What To Do After a Car Accident

Whether you’ve gotten into a fender bender or totaled your car, accidents are scary. No matter the cause – weather and road conditions, irresponsible driving behavior, or something unforeseen – you should be prepared for any possibility. Even the most careful drivers can be involved in an accident, which is why we’ve provided these nine tips to help you get through an accident safely:

Check yourself and any passengers for injuries.

If you don’t know whether a particular injury is serious, call 911 just in case.

Remain calm.

This one is easier said than done, but try to remain calm and take deep breaths to keep a clear head during this experience – there may be details you’ll need to remember later you’ll only recall if you were calm. If the accident was caused by another party, try to keep your cool and be polite.

Get moving.

If the accident was minor, move all cars involved to a safe place out of traffic. If the accident was more serious but you seem well enough to move, bring yourself and any other people involved to the side of the road, away from oncoming traffic. However, if you doubt the well-being of yourself or someone else involved, LEAVE THEM THERE. It may sound counter-intuitive, but moving someone while they’re in a fragile state can cause even more harm – let the professionals handle the situation as they see fit.

  • Take proper safety precautions.

    Turn on your hazard lights and, if you have them, use cones to mark off the area. Carrying emergency flares in your trunk is a great idea to ensure that people can see you in the event of an accident.

    Call the police.

    Once everyone involved is as safe as they can be, call the police and inform them of the accident. For accidents like a fender bender, you’re probably better off calling the non-emergency line in your area. If any kind of serious collision occurred, call 911 as soon as you can to make a full report and get the help you need.

    Take a picture.

    If you can, snap a few photos of each of the cars involved, including the license plate. This will protect you against fraudulent claims from the other people affected.

    Exchange information.

    Collect as much information as you can about the other parties involved, including the driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number and license plate number. If you feel that you caused the accident, do not claim fault with the other party – it makes things more difficult for you later!

    Stay put.

    No one should leave the scene of the accident until the police have arrived and you have filed a report. In most states, it’s actually illegal to leave the scene of an accident, so stay where you are and wait for further instruction from the authorities.

    Notify your insurance provider.

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What to put in your winter weather safety kit

When a winter storm hits, you and your family may need to remain indoors for several days. A winter weather safety kit is an essential element in preparing yourself, your family and your property for a winter storm.

The contents of a winter weather safety kit should be placed into easily accessible storage bins that are transportable. Also consider keeping an emergency kit in your car for times when you may get stranded in bad weather.

AT HOME
  • enough water to last every member of your family at least three days (one gallon per person per day)
  • a three-day supply of dried goods, canned goods, energy bars and other foodstuffs that do not require cooking for each person (don’t forget your pets!)
  • first aid materials, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, eye wash kit, bandages, latex gloves and rubbing alcohol; the Red Cross has additional suggestions for items to keep in your first aid kit
  • gasoline or diesel fuel to operate a generator or portable heating device (Be sure to follow your owner’s manual for safe operating guidelines and proper fuel use, and remember to store fuel safely to avoid risks from fire or fumes.)
  • flashlights and extra batteries
  • battery- or crank-operated radio to listen to weather updates and notifications; find National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) station listings near you
IN YOUR CAR
  • blankets and extra clothing to avoid frostbite and hypothermia
  • flashlights and extra batteries
  • salt or sand to help prevent falls when moving about outside
  • snow shovels
AT YOUR BUSINESS

Create an emergency plan, and train all employees on procedures.

  • consider stocking blankets and urging employees to keep extra clothing to avoid frostbite and hypothermia if there is a chance they could be stranded for a period of time
  • flashlights and extra batteries
  • a first aid kit
  • salt or sand to help prevent falls when moving about outside
  • snow shovels
  • items on the Small Business Administration’s checklist for businesses

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Staying Sane When Stuck at the Airport

The holidays are a great time to travel home to see friends and family or to get some rest with a much-needed vacation. Unfortunately, the winter season also brings snowstorms and other adverse weather conditions that make traveling a challenge.  Winter storms often cause flight delays and cancellations that can throw off a perfectly planned travel schedule and leave you stuck at the airport for hours. The last thing you want is to be is stranded in the airport when you should already be on the beach enjoying warmer weather or back home after a long journey.  If you’re in a hurry to make it home (or get away from home) but find yourself stuck at the airport due to delays or cancellations, here are several strategies for making your escape.

