Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert your attention away from the main task of driving.1 It is something that is both dangerous and disturbingly common. In fact, drivers spend more than half of their time focused on things other than driving.2 You may be surprised to learn that cell phones and texting are just part of the problem when it comes to distracted driving. While stowing your phone while you drive is an important safety step, other behaviors behind the wheel, from drinking coffee to using a navigation system, may also be putting you at risk.

“The fact is, everything that occupies your mind or your vision can contribute to distraction behind the wheel,” explains Chris Hayes, Safety Professional from Travelers. “While many distracted driving studies focus on cell phones, any type of multi-tasking activity and driving simply do not mix.”

A list of driving distractions may include:

  • Dialing or using a smartphone;
  • Texting;
  • Eating or drinking;
  • Talking to passengers;
  • Grooming;
  • Reading;
  • Programming a GPS or navigation system;
  • Adjusting a radio or MP3 player.

Cognitive Distraction

It may not be surprising to learn that your brain is only capable of processing a certain amount of information at any given time.

When we attempt to perform multiple tasks at the same time, like driving while talking on the phone or eating, we can encounter performance problems. Multiple tasks tend to compete for our brain’s attention.

Visual Distraction

It may sound like an assumed fact, but you have to look where you are going when driving. Regardless, we see people driving without looking where they are going every day. Driving while visually distracted can be as dangerous as driving with your eyes closed. You would not make a turn or change lanes with your eyes closed, yet, distracted drivers are, in effect, doing just that.

Imagine driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. That is the equivalent of texting while driving at 55 mph. Because texting takes our attention away for an average of 4.6 seconds3, we are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Some other common distractions most of us are very familiar with include eating, adjusting music or GPS devices, applying makeup, reading, and reaching for moving objects. Each of these tasks can dramatically increase your odds of getting into an accident.

Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it requires manual, visual and cognitive distraction at the same time, according to distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s official website on distracted driving.

Cognitive, Visual or Both?

Distraction can keep you from driving safely in multiple ways. Any distraction, regardless of how quick or harmless it may seem, should be avoided when you are behind the wheel. Remember to keep your eyes and brain focused on the road at all times.

Setting a Good Example

Avoiding sending text messages or calling someone you know is on the road can help prevent them from distraction. Parents can set a good example for children by modeling attentive driving, including putting away the phone and not eating or grooming behind the wheel. Learn more about talking to your teen driver.

Sources: 1 U.S. Department of Transportation, http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html. 2 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/DistractedDrivingBrochure.pdf. 3 Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations, FMCSA, 2009.


Automobile Insurance

Get The Right Insurance Coverage For Your Vehicles

The right auto insurance policy can help get you back on the road quickly if your car is damaged or destroyed by accident, fire, theft, or other covered events. Your policy may also provide protection against medical and legal expenses resulting from injury, loss of life, or property damage caused by an accident involving your vehicle. Many people supplement their auto insurance coverage with personal umbrella liability insurance for broader protection.

An auto insurance policy is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay a premium, and in exchange, the insurance company promises to pay for specific car-related financial losses during the term of the policy. Work with us to determine the best coverage for you.

Speak with us today to find out how to get the best price and value on auto insurance for you. CallALLIANCES INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC for a quote today at 267.614.4234.


Preventing Identity Theft

Your Identity Belongs to You. Protect It, Too.

The best way to protect yourself against identity theft is to prevent it. If your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by being prepared to act quickly.

Start with Good Preventive Habits

  • Leave your Social Security card at home in a safe place.
  • Shred papers with personal information.
  • Reduce your credit card accounts, and carry only the cards you need.
  • Photocopy both sides of your credit cards and store safely.

Watch Your Accounts Closely

  • Review balances and transactions often by phone or online.
  • Make sure every transaction on your credit card statements is accurate.
  • Sign up with ExperianTransunion and Equifax. Stagger your requests to get a free credit report every four months or sign up for credit watch service that will report directly to you.

If Identity Theft Happens to You

  • Report to the police immediately and make several copies of police report.
  • Call your credit card companies and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
  • File a Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Complaint and Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Have your bank place an alert on your driver’s license number and Social Security number, and freeze your account.
  • Call fraud units of the credit report agencies ExperianEquifax and Transunion.

Tools and Resources

Federal Trade Commission identity theft line and websites

Social Security fraud line

  • 1-800-269-0271

Credit reporting agencies

 


Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

Posted by Safeco October 20, 2014

Umbrella Coverage Explained

umbrella

One of the most certain things in life is, certainly, uncertainty. Your dog could bite the neighbor’s kid. Yourteen driver could hit a cyclist. A guest could fall down your stairs. A rainy morning commute on worn-out tires could result in a multi-car accident. And you could be held liable to others for the cost of damages – injuries, property destruction, emotional distress, lost wages and more.

Good thing you have insurance. But, wait, your policy covers $300,000 of liability, and, in a lawsuit, you’re judged liable for $1 million. That leaves $700,000 left to pay. How will you cover it?

If you have umbrella insurance and your policy covers the incident, the additional $700,000 will come from your policy. If not, it will come from the assets you have now, such as your home and savings, and from future assets, such as your wages or inheritance.

The fact is, it only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put everything you own – and will own – at risk. And it only takes one umbrella policy to help protect it all.

