Hitting the road this summer? Be prepared.

Posted by Alex Boyer on Sat, Jul 08, 2017

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It's summer road trip season! Please enjoy this edition of Risk Solutions Series from our friends at Nationwide Insurance to make sure your summer road trips are safe and fun!

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With gas prices expected to remain relatively low and the current average price of unleaded gasoline at $2.37 per gallon,¹ you can expect another busy summer driving season. With this rise in traffic comes an increase in calls for roadside assistance. Insurance companies are busy preparing for a high number of roadside assistance dispatches for common vacation mishaps, such as a flat tire, dead car battery or keys locked inside the car. The most common calls for roadside assistance from our clients are: towing (54%), jump starts (23%) and flat tires (15%).²

Nationwide Private Client Risk Solutions recommends the following tips to be safe on the road.

Prepare for your road trip

• Take your vehicle to be inspected by a qualified mechanic several days before you depart.

• Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for your trip, including but not limited to tires, battery, belts, fluids and air conditioner.

• Ensure child car seats are properly installed and are size-appropriate.

• Get a good night’s sleep. Drive only when well rested, and make sure to stop every two hours or 200 miles to stay sharp.

• Pack an emergency kit, and include:

--Water
--Warm blankets
--Flashlight
--Jumper cables
--Flares or reflectors
--Tools to change a tire
--First-aid kit
--Fully charged cellular phone

Stay safe during a roadside emergency

• Take action immediately. Pull onto the shoulder and out of traffic as far as possible considering the conditions.

• Warn others you are having trouble. Use your hazard and warning flashers immediately. Raise the vehicle hood, if safe to do so, to alert passing authorities that the vehicle is disabled and help is needed.

• Call for roadside assistance. Nationwide Private Client policyholders with roadside assistance coverage can call our Solutions Center at 1-855-473-6410 and select option 1, then option 1 again, to be directly connected to our roadside assistance partner, Agero.³

• Wait for professional help to arrive. Don’t attempt to fix your vehicle unless you have training to do so. In 2016, the wait time for roadside assistance arrival was an average of 30 minutes or less.

• Don’t exit your car until it’s safe. Don’t exit the vehicle unless it is necessary and safe to do so — especially if you are on a  busy road or highway. Don’t stand next to or behind the vehicle. Too often people survive car accidents only to be injured from a secondary accident because they have gotten out of their vehicle.

• Download our mobile app. With the Private Client Connect™ mobile app, help is at your fingertips. You can access roadside assistance benefits whether or not you are in an insured vehicle. This will give you added peace of mind, especially if you have children since the benefits follow the client, not the vehicle. Your children can get assistance even when traveling in a friend’s car.

About Agero, our roadside assistance partner:

With more than 40 years of experience, Agero is a leading provider of vehicle and driver safety, security and information services, including roadside assistance, consumer affairs and claims management services.

Agero protects over 80 million vehicle owners in partnership with leading automobile manufacturers, insurance carriers and others. Managing one of the largest national networks of service providers, Agero responds to more than 10 million requests annually. Agero’s awardwinning solutions leverage advances in technology and information services to accelerate and enhance response to drivers’ needs while strengthening customer loyalty. Agero, a member company of The Cross Country Group, is headquartered in Medford, Mass., with operations throughout North America.

• 11 out of 15 top insurance carriers choose Agero
• 75% of new passenger vehicles sold in U.S. use Agero’s solutions

If you have any questions, please contact your agent or Nationwide Private Client Risk Solutions professional. For more information on how you can help prevent losses, visit nationwide.com/solutionseries.

We offer this information to assist you in making decisions that can help mitigate your risk. While we cannot address every possible scenario or guarantee these tips will work for you, our goal is to support your efforts to protect yourself and your family.

 

1gasprices.aaa.com/ as of 5/31/17
2Data provided by our roadside assistance vendor Agero as of August 2016.
3Roadside assistance benefits are only available to Nationwide Private Client policyholders. Coverages may vary by state, so check with your policy or insurance agent to verify what benefits are available to you.

