Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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All posts by Duane Long

Parking Lot Accidents

How Does Insurance Cover Parking Lot Accidents?

Parking lots can be crazy places. Whether you’re at the mall, the grocery store or even just grabbing a quick coffee… all those cars coming and going can up anyone’s chances of being in a parking lot accident.

Which may lead you wonder: How does insurance cover parking lot accidents? Let’s walk through a few common scenarios.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HIT SOMEONE ELSE’S CAR IN A PARKING LOT?

Accidents happen. That’s why having the right auto insurance can give you peace of mind.

If you do hit a car in a parking lot, here’s what to do next:

  • Don’t leave the scene. If you drive away without telling anyone, that’s considered a hit-and-run. You could face a whole other set of legal issues if a security camera or witness spots you in the act. So do the honest thing and stick around.
  • Get out of harm’s way. Even a simple fender-bender can block traffic or scatter broken glass. Make sure you’re a safe distance from anything dangerous and be mindful of the flow of traffic. If needed, put your hazard lights on to alert nearby drivers.
  • Try to locate the car’s owner. Ask a store employee to page the owner of the car over the loudspeaker.
  • Leave a note. It’s the right thing to do… and potentially even the law. Not leaving a note is considered a hit-and-run in the vast majority of states, even if the damage was just a small scratch. Keep it simple and polite. Include your name, contact information, and a brief explanation of what happened. Leave it in a secure spot where it won’t blow away.
  • Consider calling the police. If the damage is serious, they can help you file an incident report and track down the car’s owner.
  • Call your insurance agent. When you’re with ERIE, you don’t have to go it alone. Your local ERIE agent is there to answer questions and help you understand what’s covered.

Remember, policy conditions might require you to tell ERIE or your agent about the incident – even if you decide not to file a claim. Learn more about what to do when accidents happen.

SOMEONE HIT MY PARKED CAR. NOW WHAT?

An at-fault driver’s auto insurance should cover the property damage they caused to the other vehicle. Hopefully, they left a note and you can get in touch without too much fuss. Unfortunately, some people won’t do the right thing. If you return to a dented or dinged car with no indication of who did it, you can ask around to see if there were any witnesses. If there aren’t any, ask the store if they have security cameras.

If the incident is a hit-and-run—or if the at-fault driver has no auto insurance or not enough insurance—you’ll have to rely on your own auto insurance to cover the damage. That’s assuming you purchased optional collision coverage on your own vehicle.

Also, uninsured motorist property damage coverage that is available in some states protects your car if it’s struck by a hit-and-run driver. (A deductible may apply.)

Just keep in mind that you’ll likely need uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This insurance coverage is optional in some states and mandatory in others. It covers you and your passengers’ damages if you’re injured by an uninsured driver or a driver who doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Whether it’s a simple fender-bender or something more serious, remember – your local ERIE agent is there to help answer questions and provide advice.

WHAT HAPPENS IF TWO CARS HIT EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME?

There is usually an at-fault driver when there’s a parking lot accident. But there are some cases where an accident is two drivers’ fault—for instance, two people may back out at the same time and hit each other. What typically happens in these cases is that each driver files a claim with their own insurance company.

HOW TO PREVENT PARKING LOT ACCIDENTS

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep you, your car and others safe. Get our list of tips for how to avoid a parking lot accident.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen. But when you’re with ERIE, you have your own personal insurance advisor – your local ERIE agent – when they do. Learn more about auto insurance or find a local ERIE agent in your area.

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Data Breach

5 Things to Know About Small Business Data Breaches

A data breach is not something that just happens to mega retailers – small businesses are also at risk. From customers’ credit card numbers to employee tax information, it’s likely that your small business handles sensitive data on a regular basis. (Learn how to keep data safe in this related blog post.)

All it takes is one convincing phishing email or a stolen laptop for that sensitive data to get into the wrong hands. Here are five surprising things to know about small business data breaches – and how you can protect yourself.

