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Am I Covered if I Lend My Car?

Blog by Erie Insurance

If you own a car, chances are you’ve let a friend or family member borrow it at least once.

After all, there are plenty of reasons to hand over the keys. Maybe you needed a relative to pick up your kids from school. Or you’re helping someone get to work after their car broke down.

But did you know that in the event of an accident… it’s your auto insurance policy that typically would have to pay?

“By far, the number one misconception about loaning out your vehicle is that if you let your neighbor borrow your car, an accident should go on his insurance because he was the one driving,” said Dave Freeman, vice president and regional underwriting officer at Erie Insurance. “But in private passenger auto insurance, the coverage typically follows the vehicle, not the driver.”

Let’s break it down.

DOES MY CAR INSURANCE COVER OTHER DRIVERS?

If you’re an ERIE customer, insured drivers include:

  • Resident relatives: Many personal auto policies provide coverage to the named insured, their spouse or domestic partner and any other resident relatives. So if someone is a member of your family and lives in your home, they’re automatically an insured under your policy unless excluded.
  • Domestic partners: If someone lives with you but isn’t a relative, they are not named insureds under your policy. However, if you’re living with a domestic partner, they can be added to your policy as a named insured but only if your relationship is the long-term, committed type – you share domestic responsibilities and have joint financial obligations. All you have to do is call your agent and let them know. They’ll send out a short driver questionnaire and check your partner’s driving record to determine eligibility.
  • Someone with permissive use: If you loaned out your car to a friend or neighbor, your policy generally will cover them – as long as you gave your permission. If they are a regular and repeated user of the car, they should also have coverage. The only exception is if a driver has been specifically excluded on your policy.

Finally: If someone else is regularly driving your car, it’s important to let your agent know.

Chances are, anyone you let borrow your car will fall into one of these three categories. But just because someone is covered doesn’t mean loaning your car is risk-free.

LOANING YOUR CAR: CONSIDER THE PROS AND CONS

Here’s the good news: If the driver falls into one of the three categories above, and the loss is covered under the terms of your policy, your insurance can help pay for the damage – even if you weren’t the one driving.

But here’s the tricky part: Depending on the situation – and the specifics of your policy – you might get stuck paying a surcharge on your auto insurance premium for an at-fault accident, even if you weren’t the one driving at the time. (Every policy is different, so ask your agent if this applies to you.)

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Disaster Safety

Blog by Erie Insurance

Tornados, hurricanes, wind and hail can all add chaos to your life. See what you can do to protect your loved ones, and your belongings, from disaster before the storm strikes. And if Mother Nature strikes, see what you can do to help speed up the recovery process.

KNOW WHAT TO DO BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER A STORM

  • Floods
  • Hail
  • Winter Storms
  • Hurricanes
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes

WHEN DISASTER HITS YOUR HOMETOWN

We know what it’s like to have your life turned upside down. And we know how important it is to get back to normal. That’s why we have a dedicated team of claims adjusters who respond to catastrophe claims. These individuals are trained to handle weather claims. They are sent to your community immediately following a weather event so they can be at your doorstep, handling your claim in no time. In fact, our customers are always amazed at how quickly we respond – and with compassion. Depending on the severity of the weather event, you may see our catastrophe vans in your town. These mobile claims offices help us schedule appointments and provide checks so you can begin the repair process and get on with your life.

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Insurance for Teen Drivers

Blog by Erie Insurance

Getting a driver’s license is a milestone for teenagers, but it can also mark the start of their most dangerous years on the road. Safety is important to you. We understand and want to provide you with the best auto insurance coverage to help protect your family.

INSURING A YOUNG DRIVER

Do you know a teenager who will be behind the wheel soon? It’s an exciting (and nerve-racking) experience to help teens get the training that they need to become safe, responsible drivers.

One of the first things that you’ll want to do is to check on the driving laws in your state. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have graduated driver licensing laws to help teens gradually build up driving experience in a low-risk way.

We offer great protection with auto insurance coverage for the whole family. Your local agent will add a young driver with a learner’s permit to your family’s auto policy. This simple step helps ensure that we have the information that we need in case the novice driver is in an accident. Once the young driver passes the driving test, ask your agent about your coverage and costs. Any time you add a licensed driver to your policy, your insurance rates will be adjusted.

INSURANCE COSTS

One of the primary reasons why teen drivers tend to have higher insurance rates than other drivers is because of the number of accidents teens are involved in. Every year, studies show that young drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are involved in more accidents than other age groups. Insurance companies need to balance rates with the cost to cover claims.

Insurance costs will gradually lower with each successive year a young driver gains experience without any traffic violations or accidents. At age 24, with the next policy renewal, their rates with Erie Insurance will lower from a young driver to an adult. (In North Carolina, driving experience factors gradually decrease until the driver gains eight years of experience).