Check the status of your flight regularly.

If your flight has been delayed, it is important to stay aware of what’s happening because it could be delayed longer, rerouted, or cancelled. Many airline companies have apps that send flight updates directly to your phone so you can check frequently wherever you are. Before your trip, check the airline’s website to see if this is something they offer for download.

Consider alternative flights.

Sometimes an indirect route can get you to your destination more quickly. If your delay is severe, consider purchasing a ticket for a different flight. For example, if your flight from Orlando to New York is delayed, a trip from Orlando to Minneapolis and then to New York may be a better use of your time. If you find that all possible alternative flights are sold out, keep checking. When weather conditions for flying are poor, there are often so many cancellations and delays that many miss their connections and leave open seats. Persistence is key!

Consider alternative airports.

If you’re lucky enough to discover a smaller airport nearby, consider forging a new path! After checking for open flights that will take you to your destination more quickly, make the journey with a taxi, a ride sharing driver, or another form of public transportation (if you don’t already have your own vehicle at the airport). Of course, utilizing alternative flights and airports does require a larger travel budget. If timeliness is a necessity for your trip, set aside a “rerouting budget” for unexpected changes in your flight plan.   Unfortunately, some delays are inevitable and there’s nothing you can do to speed up the process. Instead of twiddling your thumbs and playing the waiting game, reduce stress and conquer boredom with these fun ideas!

Explore the airport.

If you know you have time to spare, go for a walk or take the shuttle to see what you can discover. Some airports feature interesting attractions like bookstores, museums, spas and live music performances.

Go to the gym.

Working out is a great way to reduce stress and clear your head. Many airports have gyms available for customers so you can invest in personal health and wellness while waiting for your flight.

Find (delicious) food.

Even the best of us get hangry. Food may not completely remove your stress and frustration, but hunger certainly won’t help either. Airports tend to offer a variety of dining options so you have a chance to try something new!

Write emails or make phone calls.

In the business of travel, you often don’t have time to stay up-to-date with your inbox—this may be the perfect time to catch up! You could even take time to call a friend or family member that you haven’t spoken with in a while. I’m sure mom would appreciate hearing from you!

Spend time with books.

It’s true what they say: Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card! The wait for your flight may be the perfect opportunity to dive into a book you’ve been meaning to read or an audiobook you’ve been planning to listen to. Puzzles and coloring books are also a fun option!

Take a nap.

We all wish we had more time for sleep. Now—if you can find someplace comfortable—there’s nothing stopping you! Taking a nap will help you get rested and revitalized so you can take on the rest of your trip. Winter travel is unpredictable and you may find yourself in situations that are less than ideal. It’s easier said than done, but try to have patience—this too will pass! Who knows, maybe this unexpected free time will turn out to be a blessing in disguise? You could find yourself being surprisingly productive or maybe even enjoying yourself. In any case, if you’re planning on traveling this winter, good luck and safe travels!

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Are you a ‘homepreneur’? Protect your successful business

You made it! You turned your passion into a going concern. Maybe you turned your sewing hobby into an alterations business. Or perhaps you left corporate bookkeeping to strike out on your own. Congratulations on your successful, home-based business.

Now are you willing to bet your house on it?

That’s what you might be doing if you aren’t properly insured. Standard homeowner policies generally don’t cover business-related losses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.

If you’re one of these business owners, a review of your situation may reveal that you need coverage for:

  • business supplies, inventory and equipment if a fire destroys your home
  • liability claims if a delivery employee trips and falls on the sidewalk while delivering a business package to your home
  • product liability if your product causes injury to a consumer
  • the cost to recover a stolen company laptop and lost business records

We can help you find the right coverage for small retail and service businesses operated from your residence, for example, bookkeepers, crafts makers, music teachers, secretarial services, tutors, home distributors, hairstylists and photographers. If your receipts are modest and you have a few or no employees, a residential business package may be right for you. But if your business activities exceed the requirements for a residential package, a small business policy may be a better fit.

