Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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All Posts in Category: Personal Insurance

Duane Long - Monte Long

Duane Long + Monte Long

We provide Property, Casualty and Life insurance for personal and commercial needs.
Individual: Home, Auto, Life, etc. … Business, Prop., Casualty, WC, etc.

See https://www.facebook.com/DuaneLongInsurance/ for local news!

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Lost Insurance Policy

Lost Life Insurance Policy

It’s estimated that $1 billion in benefits from forgotten and lost life insurance policies are sitting unclaimed in America, says Consumer Reports. Could you be among the estimated 1 in 600 people who may be the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy?

If so, there are ways to find out. Here are some tips to help.

5 WAYS TO LOCATE A LOST LIFE INSURANCE POLICY

  • Comb the house. Sometimes the thing we’re missing is right under our nose. First, go through any files or safe deposit boxes where the lost life insurance policy may be before launching a full-fledged investigation.
  • Think back to the beginning. Which insurance agent may have sold it? Which insurance company may have issued it? What was the name and Social Security number of the person who bought it? Was the policy a term or permanent life policy? Any information you can remember will help the insurance agent and/or customer representative you contact.

    Related: What’s the Difference Between Term and Whole Life Insurance?

    You might also have to contact any attorneys, financial advisers, accountants or other advisers who might have had something to do with issuing the policy.

    Also consider contacting the deceased individual’s former employer. Many times the policies are group policies that were originally taken out through an employer.

    If the policyholder passed away relatively recently and you have the authority or permission, take a look at the deceased person’s bank statements for premium payments or policy-related material.

  • Contact your state’s insurance department. Generally, an insurance company that is unable to locate a policy’s beneficiary is required to turn over the benefits to the state’s unclaimed property office after a certain number of years have passed. Think about the state in which the policy could have been issued. Then visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website to learn how to contact your state insurance department.
  • Look it up online. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a free website that makes it easy to search a number of life insurance and annuity companies at once. You can run a search if you’re the executor or legal representative of a deceased person, or if you have reason to believe you’re a beneficiary.

    Submit a request or read the FAQ at the Life Insurance Policy Locator Service website. You can also check in with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, which operates the website MissingMoney.com.

  • Watch out for scammers. There are life insurance scams out there whereby an “insurer” promises to reunite you with unclaimed funds. Don’t immediately respond to someone claiming to be the representative of an insurance company. Instead, call that insurance company’s claims number to see if the offer is legit.

HOW TO PREVENT A LOST LIFE INSURANCE POLICY IN THE FIRST PLACE

Life insurance is a powerful agent of relief. Taking care of the future needs of your loved ones makes you feel capable, purposeful and satisfied.

Spare yourself and your beneficiaries from the hassle caused by a lost life insurance policy by following this advice:

  • Clearly name your beneficiaries on the policy.
  • Let your beneficiaries know about the policy. Also tell them the name of the insurance agent and company that issued the policy.
  • Keep your insurance documents in a safe, logical place like a fireproof safe or bank safe. Not sure what kind of safe to buy? Read our guide to safe storage of important documents.

When you count on ERIE to help plan for the future, we’ll help you consider the variables, lay out the options and make the process comfortable and efficient.

Learn more about our flexible and affordable life insurance* options, or find a local ERIE agent to talk it through in person.

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Winter-Stay-Warm

Ways to Stay Active This Winter

Looking outside and seeing snow-covered roads can make the decision to stay in bed a lot more tempting. We all know winter weather can get you in a rut – but there are plenty of ways to liven up when you’ve got cabin fever. (Read our list of 21 ways to beat cabin fever.)

Ready to break a sweat? Check out this list.

HOW TO EXERCISE DURING WINTER

One of the best ways to beat the boredom and stay active is to get outside. So, don’t curse the weather… bundle up and enjoy it! Here are some outside winter fitness ideas to try.

