Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


  Contact : 336-992-5664

All posts by Duane Long

Teen Driver

Ask ERIE: When Should I Add My New Teen Driver to My Auto Policy?

Teen DriverERIE requires new teen drivers to be added to a parent or guardian’s auto policy or take out their own policy once they get their license. If your teen driver only has a learner’s permit, he or she is automatically covered under your policy—so no need to touch base with your ERIE Agent just yet.

ADD TO MY POLICY OR GET THEIR OWN?

Deciding whether to add newly licensed drivers to your existing auto policy or have them take out their own policy comes down to the car they’re using.

If they’re using your car, they will be covered under your policy the same way you are. This means they get policy benefits like Feature 15, which never allows your policy to be surcharged for an at-fault accident after your auto policy has been in force for 15 years. The only things your teen driver won’t have are certain rights like the ability to modify deductibles and other coverages—those are reserved for the main policyholder.

You’ll want to take out a policy in your teen driver’s name if he or she holds the car title. If you buy your teen driver a car and you hold the title, you can still add the young driver to your policy. This is usually a less expensive option since your teen benefits from your driving record.

No matter how you choose to insure your teen driver, it’s important to do it as soon as he or she is licensed. Every driver in your house needs protection—and that’s especially true with inexperienced teen drivers. ERIE also aims to assess a fair and accurate premium based on all the drivers in your house, and that’s impossible to
do when drivers aren’t properly disclosed.

If a new teen driver isn’t added to a policy and gets in an accident, ERIE typically covers the claim. However, you may be charged back premium from the time when the teen driver became licensed and should have been added to the policy up to the present time.

KEEPING COSTS IN CHECK

Teen drivers are typically more expensive to insure because they lack a solid driving record and get into more accidents on average than more experienced drivers. That said, there are a few ways to keep car premiums for new teen drivers under control.

They include:

• Choosing ERIE Rate Lock®: With this optional feature, your low, locked-in premium will never change—even if you submit a claim—until you add or remove a vehicle or driver, or change your primary residence.1
• Changing your deductibles: You can choose to have different collision and comprehensive deductibles for your teen driver than for yourself under the same policy. Choosing a higher deductible typically lowers the premium.
 Taking an accident prevention course: ERIE offers a discount to teen drivers who complete certain accident prevention programs. Many states only let insurers offer discounts for certain approved programs, so talk with your ERIE Agent before enrolling your teen in a course to make sure it’s discount eligible.
 Maintaining a clean driving record: ERIE has a youthful driver discount for teens who maintain a clean driving record and who meet a few other requirements. Your ERIE Agent can tell you more about it.

As a parent or guardian, you play a big role in helping your teen drive responsibly. Take the time to talk with your teen about the importance of driving safely and avoiding distracted driving.

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Avoid Hitting a Deer

How to Avoid Hitting a Deer

Autumn is beautiful, but it also introduces some fall driving hazards… deer collisions being one of them. From October to December, mating and hunting season make deer go on the move. For drivers, that means you’re more likely to hit one.

But have you ever wondered how your auto insurance can cover hitting a deer? Are deer collisions covered by comprehensive or collision coverage?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, deer-vehicle collisions are the top animal-related claim in the U.S. Before you get too worried, here are some helpful tips on how to avoid hitting a deer… and how to handle things if you end up hitting one despite your best efforts.

  1. Know where the deer are likely to be. Areas with high deer populations are normally marked with a bright yellow sign. Deer also tend to graze in wooded areas or open fields. When driving your usual route to work, be attentive to areas where you’ve seen deer in the past – they are likely to cross there again.
  2. Be alert at sunrise and sunset. Deer are more active during dawn and dusk hours.
  3. Use your high beams. When possible, use your high beams for better visibility. The extra light will help make it easier to spot a deer, or other animals, lurking alongside the road.
  4. Don’t rely on deer gadgets. Whether it’s a deer whistle, deer fence or other type of product to scare away the deer… don’t rely solely on them to keep deer away. Research isn’t exact on whether or not these products truly work. (Related: Fact or Fiction? Debunking 6 Common Myths About Deer)
  5. When you see one… you’ll probably see more. Deer travel in groups. If one comes across your path, proceed with caution in case there are more.
  6. Don’t swerve. Swerving isn’t always the safest option. Hitting a deer might often cause less damage than swerving to avoid it… and then hitting a more dangerous obstacle, like a vehicle in oncoming traffic. (Related: What’s Safer… Swerving or Staying the Course?)
  7. Wear your seat belt. If you do hit a deer, wearing a seat belt decreases your chances of injury.
  8. Spread the word. When friends or family head out on the road, let them know to be careful and alert. Even a simple reminder can help prevent deer collisions.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HIT A DEER

Taking the above precautions can help you avoid hitting a deer… but nothing can entirely rule out the possibility. Here are steps you can take after you hit a deer.