If your primary business operates at your clients’ site, such as mowing, landscaping and snow removal, you probably won’t qualify for a home business package. You’ll also probably need more specialized insurance if you are a home childcare provider or cosmetics distributor. We know how to help you.  Call us at 330-940-2288 to find out more.

Don’t risk your home or the business you built. Make sure you have the protection you need.

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A checklist for safe snowmobiling

Whether it’s to enjoy the thrill of the ride or the beauty of nature, to go places unreachable by other means or just to spend time with family and friends, millions of people enjoy the outdoors on snowmobiles.

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), representing the four North American snowmobile makers, reports 1.3 million registered snowmobiles in the United States. Snowmobile-related activities account for $26 billion in economic activity annually, including accessories, supplies, gasoline and tourism. While some use their machines for work, about 80 percent use them for leisure activities.

Snowmobiles are generally registered and regulated by individual states, and no central system compiles reports on snowmobile accidents, injuries or fatalities. Of those tracked by several states, most are the result of collisions with trees or other fixed objects with excessive speed or alcohol impairment as the most common contributing factors.

ISMA promotes safe snowmobiling through its Safe Rider program, and cites dozens of ways to protect yourself and those around you.

SAFETY TIPS

  • Ensure your snowmobile is in proper mechanical operating condition before going on a ride. Check gas, oil, belt condition and carbides under the skis before each ride.
  • Dress for the conditions! Layering clothing, including a windproof outer layer, is the best way to stay warm on cold days. Fingers and toes typically get cold first, so be sure to wear warm gloves (mitts with liners are best) and insulated boots.
  • Wear a safety-certified helmet in the right size. You should have a clear face shield on the helmet or a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from the sun and wind.
  • Avoid riding alone, especially at night. If you do, make sure you tell others the route you will be taking so they will know where to look if you are overdue.
  • Stay on the marked route when riding trails on private property. Hidden objects, such as fences, tree stumps and stretched wire, may be concealed by snow.
  • Slow down! Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Drivers should proceed at a pace that allows ample reaction time for any situation.
  • Stay RIGHT when riding on trails, especially on corners or when cresting hills to avoid colliding with other snowmobiles coming from the opposite direction.
  • Carry a first-aid kit. At a minimum, it should include a flashlight, knife, duct tape, compass, map, tow rope and waterproof matches.
  • Carry a fully-charged cell phone; it can be a terrific asset if trouble arises, but keep in mind that cell phones have limited service range in remote areas.
  • Use caution when crossing roads — come to a complete stop, make sure no traffic is approaching from either direction, then cross at a right angle to traffic.
  • Don’t drink and ride! Drinking alcohol before snowmobiling or during your ride slows your reactions, impairs your judgment and is a leading contributor to snowmobiling deaths.
  • Stay next to the markers if a trail crosses waterways. Ice conditions are never guaranteed, as rapidly changing weather and moving water affect the thickness and strength of ice.

More safety tips and a quiz to test your knowledge are available from the ISMA.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Call us at 330-940-2288 for insurance coverage and advice.

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Distracted driving: Raise your hand if you’ve done this

You’re driving along; the car in front of you swerves erratically, the driver apparently under the influence. As you pass, you glance over and shake your head. A look of self-righteous indignation crosses your face, but the driver has no clue of your disgust. You look more closely and see that the driver is obviously under the influence … of a smart phone!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen this.

Keep your hand up if you’ve seen other drivers eating a sandwich, fumbling with a hot cup of coffee, reading a newspaper, reaching for something, yelling at kids, applying makeup, shaving or changing clothes.

I recently saw a guy playing drums on his steering wheel. No, he wasn’t just tapping along to the music. There he was, drumsticks in hand, a drum pad taped to his steering wheel, pounding away while rocketing down the highway.

Are your hands still up? Good. Now put them down only if YOU’VE never done any of these things. Ah. There’s the rub. For all of the dirty looks and disgusted head shakes that we’ve given other drivers, most of us have been on the receiving end of those looks. We engage in the same behavior we so adamantly condemn.