Outdoors:

  • Snowshoeing/snow hiking: Snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your area parks and trails. Many state and local parks stay open year-round in any weather. These hikes can be an easy walk or an intense workout, depending on how hard you push yourself.
  • Skiing/snowboarding/sledding: Making your way to a ski resort or your local hill can make for an exciting trip with friends or family. And it’s a great way to burn calories — especially if you’re walking back up the hill, too!
  • Snowmobiling: If you’ve got the space and the gear, snowmobiling is an intense way to get out and enjoy the winter weather. Don’t have a snowmobile of your own? A quick online search can help you find rental options in your area.
  • Ice skating: Ice skating is good for cardio and building lower body strength. If you can keep your balance, this is another fun activity for friends, family or couples.
  • Ice fishing: For outdoor enthusiasts, ice fishing is an excuse to catch fish year-round while tackling a new challenge. Just make sure you’re prepared before you drill through the lake. Read this how-to guide for safe ice fishing.
  • Walking: A walk through light snow can be just as beautiful as any other season. As long as it’s not too cold, bundling up for a 15-minute walk will get you active and out of the house. In fact, many find the cool winter air to be especially refreshing.

Of course, there are still going to be times when the snow’s thick and the air’s chilly. If you’re stuck inside, there’s no need to worry! Here are some ways to keep active indoors, too.

Indoors:

  • Join a gym. A gym membership will give you a place to go when you can’t get your exercise in anywhere else. It’s an easy way to get a full workout, since gyms have a wide range of equipment that wouldn’t fit in your home.
  • Take the stairs. Not ready to join a gym? Start with something a little less intimidating. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help you burn a few extra calories, and will build cardio stamina over time.
  • Join an indoor sports league. Just because winter starts doesn’t mean team sports stop. Check your local gym or community center for indoor sports leagues like soccer, tennis or basketball.
  • Use free weights or resistance bands. Don’t want to leave the comfort of your house? There’s plenty of equipment you can use at home to break a sweat. You can get a full-body workout with resistance bands or free weights, and they don’t take up much room.
  • Watch online workout videos. Even without weights and bands, online workout videos can get you into shape in your own living room. Whether it’s cardio, yoga, pilates or strength training, there are dozens of options available to find the workout that’s right for you.

As the seasons change, your options for staying active do, too – whether it’s a walk through the snow, gliding on an ice rink or other activities that only last for the season.

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Winterizing your Home

Winterizing Your Home Checklist

There’s no denying it: Winter is on its way. 

Winterizing your home can help lower your energy bills, prevent bigger more costly repairs later on, and reduce the risk of accidents like a home heating fire. (Side note: That’s why having the right homeowners insurance can give you peace of mind, too.) 

Ready? Let’s walk through the big list of projects to tackle this fall.
 

FALL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Indoors:

  • Windows and doors: Prevent chilly drafts (and pricey heating bills) by checking and replacing any worn weather stripping, and caulking any cracks. For loose-fitting doors, slide a draft guard or rolled-up towel underneath to fill the gap. For old or drafty windows, consider peel-and-stick window insulation film – it might not be the most elegant look, but it can keep up to 70% of heat from escaping.Related: A dozen easy ways to keep cold air from entering your house
     
  • Fireplace: Check your fireplace and flue system to remove soot or ashes. Check for cracks that could be a fire hazard. Also, examine the fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be need to be repaired or replaced. If you’re not planning on using your fireplace at all, invest in a chimney balloon to block the opening. (Just remember to take it out before you build a fire next season.) Most importantly, know what fixes are safe for you to tackle and what should be in the hands of a certified chimney sweep with training and proper equipment. Related: What’s a professional chimney inspection, and why do I need one?
     
  • Furnace: Before you turn up the heat for the season, start by changing (or cleaning) your furnace filter. It’s also a good idea to have an HVAC professional check your furnace once per year. And if you can’t remember the last time you had your heating ducts checked for leaks and efficiency… an HVAC professional can help with that, too. Related: How often does my furnace filter need changed (and how do I do it?)
     
