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Every time you get behind the wheel, you run the risk of colliding with one of the millions of drivers that don’t have car insurance.  According to the Insurance Research Council one in seven U.S. drivers is on the road without insurance despite the fact that almost every state requires drivers to carry a minimum level of coverage.  The best way to protect yourself from these uninsured drivers is to make sure you have the right amount of insurance.

But how much insurance do you really need?

 

In order to answer that question, you need to understand what the different types of coverage are and how they protect you.

Liability coverage is usually the first listed on your policy and covers losses incurred by other people because of your negligence.  Your liability limits are listed as three numbers separated by slashes like 100/300/100. The first two numbers are your…

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These days you can buy nearly anything online, even your insurance.  Although it may seem like you are saving time and money by obtaining a policy online, it may not be so convenient later.

One of the biggest advantages of working with an agent is that they have time to sit down and talk with you, in turn allowing you to establish a one on one relationship.  Just one visit with an agent can prove to be beneficial in respect to knowing what your options are and choosing the best possible coverage that fits your needs.  In addition to this, based on your answers to a few simple questions, an agent is able to find possible discounts that you may be qualified to receive.  Purchasing insurance can sometimes be stressful and an agent can alleviate some of that stress, if not most of it just by understanding and being able to relate to you.  After all, we are human and it’s comforting to know that someone has your best interest at heart.

Ben Franklin said it best, “Time is money”. Although an online agency provides you with a phone number where they can be reached, you may not be able to speak with a live person. I’m sure that we have all experienced the downfalls of 800 numbers and the “customer service” they provide.  One could spend 30 minutes or more being looped from one automated message to the next only to reach a live person who ends up transferring you somewhere else. Being able to reach your agent by phone without having to guess which automated option to choose can save you both time and aggravation.

One final advantage to working with an agent who is local is that they can work with you in regards to your coverage.  They can adjust your limits and/or deductibles without sacrificing the important coverage that you need resulting in a policy that is tailored just for you and your pocketbook.   Online agencies give you the freedom to choose the coverage you want according to what you can afford, but an agent can recommend coverage that will protect you and your family all while keeping you within your budget.

For example, the required liability coverage amounts in the state of Arizona are 15/30/10.  Sure, you may get a huge savings up front, but will you pay for it in the end?  If you cause an accident which results in bodily injury more than $15,000 or property damage more than $10,000, you are financially responsible.  Just to give you an idea, according to the National Safety Council, the average cost of injury in a car accident is $61,600 and the average price of a new vehicle is a tad over $30,000 according to Forbes.  Saving a couple of dollars by reducing coverage could cost you thousands in the long run.

With all of the decisions that you make in life, don’t let choosing the right policy overwhelm you when you have an agent right who is right around the corner.  Make an appointment today by calling us @ 480-288-5900.  We can help you protect what matters most!

More than 400,000 winter visitors migrate from their northern US and Canadian homes to Arizona each year, generally beginning in October.  Whether you are coming or going, there is preparation involved in regards to leaving your home unoccupied for several months.   No one wants to come home, whether it’s summer, winter, or fall to a disaster that could have been prevented by taking the time to create and execute a plan that will help protect your home while you are away. Here are just a few things to consider when leaving your seasonal home for an extended period of time.

Shut Off Main Water Supply

Imagine coming home after being on the road for hours or even days.  You finally arrive at 12:21am.  All you want to do is walk through the door, crawl into your own bed, and drift off to sleep.  Instead, you walk through the door and are stopped in your tracks by an overwhelming, musty scent in the air. Your carpet is filthy and each step you take leads you into a swamp that once used to be your living room.   Shutting down the main water valve before you leave your home can be one of the most crucial things that you can do in order to prevent water damage that can be caused by frozen pipes, a ruptured washer hose, leaking supply lines or a dripping water heater.  In addition to this, we also recommend draining your toilets and turning off your water heater.

Turn Off Breakers

Although a large number of fires that occur are associated with human activity, fires in vacant homes do happen.  Aside from your heating system, security system, or outside lighting,turn off all nonessential electrical circuit breakers in your home’s electrical box.  This can minimize the possibility of electrical fires.  Along with turning off your breakers, unplug all appliances both large and small.

Disconnect the Computer

In today’s world, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes.  If you have personal information stored on your computer, turning it off and disconnecting it from the internet is a must.

Lock Up  

Although this may sound elementary, be sure to lock all of your doors and windows.  If you have a security system, make sure that it is turned on before you leave.  You can also alert the local police department of your departure, leaving them your contact information and requesting that they add your home to their vacation watch list. If you have an interim caretaker, provide their information as well. You may also want to consider inviting a neighbor to park in your driveway during your time away.

