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Most people will tell you that their biggest asset is their home. Of course, that’s why it’s so important to have the right homeowners insurance for it.

What is interesting is that, according to Erie Insurance, the five most common causes of homeowners claims come from Mother Nature, herself; and those top five causes of homeowners insurance claims at Erie Insurance include hail, wind, water, fire and the weight of snow and ice on a roof.

Read the entire article at Erie Insurance to learn much more about each of these threats to your home and find out how you can prevent the damage they cause.

  •  Hail: Even small pieces of hail can cause big damage. Learn more about hail and how insurance covers hail damage.
  • Wind:  Heavy winds, tornadoes, hurricanes--wind is one of the most destructive forces on earth. Find out how you can prepare for wind-related weather events.
  • Water: Whether it’s from a natural source like a lake or river or from a pipe in your wall, water has the potential to cause a lot of damage. Learn about the ways water can soak your home and how you can prevent it from happening.
  • Fire: Fires have many causes. Get the top tips to protect your home from this threat. 
  • Weight of ice and snow on the roof: Winter can wreak havoc on roofs. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yours.
Home Insurance Tip
As homeowners, we all try to see that our home is safe at all times, but the risk for accidents is still substantial.  Be sure you are prepared in case Mother Nature comes calling.  Check with your insurance agent to be sure that your homeowners insurance will take care of any such claims long before you are faced with the need to file a claim.   Your insurance agent can guide you in making the right coverage decisions to meet your own circumstances. 

 

The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.  Ewing Hines 7 Associates is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC since 1960. Our experienced insurance agents at our office in Kensington, MD welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.

 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 12:31

This is the time of year when, it seems, everyone is tying the knot -- strolling into wedded bliss.  All the checklists and plans are underway, and dreams of the wedding march and the honeymoon dance in your head.  But does that checklist include the possible changes to your insurance portfolio as you join two lives and become a couple?  Will you need different financial protection?  What will managing two careers as a couple mean for you?  How will merging two households affect you?

Do your future plans depend upon two incomes?  If so, your lifestyle will reflect that.  You will have expenses that you have not yet anticipated, and perhaps you have existing education loans or even medical bills to pay.  Then there's retirement... yes, it seems so far away, but who knows what the future will bring? Will you buy a home?  Will you start a family?  In fact, one never knows what life holds in store, so it is important to make plans now to protect what you have and what you expect to have.

If the worst happens and tragedy strikes in the future, having started a life insurance policy now could ensure that the surviving spouse is protected.  There are two types of life insurance policies: term which expires and permanent (whole life) which does not. Life insurance is a popular financial planning tool which is much, much more than just a way to pay ones final expenses; and the younger you are when you establish your policy, the less you will pay in premiums and the greater the financial benefit will be, no matter how you decide to use it. Check out Life Insurance details here on our website to find out all the options and prepare to be surprised.

You might already have decided whether you will rent or own your first home.  If you intend to own a house, then your realtor or banker might already have spoken to you about homeowners insurance which will cover your investment if your home is damaged and will also protect you if someone else files a claim for injury or damage for which you are responsible. In fact, homeowners insurance might also cover your own belongings if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen.  If you will be a condo owner, then you will find the terms of your insurance somewhat different; and if you will be renting your home, the terms will be still more different. You can find out the differences and all you need to know about Homeowners Insurance, Condo Insurance and Renters Insurance here on our website.

Just as you merge your households, you will likely own at least two vehicles, as a couple. The good news is as a married couple, you might expect to pay a somewhat lower auto insurance rate, and there might be other discounts that you need to know as well.  If you both are already using the same insurance company and the same insurance agent, it could be easier to arrange for the best rates and the best coverage for your new lifestyle.  If, however, you use separate companies and agents, then it is worthwhile to schedule a review of your policies to see which company offers you the best rates and terms before making any changes.  If you need to brush up on your auto insurance knowledge before you meet with the insurance agent, you'll find all you need to know here on our website.

So while you might feel overwhelmed with all the details to be handled before you take that walk down the aisle, you can understand why reviewing your insurance needs is one item that should not be left off your list.

Best of luck for a long a happy life together!

In future posts, we will discuss other important things for newlyweds to consider and also take a look at the challenges that we face in other stages of life.  So stay tuned...

 

Saturday, 20 February 2016 17:41

Drivers are distracted in many ways, including everything from dealing with children, pets and other passengers, to operating the car’s climate controls, audio or navigation device, and from eating to old-fashioned map reading.  However, by far the deadliest distractions come from talking on the cell phone and texting while driving.  Moreover, using your cell phone while driving has been found to impair your ability to drive your car just as much as driving while drunk.

Types of Distractions

No matter what your distractions might be, they all fall into one of the following three categories according to which of your senses are distracted by the activity, and texting and other cell phone use combine all three.