  • Thermostat: For every degree lower your home’s temperature during the winter, you can save as much as 1 percent on your energy bill (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). If you have an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a smart model to save on heating costs. Many new thermostats have algorithms to learn your comings and goings so you’re not paying to keep your home toasty warm when you’re not around. Related: 10 energy-saving tips to prepare your home for cold weather
     
  • Other home heating: We know they’re cozy, but be extra cautious when using a space heater. Space heaters cause about one-third of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Related: Must-know safety tips for fireplaces, space heaters and wood-burning stoves 
  • Drafts and cracks: Cold air will take advantage of any opportunity to sneak into your home. Here’s a list of quick fixes for drafty places:
    • Outlets and switch plates: Use foam-insulating sheets to block cold air coming in from exterior walls.
    • Exposed ducts: Check your attic, basement, and crawl spaces and use sealant to plug up any leaks or cracks on exposed ducts.
    • Floors: Don’t underestimate the power of a thick, cozy rug. Your floors can account for as much as 10 percent of heat loss in a house. 
    Related: A dozen easy ways to keep cold air from entering your house 
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: While you’re in the process of prepping your house for the long winter, check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in good working order. Also, with the increased risk of fire in winter, it’s important to have a family escape plan. You can create one using the National Fire Prevention Association’s online guide.

Related: How to prevent a dryer fire

Outdoors:

  • Gutters: Start by clearing debris from gutters and downspouts to prevent them from leaking or sagging. Clogged gutters and subsequent water issues can cause foundation problems, wall and ceiling damage, or even insect infestations. Just make sure you do it safely – use a tall, sturdy ladder (and never stand on the top three rungs!), and don’t forget protective eyewear, gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself against debris, bacteria and pests.Related:5 Common Problems Caused by Clogged Gutters

  • Roof: Snow can be a heavy burden for an old or damaged roof to handle. Before winter hits, inspect your roof for signs of potential problems, like missing, broken, blistered or curling shingles; cracked caulk or rust spots; or large patches of moss and lichen. Any damaged, loose or missing shingles should be repaired right away.

  • Trees and landscaping: It’s a good idea to trim any branches hanging near electric wires before they become a problem. Also, know how to spot the signs of a diseased or dying tree. Heavy snow and strong winter winds can knock down weak branches (or whole trees), so it’s best to do the prep work while the weather’s still mild.Related: What happens if my neighbor’s tree falls in my yard?

  • Lawn equipment: Drain the oil and gas from your mower before storing it for the off-season. Gasoline can separate and spoil in only a few weeks, which could potentially damage your engine.

    Related: How to extend the life of your lawn mower

  • Snow removal supplies: Before the first snow, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and bought supplies early. Inspect the bolts, belts and parts on your snowblower; make sure your snow shovel is in good shape; stock up on ice melt or sand; and invest in a snow rake to help clear your roof. Snow accumulation on your roof that exceeds 20 to 25 pounds per square foot can be dangerous.

Related: How to remove an ice dam 

Does your homeowners insurance keep up with your life?
From weekend projects to major renovations… you’ve worked hard (and invested a lot) to make your house a home.

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Driving Insurance

Fall – Top 4 Fall Driving Hazards

The start of fall brings a lot of welcome things: a new school year, cooler temps and changing leaves. 

You may not notice it right away, but your daily commute is affected by the shorter days and changing weather, too. (For example: Did you know wet leaves can be as slippery as ice?) 

Stay alert this fall. Here are the top things to look out for when you’re on the road:
 

1. Rain and wet leaves
As the weather cools down, the rain picks up. Combine that with lower temperatures and you’ll find your tires may have less grip than they did in the summer months.

To start, always drive cautiously in wet conditions – that includes driving slower than you would on a dry road. And be on the lookout for wet leaves, which can be as slick as ice.

It’s also important to check your tires to ensure they have enough tread. Insert a penny into your tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you insert the penny all the way and all of Lincoln’s head is still showing, that means your tread has worn down and it’s time for new tires.

Driving too fast for the conditions or cruising on worn tires can lead to hydroplaning. So it’s important to know what to do if you start hydroplaning: take your foot off the gas, firmly grip the steering wheel and calmly make steering adjustments. 

2. Deer collisions
Deer are most active from October to January, especially during the dusk and dawn hours. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of a deer collision, you know it can do severe damage to your vehicle.

Avoid deer on the roadways by slowing down during peak hours, paying attention to road signs and using your high beams to increase visibility when possible. Learn more about how to avoid hitting a deer…and what to do if you hit one.

3. Earlier sunsets
The days get shorter in the fall, so you’ll find yourself driving in the dark more often. This is another peak time for accidents.

Make sure you’re staying alert during nighttime hours. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and turn your headlights on during dawn or dusk hours. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and know when to swerve if there’s an object in the road.

