Cost of Insurance - 2/5 - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Fall Maintenance Tips for your Home and Auto

The Fall Season can be a beautiful time of the year in our area. With cooler temperatures and the leaves changing, the fall is a great time of the year to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors.

Fall is also a great time to prepare for those cold winter days that are coming. I imagine you remember our winter last year with all the snow, ice and school and business closings. Hopefully, this winter will be a bit milder.

Here are a few tips to prepare your home and auto for winter:

  • Put the ice scraper and snow removal tool in your car. Remember a few years ago we had a snowstorm in October?
  • Check the tread on your tires to make sure you have proper traction in the snow.
  • Replace worn wiper blades.
  • Prepare a winter emergency Kit for your home and auto. Check out http://www.ready.gov/kit-storage-locations for some kit ideas.
  • Have your furnace serviced and cleaned by a qualified Technician. Replace your furnace filter.
  • Move flammable materials away from your house and attached garage. Keep them in a shed away from your home.
  • Insulate pipes that are exposed to cold areas in the house.
  • Check for damage to your roof and gutters. Clean any debris from your gutters.
  • Have your chimney inspected by a professional.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust ducts and space under the dryer.
  • Check your fire extinguishers to make sure they are not out of date. If you are not sure it’s best to replace them.
  • Trim trees around your house so the weight of ice and snow will not cause them to rub against your home.
  • If you have a storm sewer near your home make sure it is clear of any debris like sticks and leaves.

A little maintenance on your home now can save you from having a claim later. This can help you save money on your homeowner’s insurance. For more tips on saving money on your auto and homeowner’s policies go to our website. Enjoy the Fall weather and let’s hope we have a better winter this year. Call us today if we can be of service for any of your insurance needs.

 

School is out! Time for that talk with your teen driver. . .

teen-driver5
Summer brings a break from school and an increase in the time your teen drivers spend in the car.

Here are a couple tips:

  • Spend some time with your teen driver in teaching them how to merge onto an expressway or interstate highway and practice changing lanes. Many of us will travel to vacation spots and use interstate highways. Why not use this as a teaching moment for your teen driver.
  • Set the rules for Teen Driving. Remind them of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations “5 to Drive Rules.”
    1. No cell phones while driving
    2. No extra passengers
    3. No Speeding
    4. No Alcohol
    5. Always buckle up.

Most accidents are caused by driver inattention and distraction. Stress safe driving habits with your teen driver.  Review the parent/teen contract on our website to set expectations for your teen driver. For more tips for parents of teen drivers go to our website at www.spencerinsurance.com.  This website is full of information for the parents of teen drivers.

 

Have a safe an enjoyable summer!

 

Common mistakes consumers make when purchasing insurance.

numbers

“40% of Respondents said they were not confident or only somewhat confident that they have adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for their needs.”

A new national survey conducted by Trusted Choice and the Big I revealed this alarming statement.

Many of you have returned the Renewal Checklist we mailed to you in December.  We will be reviewing these checklists and getting in touch with you if we have not already done so. Thank you for taking this step.

It is very important that you keep us updated on any changes in your lives.  See page 4 of this newsletter for some details on how life changing events can affect your insurance coverage.

There are many common mistakes that consumers make when purchasing insurance.

  • Not understanding their limits – If your property damage limit on your auto insurance is only $25,000 then you are responsible for any property damage you cause over $25,000.  This is just one example.
  • Disregarding Discounts – Do you have your auto and home insurance with different companies?  It may be appropriate to do this but you could be losing a 15 or 20% discount.  Are you receiving all your discounts?
  • Not insuring valuables properly – Most valuables such as jewelry, furs, silverware, fine arts and collectibles have specific limits on the amount of coverage on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.  Many of these items should be insured under a separate policy.
  • Not protecting your biggest asset: your home – Changes in occupancy, putting the home in a trust, renting your home while you are away, or leaving a home vacant will impact your homeowner’s insurance.  Not having the proper coverage such as flood insurance, backup of sewer and drains, and ordinance or law coverage can leave you paying for claims out of your pocket.
  • Choosing the cheapest policy – At Spencer Insurance Agency we know the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the money you spend out of pocket since you did not have the proper coverage.  Choosing the cheapest rate could be devastating to your finances and bankrupt you.

Dealing with an independent insurance agent like Spencer Insurance helps you select the best coverage at a competitive price.  Spencer Insurance represents many quality insurance companies so we can find the best insurance package for you.  Call us today at 215-885-2200 to ask for a review of your insurance.

Teen Driver Lesson #4

Picking up the keys

Lesson 4

(Sometimes you have to go backward to go forward.)

Your teen feels comfortable behind the wheel and with the basic operation of the motor vehicle.  In order to demonstrate this skill, have your teen back the car out of the garage.  Many teens fear they will scrape the side of the garage while backing the car out because they are not truly comfortable with the vehicle dimensions.

Safety Tip:  Make sure the garage door is all the way up!

