tackle changing a tire only if you can do so without placing yourself in danger.
    • Finally, the Council recommends that you have a qualified mechanic check your vehicle after having a flat tire to be sure there is no residual damage from the bad tire or the aftermath of the flat.

    0 0

    A lot of people don’t realize that damage from floods is excluded in their homeowners insurance policy. That’s likely a big reason why a 2016 Insurance Institute of America survey showed that just 12% have flood insurance — many might think their homeowners policy covers them already.

    So why isn’t it covered? After all, insurance is supposed to protect you from the bad things that can happen to your home, and a flood can be particularly devastating.

    Before we go any further, it is important to know that your homeowners insurance does cover a lot of those bad things that can happen — including some that you might even think of as “flooding.” But there is a big difference, insurance-wise, between “water damage” and “flood damage.” Water damage, for example, is when a pipe bursts in your home. Your homeowners policy covers that. What isn’t covered is the type of flooding that occurs when a body of water outside your home overflows to a point where it enters your home.

    A question of financial health

    Flooding isn’t covered by standard homeowners policies because it simply doesn’t make financial sense for insurance companies. And it’s not just about profits — companies need to remain financially healthy in order to pay claims and provide the protection promised to policyholders.

    Before 1950, homeowners insurance used to cover flooding, but over time, the astronomical losses incurred from floods became too much of a burden. And by the early 1960s, all private insurance companies stopped covering flood damage because the risk was too high. This forced homeowners to bear these losses, which was an untenable situation; it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for the average homeowner to pay the entire cost of rebuilding their home.

    What are your options?

    The government eventually stepped in to offer a solution, providing disaster aid to homeowners and ultimately establishing the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968. Depending on where your home is located, you might be required to purchase flood insurance. And some lenders require it even in lower-risk areas: More than 20% of flood claims come from outside of known flood zones, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    The government program is somewhat limited, however. It is available only in participating communities, and it offers only up to $350,000 in coverage — limits are $250,000 for the house structure and $100,000 for the contents of the house. That’s why many private companies also offer additional insurance, known as “excess coverage,” on top of the flood insurance the government offers.

    Do you need flood insurance? If you’re not in an area where it is required, it still might be worth considering. Your local independent agent can answer your questions easily and help you decide what is right for you.


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    Your home protects you from the elements, but heavy rains can weaken that protection. With a little maintenance and a lot of vigilance, it’s not hard to stay safe and dry.

    Rainstorms are a fact of life in many areas of the country, and they help keep things green, even if they keep you inside. But when they get heavy, it’s time to start thinking about the potential impact all that water has on your home. The first step is finding and fixing any immediate problems as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then, you’ll want to take measures to prevent those problems from happening during the next downpour!

    Where is all that rain going?
    Your roof and gutters form a key line of defense for your home - and in a storm, they’re vulnerable, because so many things can damage them. Trees, hail, and other objects can create weaknesses that might lead to leaks in your roof, so check for missing shingles and other issues. And keep your gutters clear so all that water drains properly.

    Are you checking everywhere?
    Water dripping from the ceiling is hard to miss. Water in your crawl space, however, can easily go undetected because hardly anyone ever checks there. Don’t forget to look down there after a storm (or have a professional do it) to make sure everything is nice and dry. If you do see moisture, you’ll want to get it out with a sump pump as soon as possible.

    And don’t just look up - another place to check is your home’s exterior, whether it’s siding, brick, or another material. Weak spots can be hard to see, so look at various times of the day in different lighting conditions.

    Of course, you’ll want to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep the elements out, too.

    What about around your property?
    Storm water has to go somewhere, and if your property doesn’t drain well, or if runoff goes toward your foundation, you could have problems. So watch for patterns, and grade property so it drains away from your home if possible. Always be wary of hillsides and tilting trees after heavy storms, because the land might not be stable.

    And don’t forget to keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris. This can prevent flooding both on the streets and your own property.

    What should you do during the storm?
    During powerful storms, stay inside. This is not the time to check your roof, your exterior, or your property unless there’s an emergency and you know it’s safe to go out. Monitor your interior, making sure no water is getting in. If it is, do what you can to alleviate the situation in the moment, even if it means just placing something under a leak to collect the water. For more serious problems, though, remember that safety is the most important thing. If your basement is flooding, for example, don’t go down there - you could be trapped and even drown.

    Thankfully, powerful storms only hit once in a while. Preparing for them, however, should be on your mind a lot more frequently, because the next one could be tomorrow.

