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A Turner Blog

Total Eclipse of ….. Safe Driving!

The full solar eclipse that will occur on Monday, August 21, will traverse the United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The last total solar eclipse to cross the United States from coast-to-coast was 99 years ago in 1918. South Carolina is projecting especially heavy volume—up to a million eclipse visitors! As a result, streets and highways across the state will be susceptible to very heavy traffic in the days before and after the eclipse. Here are some tips to stay safe and maximize your enjoyment of the eclipse.

If you plan to travel:

  • Arrive in your viewing location at least one day–or ideally two days–in advance of August 21. Some interstate highways in or near the path of totality may become parking lots on the morning of the eclipse.
  • Be aware of distracted drivers. Leave plenty of space between yourself and the car ahead as there may be drivers on the road who are unfamiliar with the area.
  • If you have not yet secured lodging, plan to camp or take an RV. There will be plenty of temporary campsites on farms and empty lots.
  • Be as self-sufficient as possible. Keep your gas tank topped, and if safely possible, carry extra fuel. Bring plenty of water, food, and toilet paper. Don’t forget sun-screen and hats.
  • If you absolutely must stay in touch with family or work, rent a satellite phone. Cell phone systems may be overwhelmed. Carry extra cell phone batteries/chargers and bring an old-fashioned paper map in the event limited cell service disrupts navigation apps. It may be helpful to download a traffic app to stay informed of real time traffic data.
  • Bring eclipse glasses, and be sure to grab them now before shortages occur. You’ll need these to watch the partial stages of eclipse. Learn how to safely view the eclipse.
  • Get good eclipse maps of the path. These will be invaluable if you need to relocate, and they’ll make a great souvenir of the event!
  • Watch the weather report on your local TV station in the days before the eclipse. Broadcast meteorologists will be giving eclipse weather forecasts. Try to relocate to another area early if your target destination has a poor weather prospect.

For those not travelling:

  • Stock up on necessities as stores may run low on supplies.
  • Avoid the areas of peak congestion as much as possible. Consider rescheduling non-critical appointments to a day and time after the eclipse has ended.

Finally, enjoy the eclipse! This is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime experience-the next solar eclipse to touch only American soil won’t occur again until January 25, 2316!

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. Posted with permission from our partner, Progressive Insurance.

Preparing for College: 2017

We understand firsthand how the process of preparing for college varies per family.   While insurance may not be at the top of the college packing list, there are some important topics to think about and prepare for in advance.

Courts have long determined that a dependent child away at school is still legally a resident of their parents’ household, and some insurance companies do not require any additional insurance coverage. But each company is different, so it’s best to check with your agent to be sure your child has coverage in all scenarios.

On the most commonly used homeowner’s policies, a student under the age of 24 is covered by his or her parents’ homeowners policy as long as the child is enrolled full-time in school and was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school.

So what coverages apply to your student while they are away at college? First and foremost, your child is protected by the Personal Liability section of your homeowner’s policy for bodily injury or property damage they cause. However, it’s important to note that intentional acts are not covered. Your son or daughter will be facing new responsibilities and exposures, so it’s a great time to consider purchasing an Umbrella policy to provide an extra layer of liability protection for your family.

Taking a Car to College

If your child is taking his or her car to college, it is important that you notify your agent that the car will be garaged in another location such as the school or an apartment. If your child leaves his or her car at home, you might be eligible for a reduced rate if the student will reside more than 100 miles away from where the car is kept.

Many college kids make a habit of swapping cars to keep the best parking spots. Is it possible that your child could drive someone else’s car? This could be a huge liability for you if the vehicle is furnished and available for regular use. We highly recommend you purchase the extended non-owned coverage endorsement to your auto policy.

This endorsement offers protection in scenarios such as this: Your child borrows his roommate’s car and causes an accident, seriously injuring the passengers in the other car. The medical bills of those injured exceed the limits on the policy covering the car. Your child, as the driver, could likely be named in a lawsuit. The extended non-owned coverage endorsement would provide coverage for separate or additional liability protection.