  1. Pull over. Move your vehicle to a safe place off the road. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights.
  2. Stay away from the deer. An injured deer can still lash out and hurt someone.
  3. Assess the damage. When you’re out of harm’s way, examine your vehicle and take photographs of any damage to your car. Use good judgement to know if your car is safe to drive or if you’ll need to call for a tow truck. Learn how to add Emergency Roadside Service to your ERIE auto policy.
  4. Call for help. Depending on the circumstances, consider calling the police or an animal expert. While it’s not always required to file a police report, it can provide evidence if you decide to make an insurance claim. If the deer is still in the middle of the road, a trained professional from animal control, the game commission or your local fish and wildlife service can move it away for everyone’s safety.
  5. Know if you should file an insurance claim. An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent can help you make the decision based on the specifics of your auto insurance policy. Talking with someone you already know and who is familiar with the claims process can help put your mind more at ease.

DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE COVER HITTING A DEER?

You can’t always predict if a deer will walk into your path, but if one does, we’re here to help get you back on the road as soon as possible. At Erie Insurance, deer-vehicle collisions are covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance, which is an optional coverage you can choose to add on. Learn more about how to customize your ERIE auto policy.

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Umbrella Policy

What Is An Umbrella Policy and Why Do You Need One?

I’m a safe driver. I don’t do risky things. Someone I know would never sue me.

When it comes to truly terrible events, many people have the “it can’t happen to me” mentality.

However, by simply driving a car, owning a home or entertaining friends, the possibility exists that a tragic accident could occur… and potentially, a costly lawsuit.

Many people mistakenly believe that only millionaires need umbrella policies. In reality, a tragic accident has the potential to financially derail people of modest means as well as multimillionaires.

At ERIE, our job is to look ahead and prepare you for life’s unexpected twists and turns. Here’s how an umbrella policy can help give you peace of mind, knowing that your financial interests are protected.

HOW MUCH LIABILITY INSURANCE DO I NEED?

Your home or auto policy includes liability insurance up to a certain dollar amount. In insurance terms, that’s known as your limit. If you file a claim for a covered loss, your policy can pay up to the dollar amount stated in that limit.

And if the bills are higher than the limit… the rest of the cash typically comes from your wallet.

Here’s the thing about accidents: No one plans for them. (That’s why they’re called accidents!) And if it’s an especially bad accident – something that causes serious injury to someone else – the related costs could exceed an average person’s auto or home liability insurance limits.

The good news: An umbrella policy offers higher levels of coverage to protect you against expensive accidents, such as a tragic car accident or injury on your property.

WHAT CAN AN UMBRELLA POLICY COVER?

Simply put: An umbrella policy can pick up where your home and auto liability limits leave off.

In today’s litigious society, anyone can be sued. If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, a court could very well hold you liable for the costs of medical bills, repair bills and/or legal fees.

Let’s put that into context:

  • How much auto liability coverage is enough? A lawsuit resulting from a tragic car accident could exceed your auto liability limits, leaving you on the hook for costly damages. Basic liability insurance limits are typically $100,000 or $300,000. While this is enough to cover many situations, accidents that are more severe or result in multiple people injured could add up to more than you’d expect.
  • Can my homeowners insurance kick in if someone gets hurt on my property? If someone were to get seriously injured – or worse – in your pool or riding your ATV (for example), a lawsuit could wipe out your finances. Medical costs alone can soar into the millions quickly, especially if a person needs extensive medical treatment or long-term physical therapy.

Talk to a local insurance professional, like your local ERIE agent, about what amount of coverage is right for you. An umbrella policy offers affordable, worldwide protection for you and covered family members.

IS AN UMBRELLA POLICY WORTH IT?

Unfortunately, bad things sometimes happen – and no one is immune.

If a court decides you owe more than the limits of your auto, boat or homeowners policy, your personal assets could be at risk. This includes cash, such as your savings or future wages. In some states, even your retirement savings and your home could be up for grabs.