Find more information at http://www.amainsure.com/maturedecisions/protectyourinvestment.html.  Taking these few steps can save you time, money and not to mention, a huge headache.  Be confident that your home is safe the moment you pull out of your driveway.  Peace of mind can be key to enjoying your spring, winter, summer or fall!

Life is full of difficult decisions, many of which are emotionally charged and require us to help make choices to protect those we love. Having a discussion with an elderly loved one about their driving ability and safety can be awkward to say the least. Avoiding or turning a blind eye to the topic will only hurt your loved one and put both themselves and others at risk. Although it may be uncomfortable, it’s necessary to know when and how to engage in conversation.

Dialogue between family members is encouraged. Being pro-active and holding a discussion prior there being a problem can reinforce driving safety issues and can allow time for the older adult to consider and modify their driving skills. During a survey, more than half of the older adult participants expressed willingness to take suggestions about driving safety simply because someone had talked to them.

If you have difficulty or encounter extreme resistance, consider having additional conversations with family members, doctors, or even law enforcement officials if necessary. Depending on the situation, a doctor may take a primary role in the assessment by evaluating the patient’s visual, cognitive, and motor skills. Some may even refer a concerned patient to an independent party or therapist who is qualified to perform a comprehensive driving evaluation. Aside from family, 27% of older adults that are married and 40% single or widowed prefer to hear from their doctor about whether or not they should be driving.

In extreme situations, when an older driver refuses to respond to any type of conversation, you may have to consider more extreme measures. Cancelling registration, insurance, or having a driver’s license revoked may seem like a good plan, however, this might not prevent the older adult from continuing to operate a vehicle. Although it can seem aggressive, disabling the car, filing down keys, or taking the car away may result in a safer and more final outcome.

Limiting or giving up driving altogether for an older adult is a delicate issue that requires an enormous amount of love and support from friends and family members. Like many of life’s decisions, it may be difficult at first, but the transitioning of your loved one from a driver to a passenger will gradually occur over time. Being involved and helping to incorporate this change in an older driver’s life can give yourself and your entire family peace of mind. Start your conversation today!

Most auto policies have exemptions for accidents caused from road rage (image via flickr)

These days it seems like everyone is in a hurry to get everywhere they need to go.  By the way many of us drive, you might think we have someone in the car that is hurt and in dire need of an emergency room because we act as if mere seconds may make the difference between life and death.  Sadly, most of those times, we are just going where we need to go.  This kind of aggressive, me-first, take no prisoners style of driving often leads to road rage, which the NHTSA estimates is a contributing factor in a third of all car accidents and two-thirds of car accidents that result in a fatality.

Whether it is our busy lives, increased traffic, or just the fact that we are used to driving this way, everyone on the road needs to do their part to stop aggressive driving and eliminate road rage.  Not only is this type of driving dangerous and illegal, many auto insurance policies contain exemptions for accidents caused by road rage.  This means that if you are the one raging and you cause an accident, you are on your own; the insurance company won’t cover the damage.  Don’t let your temper get the best of you by following these tips for keeping your anger from affecting how you drive.

1.     Leave Plenty of Time

One of the most common causes of aggressive driving is being late.  When we are trying to get somewhere and the clock is ticking and there isn’t enough time to make the trip, we get stressed and try to make up the time by passing and speeding.  Don’t put yourself in this position, leave early, make sure you have plenty of time, and if you are late, remember that no matter how important it is that you get there on time, it is not more important that your life or the life of someone else.

2.     Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt

Another contributing factor to aggressive driving and road rage is when we develop an Us vs. Them attitude towards the other drivers on the road.  If they are in front of us and going slower than we want to go, we think they are doing it on purpose.  If they merge poorly, and cut us off, they did it on purpose.  If they are driving too close to us, they are tailgating us.  While sometimes these things are true, sometimes they aren’t.  Sometimes other drivers are just not paying enough attention to how their actions are affecting the cars around them.  Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are clueless rather than deciding that they are your enemy.

3.     Pay Attention to How You are Driving

Take a few minutes to think about how you drive.  Are you the driver that drives just under the speed limit on every road?  Do you find that other drivers seem to become aggressive towards you on a regular basis?  Even if you aren’t the one who is getting mad, you might be contributing to the problem.  Pay attention to how you are driving and make sure you aren’t the one everyone else has to give the benefit of the doubt.

Aggressive driving and road rage is everyone’s problem.  Pay attention, drive courteously, and remember that everyone on the road is just trying to get where they are going in the shortest amount of time.  Winning the battle against road rage starts with you.