 

 

You are now ready to take your teen on the road and put to use some of the skills they have learned.  This lesson should be performed in a small neighborhood where there is minimal vehicle and foot traffic.

For the first time they may encounter another moving vehicle or a vehicle parked at the side of the road.  Try to remember the anxiety you felt the first time you approached an oncoming vehicle.  It is imperative the teen have a “feel” for the dimensions of their car.

Practice defensive driving.  Teach your teen to anticipate probable problem situations.  For example, scan the sides of the road for small children that may dart onto the road.   Anticipate that a parked car may suddenly pull out in front of you from the side of the road.

Turning is much different on the road from an empty parking lot.  Practice making turns at an intersection both from a stop and while moving.  Many teens struggle with gauging when to start turning, applying brake pressure and accelerating out of a turn.  Again, finish the lesson with your teen acting as the instructor.

Lesson #4

(Neighborhood with minimal traffic)

Orientation

(15 Minutes)

Grade

(A, B, C)

Comments, Praise   and

Areas of   Improvement

 

Review   Previous Lesson

   
 

Safety   Check

   
 

Discuss   Today’s Lesson

   

Driving Experience

( 1 Hour)

Grade

(A, B, C)

Comments, Praise   and

Areas of   Improvement

Introduce   New Skill:

Garage   Parking

   
 

Backing   Out of Garage

   
 

Parking   in Garage

   
 

Backing   Down Driveway

   
Introduce   New Skill:

Driving   in Neighborhood

   
Approaching   an Intersection    
 

Passing   a Parked Car

   
 

Oncoming   Car

   
 

Turning   a Corner

   

Review

(15 Minutes)

 

Comments, Praise   and

Areas of   Improvement

 

Garage   Parking

   
 

Neighborhood   Driving

   
 

Parking

   

Call us at 215-885-2200 for more tips for the Parents of Teen Drivers. Check out our Parent of Teen Driver Website.

 

 

7 Costly Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Insurance For Teen Drivers

happy girl in the car

I don’t have space to discuss all 7 Costly Mistakes.  Check out the full Report on our Website.  I want to concentrate on the 3 Most Costly mistakes parents make when buying car insurance for teen drivers.

#3 Insuring your home and cars with 2 different agents – If you insure your home and cars with two different companies then you may be paying 25% more than you need to pay.  Since the price of car insurance for a policy that includes teen drivers is higher, that 25% extra could add up to a lot of your hard earned money.  An advantage of using an independent agent is that your agent can look at your entire account and place your insurance with the company that gives you the most competitive rates and the proper coverage.  On some occasions that may be two different companies but your independent agent can research which companies are best for you.

#2 Lower Liability Limits to Save Money –This mistake can be a financial disaster!  We get many requests to lower coverage to save a few bucks.  However, when you have a teen driver that is the time you need those higher limits.  Teen drivers are five times more likely to have an accident and the cost of a teen driver claim is 3 times higher.  As the saying goes. . . Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  A little savings now could cost you dearly in the future!

#1 Using an insurance employee as an agent – Don’t trust your hard earned money with someone who works directly for an insurance company.  Does that employee have your best interest at heart or the insurance company’s best interest?  You need an agent that can find ways to save you money even if that means splitting up your coverage with multiple companies. The insurance company employee can only offer you one company.  At Spencer Insurance we have many top notch insurance companies to offer you.  Our goal is to give you the proper protection at a very competitive price.  “Your Protection and Peace of Mind is our only Business.”  Make sure your family and friends have the proper coverage.  Pass this information to them and have them give us a call at 215-885-2200.  We reward you for your referrals!

Ground Hog Day Predictions

groundhogOn Saturday, February 2, 2013 we will officially learn whether spring is near or to expect six more weeks of bad weather.
Come what may, as your preferred insurance agency we will be here to offer our protection.

Bad weather is one of the main reasons you need insurance since it can wreak havoc on everything you own.  Take the time now to make sure you are adequately covered for floods, hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes.

Bad weather is not the only thing that can wreak havoc on your family. The death or disability of one of the income producers of the family can devastate your family’s finances. The death of a parent can be emotionally draining for the family.  Don’t let the death of a parent be financially draining too.

Give us a call today at 215-885-2200 so we can review your protection and make any needed adjustments.

Your friends at Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc.

Can we find you when there is an Emergency?

floodHopefully your agent has an Emergency Contact Program in place.

What is an Emergency Contact Program?  Imagine this.  Disaster strikes – and we don’t know how to find you.

Here are just a few examples of how the Emergency Contact Program can prevent or help resolve disasters:

  • A mother and two young children were in an automobile accident.  The mother was unconscious, but the two children were only bruised.  The police found our card in her wallet and called.  We contacted the mother’s Emergency Contact – an aunt, who immediately went to the hospital and got the children.
  • A client’s home was badly damaged by fire while they were on vacation.  The Emergency contact contacted us.  We got the claim going immediately and the windows were boarded up before five that afternoon.
  • A client’s small business was broken into one Friday evening.  His business-neighbor, an Emergency Contact saw the damage to the front door and called us.  We contacted our client and had the claim going before the client arrived.