An umbrella policy from ERIE offers higher levels of coverage and affordable, worldwide protection for you and covered family members. That means you can relax and enjoy more of the good times that life has to offer.

HOW TO GET UMBRELLA INSURANCE

Insurance certainly can’t stop bad things from happening. But it can help ensure that an accident doesn’t leave you, your family and possibly even a victim high and dry.

With an umbrella policy from ERIE, you get the peace of mind knowing your financial interests are safeguarded – even if something unexpected happens.

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Umbrella Policy

What Is An Umbrella Policy?

I’m a safe driver. I don’t do risky things. Someone I know would never sue me.

When it comes to truly terrible events, many people have the “it can’t happen to me” mentality.

However, by simply driving a car, owning a home or entertaining friends, the possibility exists that a tragic accident could occur… and potentially, a costly lawsuit.

Many people mistakenly believe that only millionaires need umbrella policies. In reality, a tragic accident has the potential to financially derail people of modest means as well as multimillionaires.

At ERIE, our job is to look ahead and prepare you for life’s unexpected twists and turns. Here’s how an umbrella policy can help give you peace of mind, knowing that your financial interests are protected.

HOW MUCH LIABILITY INSURANCE DO I NEED?

Your home or auto policy includes liability insurance up to a certain dollar amount. In insurance terms, that’s known as your limit. If you file a claim for a covered loss, your policy can pay up to the dollar amount stated in that limit.

And if the bills are higher than the limit… the rest of the cash typically comes from your wallet.

Here’s the thing about accidents: No one plans for them. (That’s why they’re called accidents!) And if it’s an especially bad accident – something that causes serious injury to someone else – the related costs could exceed an average person’s auto or home liability insurance limits.

The good news: An umbrella policy offers higher levels of coverage to protect you against expensive accidents, such as a tragic car accident or injury on your property.

WHAT CAN AN UMBRELLA POLICY COVER?

Simply put: An umbrella policy can pick up where your home and auto liability limits leave off.

In today’s litigious society, anyone can be sued. If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, a court could very well hold you liable for the costs of medical bills, repair bills and/or legal fees.

Let’s put that into context:

  • How much auto liability coverage is enough? A lawsuit resulting from a tragic car accident could exceed your auto liability limits, leaving you on the hook for costly damages. Basic liability insurance limits are typically $100,000 or $300,000. While this is enough to cover many situations, accidents that are more severe or result in multiple people injured could add up to more than you’d expect.
  • Can my homeowners insurance kick in if someone gets hurt on my property? If someone were to get seriously injured – or worse – in your pool or riding your ATV (for example), a lawsuit could wipe out your finances. Medical costs alone can soar into the millions quickly, especially if a person needs extensive medical treatment or long-term physical therapy.

Talk to a local insurance professional, like your local ERIE agent, about what amount of coverage is right for you. An umbrella policy offers affordable, worldwide protection for you and covered family members.

IS AN UMBRELLA POLICY WORTH IT?

Unfortunately, bad things sometimes happen – and no one is immune.

If a court decides you owe more than the limits of your auto, boat or homeowners policy, your personal assets could be at risk. This includes cash, such as your savings or future wages. In some states, even your retirement savings and your home could be up for grabs.

An umbrella policy from ERIE offers higher levels of coverage and affordable, worldwide protection for you and covered family members. That means you can relax and enjoy more of the good times that life has to offer.

HOW TO GET UMBRELLA INSURANCE

Insurance certainly can’t stop bad things from happening. But it can help ensure that an accident doesn’t leave you, your family and possibly even a victim high and dry.

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Boost Your Home Resale Value

7 DYI Projects to Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

Whether you need more space for your growing family or are relocating for a new job, moving to a new home is something most of us will encounter eventually.

But while looking for the perfect house can be an exciting process, you’ll also be faced with the reality of selling your current one.

Putting your home on the market is a daunting task. Not only do you want it to sell quickly, but you also want to get the most out of your investment. After all, the more money you make at the sale, the more you’ll have available to put down on your next house.

See also: Home Buyers Reveal What Features They Would (And Wouldn’t) Choose Again

Wondering if there are any simple improvements you can make before the “for sale” sign goes in the lawn?