Protecting Everything in the Dorm Room

When it comes to protecting your child’s personal property, coverage is available up to an amount equal to 10% of the personal property coverage limit on the parent’s policy. Personal property includes items such as clothing, small furniture, appliances, and electronics. Of course, the policy deductible would apply in the event of a property loss, such as theft of personal property.

Insuring electronics (such as a laptop or tablet) may be one of the greatest concerns. Some insurance carriers allow these items to be listed separately on the homeowner’s policy so that a deductible would not apply to a loss. However, a small loss filed on a laptop may be looked upon unfavorably by insurance companies, may increase the premium at renewal time, or could even result in coverage being discontinued when combined with other losses.

Our suggestion is to purchase a student property policy from a company such as National Student Services Inc. (NSSI) to cover the student’s computer and other personal belongings. With this company, you can purchase a $5,000 property policy with $100 deductible for around $100 a year. With this coverage, a property loss will not affect your homeowner’s policy and your child will only have a $100 deductible if his laptop is stolen. The website for NSSI is www.nssi.com.

 Living off Campus

If your child is living in an apartment and the lease is in the parent’s or parent/child’s name, then 10% towards contents automatically extends from the homeowner’s policy. If the lease is in the child’s name only, then you need to consider renter’s insurance.

Purchasing a separate renter’s policy in your child’s name is quite affordable and is usually less than $200.00 for the year. Contents limits are available as low as $6,000 and personal liability limits start at $100,000. The premium will vary based on the limits and deductible chosen. Also endorsements to the policy can be purchased such as replacement cost and all-risk coverage.

Sometimes, we receive requests to add an apartment building owner to a renter’s policy. Essentially, this means the landlord is requiring the renter to carry insurance coverage – particularly liability coverage. In these instances, the landlord can be added to the policy as an Additional Interest. This allows the building owner/landlord to be listed on the policy declarations and to be notified in the event that the renters insurance cancels. The Additional Interest endorsement does not provide any coverage to the landlord.

Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can provide a host of insurance issues.  For example, an insurance company can suspend theft insurance at a student’s domestic residence if he/she has been studying abroad for more than 45-90 days (the exact number of days can vary per company.)

In fact, the same holds true if the student has vacated the apartment or dorm for any reason for more than 45-90 days (again depending on the company.)  Please inform your insurance agent if you child plans to study abroad so we can be sure the coverage needed is in place.

Health Insurance for Your College Student

Health insurance coverage is complex, at best. Problems can surface without warning, so it’s a good idea to familiarize your child with his/her current coverage and emergency provisions of your policy.

Things to consider include age cutoff, whether your child is a full-time or part-time student, if your plan has a network where your child is going to college, and more. Mistakes in this area can be extremely costly and plans vary widely, so check with your health-plan administrator in advance to minimize surprises.an additional card from the bank so the student can pay for services with your pre-tax contributions.

We do recommend you request an additional health insurance card for your student to keep in his/her wallet. Also if you have a Health Savings Account, request an additional card from the bank so the student can pay for services with your pre-tax contributions.  We also recommend increasing your existing life insurance to cover the total cost of your child’s tuition, room and board, transportation, books, and supplies. Whether you have a college fund prepared for your child or are paying as they go, life insurance is a secure method to safeguard your child’s education.

The Bottom Line

For more suggestions, see Tips for the College-Bound.  We are here to help answer any of your questions or concerns. If your child is going to college, just call us at 864-288-9513 or email us at turner@turneragencyinc.com. We’ll be able to counsel you on the best options and give you peace of mind (at least where the insurance is concerned).

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all-inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only.

Insurance Tips for the College-Bound Student

College is expensive enough without the added cost of unexpected accidents or theft not covered by your insurance policy. If you have a student heading away to school, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your coverage.

HOMEOWNERS (varies by state)

  • Personal Property: Most homeowners policies will cover personal property for up to 10% of your total policy while your child is residing at school (a $100,000 policy equals $10,000 in coverage). Not all types of damage are covered, so read your policy carefully. Some items such as jewelry or expensive electronics, require special coverage. Renters insurance is strongly recommended.
  • Liability Coverage: General damage to a dorm room or apartment is not usually covered.
  • Documentation: Creating an inventory of the items your child is taking to school is a good idea. Use photographs and keep receipts.