DISCOUNTS FOR YOUNG DRIVERS

To help offset the costs, some discounts offer young drivers a discount between 5 and 20 percent. Young drivers may qualify for:

  • Youthful Driver Discount – Unmarried drivers under 21 who reside with their parents.
  • Youthful Longevity Discount – Unmarried young drivers may receive a credit for the consecutive years spent insured under another ERIE auto policy (usually a parent’s or guardian’s policy).
  • Driver Training Discount – Young drivers under age 21 who have completed an accredited driver training course.

There’s also another way to save on insurance costs: college student discount. If your son or daughter is living away from home while attending school and does not have access to a car, let your insurance agent know. You may receive a discount for the time that he or she isn’t driving the car.

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Do you know what you need?

Blog by Erie Insurance

Term vs. Whole Life Insurance: Which Do You Need?

Life is always changing – which is why it’s important to review your insurance needs and make sure your coverage is keeping up with your life. Whether you’re entering adulthood or nearing retirement, you may have a need for life insurance… but understanding which policy is best for you can be confusing. Let’s talk term and whole life insurance to help you find which benefits you the most, at any stage of life.

TERM LIFE INSURANCE
Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific number of years and you select the “term”. It’s an easy, more affordable option if you’re not looking for lifelong coverage. But, if you should change your mind, during your policy term you usually have the option to renew it or perhaps convert it into a permanent life plan.

At Erie Insurance, we offer two term life insurance plans including an easy-to-purchase option and level term insurance. An ERIE agent can help you decide which option is best for your situation.

Some general things to know about term life insurance:

  • You have the option of choosing how long and how much
  • Plans usually come in 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 year packages
  • It is often more affordable than other life insurance options
  • Some policies come with an option to convert to permanent
  • It only pays if you perish during the period of the policy

When would I need term life insurance?

In your 20s: There are reasons to consider life insurance protection at a young age. Your rates will be less expensive because insurers price policies based on risk and young people have a far lower mortality rate than older groups. College and credit card debt could be one expense you want to cover. According to Debt.org, the average student debt is over $37,000. A term policy can help relieve the burden of college loan payments away from your co-signer or family.

In your 30s and 40s: A new house, spouse and growing family are just a few reasons to consider a term life policy. While the best approach is often a blend of term and whole life insurance – that provides lifelong coverage and builds cash value – term policies can help cover the basic expenses if the unexpected does occur.

Whether you’re a fresh-out-of-college grad, a home owner, newly married or just had your first child, here are a few reasons why you might need a term life policy:

  • Funeral costs – From funeral planning to cemetery arrangements and proper permits, a funeral can cost up to $8,755. A term life insurance plan helps cover those costs so your family and loved ones don’t have to.
  • Income protection – Consider how much money your family would need without your paycheck in the picture. A term policy can help cover rent, utilities, groceries, car payments or childcare expenses so your family can maintain their lifestyle to the comfort they are used to.
  • Mortgage protection – Having life insurance in place can allow your family’s story to continue in the home they know and love.
  • Child starter plan – Purchasing life insurance when your children are young means they’ll be able to have life insurance when they need it most – even if there are health problems that run in your family. Once in place, their rate won’t go up and they’ll also have the option to exchange their term policy into a permanent cash value policy later in life.

WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE

Whole Life Insurance, also called permanent life insurance, is designed to last your lifetime. That means your family and beneficiaries are covered for the duration of your life*. In addition to providing financial protection, whole life policies build cash value which allows you an opportunity to build your wealth.

Some things to know about whole life insurance:

  • Provides coverage for your entire life
  • Accumulates cash value
  • Premiums and coverage are guaranteed to remain the same for your lifetime

When would I need whole life insurance?

In your 30s and 40s: While a term life plan can be a great to start for life insurance protection, the best approach is often a blend of term and permanent life insurance that provides lifelong coverage and builds cash value. Whole life insurance can be used to cover the same expenses as term – like funeral costs, income replacement and mortgage protection, for example. Your ERIE agent can guide you in deciding when to choose whole life instead of term and how much to purchase.

50s and up: At this stage of life, you may have entered the “sandwich generation” meaning you might care for elderly parents while financially supporting college students or young-adult children. Inadequate protection could put both groups of family members at risk. At the same time, retirement savings might not stretch as far as expected after factoring in taxes, inflation and less-than-stellar investment returns. With a whole life policy you can borrow against your policy cash value as well as use it to supplement your income during your retirement years. Talk to an Erie Insurance agent about how whole life fits into your overall financial plan.

No better time than now
Learn more about the life coverage that fits best with your life by talking with a professional, like an Erie Insurance agent. Together you can find the policy that provides peace of mind and the perfect protection for you, and your family.