Tags: E&K Insurance, safety, auto insurance, driving, Car insurance, accident, prepare, personal insurance, vehicle maintenance, vehicle preparation, personal liability, motor vehicle, nationwide insurance, roadside, roadside emergency, roadside assistance, summer, road trip, emergency, nationwide

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt...

Posted by Alex Boyer on Thu, Feb 25, 2016

Are you COVERED for the HOVER?

hoverboard

Hoverboards are the latest craze this year, but what happens when something happens?
 
By policy definition, hoverboards are considered motor vehicles on nearly all homeowner policies and excluded for personal liability.

Here are a few claim scenarios we thought of... 
  1. Boy (or girl) Wonder is riding their hoverboard down the road and suddenly darts out in traffic, causing a car to swerve and hit a pole, or, heaven forbid, a pedestrian. No liability coverage on the homeowner policy.
     
  2. Girl (or boy) Wonder is riding their hoverboard in the park.  They fall off into passing jogger or bicyclist, causing them injuries.  No liability coverage on the homeowner policy.
     
  3. Your child leaves his or her hoverboard in your neighbor's garage.  Sometime during the night it catches fire (we've all seen the You Tube videos!) The neighbor's car and garage are severely damaged.  No liability coverage.

We cannot always fix and insure every situation.

But, as your professional insurance agent we need to bring to light areas where you may be at risk.
 
Thank you for allowing E & K Agency the opportunity to service your insurance needs.

Tags: Insurance, Liability, auto insurance, Car insurance, parental liability, homeowners liability, hoverboard, personal liability, motor vehicle

Ride hailing: Income Lyft or Uber dangerous? If You Drive for Uber, Lyft, etc., You’ll Want to Read This.

Posted by Alex Boyer on Fri, Sep 04, 2015

Peer-to-peer ride hailing has exploded on the scene. It is either the next big innovation in the marriage between technology and social networking or it is the next big innovation since slap bracelets and Silly Bandz. Regardless of its future, ride hailing is here and, at least for the immediate future, it isn’t going anywhere.

Man driving female passenger

 

What's ride hailing? I thought it was ride sharing?

You might be thinking “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but there is a difference between the terms “ride sharing” and “ride hailing.” At its most basic level, ride sharing is carpooling. It is the act of sharing a vehicle with one or more people for the purpose of commuting to a desired destination. The goal is to share costs among all occupants of the vehicle, making the commuting more inexpensive than it would be if you were commuting alone. However, with the rise of peer-to-peer ride-sharing apps from Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber and Lyft, the traditional act of carpooling has taken on a more commercial quality. TNC apps connect a driver with a passenger for a fee, an act that resembles hailing a taxi rather than hitching a ride with friends to work. Thus the term ride hailing was born.

The devil is in the details

It might seem like a small distinction between ride sharing and ride hailing, but that distinction can make all the difference in the world when it comes to insurance coverage. Typically, your personal auto policy has what is known as a “livery exclusion.” This exclusion states that when an individual uses his or her personal auto as a livery vehicle (i.e., transporting passengers in exchange for a fee such as acting as a ride-hailing driver) the personal auto policy will not cover liability, medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorists or physical damage for any accident that occurs while the vehicle is being used in that manner. This means you will not have coverage under your personal auto policy in the event you are in an accident while acting as a TNC driver.

Make sure you have protection

We have established that your personal policy will not protect you in the event of an accident, but will the TNC provide coverage? The largest TNCs have responded to the livery exclusion in personal auto policies by providing liability, uninsured/ underinsured motorist and comprehensive/ collision coverages to TNC drivers while they transport passengers for a fee. However, this does not solve the issue completely, as policies provided by TNCs typically are considered excess to the personal auto policies, which means they will provide coverage only if your personal auto policies denies coverage. This can create a situation in which the handling and settlement of claims related to a TNC accident can be a long and drawn out affair.