AUTO (varies by state)

  • Car Stays Home: Keep your child listed on your auto policy if they will still drive your car while at home on school breaks.
  • Car at School: Make sure to notify us if your child will be taking a car away to school. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and listed on your policy, it will be covered.
  • Driving a Friend’s Car: Students are generally covered if they are listed on their parent’s policy and are not regularly using the vehicle. The coverage would be secondary. The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage.
  • Discounts: A full-time student meeting certain academic requirements can qualify for a good student discount. Distant student discounts may also be available. Drivers under 21 who have completed driver’s education may also get a discount.

Before your child leaves for school, call The Turner Agency Inc. at 864-288-9513 or email us.  We can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. For more suggestions, check out our Preparing for College: 2017 edition.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all-inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. 

10 Things Your Employees Expect You to Know How to Do to Lead Them and Run a Successful Business

You have expectations of your employees, but have you considered that it’s a two-way street? Your employees have expectations of you, too. Understanding and being mindful of those expectations can go a long way toward earning your employees’ respect and trust. They’re also many of the same essential skills and practices that will help your business succeed.

Here are the top 10 things your employees expect you to know how to do to run a successful business.

  1. Hire People

Every business is built on people. Optimally, you have a skilled team of good people who deliver their best, are a good fit in your company and further your business cause in a meaningful way. A team like this, whether of 2 or 200, begins with your hiring decisions.

“When looking for people, the most popular place to find candidates is referrals from your own people,” says Gene Marks, a small business expert, columnist and author. Friends, colleagues, competitors and industry conferences can also provide leads. Ultimately, though, he says hiring is an imperfect process.

“In the end, no matter what resume or experience a candidate has, you still have to make a gut call,” Marks says.  A trial period through a contract assignment or temporary services can help you evaluate a potential candidate before making a permanent commitment.

  1. Fire People

Firing an employee is difficult to do but may be your only choice if performance is consistently below par, customers are complaining or workplace morale is suffering. Just be sure to handle the process fairly. Otherwise, there may be a legal price to pay.

“Remember, if you’re going to terminate an employee, you need to have your documentation in order,” Marks says. “You have to show an acceptable reason. The smartest business owners prepare and do this over a 60-90 day period of time.”

Firing should not come as a surprise. It should be the final step in a thoughtful process that begins with discussing the employee’s performance and your expectations for improvement. Follow up your initial conversation with subsequent review sessions, and be sure to document all of your interactions in the employee’s file. This documentation will be critical in the event of a lawsuit.

If you make the difficult decision to let an employee go, meet personally and be prepared to address logistical matters such as the end date, severance arrangements and benefits. Also remember that being fired is always a traumatic event in someone’s life. Bring your compassion into the room.

  1. Insure Your Business Against Liability, Property Damage and Other Hazards

Your employees expect you to be able to protect your business in the event of loss. After all, their livelihoods are at stake. This is where insurance fits in.

* Workers’ Compensation Insurance protects you and your employees when there’s an injury in the workplace. Workers’ comp coverage covers lost wages and medical care. * General liability insurance protects your business from lawsuits and claims due to property damage, injuries and even acts such as slander and libel for which your business is allegedly responsible. * Property insurance covers your building, whether it’s owned or leased, and your business’s personal property, including equipment, inventory, and furniture. * Commercial auto insurance covers the financial costs of auto accidents if you or an employee is at fault. It is essential if your business owns, leases or rents vehicles or has employees who drive their own vehicles to conduct business. * Coverage is also available for other hazards to which your business may be exposed, such flooding or data breach.

  1. Take Care of Workers Compensation

Most states require businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This essential protection provides benefits for employees who are injured on the job or who contract work-related illnesses. Benefits include coverage for the cost of medical treatment, as well as compensation for wages lost during recovery and permanent disabilities that result from the injury.