4. School children
The kids are back to school. The house is quieter. But if you drive just before the school day starts or after it ends…you’re in for lots of crosswalks and bus stops. Welcome to back-to-school driving.

Since more kids are walking and biking to school, you’ll need to stay alert around schools and neighborhoods. Be aware of bus safety and school drop-off procedures as well. And if you’d like to avoid the risk altogether, consider finding a new route to avoid these high-traffic areas.

It’s always important to be prepared. But even the most cautious drivers can find themselves face-to-face with something unexpected. That’s why it’s important to have the right auto insurance.

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DistractedDriving2018

Can You Guess Our Biggest Driving Distraction?

Of the more than 172,000 people killed in car crashes over the past five years, one in 10 were in crashes where at least one of the drivers involved was distracted. These statistics come from data analyzed by Erie Insurance housed in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Erie Insurance consulted with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its analysis.

But distracted driving doesn’t just mean being distracted by your cell phone.  ERIE’s analysis found daydreaming or being “generally distracted” (being inattentive, careless, or distracted–details unknown) or “lost in thought” was the number one distraction associated with fatal crashes. (See the infographic below for the full top 10 list.)

“Some people see driving as a time to relax and unwind and let their minds drift off, but that’s actually one of the worst things you can do,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. “Most people know about the dangers of texting while driving, but daydreaming while driving is an almost invisible distraction – people do it automatically without even realizing the risk.”

The Erie Insurance analysis of police data from 2012-2016 showed the majority of drivers who were distracted were “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” In fact, police report that 61 percent of distracted drivers were daydreaming at the time of a fatal crash, compared with 14 percent of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use.  Erie Insurance did a similar analysis five years ago and revisited the data to see if the types of distractions had changed over the years. The analysis found the distractions were largely the same.

HERE ARE THE TOP 10 DISTRACTIONS INVOLVED IN FATAL CAR CRASHES:

Distracted Driving 2018

Bloom said that because FARS data on distraction is based largely on police officers’ judgment at the time of the crash, and because people involved in a crash may be reluctant to admit to distracted driving behaviors when being interviewed by police, the numbers are difficult to verify. And they may, in fact, under-represent the seriousness and prevalence of driving distractions.

 

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAYDREAM?

To help drivers avoid daydreaming while driving, Erie Insurance reached out to Paul Atchley, Ph.D., an internationally recognized cognitive behavioral researcher. Atchley has studied distracted driving and worked with numerous national safety organizations to reduce it.

“One effective strategy to counteract daydreaming is to keep your mind alert with so-called passive forms of engagement, like listening to a radio show or a podcast,” Atchley said. “The beauty of passive engagement is that your mind will automatically tune it out when it needs to. So, if something out of the ordinary suddenly happens in your environment, your brain won’t even hear what’s on the radio anymore. It will be fully focused on the task at hand.”

Dr. Atchley cautioned against listening to a playlist of songs you’ve heard again and again, which is not recommended. Listening to something too familiar could actually encourage your mind to drift off.

Atchley offers these additional tips to help drivers keep their attention on the road:

  • Don’t replace boredom with a distraction. For example, never send or read a text to alleviate boredom. Instead, play verbal road games that help you focus, like “I Spy.” Make it even more effective by saying “I Spy a Distracted Driver” which will help your mind focus even more on the road and defensive driving.
  • Keep your hazard perception skills sharp. This means knowing where to look on the road ahead and watching for situations that may require you to take an action, such as changing speed or direction. Examples include a car entering an intersection or a pedestrian crossing the road.
  • Consider carpooling with another experienced driver. Just as professional truck drivers sometimes enlist a partner to share the driving duties, Atchley says having a co-driver can also work for everyday people. Another experienced driver sitting in the passenger seat next to you can serve as a second set of eyes.And, engaging in light conversation while you’re both looking at the road ahead can help keep your mind alert.

April is dedicated to Distracted Driving Awareness. It’s important to think about all the ways we can be distracted while driving all the time.  “We’re always looking after our Customers; we want to not only insure their cars but also protect their lives,” said Bloom, “so that’s why we’re drawing attention to the dangers of distracted driving, including driving while daydreaming.”

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/distracted-driving-study-2018

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