*The guaranteed death benefit can expire if no premiums are paid following initial premium, or if subsequent premiums are insufficient or if account value is reduced by withdrawal or loan.

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J.D. Power Auto Claims

Blog by Erie Insurance

When you experience an unlucky break… that’s where we shine.

As an Erie Insurance provider, we’re excited to share that Erie earned a top spot in the J.D. Power Auto Claims Study!

At Erie Insurance, we’re here to make your day brighter with award-winning auto claims service that makes you feel supported and cared for.

We’re honored to share the news that for the first time, Erie Insurance has been awarded first place in the 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM by J.D. Power. The study focuses on personal auto insurance customer satisfaction among drivers who receive a physical damage or total loss claims settlement.

ERIE’s overall satisfaction score rose by ten points – now 30 points above the industry average – taking the company up from third place in 2017.

Let’s be honest: No one really looks forward to filing an auto insurance claim. But helping you through it is the heart of our business. At ERIE, we’re here to give you prompt, personalized attention that helps you quickly get back to your normal routine.

“Being there when our customers need us the most and following our motto to be ‘Above all in Service’ is what helps us continue to grow and earn our reputation for quality insurance and superior claims service,” said Tim NeCastro, president and CEO of Erie Insurance. “We’re honored to receive this distinction.”

The 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 10,000 auto insurance customers who settled a claim within the past six months prior to the survey. The study excludes claimants whose vehicle incurred only glass/windshield damage or was stolen, or who only filed a roadside assistance claim.

Your claim is how we start making things right for you, resetting the damage and distress of an unexpected loss. We’re on it – so you can relax, rebound and get back to your life.

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Achieve Your Goals

Blog by Erie Insurance

ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment you get from achieving a goal.

Your goals in life are important to us. Whether you’re training for a 5K, renovating your home, starting a family or changing direction in life… looking to the future means making a plan and having encouragement along the way.

When it comes to your financial goals, our local agents are here to help with insurance coverage that protects what you’ve worked so hard to build. By getting to know you, your local ERIE agent can make sure you have coverage that fits your life and budget.

HOW TO MOVE FROM THE COUCH TO A 5K

If you’re looking for motivation to get off the couch, running a 5K is a great fitness goal to work toward. Don’t be intimidated by the number. At a distance of just over three miles, a good training program can have you crossing the finish line of your first 5K in just a few months.

WHERE TO START

There are plenty of benefits to running for exercise. It’s been proven to improve both your physical and mental health. And because you can run nearly anywhere, it’s an activity that’s accessible to anyone.

But you should first talk to your doctor to see if you’re healthy enough to start training. Once you’re cleared to begin, it’s time to set your goal and get to work!

WHAT TO EXPECT

The biggest rookie mistake many aspiring runners make is trying to do too much, too fast. This can lead to an injury, which will set you back from achieving your goal. So don’t overdo it during your first few workouts. Instead, follow a 5K training plan.

Most programs give you about 8-12 weeks of training leading up to the race, which helps you steadily build stamina. You can start with an online training plan, like this series of 5K training programs from Runners World. Some are more aggressive than others, so be sure to choose one that’s a good fit for your level of fitness and running experience.

Once you pick a plan, your training will include a combination of walking, running and rest. Here’s a look at what you can expect:

  • Walking: Most programs recommend that you run and walk in the same workout. For the first few weeks, you’ll walk more than you run. But as time goes on, you’ll get stronger and start walking less.
  • Running: If you’ve never exercised much, this will be the most intimidating part of the program. The important thing to remember is you should run at a pace that’s comfortable for you, even if it’s a casual jog. Remember, the ultimate goal of your 5K is to cover the distance — not to set a record-breaking time.
  • Rest: When you’re training, putting your feet up can be just as important working out. Giving your muscles time to recover will build your strength and help prevent injuries. Training programs often have rest days built in, so you’ll have something to look forward to after a hard day of running.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Any time you start a new workout program, it’s important to listen to your body. Factors like uneven terrain, bad form and overtraining can all cause running injuries. Wearing the wrong type of running shoes can cause injuries, too.

Follow your trainer or doctor’s advice to treat any specific conditions you’re experiencing. For general information, the Cleveland Clinic offers these tips to prevent running injuries.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to rest, check your gear or see a doctor:

  • Joint pain: Pounding your feet on the pavement can do a number on your joints, particularly your knees and ankles. Arthritis and other chronic pain can also get inflamed with exercise. Be sure that you are icing and getting proper rest if you start to experience joint pain.
  • Persistent pain: It’s normal to experience some soreness after you start training. But if the pain doesn’t decrease after rest or begins as soon as you train again, there could be something wrong.  If you have lasting discomfort or need pain medications to train, contact a doctor.
  • Heart issues: Running is great for your cardiovascular health. But if you’re at risk, know how to spot the signs of serious trouble like a heart attack. If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, put the workout on pause and get medical help right away.