  1. Provide Written Employee Guidelines

An employee handbook is a vital tool for sharing your expectations of your employees and what they can expect of you. It also sets forth the employee’s rights and your legal obligations as an employer. Topics typically range from compensation and overtime to benefits, leaves and terminations.

“Every employee should have an employee handbook,” Marks says. He also advises employers to revisit and re-distribute their handbook annually.

Typical topics for an employee manual include: * Non-Disclosure Agreements * Anti-Discrimination Policies * Work Schedules

You should consult a lawyer when drafting your own employee handbook.

  1. Train Them on Your Processes

Training costs money and takes time, but not training your employees can cost your business even more.

“My clients always overlook training,” Marks says. “It’s considered to be a throwaway, but it’s critical and should be part of every business’s annual budget.”

An established in-house training program will help your employees develop the skills they need to do the job well and learn the procedures that allow them do it efficiently. Provide checklists for routine tasks to minimize employee errors and yield more consistent results.

Marks also suggests bringing in a consultant on an annual basis to review your internal processes and provide training on any recommendations you choose to adopt.

  1. Know When It’s OK to Micromanage and When It’s Not OK

Most of the time, micromanagement will work against you. Constantly hovering over, monitoring and correcting your employees not only slows progress, it also breeds dependency, stymies creative thinking and generates resentment in the long run. These are not beneficial qualities to cultivate in your workplace.

“I’ve learned that you focus on your best skills and let your employees do what they have to do,” says Marks. “You have to accept that employees will make mistakes and the only way to allow them to grow is to let them make mistakes. Build it into your business expenses.”

That said, there are a few times when micromanaging is necessary-and valued. If your operations are changing or expanding, your employees will appreciate some hand-holding until they know what they are doing. You may also need to intervene when work isn’t getting done or customers are complaining.

“Everything is to a degree,” Marks says. “You may need to intervene. You’re trying to avoid catastrophic mistakes.”

It’s up to you to determine what’s catastrophic for your business.

  1. Help Them Set Goals

Goals are motivators, and they help you and your employees focus on what’s important for your business.

“Everyone should have goals they’re working toward,” Marks says. “Goal setting is about communication. I like to set quarterly goals, both quantitative or qualitative, and meet with people every quarter to get an update on their goals.”

The secret to setting goals that make a difference is to define your vision for your company and work collaboratively to help your employees set goals that align with that. Be sure their goals are measurable, relevant and attainable. Meet at regular intervals to review achievements and set new goals.

  1. Compensate Them Fairly

Compensating your employees fairly and competitively can be tricky. Many factors play into the formula: the type of position, salary trends for the industry, and the employee’s years of experience and skills. Then of course, there’s what you can afford to pay.

But it’s often not just about the money.

“Compensation is changing,” Marks says. “I don’t think we’re just talking salary. Paid time off is a huge thing with the millennial generation. Having a good PTO policy will help recruit more people and keep them happy.”

Other forms of creative compensation include benefits and the title you assign to the job.

“Title is another way to compensate people,” according to Marks. “It’s all about feeling like you’re doing something worthwhile and are valued. Having a title is really helpful, particularly if you’ve earned it.”

  1. Know How to Lead

Leadership is a skill. Some people come by it naturally, but it’s also a skill you can develop with dedicated practice. Strong leadership will motivate your employees and earn you their trust and confidence.

“It’s all by example,” Marks says. “Really, in the end, that describes a great leader. You never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself and you lead by example via your hard work, commitment and caring.”

Your ability to delegate, communicate, solve problems and sometimes make tough decisions will also earn your employees’ respect.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. Posted with permission from The Hartford Insurance.

The Phish are Biting!

Dear Client,

Your debit card appears to have been compromised.  Click here to verify your account number and give us your password.  We promise this is a legitimate request and not an attempt to steal your identify.