What are your options?

It is not all bad news if you wish to engage in ride hailing, though. The insurance market is always adapting and evolving. The Insurance Services Office Inc., an organization that develops standardized insurance policy language for the insurance industry, has recently proposed a form that would allow a driver to purchase coverage for the time that he/she is on a TNC app, but has not yet been matched with a passenger. Some insurance companies also are venturing forth with special policies intended for ride-hailing operators. In addition, state legislatures across the country are passing measures designed to remove some of the ambiguity that is associated with ride hailing and insurance coverage.

Tags: auto insurance, driving, Car insurance, uber, lyft, ride hailing, ride sharing

Could You Still Pass Driver's Ed Today?

Posted by Alex Boyer on Thu, Aug 27, 2015

car

If you had to take a driving test again today, would you pass? Our friends at Travelers Insurance have set up a fun quiz for you to take to see if you would still pass a driver's ed course today. Head on over to travelers.com to check it out! (And good luck!)

And don't forget to contact your E & K Insurance agent with any questions about your auto insurance coverage!

Tags: auto insurance, Teen Driving, driving, Car insurance

Some Insurance Issues Concerning Your Children

Posted by Alex Boyer on Tue, Aug 04, 2015

carkid

Driving Your Teenager's Car

"Our child has no assets, why worry about liability limits?”

Auto insurance is expensive and many parents are looking for ways to save money. While putting your teenager on a separate policy with lower liability limits may seem to be a good answer, it can create several problems.

  1. If you occasionally drive your teenager’s car, in the event of an accident you would be covered with their lower liability limit, not the higher limit that you have chosen to protect your assets. Your child’s car would be considered “available for your regular use” and, therefore, excluded from your policy.
  2. If your teenager maintains the proper liability limits on their policy, your personal umbrella (excess liability) policy can be written to protect your child above their own policy liability limits. Please call E & K to make sure coverage is properly coordinated among your household members’ policies.

grads

Income Continuation & Expense Coverages

“Are they ever going to leave the nest! ???”

Your personal auto policy provides Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”). In addition to the basic medical portion of this coverage, additional PIP is available to cover Income Continuation, Essential Services, Death and Funeral Expense Benefits. Typically, an auto policy provides these coverages for the named insured and spouse. What about the kids? Income continuation may not seem a big deal while they are students, but many are not leaving the nest when the college years are over. Often, adult children are living in your household, on your auto policy, and working full time. They can be included for additional PIP (for a premium charge), and be afforded the same financial protection you have purchased for yourself. Also, this may be a good time to discuss life insurance with your adult children.

skateboard

Your Child’s Belongings at School

“Is my child insured while away at school?”

Your child’s temporary residence while at school is covered, regardless of it being a dorm room or an apartment. The key word is temporary. Your student must maintain permanent residence in your home to be considered an insured. The policy provides 10% of your contents limit for personal property at another residence.

Tags: E&K Insurance, Insurance, auto insurance, Teen Driving, driving, umbrella policy, umbrella liability coverage, Car insurance, injury, coverage, personal insurance

Rental Car Coverage

Posted by Alex Boyer on Wed, Apr 29, 2015

car

Most states have a financial responsibility law that requires registered vehicles to have a minimum amount of liability insurance. Depending on the law in the state the car is rented and the wording of the renter’s personal auto policy, the minimum coverage is likely to be provided by the rental car company. Renters are given the option to purchase additional limits from the rental car company or use the automatic excess personal auto limits available on their own policy.

Personal injury protection—medical and disability benefits coverage for injuries sustained in auto accidents— is one of the state’s more unique auto insurance provisions. Remember that PIP coverage follows the driver. A New Jersey operator of an out-of-state rental car still will have these benefits when operating a rental car, regardless of where they drive it.