Here are a few things you should know about umbrella insurance:

  • Personal umbrella policies typically offer $1, $2, $3, $4 or $5 million of liability coverage. Consider your net worth when choosing your coverage –you could be sued for everything you have.
  • An umbrella policy is not a stand-alone policy. Your insurance carrier will typically require you to meet certain qualifications, such as having an auto policy with a certain level of liability coverage, in order to purchase umbrella insurance.
  • Even when you have umbrella insurance, your car or home insurance is your first line of defense. For example, if you are liable for $2 million in a car accident and your auto insurance covers $500,000 of liability, your auto policy covers the first $500,000. Your umbrella policy covers the remaining $1.5 million, assuming your policy covers the incident and that you purchased that much coverage. If you are liable for $250,000 in an accident on your property and your homeowners insurance covers $300,000, your umbrella policy won’t be needed.
  • If you insure a motorcycle, ATV, golf cart, snowmobile, motorhome or watercraft, your umbrella policy may provide additional liability coverage on top of those policies as well. Be sure to check with your carrier to confirm your coverage on these types of vehicles.
  • A single umbrella policy typically covers all of your family members who are residents of your household.

Essentially, an umbrella policy gives you excess liability coverage on top of what your other policies provide. If you’re at fault for a serious accident, you’ll need it.

Umbrella insurance also gives you liability coverage in instances where other policies don’t. Examples include driving in a foreign country or renting a boat.

 


6 Questions for Your Annual Insurance Review

Posted by Shaun Murphy, Pablo Beach Insurance June 18, 2015

Assess Whether Your Current Insurance Fits Your Current Life

Annual_Insurance_Review

Everyone gets busy with daily life – family, jobs, kids, school, travel, and the list goes on. Before you know it, a year or more has slipped by without you giving your insurance coverage a second thought.

You pay your premiums and phone your carrier when an accident or other need arises. Otherwise, you assume all is well with your policies. But, what if it’s not?

There are a number of life changes and events that should prompt you to pick up your phone and call your insurance agent. You may need more homeowners coverage, for example, or you may need to remove a driver from your auto policy.

Even if you adjust your coverage as some of these changes occur, you’ll likely only catch others if you catch up with your insurance agent once a year – or more often. When you do, here are six questions you should be prepared to address:

  1. What Have I Added or Updated Around My Home?
    Did you add an addition to make room for baby? Did you remodel after the youngest left the nest? How about adding a pool or finishing your basement? All of these examples and more increase the value of your home and how much it would cost to rebuild it. You should update your insurance coverage to reflect not only the new home value but also any new risks.
  2. What Has Changed With My Vehicles or Drivers?
    Are you driving a longer distance to work? Is the vehicle you previously used for commuting now sitting in your garage more often than not? It’s a good idea to reexamine your auto insurance coverage at least once a year to ensure you have the exact coverage you want – not too little, and not too much.
  3. What Significant Purchases Have I Made?
    Did you invest in a home automation system or a high-end leather couch? What about that piece of fine jewelry you picked up on the cruise ship? If the value of your personal belongings has increased significantly, you’ll want to check whether your homeowners or renters insurance still provides enough coverage. If not, you can likely purchase additional coverage for specific items or possibly groups of items. Otherwise, if a costly item is lost, damaged or stolen, you may find yourself needing to replace it with a lower-cost version.
  4. What Is New With My Family?
    Did someone leave for college? Are more people now driving your motorcycle? These are things to discuss with your independent insurance agent, too.
  5. Are There Any Discounts for Which I Now Qualify?
    Doing things such as adding a burglar alarm to your home or driving your car less may help you gain discounts you didn’t qualify for when you first purchased your policy. So, if you like to save money on your insurance as much as the rest of us, an in-depth annual discussion of recent changes in your life and around your home is a must.
  6. Should I Consider Any Coverage Options?
    More than likely, your carrier offers some coverage options that might just be a good fit for you now, even if they weren’t when you first purchased your policies. Examples can include roadside assistance for cars, motorcycles, scooters, RVs and other vehicles. You may want to add stereo coverage for the new system you put in your car or appliance coverage following a kitchen remodel. Your agent, of course, can help you explore these options and select what fits.

Some other questions you might consider before your annual insurance review include:

  • Do I need any specialized disaster coverage, such as flood insurance or earthquake insurance, that I don’t already have?
  • Is my home inventory current?
  • Can I afford to raise my deductibles, and would it lower my insurance costs?
  • Am I carrying high enough liability limits to protect myself?
  • Is an umbrella policy right for me?

Just like filing your taxes, an insurance check-up is an annual item on your to-do list that can’t be skipped. After all, there’s nothing like the headache and heartache of thinking that you’re fully covered and then finding out you’re not when a claim occurs.

Remember, your insurance policies should reflect the life you have now – not the life you had when you first signed up with your carrier. So, keep your insurance policies up to date and keep your annual appointment with your insurance agent.

 

 


How Much Coverage Is Right For You?

As a member of the community, our team understands the auto insurance needs of our customers. Auto insurance requirements vary by state. In some states, to drive you must carry one of the following:

  • LIABILITY COVERAGE – To pay for losses you cause to others.
  • NO-FAULT COVERAGE – To pay you and your passengers for medical and related expenses caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
  • BOTH LIABILITY AND NO-FAULT COVERAGE

What Is Comprehensive Insurance?

Comprehensive insurance covers damage done to your car in some way other than a collision, such as if it were stolen or vandalized.

  • Flood, hurricane, theft, windshield damage and fire are also events usually covered by comprehensive car insurance.
  • Like collision, comprehensive will pay up to the fair market value of your car (less your insurance deductible).
  • Although it’s not legally required by any state, you will probably need it if your car is financed.

What Is Collision Insurance?

Collision insurance coverage pays for damage caused to your vehicle in an automobile accident.

  • Standard collision coverage will pay for any repairs up to the fair market value of your car.
  • Collision coverage usually also comes with an insurance deductible, which is the amount of money you pay toward repairs before your collision insurance kicks in.
  • The higher the deductible you’re willing to pay, the less the collision coverage will cost.