Sincerely,

“Your Bank”

If only phishing attempts were that obvious.  In the early days of “phishing, ” one might receive an email from prince in Nigeria with a request for money or a relative overseas who needed money to get back to the States.  Today, it’s much harder to tell a phishing email from a legitimate one. Targeted phishing emails remain a common method of infecting network systems with malware. Updated anti-virus security software will detect many forms of malware and block infection, but truly effective cyber-security relies on user vigilance. Employers must develop training for all employees that not only addresses secure user behaviors like creating strong passwords and keeping software up-to-date, but also educates users on the latest cybercrime schemes and how to recognize and manage phishing emails.

What is Phishing?

According to Wikipedia, “Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” Cyber criminals use emails designed to look like they came from a legitimate bank, government agency, or organization. Typically, these emails ask you to click on a link that goes to a page where a form asks for personal information or account information.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Company/Organization

Here are some tips to help you recognize phishing emails, so you do not get caught in a cyber criminal’s trap. While these tips are not foolproof, they will certainly help you better understand the difference between legitimate emails and phishing emails.

  1. A real company does not request sensitive information in an email.

Companies know that phishing emails are a real problem. Look at the legitimate emails you receive from your bank. They always tell you to log into your online bank account to provide them sensitive information. A real company will never ask you to click on a link that takes you to a website to enter sensitive information. If they do, stop doing business with them.

  1. A real company knows who you are.

Phishing emails often have generic greetings. You do have to be careful here, however, because smarter cyber criminals may have done research on the organization and use a legitimate name and title in a phishing email.

  1. A real company sends emails from their own domain.

If you have any doubt about a received email, always check the domain where the email is being sent from. You can test the email address by hovering your mouse over the “from” address. This is not a foolproof method as sometimes companies use other domains to send emails to customers.

  1. A real company knows how to spell and use correct grammar.

This can be subtle. Most companies take great pains to make sure the spelling and grammar within their emails to customers are accurate and proper. If the text in an email seems off, it could be a tip-off to a phishing email. Also, the description of currency can be a tip-off. $100 USD is not a normal way to describe a price. Unless you do a significant amount of international business, using USD to describe U.S. dollars is not common.

  1. A real company does not send image-only emails.

Some phishing emails look like they contain text but only include an image. The danger is that the picture could be one big hyperlink. You may be thinking you’re clicking on a link in the email when in fact you’re clicking on the image.

  1. A real company does not randomly email attachments.

Receiving an email from a company with an unexpected attachment is another tip-off that the email might not be legitimate. While this is not always the case (you could receive an invoice via an email attachment) be very skeptical about the email if it contains an attachment you are not expecting.

Steps to take if you identify a phishing email

  • Make sure you do not click on any links within the email or open any attachments. Also, be careful before you click on any pictures that might be contained in the email.
  • Don’t reply to the sender.
  • Report the phishing scam to the FTC at spam@uce.gov.
  • Delete the email. Make sure you physically remove it from your computer. If you are using Outlook, make sure to use the Shift|Delete keys, not just Delete. Deleting an email in Outlook moves it to the deleted items folder. Using Shift|Delete physically removes the email from your computer.
  • If you do business with the company mentioned in the email, you can check with the firm (we suggest calling them) to let them know their name is associated with a phishing email.
  • If you are not sure a received email is legitimate (especially if it has an attachment that you are not expecting), send a separate email – don’t use reply! – asking the individual if they sent you the attachment.

Again, none of these tips are foolproof. They will, however, provides you with a quick checklist you can use when evaluating a suspicious email.

The greatest asset of your organization is your employees. The most significant security risk for your organization is also your employees. We all need to be reminded constantly that not every email you receive is legitimate, and making your employees aware of what to look for is a great first step.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. Posted with permission from Steve Anderson.

Texting, Speeding, Running Lights, and Employer Liability

Employers are vicariously liable for injuries to others caused by the negligence of their employees while driving on behalf of the employer.  Employers are also liable for injuries to the employee driver sustained while driving for the benefit of the employer under workers’ compensation laws, even if the other driver is negligent.

Whether an employee’s primary job duty is driving or if the employee occasionally drives, employers must prohibit texting while driving and require employees to follow rules of the road as part of their job.  Choosing the right employees to drive for your company is the most basic element in your company’s fleet safety program.