     


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  • 10/03/17--12:59: Meet Paul Paschall
  • In case you missed last month's issue of Clear Lake or Lost Creek Living Magazine...

    Sponsor Spotlight: Meet Paul Paschall of Paschall Insurance Group, LLC

    Written by Elizabeth McCabe

    Paul Paschall

    Love what you do and you will never work another day in your whole life. Paul Paschall of Paschall Insurance Group, LLC says, “As nerdy as it sounds, I love insurance!” He discovered his passion back in graduate school at Tarleton State University. He shares his story, “While in graduate school, insurance and the role it played in society was a topic that fueled my interest.  A fellow graduate student who was established in the insurance industry, encouraged my curiosity and aided in navigating my career path.  The guidance he provided helped me to meet the right people and led to my first opportunity in the industry, immediately upon graduation." 

    Paul began his insurance career as a captive agent with Farm Bureau Insurance in Johnson County.  A few years later, he moved to the metroplex with his family where he opened his own office and became a captive agent for Allstate Insurance. Several years later, Paul purchased an existing Allstate agency in Weatherford.  Paul says, “My family and I were ecstatic to move west and make our new home in Parker County!”

    This dedicated insurance agent finds his work rewarding and fulfilling. Paul comments, “I love being an agent and helping people properly protect what matters most to them.  It’s my passion.  As a captive agent, my ability was limited; I had only one ‘brand’ of insurance to offer my clients.  After careful consideration and much prayer, I decided it was time to make a change that would allow me the freedom to represent my clients and not the ‘brand.’” That’s exactly what he did when he opened his own agency, Paschall Insurance Group, LLC.

    Paul comments, “Paschall Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency that directly represents dozens of top rated insurance carriers. Our specialized team represents the interest of our clients first, not the insurance company.”  Personal insurance and commercial insurance is their specialty.  Every team member in the office is fully licensed and has the ability to assist clients with questions and/or consultation. 

    After more than a decade of serving as a captive agent in the industry, Paul now enjoys the freedom and flexibility of providing his clients with options.  He explains, “Our agency excels industry standards by providing individuals with an excellent and personal one-stop shopping experience.  Exceptional products and service with competitive pricing is guaranteed because we are able to access coverage from a multitude of top rated insurance companies.  Also, as the market and your insurance needs change, there is no reason to switch companies or shop rates – we take care of it all in-house for you!” This makes it extremely convenient for our clients.

    What’s great about Paschall Insurance Group is that each team member in the office consults; they don’t sell. Paul adds, “Our team compiles all relevant information needed to price your insurance protection in all of our markets.  We then analyze the protection choices and pricing and provide you with one or more solutions to evaluate.  Additionally, none of our team members are paid sales commissions, nor do they have sales quotas.  Therefore, this allows them to encourage the absolute best solution for your protection through consultation and a solutions-based approach."

    Paul has some advice for the residents of Parker County. He says, “I highly recommend an annual review of your insurance policies, both commercial and personal.” After all, coverages change, pricing changes, discounts change and the market appetite from insurance carrier to insurance carrier can change from year to year.  Paul adds, “One major point is that you get what you pay for in this industry.  Weekly, we have individuals visit our office who received a ‘great deal’ somewhere else and are often very disappointed when they have a claim or need servicing on their policy.”

    Paul’s Background

    Paul was born and raised in Irving, Texas and spent the next part of his life in Stephenville at Tarleton State University. He and his family have lived in Weatherford for 13 years. He is married to his wife Courtney and they celebrated their 20-year wedding anniversary this year.  They are blessed with two children. Their son Walker is 18 and is a freshman, studying engineering at Texas A&M University. Gencye, their daughter, is 13 and a seventh grader at Hall Middle School.

    When Paul isn’t working, he likes to give back to the community as do his team members. He and his team volunteer locally for many different organizations. They are also members of local churches and would appreciate the opportunity to be your local insurance agency.

     

    For more information on Paschall Insurance Group, just check out their website, www.paschallins.com, or give them a call at 817-341-4400. Paul and his highly qualified team would be honored to help you with all of your insurance needs.


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    As much as you’ve been waiting for this moment, you’ve been dreading it, too: your teen has passed the state driving test and is now an officially licensed driver. You no longer have to taxi him or her to school, to practice, or to friends’ houses.

    But, your newfound convenience isn’t without concern. Of the many things you worry about with your young driver, including your child’s safety, high on the list is the cost of insuring your teen. So, let’s take a look at what goes into teen car insurance rates so you can better understand what may be awaiting you.

