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Dodging Parking Lot Collisions - Dos and Don'ts Aug 26, 2016
The Dos and Don’ts of Dodging Parking Lot Collisions

Go Slow, Be Alert While Parking
We all have our pet peeves when navigating through a parking lot or parking garage. The driver who throws it in reverse and backs out without looking. Or the pedestrian who charges out of the store, also not looking.
No matter what your parking lot pet peeve happens to be, these dos and don’ts will help you avoid a collision or other catastrophe, all while keeping your cool:
 
Don’t Speed or Fight Over a Spot
 So you’re in a hurry and you want that primo spot close to the store. Guess what? So does everyone else. By slowing down and removing yourself from the fray, you do yourself a multitude of favors. First, when you reduce your speed, you give yourself more time to react to dangerous situations, such as a child darting out from between parked cars. Second, by parking farther away from the store, you may minimize your exposure to dings and scratches from other vehicles. Just don’t park in an area that feels unsafe.
 
Do Stay Alert
 Distractions are always a danger when you’re behind the wheel, even when you’re slowly making your way around a parking lot or through a parking garage. So, stay off your phone and stay alert. Look for other drivers and pedestrians who aren’t paying attention so you can avoid collisions and injuries. In a parking garage, be careful going around corners and of people stepping out of the elevators. In a busy lot, watch for cars backing out unexpectedly and people walking where they shouldn’t.
 
Do Be Kind
 If we all cut each other a little slack, we’ll all be safer and happier while running our many errands. So stop to let pedestrians cross in front of you in the parking lot. Don’t be so hard on the person who’s boxed in by large vehicles and has to back out blindly in the parking garage. And give parents who are loading groceries while wrangling kids a little extra space.
 
Don’t Forget to Look
 Use your eyes, your mirrors and, if you have one, your rear-view camera when backing out of a space. You’re sure to miss something if you rely on just a single source of vision. When pulling into a spot, look for car doors being opened, people pulling through the space and carts left in the wrong spot. Look to see whether you can really fit in the spot, leaving room on both sides for your car doors and the ones next to you to open freely.
 
Do Stay Calm If You Get Into a Parking Lot Accident
 Despite your best efforts, you may still get into a parking lot accident. If so, call law enforcement, if needed. Also take pictures, exchange insurance information with the other driver, write down how it happened and collect contact information from witnesses.
 
Remember, being in a hurry and being distracted are some of the worst things you can do in a parking lot. Assume there will be dangers so you can watch for them and avoid them.
 
Teen Driving - Set an Example Aug 19, 2016
Teen Driving: Set the Example

Have you ever asked yourself why your auto insurance bill increased significantly after adding your teen driver to your policy? Well, the answer is pretty simple, teens tend to drive in a more aggressive or reckless nature than the average driver. But, before you start lecturing your teen for texting or calling while they’re driving, keep in mind your own driving habits.

An important aspect of teen driving that’s often neglected is parental driving practices and how influential parents’ behaviors are on teen driving. Young drivers are inexperienced and therefore often mimic the driving habits of those who surround them. By creating a safe driving environment and practicing safer driving habits, you can reduce your teen’s exposure to risky behavior.

It’s hard to change a teenager’s driving habits if you don’t follow the advice you give them. As cliché as it sounds, you have to practice what you preach. It’s something that sounds so easy, yet it’s astonishing how many parents do not follow their own rules. According to a study done by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) in 2012, 91% of parents were observed by their teenagers talking on their phone while driving.

Although teens are responsible for the actions they take, parents also play a big role in their child’s judgments, according to research by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institution. In addition, if you take another look at the study by LM and SADD, you can see that not only were parents observed talking on the phone by their teens; they were also observed texting, speeding, and driving under the influence. These statistics were almost identical to the self-reported teen statistics, indicating a very strong parental influence in teen driving behaviors.

The next time you’re in the car with you teen, ask yourself, am I driving the way I want them to drive? If not, correct your behavior and you may see a huge difference not only in your teenager’s driving habits – but also your own driving habits.
 
Here are a few tips for parents with teenage drivers:
•Be positive rather than telling them what not to do
•Encourage safe practices without offending or upsetting them
•Celebrate their positive instincts rather than dwelling on their mistakes
•Inform them about the consequences and dangers of reckless driving habits
 
If you have questions about adding a teen to your auto policy, check with agent.
Give us a call at WP Dolle! 513-421-6515
Ask about Safeco’s Teen Safe Driver Discount program.
 
Article provided by Safeco Insurance.
 
Back to School Aug 12, 2016
Back to School
Insurance Tips for Back-to-School Time
 
College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.
It's important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never "one-size-fits-all" situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!
 
HOMEOWNERS (may vary by state and individual policy)

Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s.  For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.

For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property.

Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.

Ensuring adequate coverage:  Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.

Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can't be met under your current policy, don't forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters. 

AUTO (may vary by state)

Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.

Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.

Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.

Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount. 

Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by W.P. Dolle today!
 
After the Storm: How to Check for Property Damage Jul 31, 2015
After the Storm: How to Check Your Property for Damage
Conduct a Storm Damage Inspection

The beauty of spring is often tempered by powerful storms, with heavy rains, strong winds and destructive hail. Through it all, your home protects you from the elements, so be sure to check it for damage afterward.

Even if you have no reason to suspect that damage occurred, check your home and its surroundings (once it’s safe to do so, of course). It’s important to identify problems, make emergency repairs and determine if an insurance claim is necessary.

