Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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All Posts in Category: Safety

Holiday Up in Flames

Don’t let a fire take the merry out of your holidays.

The Holidays are a time of year to enjoy friends and family, but sometimes they don’t always go as planned. Don’t believe us? Check out this experiment we did with our Erie, Pennsylvania, City of Erie Fire Department.

ERIE staged a fire in a vacant home which showed how a Christmas tree fire can fill a room with toxic smoke in just 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in one minute.

“Many people love their Christmas decorations and choose to leave them up for a few weeks after the holiday, but when it comes to a dried-out live Christmas tree, that’s a dangerous risk to take,” said  Gary Sullivan , vice president of property and subrogation claims, Erie Insurance. “We want families to enjoy the post-holiday season safely; we don’t want them to be displaced from their homes due to a fire, or even worse, caught in a life-threatening situation.”

Recent national reporting done by the National Fire Protection Association showed Christmas trees resulted in an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage during a four-year period. Make sure to take care of your tree to ensure a safe and happy holiday.

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Secure-Shopping

Shop Safe Online this Holiday Season

Last year, ERIE Customer Don O.* of Pennsylvania received a text from Amazon letting him know that his package had been delivered.

The only problem? He hadn’t ordered anything—an identity thief had. Don later discovered that the thief had also opened up a fake credit card in his name and used it to purchase an Amazon Prime membership in addition to products from the popular e-commerce site. Just like that, Don became one of the 13.1 million people affected by identity theft in 2015.

Online shopping is growing increasingly popular—last year, the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend survey revealed that more people shopped on the Web than in stores during the Black Friday weekend.

Yet e-commerce also gives identity thieves new ways to commit their crimes. If you’re shopping from the comfort of your couch this holiday season, the following tips from a variety of experts can help you lower your chances of getting trapped like Don. (Fortunately, his story had a happy ending—check it out below.)

  • Only shop on secure sites. Any page that lets you enter credit card information should start with https:// and include a locked padlock icon. Make sure to enter the correct spelling of the site you intend to visit.
  • Avoid making purchases via a public Wi-Fi connection and computer. Open connections can give hackers direct access to your personal information. The big concern with public Wi-Fi is that your information could be available to anyone on the network. Also avoid using public computers in places like libraries or hotels—they can often store your personal information for anyone to see.
  • Choose strong passwords. If a site requires you to log in,choose a password that doesn’t in any way relate to your personal information. And be sure the password includes a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.
  • Activate your device’s built-in firewalls. Also consider investing in separate security software and updating it frequently.
  • Update your browser(s). Browsers need to be updated just like security software does. Regularly check for browser updates—older versions could have security gaps that leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Check your card’s purchase activity frequently. During the holiday shopping frenzy, it’s worth checking your credit card transaction activity every week or so. Doing so lets you spot and dispute any fraudulent charges ASAP.

(FULL ARTICLE)

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Auto Coverage

Understanding Your Auto Coverage

You know if you have a car, you need auto insurance. However, you’re probably not thinking about what kind of coverage you have until you need it. From protecting your car, to protecting your passengers and any prized possessions along for the ride, it’s good to know your ERIE policy has you covered for life’s little mishaps.

Say your daughter forgets your car is parked right behind her in the driveway or a deer doesn’t wait his turn to cross the street, we’ll make sure you’re back on the road as soon as possible. In the moments after an accident, so many things are happening that you may feel overwhelmed. Thinking about what you auto policy covers shouldn’t be one of them.

Common Coverages
Depending on your state’s requirements for auto insurance and what limits and options you pick, your auto policy can include up to six common coverages.

You Cause an Accident and Someone Gets Hurt: If you cause an accident and other people are injured due to your negligence, bodily injury liability coverage is what protects you against their claims for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. (Talk to your ERIE Agent to learn more and to determine what limits are best for your situation.)

(FULL ARTICLE)

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Hurricane-Insurance

How Named Storms Affect Your Insurance Coverage

Hurricane season is here and it’s been an active one so far. Here are a few things to know about hurricanes, named storms and how any strong storms can affect your insurance coverage.

