5 Tips to keep you safe this Holiday

Christmas carFive Tips That Can Help You Stay Safe During the Holidays

The holidays are meant to be a time for fun and celebration with family and friends. However, the hectic pace of the holidays can also present increased risks, such as overcrowded stores and greater opportunities for thieves to target your valuables and personal information. Here are five simple tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season:
  1. Watch Out for Porch Pirates Theft of packages from front porches and stoops increase as online shopping drives more home deliveries during the holidays. Take advantage of electronic delivery alerts and other protections to make sure your gifts are safely delivered — and received.
  2. Beware of Parking Lot Pilfering While you’re in the mall purchasing gifts for your friends and family, thieves may be roaming through the parking lot looking to steal valuable items in unlocked cars. Shoppers should remember to always lock their doors, park in well-lit areas and hide valuables from plain view.
  3. Protect Your Identity, Both Online and in Stores Before you go shopping, think about how much information a thief would get his hands on if your wallet or purse was stolen. Avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports unless absolutely necessary. When shopping online, be sure to only use a secure website, log off from that site after you have completed your purchase, and monitor your bank accounts and credit card activity regularly throughout the holidays.
  4. Travel Safely
    The holiday season brings a number of unique driving risks. During this time of year, we have difficult weather conditions, limited daylight and drivers in unfamiliar areas. By planning extra travel time and eliminating distractions, you can help ensure safe travels during the holidays.
  5. Prevent a Home Fire – Use Candles Wisely Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Dec. 23. are three of the top five days for home fires caused by candles. Never leave a burning candle unattended, and do not put any candles or open flames near Christmas trees or other holiday decorations that could quickly spark a fire in your home.

Source:  in-sight.travelers.com

Buying a New Car? What is Gap Insurance and do you need it?

New carGap Insurance Rights Your “Upside Down” Car Loan

Everyone’s heard it before…brand new cars instantly depreciate in value as soon as they’re driven off the lot. What you may not realize is that this fact can lead to a big gap in your auto insurance coverage. How? Below is an example scenario.

You buy a new car for $28,000 and sometime later you get into an accident in which your car is totaled. You still owe $23,000 on your loan, but because cars depreciate in value so quickly, the actual cash value—the original price minus depreciation—may only be $18,000 at the time of the collision. Your deductible is $500, which provides you with a settlement of $17,500 from your insurer. However, since you still owe $23,000 on your loan, you’re left with a gap of $5,500 and no car to get from A to B.

That’s where gap insurance comes to the rescue. This coverage can be added to your auto policy at any time while you’re paying off your loan. If your car undergoes a covered total loss, your insurer can cover the gap instead of it being on your tab. The best part is that this valuable coverage is often less than $30 per year.

A new car loses approximately 30 percent of its value within one year of purchase and 50 percent by year three, which means that at any given point before your car is paid off, its actual cash value can be thousands less than what you still owe on it. This situation is called being “upside down” on your loan.

Who needs gap insurance? Consider it in the following situations:

  • Finance a vehicle for at least 60 months
  • Put less than 20 percent down on a new vehicle
  • Lease a vehicle
  • Select a vehicle make/model with a history of high depreciation rates

Many dealerships will offer you gap insurance, but it often costs more than buying it through an independent agent. Protecting such a large investment is worth a call to your agent.

Contact Long’s Insurance Agency today and let us help you protect your new investment!

Source:  State Auto Insurance

What to do At the Scene of an Accident

Car accident

What to do At the Scene of an Accident

When you have been in a car accident, there are a few things that you need to do at the scene.  Here are three main things will help you and the parties who were involved in the accident.

1. The first thing you should do is check to see if everyone is okay.  If you are experiencing trouble moving, you need to be as still as possible and try not to push yourself to move or do anything else until help arrives. Pushing yourself to move could cause extreme damage to your body.

2. You will need to set up cones around the accident site.  These cones will alert oncoming traffic and let them know that they need to be cautious.  These cones will also let emergency teams know where the accident is where they need to stop.

3. Make sure that you get each party that was involved in the wreck to provide you with their insurance information.  It is important that you do not discuss who was or was not at fault for the accident.  Gather as much information as you can about their auto insurance.

For more information regarding auto insurance and the steps that need to be taken after a car accident has occurred in the Colorado area, give Long’s Insurance Agency a call today!