When presenting this scenario to groups of people, I see sheepish grins and embarrassed smiles. As for the 30 percent who put their hands down? Many of you aren’t being honest. That’s right – a Virginia study showed as many as eight out of 10 crashes are connected to distracted driving.

We’ve seen the statistics. Auto-related accidents, injuries and deaths are all increasing due to distracted driving. So why the disconnect between what we know, what we disapprove of in others and what we actually do ourselves? What makes us – and I say us, because my grin is just as sheepish as the rest of you – think we are able to control a vehicle any better than others?

  • Whose time is so valuable that 10 minutes can’t be spent in a parking lot eating that cheeseburger?
  • What phone call is so important that it’s worth endangering the lives of those around us?
  • What text absolutely must be read and responded to the second we receive it?

These are, of course, all rhetorical questions that we can’t answer for other drivers. However, we can eliminate the rhetorical aspect and actually begin answering them for ourselves.

  • Yes, I can add 10 minutes to my drive by eating this sandwich in the parking lot.
  • Yes, I can wait to answer that text.
  • No, I don’t need to answer that phone call.

It takes individual efforts to solve this nationwide epidemic. Until we make that effort, those of us with the sheepish grins remain part of the problem.

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TIKE car seat stickers provide vital data to first responders

Every day, more than 2,600 children are involved in a traffic accident in the U.S. – that’s one child under 13 involved in a crash every 33 seconds. While most parents have taken steps to secure young children in approved car seats, there is another step parents can take for peace of mind: Put a TIKE sticker on each car seat.

Consider what happens when the parent or caregiver is incapacitated in a crash, but the child is left alone and in need of help. How do first responders get the vital information they need to treat injured youngsters or reunite unhurt children with family members? One solution is by using TIKE stickers available from the Ohio Insurance Institute, the industry trade association for property casualty insurers and related trade groups in Ohio. These stickers are available free to anyone anywhere, not just Ohio residents.

WHAT ARE TIKE STICKERS?

tike-stickerTIKE – for toddler information kept for emergencies – provides identifying information to emergency personnel should an accident disable the adults riding in the vehicle. Once filled out by a family member, the bright neon green stickers provide the child’s emergency contact and medical information to first responders.

TIKE stickers are recognized by safety groups, caregivers, doctors, law enforcement, fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals and countless others across the country who share a common interest in child safety.

HOW TO INSTALL

Parents affix the stickers to the child’s car seat, selecting a spot on the back or side, where they can be found by rescuers, but are not easily seen by a casual observer.

Current TIKE sticker directions suggest placing them on the back or base of car seats. OII recommends placing the sticker on a flat surface of the seat for quick identification by medical responders.

HOW TO ORDER

OII provides stickers free of charge to anyone requesting them. OII asks only that recipients “like” OII’s Facebook page, if possible, in return.

You can order here or by emailing your name, mailing address and the number of stickers requested for the English or Spanish/English versions.

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Hosting a Party for the Big Game Next Month? 10 Tips for Reducing Risks

In 39 states, social hosts who serve alcoholic beverages can be held liable for an injury or death caused by a guest who is subsequently involved in an alcohol-related auto accident. Such social host liability laws and judicial rulings extend to commercial alcohol servers, as well.

If you are planning to host a Super Bowl party at your home, the I.I.I. suggests the following:

  1. Make sure you understand your state laws. Familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws.
  2. Speak with an insurance professional about your homeowners coverage. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 or $300,000—which might not be enough.
  3. Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
  4. Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages in order to be able to drive other guests home.
  5. Be a responsible host. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
  6. Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  7. Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  8. Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  9. If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
  10. Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.
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Yearly Check-Up: The Effects of Life Changing Events on Your Auto Insurance

You experience many ups and downs throughout your life. These changes affect you in many ways. Especially, your auto insurance policy changes as your life change. These events can make a great impact on your personal and professional life.

The following are the events through which your auto insurance policy is affected –

If you are getting married
Marriage is an event that changes your life completely. There are different insurance policies that you must consider when you are about to get married. If you and your spouse are on the same motor insurance policy, then you can save some money in the name of multi-car discounts. Many insurance companies also provide discounts if you both purchase insurance policy your vehicles from the same insurer. Compare insurance quotes online and purchase the best insurance policy online and save more.