An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey of 2,511 drivers found that 88 percent of drivers, ages 19 to 24, engage in risky behavior behind the wheel including texting while driving, running red lights, and speeding.

Specifically, 59.3 percent of Millennials admit to texting while driving; nearly half admitted running red lights; and more than 10 percent said it was acceptable to speed in a school zone.

Eighty percent of drivers surveyed (Millennials, Generation X’ers, Baby Boomers, etc.) think it is unacceptable to drive while drowsy; however, 28.9 percent admitted driving while drowsy. Ninety percent of surveyed drivers understood it was dangerous to drive through a red light, but nearly one-third polled admitted driving through red lights.

Choosing the right employees to drive for your company is the most basic element in your company’s fleet safety program, because driver behavior is responsible for 90% of all highway accidents. In 2013, motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion.

Who Are Your Drivers?

Anyone who drives a vehicle on behalf of your company, whether it is owned by the company, rented, or is a personal vehicle, should be considered a driver.  Employees hired mainly as drivers are easy to identify. But, occasional drivers who use rental or personal vehicles for business purposes are sometimes overlooked when companies consider their fleet risks. Companies must be mindful of everyone who is driving on behalf of the organization, and the extent of that driving.

Good Drivers Are Good for Business

Your business depends on your drivers and the decisions they make on the road every day. Here are some ways that good drivers benefit your bottom line:

  • Reduce the cost of loss. Fleet vehicle accidents are among the most costly of injury claims for business. The average cost of a loss related to vehicle accidents is approximately $70,000. Safe drivers can help lower the possibility of loss due to accidents.
  • Lower liability in case of loss. Effective screening, hiring, training and monitoring can help reduce liability.
  • Boost your public image. Every driver has the potential to send a message. When your truck is headed down the highway, you want it to tell a positive story about your company. A good driver tells the kind of story you want to tell.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. Posted with permission from Travelers Insurance.

Golf Carts in South Carolina

Golf carts have become a common means of transportation for many families.  As an insurance advisor, the safety issues involved with golf carts concern us, particularly when we see children behind the wheel.   With the multi-usage of golf carts these days, your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t provide enough coverage if you are a golf cart owner.  South Carolina law states that those who wish to operate a golf cart must be at least 16 years old and possess a valid South Carolina driver’s license. The driver of the golf cart must have the registration card of the golf cart and his or her driver’s license while operating the golf cart on highways.

If you have a valid S.C. driver’s license, you may drive your golf cart during the day within four miles of your home or business and on secondary highways.  For more information on how to obtain a permit from any DMV office, click here.  Incidentally, you need to renew this permit every 5 years or every time you change your address.

“Does my homeowner’s policy cover my ATV or golf cart?” 

Answer:  Only when the ATV or golf cart is being used on your residence premise and solely for the maintenance of your property.   We recommend that you purchase a specialized policy that provides coverage when your ATV or golf cart is used for pleasure, whether on or off of your property.   Another benefit of covering your ATV or golf cart on a specialized policy is you won’t risk filing a claim on your homeowner’s policy.  ATV or golf cart policies can average from $100-$250.

“Will my auto policy cover my ATV, boat, golf cart or motorcycle if something should happen while I am transporting my recreational vehicle on the road?”

Answer: An auto policy will cover the damage caused by any of these while being pulled behind your vehicle.  However, it does not cover damage to the ATV, boat, golf cart or motorcycle in this scenario.  A specialized policy offers physical damage for the ATV or golf cart, liability coverage up to $500,000 and covers  recreational use when you are away from your residence.  Medical payments coverage is offered for up to $25,000, giving you coverage for recreational use and while away from your residence.

If you have any questions or need to talk about insuring your golf cart, please call us at 864-288-9513 or email us today.

The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency located in Greenville, South Carolina and in Clemson, South Carolina as The Sosebee Agency. Serving the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond since 1962, we offer a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs for home, auto, business, or other insurance products.  Contact The Turner Agency or the Sosebee Agency, a Turner Agency partner, today.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all-inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. 