Unfortunately, the discussion gets more complicated when we consider damage to the rental car. While the renter’s personal auto policy may cover damage to the rental car, its coverage has limitations. Personal auto coverage for a rental car is conditioned on the renter having at least one owned vehicle insured for its damage on the policy. Moreover, typically the rental vehicle must be a replacement vehicle for one of your cars that is in for repairs. If covered, there will be a deductible and payment will not exceed the repair or actual cash value of the rental car, along with a small amount for the rental car company’s loss of use. Rental car contracts can hold the renter responsible for expenses that go beyond the coverage in a personal auto policy, which may include administrative fees, additional loss of use expense or diminution of value. Rental drivers who want to avoid risk will be inclined to buy the “collision damage waiver” offered by the rental car company.

It’s a lot to think about as you embark on a trip. Give E & K a call before you leave, so the decision will be easy at the rental counter.

Tags: E&K Insurance, NJ, Insurance, Liability, auto insurance, driving, New Jersey, Car insurance, injury, coverage, rental car

Flood Awareness Week: See Video

Posted by Alex Boyer on Thu, Apr 09, 2015

natl_weather

Our friends at the U.S. National Weather Service have put together a video for Flood Awareness Week showing the potential dangers and effects of strong flooding.

Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.

Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away. Eighteen to twenty-four inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs. It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.

Posted by US National Weather Service Boise Idaho on Monday, March 16, 2015

Tags: Flood, E&K Insurance, Insurance, auto insurance, driving, Flood Insurance, Flood insurance policy, Car insurance, national weather service

DRIVERS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES DEAL WITH TOUGH WINTER’S POTHOLES

Posted by Alex Boyer on Wed, Mar 18, 2015

Trusted Choice® survey shows about 50% of U.S. car owners report vehicle pothole damage.

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Eatontown, NJ, March 18, 2015— Poor road conditions have cost consumers and the insurance industry at least $27 billion over a five year period, according to a 2014 survey commissioned by Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”). The survey also reveals that from 2009 to 2014 half of car owners experienced damage to their vehicles as a result of potholes. As millions of Americans encounter potholes as the rough winter wraps, Trusted Choice® and E&K urge drivers to be cautious now and as repairs continue.

“The snow, ice and freezing rain during the rough winter months left their mark on our roads in New Jersey and across the country,” says Ken Auerbach, Managing Director of E&K Agency, Inc. in Eatontown and Lakewood, a Trusted Choice® agency. “Severe potholes have led to accidents which may impact insurance rates, as premiums are determined by past claims, accidents and driving violations. Potholes and poor road conditions aren’t just an inconvenience, they are an expensive and dangerous result of harsh winters.”

The pothole survey also found that 31% of car owners who reported pothole damage to their vehicles filed a claim with their insurance company. A surprising 65% of respondents who needed repairs said they (or a third party) paid out of pocket for the vehicle to be fixed. Only about 3% said local authorities stepped in to foot the bill. For about 40% of respondents, that bill was more than $500.

“This survey highlights how widespread the pothole problem is on our roadways and that the costs are enormous to both the insurance industry and to consumers,” adds Auerbach “And now, local authorities are struggling to keep up with the extensive road repairs.”

While motorists in the Midwest, Northeast and North Central regions of the country reported the most pothole damage, surprisingly the numbers were not that different even in the Southern and Western regions which typically experience milder winters.

“Drivers rely on their auto insurance coverage and their own pocketbooks to deal with unexpected expenses,” continues Auerbach. “An E&K insurance agent can help you select the coverage that best suits you and your vehicle by helping you evaluate your insurance needs and risks.”