DATA BREACHES: WHAT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULD KNOW

  1. They affect any business, large or small: In 2020, almost a third of data breaches involved small businesses, according to Small Business Trends. Larger businesses might have the money and resources to help them recover, but smaller companies face greater challenges in the recovery process.
  2. They’re costly. If several records are compromised, you could easily be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. These expenses can include legal fees; costs to upgrade or replace your POS system (depending on the source of the breach) or even a forensic examination. Some of the more serious small business data breaches have led businesses to close. For those that do stay open, it can be costly to repair the damage to their reputation and restore customers’ trust.
  3. They have multiple causes.  Small businesses can experience a data breach in a number of different ways. In 2020, 70% of breaches were caused by external sources. Phishing scams top the list. Phishing is a tactic scammers use to contact others by email, phone or text– acting as a legitimate institution – to lure them into providing sensitive data.  Another popular method for hackers is to install spyware to get into your system to steal private information.
  4. They can take a while to detect. The complexity of today’s technology combined with the sophistication of many hackers can make a data breach fly under the radar for weeks or even months. It can be hard for a small business, lacking the resources that many big businesses have, to uncover a breach.
  5. If it happens to you, take action and alert those involved. It’s important to let your customers and employees know what’s going on. Be transparent and be prepared to address any questions from affected individuals. Several states even require that businesses contact any individuals whose private, nonpublic information is exposed through a data breach. For trusted advice, read this guide to data breach response for business owners from the Federal Trade Commission.

PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS WITH BUSINESS DATA BREACH COVERAGE FROM ERIE

Having the right data security procedures in place can help reduce the risk of small business data breaches – but a data breach can still happen.

Here’s the good news: A business insurance policy from ERIE can help protect you with specialized coverage to get things back to normal.

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Avoid Hitting a Deer

How to Avoid Hitting a Deer

  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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Customized Emergency Kits

5 Customized Emergency Kits to Weather Any Disaster

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 48% of Americans do not have emergency kit supplies.

Building a basic emergency kit for evacuations or stay-at-home orders will help to keep your family safe. (Having the right homeowners insurance helps give you peace of mind, too.)

You might already know the basic 31 items that should be in every home emergency kit. But when it comes to survival kits, one size doesn’t fit all. Here are five different ways to personalize yours so you’re prepared for whatever weather flies your way.

EMERGENCY KIT FOR POWER OUTAGES

When the power goes out, immediate concerns involve food and safety. (Read more about how to manage a power outage.) If a power outage is two hours or less, don’t worry about losing your perishable foods; an unopened fridge will keep foods cold for about four hours. Here are some helpful things to have on hand:

  • Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers preserve food when packed with ice.
  • Digital quick-response thermometers check your foods’ internal temperatures to ensure they remained cold enough to consume.
  • Generators are especially essential if you live with someone who depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment. (Read our list of 9 things to know if you have a backup generator.)
  • Flashlights provide safety by guiding you through a dark house and preventing fires from candles.

EMERGENCY KITS FOR WINTER STORMS

During a nasty winter storm, staying warm and safe take priority. Make sure you have these safety items:

  • Sand, rock salt or non-clumping cat litter make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Warm coats, gloves, mittens, hats, boots, extra blankets and warm clothing are essential for all household members.
  • Fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves provide necessary alternative heat. Pro tip: No matter which heating source you use, keep a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher in the same room it’s in. Read more in our guide to safe home heating.

EMERGENCY KITS FOR HURRICANES AND FLOODS

Hurricanes and floods often mean evacuation. Have these additional items on hand so you’re ready to hit the road if needed:

  • Tools and supplies for securing your home.
  • Emergency blanket(s), extra clothing, hats, sturdy shoes and rain gear will help protect your family from extreme weather elements.
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen can come in handy if you are unable to be sheltered.
  • Map(s) of the area help you navigate out of the area, especially if cell service is unavailable.
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys can be used in case one set is lost while evacuating or if you and other household members split up.
  • Camera for photos of damage.

If you’re safe enough to weather the storm but under a hurricane or flood watch, here’s how to prepare.

  • Fill plastic bottles you have on-hand with clean water for drinking. Learn more about how to store drinking water during a natural disaster.
  • Fill bathtubs and sinks with water to keep your household running. Never drink or bathe young children in this sitting water because lead can leak from the glaze in bathtubs and sinks into water stored in them. Use this water to clean floors, do laundry and flush the toilet.
  • Fill your car with gas, in case you need to evacuate later.
  • Make sure your food and water are safe if flooding occurs. Flood water can be contaminated with waste or other contaminants that lead to illness. Discard food and beverage products and anything you use to eat and drink that have contacted flood water (even if it’s only a little bit), including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. The Red Cross says: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

EMERGENCY PREPARATION FOR TORNADOES

Tornadoes can form quickly. While your basic emergency kit covers your basic needs, it’s also important to take these major steps well in advance to stay protected:

  • Strengthen existing garage doors to improve the wind resistance, particularly double-wide garage doors.
  • Decide on a safe space within your home where everyone knows to meet when tornado watches or warnings appear. Basements are the best place to shelter. Your next safest option is the lowest lying level of a sound structure in a hallway or an area without windows. According to the American Red Cross, mobile homes are never safe during tornadoes. It is best to safely get to a sturdy shelter immediately.
  • Always wear a seatbelt if you must drive your car during a tornado and toward safety.