    Do Teenage Drivers Increase Car Insurance Rates?

    In most cases, yes. After all, you’re extending your coverage to another driver, and that typically costs more. And, not just any driver, but an inexperienced one.

    The direct impact on your car insurance rates can vary depending on the state where you live. That said, most states allow insurance companies to utilize the following factors in pricing coverage for a young driver:

    • Male or Female: Premiums are often driven by statistics. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for young male drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 the motor vehicle death rate for drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost twice as high for males vs. females.
    • Primary Driver: If your teen has her own vehicle, she will likely drive it more often than if she were sharing it. More time behind the wheel can mean higher rates, as your teen has gone from an occasional operator with limited use to a primary operator.
    • Type of vehicle: The make and model of a vehicle always impacts your car insurance costs. If it’s a high-end vehicle, you can expect to pay more, particularly for an inexperienced driver. Always check how much a vehicle will cost to insure for a teen driver before you plunk down the cash for it.

     

    Ask for Discounts for Your Teen Driver

    It’s true teen car insurance rates can be pricey, so be sure not to overlook opportunities to save. Your independent agent can help you better understand potential discounts that may be available to you. Here are a few common ways to save on teen car insurance, but these can vary by carrier:

    • Drivers education: Knowledge is power so many insurance carriers will provide a discount if a newly licensed driver takes a driver’s education course. Ask your independent agent which courses may qualify you for a discount.
    • Good student: Most insurance companies provide a discount for students who have at least a B average. This may need to be verified each year, so be sure to keep a copy of the latest report card handy, given that this credit can be as much as 20 percent.
    • Electronic monitoring: Some insurance companies offer a discount if you adhere to safe driving habits as verified by an electronic monitoring device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port. In most cases, monitoring only lasts for a specified period, and you have access to the data collected.
    • Away at school without a car: If your young driver attends a boarding school or college more than 100 miles away, be sure to tell your insurance company. There is typically a large credit for this while still providing coverage when she’s home.

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  • 10/31/17--12:04: Halloween Safety Tips
  • Halloween is here, which means ghouls and goblins will be out and about going door-to-door stuffing thier bags and pillow sacks with goodies galore. While Halloween is an exciting and fun time for many, it is also a time of hazards and dangers. In hopes that you and your family will have a fun and enjoyable evening, please read over these Halloween safety tips. Feel free to share this information with your neighbors, family and friends.

    1) Kids can be so excited—oftentimes they might dart out in front of traffic. As a driver, especially in residential areas, slow down, keep your eyes open, look ahead and be prepared for something that might happen in front of you. Children are more than twice likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Please remain cautious!

    2) Choose brightly colored costumes or add reflective tape to increase visibility. Choose flame resistant costumes. Check for a “flame resistant” notification on the label. If you're making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk with a salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material. Avoid pointy swords and sticks. Instead, use cardboard and tape to make bendable props and accessories. Costumes should also be sized correctly and short enough so children can safely walk up and down curbs and steps. Make sure that the costume does not block the eyes, nose or mouth. Instead of a mask, consider hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint. Write the name of your child and an emergency phone number either on the costume or safety pin it inside of the costume.

    3) Children under 12 should not go out alone. The recommended time for trick-or-treating is 5:00pm-8:00pm. Children should travel in small groups accompanied by adults. Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches. Children should be warned to NEVER approach any house that is not well lit or that doesn't have a porch light, "outside" light. Visit neighborhoods that you are familiar with. Plan your route!

    4) Every group should carry a flashlight. Remain on the on the sidewalk and avoid crossing in yards Do not walk in alleys. Make sure your cross at crosswalks (when/where available) and that everyone in your group crosses together. Do not accept anything from someone inside of a vehicle unless you know the person.

    5) INSPECT ALL CANDY BEFORE EATING IT. Ensure that the item is properly sealed. When in doubt, throw it out! Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them. All fruit should be cut and personally examined before eating. Ensure that children aren’t eating candy while out. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach.


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  • 11/07/17--15:59: Thanksgiving Safety Tips
  • It's hard to believe we are already into November and that Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  Americans are gearing up for one of the most spectacular feasts of the year! Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings family and friends together to share good food, conversation, and laughter. In the midst of all this festive activity, it’s important to remember that there are health hazards associated with the holiday, including an increased chance of food poisoning, kitchen fires, and travel incidents.