E&K and Trusted Choice® independent agents offer the following tips to motorists to help avoid costly damage from potholes and stay safe as they hit the roads after a tough winter:

Pothole safety tips:

  • Keep an eye on traffic patterns. A number of cars that slows down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.
  • Avoid the urge to swerve out of the way of a pothole at the last minute. You may swerve into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Risking damage to your car is wiser than risking the loss of your life or that of another person.
  • Report potholes to your state or local transportation department. Some states and localities have pothole hotlines. Motorists who think their state or local government will pay for damage to their cars may be out of luck. Laws in this area vary by jurisdiction and, even where such remedies are available, conditions may apply such as a requirement that the jurisdiction had notice of the pothole.
  • If you hit a pothole and suspect damage, pull over as soon as it is safe. If you notice damage, record details and specific damage—just as you would in the event of a collision with another motorist—in case you need to file an insurance claim.
  • Check in at least annually with your independent insurance agent to ensure that you have the right coverage.

E&K Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs. This firm adheres to a pledge of performance, committing them to providing excellent customer service. You can visit E&K Agency, Inc. online at http://www.e-kinsurance.com or call it at 732-389-6000 or 732-575-1600.

The pothole survey was conducted for Trusted Choice® and the Big “I” by MFour Mobile Research, Inc. using MFour’s Surveys on the Go® Smartphone Application Panel which includes Apple and Android mobile device users. MFour is an independent research company headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. Interviews of a nationally representative sample of 2,565 U.S. car owners were conducted in June 2014 and weighted by age and gender to represent the general U.S. population over age 18. More information about MFour can be obtained at www.mfour.com.

Tags: E&K Insurance, NJ, Safe, Insurance, safety, winter, auto insurance, driving, New Jersey, potholes flat tire insurance claim, Car insurance, coverage, accident, prepare, File Claim, winter roads, vehicle maintenance, vehicle preparation, avoid potholes, potholes, avoid pothole damage

Prepare Your Vehicles for Winter Roads

Posted by Alex Boyer on Sun, Feb 08, 2015

great-american

The Great American Insurance Co. has some useful and helpful tips for you to prepare your vehicles for winter roads to minimize damage and ensure safety. 

Reliable transportation is especially important in the winter. Driver and vehicle preparation needs to be taken seriously because maneuvering in the snow and ice requires special skills. To prevent a winter wonderland from becoming a winter nightmare, you need to prepare their employees, volunteers and vehicles for the hazards of winter weather driving.

The good news is there are steps you can take to help prevent vehicle problems from occurring when the temperature drops:
  • Take the vehicle to a mechanic to check out the battery, antifreeze level, thermostat, heater, brakes and defroster.
  • Check to make sure the tires have adequate tread for better traction, and that they are equipped to handle extreme winter driving.
  • Make sure the front and rear lights are operational, especially the car's flashing hazard lights.
  • Top off the washer fluid reservoir. Make sure to only use washer fluid, as it doesn't freeze and will help break down the frozen layer on the windshield.
  • Stock the vehicle with basic winter driving equipment, such as a scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction.
  • You and your driving employees should communicate more frequently, and consider placing phone calls prior to leaving and upon arrival at a destination. Make it clear that employees should not call or text while driving. Fully charge cell phones and have an extra phone charger in the vehicle.
  • Fill the gasoline tank, even for a short distance, and stop to fill-up long before the tank begins to run low. Keeping the tank as full as possible will minimize condensation that can lead to freezing and provide the maximum advantage in case of trouble.
  • Always store a first aid kit. This should include all the usual items plus winter extras like flashlights, a fresh supply of batteries, blankets, matches, extra clothing, bottled water and non-perishable snacks.

To further prevent damage to your vehicles this winter, make sure you check out our tips for avoiding pothole damage, as well.

Tags: winter, auto insurance, driving, Car insurance, accident, winter roads, vehicle maintenance, vehicle preparation

6 things you must know when buying car insurance

Posted by Alex Boyer on Thu, Feb 05, 2015

Color_Logo_5E&K's Personal Insurance Services Manager, Jeanne Cosentino, was recently featured in an Asbury Park Press article on the six things you must know when buying car insurance. Read the full article here. And check out our personal auto insurance page!

Tags: E&K Insurance, NJ, Insurance, auto insurance, Teen Driving, driving, New Jersey, Car insurance, coverage, accident