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How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Blog by Erie Insurance

Frigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze – or even burst. Do you know how to tell if pipes are frozen? We’ve pulled together tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do freeze.

Pro tip: Know ahead of time how your homeowners insurance can kick in to help repair damage from a frozen and burst water pipe. Not sure if you’re covered? Talk to a local ERIE agent to find out.

SYMPTOMS OF FROZEN PIPES

One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, head first to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst.

If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  • Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. This is a good idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  • Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

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Join our team!

We’re searching for an Office Manager/Customer Service person to join our multi-county general lines insurance agency in Monticello Indiana. Position would manage and service accounts originating in the Monticello, IN region (White County and adjacent).

Qualifications:
– Current Indiana property and casualty insurance license
– Office administration experience
– Willingness to develop new business cross selling existing accounts.
– NO non-compete agreement with current employer.

Successful candidate should be self-motivated, organized, have basic computer skills, and desire to develop a rewarding career.

Please contact the office to apply or for more information.

Home-Based Business Office

Blog by Erie Insurance

Home-based businesses are on the rise. According to research done by IncFile, a small business start-up firm based out of Houston, Texas, it’s estimated that there are 38 million home-based businesses that generate $427 billion a year in the United States. Of those businesses, 20 percent of them bring in $100-500k per year. Big or small, home-based businesses all share one common challenge: Setting up a space to get work done.

Not sure where to start? Then read on to get some tips to set up your home-based business office.

EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Chances are you don’t have an abundance of funds if you’re just starting out. That’s why it’s important to create a budget and commit to it. Thrift stores, clearance aisles and yard sales are all great ways to score good buys if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Think through technology. Do you need a new phone line? Consider a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which allows you to make voice calls over a broadband connection. You might need a faster internet connection to support it.
  • Keep your receipts and bills. Many items that you purchase and a percentage of your utility bills (including that high-speed internet) for your home-based office might be eligible to deduct from your taxes.
  • Think about the equipment you really need. If you’re going to use a piece of equipment on a daily basis, buy it. For equipment you use less often, a trip to a copier or office supplies store may be more economical.
  • Stock up on supplies. Whether it’s paper, pens, printer ink or boxes, make sure to have plenty of supplies on hand. Constantly having to buy one thing at a time cuts into your productivity — plus, you can usually pay less if you buy in bulk.
  • Invest in ergonomics. A properly set up work station helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the risk of work-related injuries (like carpel tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, or other muscle strains).

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Prevent Kitchen Fires

Blog by Erie Insurance

There’s no doubt that some of the best holiday indulgences (turkey! cookies! cake!) come out of an oven, not a gift-wrapped box. But along with the many good things that originate in the kitchen throughout the holiday season, there’s something else that’s all-too-common: fires.

The kitchen is the most common origin for home fires and fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking is the leading cause. Burns are the third most likely cause of fatal home injuries, too, according to the Home Safety Council. (For kids, they’re the most likely cause of fatalities).

And now, for the kicker: November and (especially) December are two of the most common months for home fires to occur. But don’t throw in your spatula just yet.

“The good news is that you can prevent fires and injuries by taking simple precautions,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Public Affairs for the National Fire Protection Association. “Start by being aware of the risks.”
This holiday season, follow these no-nonsense tips for keeping you, your family, and your home safe.

HOW TO PREVENT BURNS DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Keep the kids away. Consider cordoning off the stove area with colored tape to teach little ones to steer clear of this danger zone.

Suit up. Roll up your sleeves and slip on long mitts. Loose clothing can catch fire while bare hands and arms are easily burned or scalded. Also, make sure to wear mitts when removing food from a microwave — things have a way of heating up more than you think.

Organize your stove top. Use the back burners and angle pot and pan handles toward the back of the range.This greatly reduces the chance of accidents that could lead to injury.

Put hot foods in their place. Position hot foods as far away from counter edges as possible. Anywhere else makes it easy for kids to topple dishes.

Skip the fancy linens. If you have young children, ditch the tablecloths and placemats. It only takes one tug to spill hot liquids and foods.

Set a (temperature) limit. Cap your tap water temperature at 120 degrees. “Faucet water that is too hot is a very overlooked source of scalds,” says Shannon McDaniel, spokesperson for the Home Safety Council. “It’s best to turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees. If your don’t have direct access to your hot water heater or don’t feel comfortable handling yourself, call your gas or electric company.”

Know what to do in case of an accident. Treat burns and scalds immediately. “Even a little bit of heat continues to burn the skin for 24 to 48 hours if it’s not properly treated,” says McDaniel. To cool a burn or a scald, run the affected area under cold water for at least three minutes. Don’t put any ice or lotion on the injury, and always call 911 if your condition is severe.

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