Unfortunately, the list of things that can go wrong goes on and on.  We want to do everything we can to make these easier when they do.

Complete The Disaster Preventer, which asks for your most recent contact information, (just to make sure we have the latest numbers), and up to three Emergency Contacts.

We will hold your contacts name in confidence and will not solicit them as clients.

Can you please take a moment to complete it and return it to our office?  This way, if something happens to you or your property, we might be able to keep your situation from getting worse.  Make sure you give your agent your emergency contact information.

A Great Resource for Parents of Teen Drivers. . .

Spencer Insurance has long been an advocate for the Parents of Teen Drivers.  I wanted to put the spotlight on one resource we can provide that is very valuable to the parent of a teen driver.

Have you seen our “Safe Teen Driver Guide?”

Our Safe Teen Driver Guide is a must for parents who are getting started in training a teen to be a safe driver.  The guide provides parents a 16 Lesson Plan.  Each lesson can be the basis for a one hour driving session with your teen driver.  Some of the lessons include tips for teaching teens to drive at night, in bad weather, on city streets and country roads.  It also provides lessons on what to do when an accident happens and vehicle orientation and maintenance.

Lesson 12 is a very timely lesson: Driving in Bad Weather.  This time of year, with wet leaves and snow, provides a great opportunity for parents to help their teen practice to drive in bad conditions.  Many of us avoid taking our teens out in these conditions.  Eventually they will need to learn how to drive in these conditions so why not try it out in a controlled area like a parking lot?

The Guide starts with an introduction, instructions on obtaining a PA Learner’s Permit and the Top 5 Mistakes teen drivers make.

This Guide is available to our clients at no cost.  Just email or call us for your copy.  We will also send a copy to your friends and family.  Just pass the information on to them and have them call our office for their free copy.  Make sure they tell us you told them to call us.

A parent’s responsibility to teach their teen to drive does not stop when their teen gets their license.  Continue to drive with your teen and practice driving in all types of conditions.  Make sure they master these 16 lessons even if they are already licensed.  Remember, driving is a privilege not a right.  Discuss with your teen consequences of their actions which could lead to them losing this privilege.   Let us help you.  Call us today to learn how we can help.

Check out our website for more valuable tips for Parents of Teen Drivers!

What did you do to help your teen driver become a safer driver.  Share your stories with us.  Comment below.

Did you pay your car loan or mortgage off?

When you pay off your car loan or mortgage it is important for you to let your homeowner’s or auto insurance agent know this has been done.

Why?  During the recent storm (Sandy), our office had many homeowner insurance claims. Some of the claim checks were needlessly delayed.

If you have a mortgagee listed on your homeowner’s policy, you have given your mortgage company some rights on your policy. If you have a claim and you are sent a check from the insurance company to pay for your damage, you may be surprised to see the check made out to you and your mortgage company.

Your mortgage company wants to make sure you are repairing the property damaged, so they will not endorse the check until the work is contracted or completed.

This is why it is very important to let your agent know when the loan is paid off.  That way the agent will notify your insurance company to  remove the mortgage company from your policy and their name will not be on your claim check.

The same applies to your car loan. When you pay off your car loan, call your insurance agent to have the lien holder removed from your auto policy.

Removing the mortgage or lien holder from your Homeowner’s and Car Insurance policies will speed up your claim payment since the check will not need to be endorsed by them or reissued to remove their name from the check. Take a few moments now to make sure your policies are correct.  Save yourself the headache of having your claim payment delayed.

Sticker Shock for the Parents of Teen Drivers!

All parents have sticker shock when they learn how expensive insuring their new
teen driver is going to be.  Especially in today’s economy everyone is looking for
ways to save money and reduce costs.

But you always want to keep in mind the primary reason you buy insurance; to
protect your assets from the unexpected large claim.  No one really wants ‘cheap’
insurance, but everyone wants to feel they get good value for their dollars.

I’m going to tell you about the most costly
mistake you can make as a parent:

Lowering liability limits for teen drivers to save money

This mistake can cause you financial disaster. You have to remember that the
real purpose of insurance is to save you from the catastrophic claim, not the minor
bump-up.  If your teen causes an accident that seriously injures others, you will
want the most coverage you can afford.

Many times parents will cut back their liability limits just to save a few bucks – thinking
nothing will happen. The fact is teen drivers are 5 times more likely to get into an
accident than an experienced driver and the cost of a teen driver’s claim is on average
3 times higher.

The smartest decision a parent can make is to increase the liability limits to at least
$250,000/$500,000 and add a million dollar liability umbrella. This is the cheapest way
to get great coverage. You can do this and still save money.

 

For more tips for Parents of Teen Drivers go to our Website and click the “Have a Teen Driver?” starburst.

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