 

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Are you prepared in the event of an emergency? (image via flickr)

Today’s newspapers and internet sites seem to highlight some new catastrophe almost every day.  Whether it is a drought in the U.S., flooding caused by a typhoon in the Philippines, or an earthquake that destroys most of an island nation, emergency situations are all around us.  Now, more than ever, families need to take steps to be ready in case one of these catastrophic events comes to call.

September is National Preparedness Month and organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross will be working with communities and families to raise awareness about the need for emergency preparedness and to offer advice and information on what kind of preparations need to be made.  The primary goal of National Preparedness Month is to get people to understand the importance of preparing before disaster strikes.  To help increase awareness, here are 4 things every household should do in order to be ready and be able to respond.

1.     Fire Evacuation Plan

In 2010, statistics show there were more than 360,000 house fires in the U.S.  and 2,640 people lost their lives as a result.   Unlike some other natural disasters that only impact certain areas, house fires can happen to anyone.  Make sure your family has a fire evacuation plan that includes at least two ways out of every room.

2.     Emergency Contact Information

One of the scariest things family members encounter when there is a crisis is not being able to find loved ones.  Establishing an emergency communication plan that includes meeting places, important contact numbers, and how to use an out of town relay to locate and communicate with each other is your best defense.

3.     Evacuation Plan

If the time ever comes that it is no longer safe to remain in your home, you won’t likely have time to formulate the best evacuation plan either.  In order to be ready if that order ever comes, you need to know where the closest shelter is in your town as well as where emergency shelters can be found in neighboring towns or cities.  You need to have an emergency kit that contains everything your family will need for 72 hours already packed and ready to go with you in the car.

4.     Sheltering in Place

Just like there are times when you must leave your home, there are times when leaving is the last thing you want to do.  Every family should have a plan for remaining in their home for several weeks without access to outside resources like the grocery store or essential services like electricity.   By stocking enough food, water, medicine, and other critical supplies ahead of time, you can feel confident that if there is a reason not to go out, you won’t have to just to survive.

You don’t need to stockpile several years of food, learn to spin your own wool thread, or spend thousands of dollars on tools and equipment it is unlikely you will ever use in order to be prepared.  It only takes a little time, a little effort, and a trip or two to the grocery store to make sure your family is ready to weather whatever storms come your way.

 

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As summer vacation fades in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a quick look at some ways to make sure all children are as safe as possible as we head into the new school year.  According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, more than 2 million children under the age of 14 are injured each year while at school.  Here are 6 tips for helping keep kids safe as school goes back into session.

1.     Make them a Map

Determine which specific routes to and from school and after school activities are acceptable for your child to use and then walk those routes with them.  This is important whether they are walking, riding a bike, riding a scooter, or travelling by any other means.  Mapping out acceptable routes ahead of time helps keep your child safe in several ways.  First, they won’t be taking short cuts that require crossing busier roads or expose them to unnecessary dangers.  Second, you will always know where to look for them if they are running late or do not arrive somewhere as expected.  Mapping out more than one route ensures they have a back-up in case there is an emergency or detour.

2.     Watch for Walkers

When school is in session, there are more children walking on sidewalks and crossing streets.  Drivers need to be aware of where schools are located on their normal commutes and pay attention to school zone signs and speed limit changes.  Pay extra attention whenever there are children walking, running, playing, or waiting to cross.

3.     Remind Kids about the Rules

For the first few weeks of school, parents need to remind their children about important safety rules.  Talking about important safety topics like looking both ways before going into the street, using crosswalks, paying attention to what’s happening around them, and avoiding strangers will help make it a safe school year.

4.     Practice Prevention

With children, many of the most common serious injuries are also the most preventable.  Make sure that children who ride their bikes to school are wearing a helmet.  If your child is going to ride a scooter or skateboard back and forth each day, provide the appropriate safety gear to protect heads, wrists, and knees and instill the importance of wearing it every time.

5.     Create a Contact List

It is important that any school age child knows basic contact information like their home phone, parent cell phone, and home address.  It is also a good idea to create an emergency contact list for them that can be kept in their backpack.  This may include additional phone numbers of grandparents, babysitters, or friend’s houses.  Additionally, make sure your child knows when and how to call 911 if there is an emergency.

6.     Promote Safe Play

Children are injured everyday just by being children.  Running, jumping, and playing often leads to scrapes, bruises, and bumps.  While this is a normal part of being a kid, parents can help protect their children from serious injuries and limit the number of minor ones by promoting safe play practices.  Check out the school’s playground and talk to the school administration about any safety concerns you see.  If the playground isn’t up to par, raise money to build a new one.  Talk to your child about how to play as safely as possible and what kinds of behavior can cause injury.

 

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