Here are seven easy do-it-yourself projects you can tackle to get the best bang for your buck – and impress a potential buyer:

  1. Clear your clutter. Believe it or not, experts say this simple project can add nearly $2,000 to your home’s value! A full house can distract buyers and make rooms look smaller. So go room by room to clean out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Use large trash bags or empty boxes to throw away what you don’t need and donate items in good condition.
  2. Update your kitchen. Kitchen remodels can be expensive. But you don’t have to completely gut your kitchen to wow a potential buyer. Simple updates like new appliances, countertops, backsplash or flooring can give your room a more modern look. Installing stainless steel appliances or quartz countertops can cost as little as $5,000 while boosting your home’s resale value between 3-7%.Want more inspiration at a lower price? See what made our list of easy and affordable kitchen upgrades.
  3. Landscape your yard. Good curb appeal has been shown to increase a home’s value between 5-20%. Cut back any overgrown plants and trim your trees and bushes. Pull those weeds and put down some fresh mulch. A little landscaping will go a long way to ensure the exterior views of your home aren’t blocked. And it will make your house look like a place buyers want to live.
  4. Paint your walls a neutral color. Studies have shown a fresh coat of paint can bump up your home’s value between 1-2%. Consider using a neutral color like light grey or a shade of white. This will help cover any stains, scuffs or chipped paint. In turn, you’ll liven up the space and help a potential buyer imagine how they can make your home their own.
  5. Improve your energy efficiency. Lower utility bills can help attract potential buyers. Projects like adding insulation, high-efficiency windows, energy-efficient appliances or LED light bulbs can all reduce the energy your home uses. Overall, making sure your house isn’t an energy hog can improve its worth between 1-3%.
  6. Make changes to help people of all ages. Consider adding features to your home that make it more accessible. That may include installing a walk-in shower or creating a master bedroom on the main floor. These “universal design” elements could increase your home’s value between 1-2%. Learn more about how universal design can help you age in place.
  7. Be smart with technology. Technology evolves fast. But products like a smart thermostat or keypad locks can be useful for years to come. Features like these can help boost your home’s value between 3-5%.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. The people and things in your life are a big deal. That’s why we think the insurance that protects them should be a big deal, too.

At ERIE, every homeowners insurance policy comes with a local agent who’s there to help you understand and feel confident about what you’re buying and how it works. And, yes – we offer 100% guaranteed replacement cost* for worry-free coverage that protects you without surprises.

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Neighbors Tree Falls

What Happens If My Neighbor’s Tree Falls in My Yard?

Trees can be tricky, but for the most part homeowners are responsible for what falls into their own yard. So if a storm causes your neighbor’s tree to fall in your yard, your homeowners insurance could help cover the cost of removing the tree and remedying the damage it caused on your property, after your deductible.

The same is true in reverse: If a tree on your property falls in your neighbor’s yard, your neighbor should contact his or her insurance company to determine what type of coverage is available for damage or cleanup in their yard.

In most cases, neighbors are able to work things out without too much trouble. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to file a homeowners insurance claim. Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover the cost of tree cleanup, depending on your policy and the company you work with.

Good news: Homeowners insurance from ERIE typically pays for the cost (subject to sublimits) of removal of fallen trees if it’s due to a covered peril, such as a storm.

If there’s ever an issue between neighbors, you can rely on your claims adjuster to help straighten everything out.

THE CLAIMS PROCESS

If a tree falls on your house, the first thing to do, if it’s safe, is to try to prevent further damage to your home and property. Make sure to take some photos to document what happened. Then call your insurance agent, who can explain your options and help you understand if and how to file a claim. When you file a claim, a claims adjuster will come by to evaluate the damage and explain how your homeowners coverage comes into play. It’s recommended that you call your claims adjuster before you contract to have the tree removed.

Sometimes trees fall on cars. If it’s not safe or possible to remove the tree from the car yourself, you should call a professional to remove it. (Again, talk to your insurance agent and a claims adjuster first and take a few photos of the fallen tree on your car.) Depending on the damage and terms of your insurance coverage, the optional comprehensive coverage you may have under your auto policy could provide coverage for the loss.

PREVENTING TREE DAMAGE

Preventive measures matter when it comes to trees. Start by looking for signs of distress such as dead limbs, cracks in the trunk or major limbs, leaning to one side and branches that are close to a house or power line. Mushroom growth on the roots or bark can also signal trouble.

Homeowners should be concerned about the health of their trees. It’s possible for you to be held responsible for resulting damage to your neighbor’s house or property, if your tree falls due (in whole or part) to your own neglect. One of the best things to do is to regularly have large trees trimmed. (The Tree Care Industry Association lists accredited tree care professionals.)

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