 

Source: State Auto

Teen Driving: Keeping your Teen Safe

Teen drivingHow to Keep Your Teen Safe Behind the Wheel

Parenting teenagers has never been more challenging. In addition to raising your teen to become a good person and a responsible adult, parents today need to help their teens navigate a variety of risks including drinking and drugs, social media, and the complexities inherent in friendships and romantic relationships. With all of these factors to worry about, it can be easy to forget that the biggest risk facing your teen is parked right outside of your house. Incredibly, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers in America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the cause of 35% of teen deaths every year, and mile for mile, teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

Statistics

There are a number of factors that contribute to teen driving fatalities:

  • Inexperience and immaturity
  • Excessive speed
  • Drinking and driving
  • Not wearing seat belts
  • Distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.)
  • Drowsy driving
  • Nighttime driving
  • Drug use

Parent Involvement Is Critical

The good news is that many teen driving accidents are preventable, and parents have a key role to play in keeping their teens safe behind the wheel. A recent National Young Driver Survey found that teens with authoritative parents (defined as those who are highly supportive and involved, set rules, and monitor) engaged in fewer risky driving behaviors and had half the crash risk as compared to other teens. In addition teens with involved parents are:

  • Twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 70% less likely to drink and drive
  • Half as likely to speed
  • 30% less likely to use a cell phone while driving

The takeaway? Make sure you are talking with your teen and setting expectations for their driving.

How You Can Help

There are a number of specific things parents can do to reduce the chances that their teens will be involved in auto accidents:

  1. Set Clear Rules: Make sure to let your teen know what your expectations are and explain the rationale behind them.
  2. Focus on Safety: Let them know that you are setting these rules to keep them safe and not simply to control them.
  3. Reward Good Behavior: If your teen follows your rules and maintains a good driving record, introduce new privileges (such as driving after dark).
  4. Be Supportive: Peer pressure is tough, and your teen may find themself getting pressured to engage in behavior that violates your rules. As a parent, you can make things easier by letting your teen’s friends know what the rules are and then acting as a scapegoat (“I can’t do that, my parents would ground me!”), or by establishing a code word with your teen (if they call and mention the word, come and pick them up right away and with no questions asked).
  5. Communicate: Communication is critical. Talk to your teen and make sure you know where they are going and why, how they plan to get there, and how they will get home. If you (or they) don’t feel confident that they have a plan in place to get safely there and back, offer a ride.
  6. Lead by Example: Even though teens might not admit it, parents really are important role models. Make sure that you practice safe driving. Don’t talk on your cell phone or text while driving, obey the speed limit, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking, and don’t drive aggressively.

One of the best ways to clearly establish and communicate expectations is through the use of a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. Use this template provided by the Centers for Disease Control or create your own. Either way, make sure your expectations are set out in writing, and then both you and your teen should sign the agreement. Having a clear set of expectations and communicating often about them are the best ways to keep your teen safe on the road.

 

Source: Texas Associates Blog

Any Hayrides in your plans this week?

Sittin’ on a Bale of Hay – 7 Ways to Stay Safe on Hayrides

There’s perhaps nothing that more embodies fall than heading down to the local pumpkin patch. You can pick out the perfect gourd for carving, purchase apple cider and donuts, wander through a corn maze and hop on a hayride. Seriously, who doesn’t enjoy riding through a farm or orchard while sitting on a bale of hay? I’ve enjoyed plenty of them. But I’m also a living testament to the dangers they present. Twenty-one years ago, I fell off a hayride and was almost completely run over. Fortunately, other riders saw me fall off and were able to get the driver to stop quickly.

I don’t remember all that much from the event because I blacked out. I remember the fall itself and waking up with the wheel of the trailer pressed against my torso. While I spent three days in the hospital, I only had to deal with three broken ribs, a bruised lung, a bruised liver and plenty of road rash. All and all, I was pretty lucky.

And I was pretty dumb. I fell because I stood up on the ride. My injuries were 100% my fault. I was a bright kid, who often shied away from taking risks, but it was easy to get caught up in the fun and I forgot the rules. That’s why it’s important for adults to be extra observant and stress the importance of safety on hayrides.

Surprisingly, when searching for hayride safety tips online, I found few articles. The best resource I could find, from the Haunted House Association, is written for operators, but we can easily apply their recommendations as safety tips for riders.

  • Follow the posted rules. A reputable business operating a hayride should have posted rules, probably near the waiting area or cash register. Read them, and take some time to explain them to your children.
  • Listen to ticket takers, attendants and operators.  These people not only know the rules of the hayride, but are also probably reciting them. They will correct anyone they see doing something wrong.
  • Do not stand on the ride. Learn from my mistake. Once the ride starts, don’t stand, plain and simple. Hay can be slippery, and a moving wagon is not a stable surface to stand on.
  • Do not throw straw. Here’s another admission: I stood because other riders started a hay fight. I wanted to participate. This is another unsafe behavior, don’t do it. 
  • Do not use cameras or other devices that will distract you. You may really want to take a quick photo of your family on the hayride to post on Facebook. Please don’t. While the ride is moving, it’s important to keep your focus on the ride.
  • Hold on. It’s one simple way to help ensure you won’t fall off the ride.
  • Keep arms and legs inside the wagon. You don’t know the trail the wagon will travel. There might be some tight spaces. Keeping your arms and legs inside the wagon will help make sure nothing hits you.