Changes in the Auto Insurance Market

The cost of insurance is affected by many factors in the overall marketplace, and your driving record is just one of them.

Trends in the auto industry cause rates to fluctuate. At times, the increases are small adjustments for inflation. Other times, multiple factors can cause rates to rise.  Some of the likely causes of the trends we are currently seeing include:

  • Gas is cheaper than it was five years ago.  This allows more people and vehicles to be on the road, leads to more accidents, and is reflected in significantly increased claims frequency.
  • Distracted driving is on the rise.  Drivers are more distracted than ever by texting and surfing the web. At the same time, traffic fatalities are approaching record levels.  The National Safety Council estimates that one in four car crashes involves cell phone use.
  • Auto claims are much more expensive than they used to be. Cars have more advanced technology and safety devices now. For example, insurers are replacing car bumpers that now have cameras and sensors built into them.  This drives up replacement and labor costs
  • Medical costs.  Costs are growing exponentially, affecting the amount paid on claims.

According to Travelers Insurance, in the year 2005, a Honda Accord bumper cost $818.  In 2015, it cost $1,162, which was an increase of 42%.  In 2005, a Ford side view mirror cost $845; in 2015, it cost $1,349 (up 60%).

We understand that rate revisions can be difficult, and we are here to help however we can.  If you are looking for ways to control the costs of your automobile insurance, here are some of our suggestions:

What are your deductibles? Are you willing and able to pay more out-of-pocket if you have an accident? 

A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of your own pocket before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible should mean a lower premium; a lower deductible, a higher premium. Auto insurance deductibles typically range from $100 to $1000, but vary by coverage, company and state.  We recommend that you choose a deductible you’d be comfortable paying in the event of a loss.

Do you have all of your insurance with us? 

Several insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts when you have more than one policy with them. For example, if you insure both your home and auto with one company, you may could save money on both policies.  While it doesn’t always work that way, it pays to let us review all of your coverage to be sure you have the best solution for your unique situation.

Are you a safe driver?

Many companies offer savings and discounts to safe drivers. For example, if you and others in your household maintain driving records free of accidents, violations, and large claims, you could see lower premiums.

Other ways to save

Auto insurance companies differ in the types and amounts of discounts and savings they offer, but here are some ways to you may be able to save:

  • Paid in full discount or automatic draft payments for people who pay their entire premiums in full or via an automatic draft.
  • “Go Green” and cut off the paper delivery of your policies and some companies will offer a discount.
  • Good student discount, for young drivers with good grades (e.g., A/B average).
  • Driver training discount, for young drivers (e.g., under age 21) who complete a driver training course.
  • Student away at school discount, for people with a child who goes away to school and leaves his car at home.
  • Safe driver discount, for drivers that have no accidents, violations or major comprehensive claims in their households.
  • Multi-car discount, for people who have multiple cars insured on one auto policy.
  • Hybrid vehicle discount for customers with hybrid autos.
  • Early quote discount, for people who plan ahead and get a quote in advance of their desired policy start date.

While not all of these may be offered by every company, our partners offer many of these options.  As an independent agent, we are proud to be able to offer you a choice in companies for the coverage you need. If you have questions, please call us at 864-288-9513 or email us today.

The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency located in Greenville, South Carolina and in Clemson, South Carolina as The Sosebee Agency. Serving the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond since 1962, we offer a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs for home, auto, business, or other insurance products.  Contact The Turner Agency or the Sosebee Agency, a Turner Agency partner, today.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all-inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. 

Understanding Automobile Insurance – What Do All Those Terms on My Policy Mean?

Do terms like liability, comprehensive coverage, and underinsured seem like a foreign language to you?  If so, you are not alone.

Ross Turner’s wife loves to tell the story of when Ross first reviewed her auto insurance policy.  Both were single at the time, and Julie’s insurance bill was due.  Ross looked at the policy and couldn’t believe his eyes.