A storm is called a hurricane when it forms over the Atlantic and the eastern and central Pacific Oceans; a cyclone when it forms over the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans; and a typhoon when it forms over the western Pacific Ocean.

Today, the NWS maintains six lists of names that rotate every six years. The only exceptions are the 77 names of the most damaging hurricanes the World Meteorological Organization retired out of respect to victims and survivors.

A few years ago, The Weather Channel (TWC)—a private cable and satellite television network that’s completely separate from the NWS—announced that it would start naming winter storms. When asked why, they cited many of the same reasons behind naming hurricanes—namely, an easier and more effective way to raise awareness and communicate updates about a storm.

Many named-storm deductible clauses work by requiring a deductible that’s a certain percentage of a home’s value—anywhere from one to 10 percent—instead of a fixed dollar amount. That means instead of paying a $500 or $1,000 deductible, a house that’s insured for the U.S. average of $161,100 would shell out $16,100 if their named-storm deductible was 10 percent.

With ERIE, you don’t have to worry about a named-storm deductible.

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College-Students

Safety in College

When kids hit college, they’ll reach an entirely new level of independence. With unstructured time and the freedom to make their own day-to-day decisions, they’ll still need support from you. Here are some campus life issues to discuss.

Keep possessions safe. College campuses and especially dormitories bring thousands of young people into one small area. That’s why it’s important to urge your student to keep their door locked whenever they leave the room for any length of time. It only takes seconds for an opportunistic thief to slip and disappear with their laptop or other valuable items. Also, have a talk with your insurance agent. If your college lists your house as their permanent address, your homeowners insurance coverage would most likely extend to your student’s belongings in the dorm. Find out what’s covered and what isn’t.

Don’t leave them uninsured. Once your student lives off-campus at their first apartment, that simple carry-over homeowners coverage may disappear. In that case, a separate renters insurance policy in your student’s name can offer protection, so your student doesn’t have to start from scratch. The good news is that these low-cost policies are often affordable, even for college students living on slender budgets. To learn more, contact an ERIE agent.

Check your auto insurance. Every student’s situation varies, and different situations will have different impacts on auto insurance costs. For example, costs could increase if your student brings their car on campus, especially in an urban setting. Some parents see a discount if their student leaves the car at home. To learn more, get in touch with an ERIE agent.

Have the talk about drinking. Good news: According to WebMD, binge drinking among college students is on a downward trend, and so is driving while impaired. Still, 37 percent of students say they consumed four or more drinks in one sitting, and 17 percent report driving while impaired. Before your student heads to campus, talk about the risks of indulging too much, such as accidents, hypothermia, injuries and impulsive behavior. Along with that, brainstorm strategies so they know what to do to keep themselves and their friends safe.

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Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designation

Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations
Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.  These zones are depicted on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Moderate to Low Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters in these zones:

ZONE DESCRIPTION
B and X (shaded) Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100‐
year and 500‐year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base floodplains of
lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100‐year flood, or shallow
flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less
than 1 square mile.

C and X (unshaded)
Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500‐year
flood level. Zone C may have ponding and local drainage problems that don’t
warrant a detailed study or designation as base floodplain. Zone X is the area
determined to be outside the 500‐year flood and protected by levee from 100‐
year flood.

High Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:

ZONE DESCRIPTION
A – Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no
depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
AE –  The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided. AE Zones are now used
on new format FIRMs instead of A1‐A30 Zones.
A1‐30  – These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the base floodplain
where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).
AH  – Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with
an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding
over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed
analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
AO  – River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow
flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging
from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year
mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these
zones.
AR  – Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a
flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase
requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if
the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management
regulations.
A99  – Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood
control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths
or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

High Risk Coastal Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones.

ZONE DESCRIPTION
V – Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard
associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
VE, V1 ‐ 30 – Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard
associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at
selected intervals within these zones.

Undetermined Risk Areas
ZONE DESCRIPTION
D – Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards. No flood hazard analysis has been
conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood
risk.

From FEMA Map Service Center:

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