    Taking just a few minutes to read these Thanksgiving safety tips could mean the difference between enjoying the holiday and having a turkey dinner end in disaster.

    Food Poisoning

    Following these food safety tips can keep any Thanksgiving meal safe from bacteria and keep your family and friends from getting sick:

    • Safely cooking a turkey starts with correctly defrosting it; place your bird on a tray or pan to catch any juices and keep it refrigerated until it’s ready to cook.
    • A 20-pound frozen turkey can take up to five days to thaw out so plan ahead.
    • Turkeys need to be cooked to an internal temperate of 165 °F.
    • Leftovers need to be refrigerated within two hours after serving.

    Fire Safety

    The average number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving is triple that of a normal day. Here a few simple ways to avoid fires:

    • “Stand by your pan" when cooking. Never leave food, grease, or oils cooking on the stovetop unattended.
    • Pot holders, oven mitts, food wrappers, and other things that can catch fire should be kept away from the stove.
    • Children should also be kept away from hot stoves and paid particular attention to when they are in the kitchen.
    • Facing pot handles towards the rear of the stove can save them from being knocked over and scalding people nearby.
    • Long sleeves and loose clothing should be avoided while cooking as it can easily catch fire.

    Thanksgiving Travel Safety

    The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and with all the excitement travelers can become more focused on celebrations than getting to their destination as safely as possible. Following these travel tips will keep everyone safe on the road and in the air:

    • An emergency road kit is important to have in case of a breakdown or accident.
    • Ideally, travel outside of the heaviest days to avoid congestion – which are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward.
    • Get your car road-ready and start your trip with a full tank of gas.
    • Don’t be distracted. It’s illegal to text and drive in most areas and drivers who text and drive are 23 times more likely to get into a crash than those who don’t.
    • Don’t drink and drive.
    • At airports, remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons.
    • Food items in your carry-on luggage must be in clear plastic bags and less than 3.4 ounces.
    • Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year at airports; packing smartly will help security lines move along quickly.

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    You’ve heard all the talk about driverless cars — but unfortunately, we’re still years away from living in a world where you just tell your car where to go, kick back and relax with a book (or, more likely, your phone).

    Even though our driverless future has yet to arrive, and you still have to pay attention when you’re behind the wheel, technology actually plays a big role on the road to safety already. And nowhere is that more apparent than the new safety features that make today’s vehicles safer than ever.

    Those features might be even more important now, because drivers aren’t necessarily better these days. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 ended a five-decade trend of declining traffic fatalities — the 7.2% increase in deaths from 2014 was the largest jump since 1966.

    Of course, we all know the basics of being a good driver: be alert, don’t speed, avoid distractions, remain mindful of the conditions, etc. While newer safety features aren’t a substitute for any of those things, they can be an excellent supplement to good driving habits.

    So when you’re shopping for a new (or new-to-you) vehicle, look for ones that have the following options recommended by the NHTSA. They might even help you save on your insurance!

    Forward collision warning: These sensors in the front of the vehicle will warn you of an impending collision, giving you a chance to brake or steer clear.

    Automatic emergency braking: Working with forward collision warning sensors, this will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.

    Lane-departure warning: This uses cameras to keep track of your car’s position on the roadway; if you begin to drift from your lane unintentionally, an alarm notifies you.

    Backup camera: These cameras, which are becoming standard equipment in more vehicles, automatically activate when the car shifts into reverse, giving you a view behind the car.

    Electronic stability control: This is now standard on models 2012 and later, but if you’re purchasing a used car, consider one that offers this feature. It helps you keep control in slippery conditions and on curves — according to the NHTSA, it reduces the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash by about 50% and the risk of a fatal rollover by 80%.

    Other features that may be available, depending on the make and model of car you choose:

    • Automatic crash notification: Notifies emergency responders in the event of a crash.
    • Lane-keeping support: Steers your vehicle back into the lane if you begin to drift.
    • Pedestrian automatic emergency braking: Alerts you if a pedestrian is in your path and automatically applies the brakes.
    • Blind-spot detection: Illuminates when another vehicle is in your blind spot on either side of the car.
    • Adaptive headlights: These headlights actually shift as you take curves and turns to help you see better.

    Finally, don’t forget things that have little to do with technology, but still have a big impact on safety — such as the vehicle’s size and weight, structure and restraint systems, and its NHTSA safety rating. To look up the cars you’re considering, visit Safercar Safety Ratings.