EMERGENCY KIT FOR WILDFIRES

In wildfire-prone areas, experts recommend having supplies to stay at home for up to two weeks. However, if you have to evacuate, it’s recommended to have three days’ worth of supplies on hand – so make sure it’s portable if authorities say you have to move now. Beyond your basic kits, here are some tips to prep for wildfires in the long term:

  • Portable air cleaners work best when run continuously with doors and windows closed.
  • Water sources outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool should be identified and maintained, so they can be easily accessed if needed to fight flames.
  • Gather tools like a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel that you can use as fire tools before emergency responders arrive.
  • Regularly clean roofs and gutters. Dry, loose debris can spell trouble if sparks fly. See what else can happen if you don’t clean your gutters.
  • Keep a long garden hose that can reach all areas of your home and other structures on the property.
  • Install outdoor outlets on at least two sides of your home and near other structures on the property. Make sure they are freeze-proof exterior water outlets. In addition, you may want to install outlets 50 feet away from your home for more electricity accessibility.
  • Clearly mark your house number or address where fire vehicles need to enter your property.

PRINTABLE CHECKLIST FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Want a handy printable? Check out these PDF checklists from the American Red Cross for the following disasters: power outageswinter stormshurricanesfloodstornadoesand wildfires.

LOOKING AFTER YOU

Emergency situations can be stressful, but you can feel confident knowing you’re prepared with the right tools on hand. When you’re with ERIE, you can rest easy knowing that your local agent is here to provide a little kindness on even the most difficult day.

For more than 95 years, we’ve been committed to providing claims service that comes from actual people, with empathy, in real-time. Depending on the size of the storm or weather situation, ERIE will deploy our Catastrophe Team to the scene to help service our customers who have claims. A helping hand and friendly face are a phone call (or walk to the CAT van) away.

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Working from Home

8 Tips for Working from Home

Who doesn’t love getting a few extra minutes of shut-eye and the more casual dress code that comes along with working from home? Working remotely can be great – except when your dog decides he needs to go out, again. And has anyone else noticed how your neighbors seem to align their lawn mowing times to your conference call schedule?

Remote work has unique benefits and distractions, too. So how can you make working from home work for you?

We asked a few full-time remote ERIE employees for their top tips to a productive and balanced remote work lifestyle. ERIE family members who are veterans of remote work have a message for the newbies joining their ranks: You’ve got this.

CHOOSING YOUR WORKSPACE:

  • Choose a dedicated, private space. Kitchen tables were great for doing homework back in high school, but you might find having a designated space where you can tune out distractions will keep you more productive.“Definitely have a room where you can close a door or an area sectioned off for privacy. It will really help with minimizing distractions.” – Dustin Eckman, property adjuster, remote for two years

     

  • Let the light in. Natural light has been proven to brighten your mood and increase productivity. So if you’ve always wanted that corner office with the big window, now is your chance to make the office of your dreams a reality.“Work near a window. I have two that I look out of. I love the outdoors and it helps me to feel better to see outside.” – Kim Lane, senior underwriting support specialist, remote for four years

PREPPING YOUR DAY:

  • Develop a morning routine. While you may not need to style your hair or commit to a long commute, waking up a few minutes before you clock in may not lead to the most productive workday.

    “I always wake up early enough to get a start in my day. Eating breakfast, catching up on current events, but ultimately waking my mind up so I’m not so drowsy when I begin my work.” – 
    Cherrish Wynder, auto adjuster, remote for two years
  • Plan out your tasks and projects. Working from home can bring a lot of distractions, the worst of which is losing motivation to do work. Creating a to-do list of assignments the day before can help make your remote day seem more official and keep you on track with projects.“Plan your days in advance. It helps when distractions or other tasks arise. I plan so that I know what has to get done that day.” – Matt Ladd, property adjuster, Knoxville Claims Office, remote for four years

     

  • Dress with your day in mind. Another big benefit to working from home is being able to dress outside of the company dress code. No more sweating in a suit jacket on 90 degree days or shivering under the air conditioner vent.“If you don’t have to meet your customers or have a big meeting, don’t be afraid to spend the day in your comfy clothes. I’m always more productive when I’m comfortable.” – Rebecca Petrie, commercial liability claims specialist, Fort Wayne Claims Office, remote for 12 years

DEVELOPING YOUR #WFH GROOVE:

  • Try a snack hack. The refrigerator has never been so close or stocked with all your favorites. (Another bonus? When you work from home, you have a very short list of suspects if someone steals your lunch.) However, it’s important to establish healthy habits when your desk is so close to the family pantry.“I try not to keep food in my home office because it’s too easy to just turn in my chair and grab it. If I want a snack, I force myself to walk downstairs and get it. Movement … it’s a good thing!” – Jennifer Reed, subrogation supervisor, remote for 17 years

     

  • Connect with your co-workers. While you no longer pass by their cubicles every day, technology has made connecting with co-workers easier.“Connect with some of your co-workers every day via email, company communications or phone. I always turn my camera on for meetings. I feel more connected when I can see people versus a phone call. However you decide to connect, if you can’t hear someone on a conference call, let them know!” – Kelly Gierczynski, talent management consultant, remote for 18 years

     

  • Take screen breaks. You no longer have in-person meetings or co-workers stealing you away for a coffee. Screens can be harsh on the eyes, causing headaches or strained vision – which can lessen your productivity over time.“Find ways to step away from your desk. Make time to get up, stretch, do yoga, go for a walk, grab some fresh air or do a quick chore. In the end, it will help you better focus when you begin working again.” – Morgan Kimble, medical claims facilitation supervisor, remote for one year

FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE AT ERIE

Whether you are transitioning to a permanent remote work lifestyle, or just a temporary fix… the secret to finding the right balance is finding a company that supports you and your work-life commitments. At ERIE, about 40 percent of our workforce utilizes our flexible work arrangements full-time.

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ERIE Agents Giving Back

ERIE Agents Giving Back

ERIE Agents Giving BackNo one could have predicted exactly how much our lives would be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools became virtual classrooms. Businesses started operating remotely. Curbside pickup became the only way to enjoy your favorite local restaurant. Even graduations and birthdays became drive-by celebrations.

It’s cliché, but it’s true: All that social distancing made us realize how much we rely on each other.

Enter “ERIE Agents Giving Back” – Erie Insurance’s effort to make more than $2 million available for local COVID-19 relief. This companywide effort launched on April 20, 2020 – the date of ERIE’s 95th anniversary – to give a boost to agents and employees already doing good work in their communities.

Through the project, agents fed frontline workers and first responders, supported local businesses and gave money to charities in need. Independent ERIE agents shared nearly 2,000 stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn about how they were showing their support during these unprecedented times.

Here are just a few examples of agents giving back to their communities. Want to see highlights from your hometown? Search #ERIEAgentsGivingBack on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

PIGGING OUT FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Michael Clavette, an ERIE agent from Clavette Insurance Agency Inc. in Wisconsin, decided to team up with a local restaurant, The Bosch Tavern. “We brainstormed quite a bit as to how to best leverage ERIE Agents Giving Back,” Clavette said. “Rather than handing out meals or $1,000 in gift cards, we took a different approach.” The agency purchased 1,000 pounds of pork to make pulled pork sandwiches. Then, the Bosch Tavern hosted a drive-thru fundraiser where all proceeds and tips from the pork sandwiches benefitted the local Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The creative project supported both a local business and the community. Together, they were able to turn $1,000 into a $5,695 donation to help community members in need. “It was really important for us to get extra food to those who really needed it,” Clavette said.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

The John Hansen Agency in Pennsylvania wanted to find a way to get supplies to senior citizens who were fearful of traveling to the grocery store. Staff member Sandi Summers volunteered to host a Blessing Box at the end of her driveway.

Once constructed, the agency stocked the box with fresh foods, perishable items and household essential items. Seniors could visit the box during the day, Monday through Friday. At the end of each day, Summers would remove the items, clean the box, sanitize and get ready for the next day.

When it started in the middle of April, the intention was to help senior citizens. With additional support from the community, the Blessing Box remains in operation today open to the general public. “I’m really proud of how the entire community has rallied around the box,” Summers said. “I’m so glad that ERIE gave us the opportunity to start the Blessing Box, and I’m delighted to still be receiving donations from community members to keep it going.”

DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR MORE THAN 95 YEARS

The Hunger Task Force and Blessing Box projects are just two of the countless ways ERIE and its independent agents are giving back to local communities. Follow #ERIEAgentsGivingBack on social media or read more on our Eriesense blog.

At ERIE, “Above All in Service” isn’t just our company motto. It’s the spirit that drives every decision we make. That’s why we partner with the best local, independent agents in the business – because they know and love your local communities just as much as you do.

The “ERIE Agents Giving Back” project might have wrapped up, but our commitment to the Golden Rule never ends. See all the ways ERIE is supporting our customers and communities during these challenging times.

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