Your child starts driving

Once your child grows enough to drive a vehicle, he or she will definitely need to have an insurance policy for his or her car. Coverage is a must for a new face behind the wheels because teen drivers are bigger risks taker than anyone. You have an option of adding your child to your existing auto insurance policy, but if the premium gets too high, then you can consider buying a separate policy for him/her. After all, driving is fun with responsibilities and this is the perfect time to teach your child how to manage their own auto insurance policy.

Divorce or separating from your spouse
If you face a situation of getting divorced, which is not a happy situation, then you can review your motor insurance policy. For example, many separated couples decide to adjust their insurance policies and many auto insurance companies understand these sorts of situations and give the option of writing different policies for both the parties. Moreover, these companies also provide a facility of the open line communication between the parties so that no confusion or frustration occurs.

Growing old
Stepping into the second phase of your life, which is growing old, is a major life change. This life change will definitely invite a review to your auto insurance policy. Many auto insurance companies understand this phase of your life and provide you the option of dropping off the coverage if you are driving an old car. This dropping off your auto coverage results into immediate and great savings.

Buying a new car
Buying a new car is also considered as a life changing event because a good amount of money is required to buy a car that affects your life in some or other way. Insurance companies classify the same car in a different way depending on the specifications of your car. This difference can make changes in your insurance premium rates.

Retiring
Retirement affects your life, as it changes your lifestyle, your routine, and the inflow of cash. After retirement, your auto insurance policy also gets affected, depending on how much you will drive, you are in the country or not, and you may quit driving. When planning for retirement, it is very important to know what you require and what is necessary.

Relocating
If you are planning to move out of your current state, then you should consult your motor insurance company in advance. Consulting your insurer is beneficial because it might happen that your insurer is not licensed in that state or the laws of that state don’t allow the coverage you currently have.

Crime or car accident
As they say, precaution is better than cure. You should know everything about the motor insurance before you sign any document while purchasing one. Motor insurance policies provide you coverage against car accident or hijacking of your car. Your life is affected by anyone of these traumatic scenarios, as these can make a great impact on your finances.

Regardless of what is happening in your life, what events in your life are taking it to a different stage, it is always better to compare insurance quotes online before making any decision about any policy. By keeping all the terms and conditions of your motor insurance policy in mind, you will able to face any problem in your life and save money, despite life’s major events.

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When you need life insurance in your 20s and 30s

When you’re just starting out, life insurance may not be your first concern. But it’s worth planning for the unexpected.

Half of millennials have life insurance — whether their own policy, one through an employer, or both, according to the LIMRA and Life Happens 2016 Insurance Barometer report.

“The reason you have insurance is to provide protection for the people you’re going to leave behind,” said Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner and the director of financial planning for Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.

When you’re young and single, you might not need a lot of life insurance — if any. But there are a few situations where you might want to secure a policy in your 20s or 30s:

Income support

“If anybody counts on you for your income, then you want to have life insurance,” McClanahan said.

Many people start to think about life insurance when they get married or have a child, she said. But they aren’t the only people who might benefit from a policy replacing your lost income. One in 5 millennials financially supports a parent, with an average outlay of $12,000 a year, according to a 2015 TD Ameritrade analysis.

Co-signed debts

If a friend or relative has co-signed on a debt for you — private student loans, for example, or a car loan or mortgage — they could be on the hook for the amount outstanding if you were to die. (Couples living in a community property state may both be liable for debts incurred during their marriage, even if they don’t co-sign.)

In those cases, a term life insurance policy can cover that debt should you die before it’s zeroed out, she said.

Uninsurable lifestyle

Factors like pre-existing medical conditions, risky hobbies or a dangerous job influence rates and availability of life insurance. Term insurance can be cheap protection to put in place now so that you have needed coverage later, McClanahan said.

“Everybody has the risk of becoming uninsurable,” she said. “If you know you’re on the fast track … it’s a good idea to go ahead and get insurance in place.”

If you’re already risky, don’t lie on your application. Misrepresentation could be grounds for an insurer to void your policy — leaving you and your loved ones unprotected.

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SOURCE CNBC