It’s a lot of common sense, but like a said earlier, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and forget the rules. And hayrides are a lot of fun — more so when everyone is safe.

Source: blog.foremost

It’s National TeenDriving 2013 Week

Teen Driving=Big Responsibility

Cruising down the strip in my mini-van, windows down, friends in tow, listening to some sort of 90’s hair band without a care in the world…now that was the life. I remember how fun it was to finally turn 16, drive around the town feeling 100 feet tall because I was an adult (in my eyes). I don’t remember seeing my parents act nervous or scared…although I’m sure after I pulled out of the driveway they were a nervous wreck.

Driving as a teenager carries a hefty amount of responsibility and when your child smiles big for that first license picture, your stomach may drop. Chances are you have heard the stories, seen the statistics or maybe firsthand witnessed teenage driving accidents. That’s because traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

The NHTSA reports that each year more than 5,000 teens (ages 16-20) are killed in passenger vehicle crashes and during 2006 a teen died in a traffic crash an average of every hour on weekends and once every two hours during the week.

Don’t let these statistics keep your teen in the house forever, but set some rules that reiterate the importance of responsible driving. I think I did a pretty good job as a teen. I credit it to the fact that our grandparents lived with us and I drove them back and forth to McDonalds every night. Besides anticipating the delicious hamburgers, I remember thinking that I had to drive carefully because I didn’t want anything to happen to them. Whether your teen has a grandparent or younger sibling they are responsible for or are on their own, these tips should help point them in the right direction.

  1. Buckle up always! The car shouldn’t even start before everyone in it has their seat belt fastened.
  2. No alcohol or drugs. Explain the consequences of being caught with alcohol or drugs in their vehicle and that they are responsible for what is in the car, even if it is not theirs. (That one seemed to help me say no to my peers a lot in high school.)
  3. No texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  4. Curfew: Think about heading home when it starts getting dusk out.
  5. Passengers: No more than one at a time.
  6. No speeding.
  7. Don’t drive while sleepy. According to the AAA Foundation, driving sleepy slows reaction time, impairs judgement and is similar to driving drunk.
  8. Drive defensively.
  9. Pay attention. (You would think this would come automatically, but even as adults we need to be reminded.)

Driving is an important responsibility and the way your teen learns to drive today is how they will drive tomorrow. Remind them that driving is a privilege—not to be taken lightly or for granted. Getting behind the wheel can be a great rite of passage…just make sure it’s the right passage they are driving down. How did you handle your teen driving years?

Stay safe wherever you choose to go on the road. Your safety is number one to us. For peace of mind on the road, Long’s Insurance Agency to talk about an auto insurance policy.  Servicing areas such as Boulder, Longmont, Firestone, and Westminster just to name a few.  Call us today!

Source: blog.foremost.com

Boat Winterization

Boat WinterizationTucking your boat in for the winter?

 For boat enthusiasts everywhere, the end of boating season can be disappointing because on-the-water adventures are about to come to an end and the task of winterization is about to begin.

As you know, taking the time to protect your watercraft through the winter requires an investment of time, labor and money. While winterization is an absolute imperative that can help prevent irreversible damage, think of the process not as a chore, but a chance to dream about next spring when you’ll be ready to go afloat on Carter Lake again.

To help you get started, we at Long’s Insurance Agency have compiled two essential steps to follow.

1. Find the best storage place indoors or outdoors

  • If possible, find a place to have your boat spend the winter out of water and well out of the way of inclement weather.
  • If you are storing your boat outdoors, check on the level of security. For example: Is there security personnel on duty? Is it a locked facility?
  • And if your boat will be exposed to the elements over the winter, make sure it is shrink-wrapped by a professional.

2. Be thorough in winterizing or find a pro

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the steps to winterizing your boat can be easily found via many online resources.

Your boat’s owner’s manual also could be a great help, as most will include detailed winterization instructions.

Regardless where you get the details, you will ensure a better start come next boating season if you follow a comprehensive checklist now to get your boat ready for winter.

If you’re opting out of the do-it-yourself category and instead trusting the pros, you’ll want to find a shop that specializes in winterization. Get an appointment well in advance of the assault of inclement weather. To find the best option, consider getting a reference from a fellow boating enthusiast.

Regardless of how you choose to prepare your prized watercraft for the frigid days of winter, we at Long’s Insurance Agency hope you enjoy the cooler season as you await the return of spring!

Contact Us!

We can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 720-684-6012 or send us a note at info@longsinsuranceagency.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

 

Content provided by Safeco Insurance