  • Manual distractions – causing you to take your hands off the steering wheel
  • Visual distractions – causing you to take your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive distractions – causing you to take your mind off the road

According to research done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over half a million people were injured and over 6000 people died because of distracted or inattentive drivers in 2008.

When so many injuries and deaths occur from such a cause – and the number is increasing, then it raises our collective awareness and repercussions occur.

The Impact on Insurance and Industry

Obviously, the situation threatens a rise in auto insurance costs because insurance companies must pay increasing numbers of payouts; and this could result in increased premiums for all of us.  Therefore, insurers are taking part in the movement to control distracted drivers.

This growing problem has also captured the attention of industry because of the potential for lawsuits against employers for injuries and damage caused by employees who carry out their business by cell phone while they drive.

Campaign Against Distracted Driving

As a result, a cross-section of safety and industry organizations, including the NHTSA, have joined in a campaign against distracted driving.  They are encouraging states to enact laws to prohibit texting while driving and have drafted a sample state law which was unveiled by U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, in February, 2010.

In fact, 19 states and the District of Columbia have texting laws in place covering all drivers, and others are pending.  State laws vary, and below are some examples as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association:

  • Maryland bans hand-held cell phone use and texting for all drivers.  The law allows citation for hand-held cell phone use only if other violations are being cited; but Maryland drivers may be cited for texting even if no other violation has occurred. (Reflects law chnge in Maryland effective on October 1, 2010)
  • District of Columbia bans use of cell phones and all handheld devices for all drivers (novice drivers with learners permit included), and citation is allowed even without other violations.
  • Virginia bans cell phone use for all novice drivers under age 18 but allows citation only if other violations are being cited.  Cell phone use by Virginia school bus drivers is banned and allows citing even if no other violation exists.  Texting is banned for all bus drivers but allows citing only if another violation exists.
  • West Virginia bans all use of cell phones including text messaging vices for novice drivers with learners and intermediate permits, and citation is allowed even without other violations.

Media Taking Action Against Distracted Driving

The public campaign to stop distracted driving – especially driving while texting and using a cell phone – is spreading, and the media is doing its part, as well.  Here are just a couple of recent examples:

  • You can find all the information and great resources on a new website opened by the NHTSA at www.distraction.gov .
  • Among other high-profile public figures, Oprah Winfrey has made this cause a priority on her television show as well as on her website at www.oprah.com .  There, you can catch videos, stories and other features that will inform and challenge you to do your part.  You can take a quiz to test your knowledge about this serious topic, and you can even sign a pledge to make your vehicle a “no-phone-zone”.

What You Can Do

Whether you are a business owner, employer or just an individual concerned about your loved ones, you will want to minimize your risk by limiting your cell phone use and texting to non-driving time and by encouraging others who drive your vehicles to do the same.

Sunday, 12 June 2016 00:00

No matter where you drive – from rural roads to suburban streets and even highways around our cities – the threat of a collision with a deer is real.

Deer collision accidents are on the rise, partially because the deer are being displaced from their natural habitat by urban sprawl but also because the deer population is growing.

In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that over 1 .6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year and these accidents cause vehicle damage, injuries and even fatalities at a cost in the neighborhood of $4.6 billion. 

A Few Facts…

  • Deer collisions are most likely to occur during deer breeding season – from October through early January.
  • Prime times to find deer near the roadside are around dawn and from dusk to late evening.
  • Deer are pack animals. So if you see one, be assured that others are usually close by.

Deer Season Driving Tips

  1. Always wear your seatbelt – Sixty percent of fatal animal crashes occurred when the driver was not wearing a seatbelt.
  2. Know the likely deer-crossing zones – Whether or not a road is marked with a Deer Crossing Sign, be especially alert for deer when driving on roads or highways on the outskirts of town and in rural areas – especially where roads divide farm land from wooded land. Use your high beams – When driving at night, especially during peak hazard times, use your high-beam headlights when there is no on-coming traffic. This won’t necessarily deter the deer from entering the roadway, but it will increase visibility so that you can more easily spot the deer sooner.
  3. Know when deer are on the move – Be especially careful between 5AM and 8AM and between 5PM and midnight.
  4. Don’t rely on devices – Items like deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors have not been proven effective at deterring deer crossing roadways.
  5. Brake firmly if you notice a deer near the road – Slow down and stop if necessary.  Be careful not to swerve out of your lane either into on-coming traffic or off the shoulder and into a ditch.
  6. Keep your distance – If you do strike a deer, don’t approach it.  An injured deer is frightened and can injure you as well as further injuring itself.  If the deer is blocking the roadway, it poses a threat to other drivers; so call the authorities immediately.
  7. Contact your insurance agent – If you strike a deer and have damage to your vehicle or damage to some else’s property, notify your insurance representative as soon as possible and provide the necessary details.

 

Friday, 14 September 2018 10:42