Here’s a handy list of things to check after a storm from the National Storm Damage Center:

Roof

Your roof might be the area of your home most vulnerable to damage in a storm, because so many things can impact it. Whether you’ve had high winds and downed tree branches or just a simple hailstorm, look for these indicators of damage:

  • Holes in the roof
  • Split seams
  • Missing shingles
  • Leaks in your roof or ceiling


Building Exteriors

While siding, stucco and brick all are durable, they also are susceptible to storm damage. In some instances, homeowners don’t notice until it’s too late to file a claim, so check carefully for:

  • Cracking, chipping or dings and dents on siding. Even if there doesn’t appear to be damage at first, check again at a different time of day. You may see something you missed when the lighting is different.
  • Holes in stucco. This is a serious problem, even when small, so look closely. If you find holes, have a professional conduct a full property inspection.
  • Damaged brick and tuck pointing. While brick typically holds up well, a check can identify any problem areas.

  • Detached or damaged trim, gutters, etc.


Driveways and Walkways

Concrete can chip, crack and split, not only reducing the lifespan of your driveway or walkway, but potentially creating a safety issue.



Trees

Fallen trees and limbs cause more than $1 billion in damage each year, according to the National Storm Damage Center. Keep in mind that property owners generally are responsible for removing trees and limbs that have fallen on their property, even if it is a tree from a neighbor’s yard. Your insurance policy may help to cover the cost of removal and repairs, depending on the coverage you have and the circumstances of the incident. (There are exceptions to this, depending on the maintenance of the tree, so check with your insurance agent.)

General Tips
  • Severe storms often will knock down power lines. If this happens on your property, rope off 30 feet in each direction around the line and do not touch it. Call 911 and the power company immediately.
  • Be sure to do a full check of your property, including things such as your air-conditioning unit, fences,vent caps, etc. And don’t forget to check your vehicles if they were not garaged at the time of the storm.
  • Don’t forget the crawl space. "Most people don’t ever look down there," according to J. Szczesny, owner of 4 Seasons Home Inspections in Seattle and a Certified Master Inspector. "You need to be sure no water is getting in, and, if it is, make sure it is removed quickly via a sump pump or underground drainage system."
  • Take pictures of all damage from different angles. You want to document as much as possible.

Finally, knowing the details of your homeowners coverage, your limits and your deductibles can help you during the insurance claims process. It’s a great idea to examine your policy and know what your homeowners policy covers now, before the storm.


How Does Your Insurance Cover You in a Storm?

That’s a great question for your independent agent. Talk to your local agent about the perils for which you have coverage and add additional coverage, as needed.
Give us a call at WP Dolle! 513-421-6515


Insurance for Newlyweds Jul 24, 2015

Plan for the Future as well as the Wedding: Insurance for Newlyweds

5 Types of Insurance Worth Purchasing or Considering

Hello, young (or not so young) lovers! You’re about to get married, or you’ve just tied the knot. You’re sharing your life with someone else and embarking on one of the most exciting and challenging times you’ll ever know.
Would this be a good time to think about insurance?
Well, yes. Making sure you’re protected against unforeseen risks may not be all that romantic, but it’s important to your long-term happiness together.
So, once you’re home from the honeymoon (or before), take some time to consider just how your insurance coverage should change to reflect your new reality.

Your Home

If you’re renting, you’ll want renters insurance to cover the value of your possessions and help replace them due to damage or theft. In certain instances, according to your policy terms, your renters insurance can even help if you’re held legally responsible for injuries to another person while they’re visiting your home.
If you’re buying a home, most lenders will require homeowners insurance before they will issue a mortgage. Typically, a homeowners policy will cover, up to a defined dollar amount:
•Damage to your house from covered losses, such as fire.

•Stolen or damaged personal property.

•Medical costs or legal fees arising from injuries or other mishaps on your property.

Coverages can vary widely, so you’ll want to work closely with your insurance agent to be sure you get the policy you want. Also, you may want to consider additional personal property coverage for valuable items that may not be fully covered by your homeowners insurance—like, say, your new wedding rings.


Your Car

If you and your spouse both own cars and have respectable driving records, you’ll likely save money by having your cars insured with the same carrier, on the same policy. Married drivers typically have fewer accidents, which can mean a lower rate, and you may get a discount just for having multiple vehicles on the same policy.

Your Health

You’ll want to review your respective health insurance plans carefully. You typically have 30 days once you’re married to make changes. If you’re both covered through your employers, compare your coverage and costs. If they’re similar, it may be in your financial best interest to maintain separate plans; but, if one plan is significantly better, it may be more cost-effective to switch one spouse over to the other’s coverage.

Your Life

Single people without dependents often believe that they have little need for life insurance. You, however, may want to consider it. It’s reassuring to know that your spouse (and, perhaps in the future, your children) will be taken care of if something happens to you. Term life insurance, rather than whole life, is generally the most affordable way for newlyweds to get this coverage.

And Maybe More

Umbrella insurance may provide extra liability coverage when your auto or home insurance limits are exceeded by a lawsuit; coverage for defense costs in such lawsuits; and coverage for legal issues in unforeseen situations, such as an accident involving a borrowed vehicle or an accident in another country. The best part is how affordable it is. Typically sold in million-dollar increments, umbrella insurance rates often start at less than a dollar a day.
With all the excitement and upheaval that goes with setting up a new household, reviewing and potentially consolidating your insurance policies can help give you the peace of mind to focus on things that really matter—like each other. Have a great life together!



Want to Pay Less for Insurance?

Having multiple policies, such as auto and home insurance, with a single carrier may help reduce your insurance costs. Learn more about packaging your insurance from your agent. Or give us a call at WP Dolle, 513-421-6515.
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