Julie had the minimum limits and very little coverage – on her brand new 1988 Honda Accord!  When he asked her why, she said she had called an 800 number and asked for the best price.  She had no idea that her policy would not have paid enough if she had been in an accident.  Suffice it to say, Ross eventually became her insurance agent and her husband…in that order!

It’s important to understand your automobile insurance coverage, even though it can seem complicated. Take a moment to review these key auto insurance terms and what the mean to you:

Liability Insurance – This coverage reimburses others for injury, damages or losses caused by your driving or your car. There are two types:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – In a car crash where you’re at fault, bodily injury liability will provide compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings and related expenses resulting from injury or death. We advise you take the highest limits possible.  At a minimum you want to protect your assets, knowing that you can be sued over your current assets as well as any future wages and/or inheritance.
  • Property Damage Liability – This coverage will pay to repair or replace things you damage in an accident other than your own car. Again, it’s best to consider your personal situation.

Collision Insurance – Collision covers the replacement or repair of your car, regardless of who is at fault in the accident, even if you are hit while parked or hit by an unknown car or object. If you have a car loan, you are required to have collision protection. On the other hand, if your older car’s value rises and falls based on the gas in its tank, you may consider dropping collision coverage.

Comprehensive Insurance– Comprehensive coverage protects against damage to your car that does not involve a collision (examples include fire, theft, hail, flood, windstorm, flying objects or animals). It’s likely required if you’re paying a car loan, but optional if you own an older car that’s not worth much.

Medical Payments Coverage– This helps pays for physicians, hospital bills, continuing care, funeral costs and compensation for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. If you have adequate health insurance, you may not need this optional coverage, but it can pay expenses your health insurance may not cover.

Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage– This covers you and members of your household, for losses in an accident with a hit-and-run driver or a driver who has no car insurance or not enough car insurance.  Four of the top ten claims ever paid out of our office were due to underinsured claims, so we highly recommend this coverage.

The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency located in Greenville, South Carolina and in Clemson, South Carolina as The Sosebee Agency. Serving the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond since 1962, we offer a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs for home, auto, business, or other insurance products.  Contact The Turner Agency or the Sosebee Agency, a Turner Agency partner, today.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all-inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. 

Tips to Burglarproof Your Home This Summer

June 21 means the first day of Summer!  Thankfully, vacation season is upon us but that means burglaries will inherently increase. Each year, there are more than 2 million burglaries, over 65 percent of which are residential break-ins, with the majority occurring in the peak vacation months of July and August. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 home break-ins could be prevented if homeowners would take simple steps to burglarproof their homes.

Here are some important tips that can help you protect your home from burglary while you’re away this summer:

  • Mum’s the Word! Don’t announce your departure date or provide updates on social media. Doing so tells everyone know you are away and can make your home a prime target (this goes for your children as well.) Wait until you return to share all those vacation photos.
  • Stop delivery of your mail and newspapers, or have a friend or neighbor pick them up for you.
  • Trust a neighbor with your key in the event that something happens. Make sure you give our contact information to them in case of an emergency.
  • Use timers on lights, televisions and radios to make it appear as if someone is home.
  • Have your lawn maintained if you will be gone for more than a few days.
  • Leave the air conditioner on; a silent compressor on a hot day is a good indication you aren’t home.
  • Check with your local law enforcement agency. Many of them now offer a service where you can sign up to have an officer drive by your home and check on it during a regular shift…and it’s usually free!

Fire and water damage can also threaten your home while you’re enjoying your time away so be sure to take a few preventative measure to help protect your home from these perils:

  • Unplug everything but the refrigerator, freezer, and the lights and radios you have set on timers.
  • If possible, turn off the water to your sinks, toilets, dishwasher, washing machine, and hot water heater.

 

The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency located in Greenville, South Carolina and in Clemson, South Carolina as The Sosebee Agency. Serving the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond since 1962, we offer a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs for home, auto, business, or other insurance products.  Contact The Turner Agency or the Sosebee Agency, a Turner Agency partner, today.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources and is not all inclusive regarding the subject matter. This content is offered for educational purposes only. Posted with permission from Central Insurance

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