Safe Travels

young family at airport with a trolley full of luggageWhere’s your dream destination? Soft, warm sand meeting the waves, not a cloud in the sky? Majestic, snow-capped peaks rising up to the heavens? Or maybe a warm fireplace, surrounded by family and friends?

Many people use the summer time to get out of town. But nothing ruins a vacation like an unexpected mishap. Traveling is, by definition, a break from the ordinary routine. It’s a journey into unfamiliar territory. Any break from the comfort zone is a ripe time for complications.

Take a few minutes to prepare yourself, though, and you’ll be able to safely enjoy your travels.
Before You Leave

The best way to stay safe is to fix problems before they ever occur. Before you roll out the driveway, be sure you’re thoroughly prepared for your trip.

1. Weather — Check the climate and forecast before leaving. Have you packed the appropriate clothes and layers for the trip?

2. Travel Alerts — Check online travel alerts for your destination. Some places in the world become dangerous, and you should know the cultural climate before you arrive (note: this applies more for international trips than domestic) http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.

3. Health Concerns — Visit a travel clinic before any international trips. You may need certain vaccinations before boarding the plane. Or there may be general concerns such as food poisoning.

4. Credit Card — Before leaving the country, call your credit card provider and set up a travel alert. This will allow you to use your card without setting off red flags. Even if you aren’t expecting to use the card, you never know when you’ll need it.

5. Itinerary — Whether traveling internationally or domestically, give a trusted friend or family member your itinerary. Let them know when you’re traveling, where to, and what day you expect to return. 6. Home Safety — Ask a trusted friend to watch after your house and keep it safe.
In Transit

The act of traveling provides its own unique risks. Take a few easy steps and ensure you arrive to your destination in one piece.

1. Stretch Often — Whether traveling by car or plane, it’s dangerous to stay sitting for too long. Take frequent opportunities, when the airplane’s seatbelt light is off or when filling up your car’s gas tank, to stand up and stretch. Walk around, get your blood flowing again.

2. Stay Hydrated — Traveling, exhausting as it is, doesn’t expend much energy. Mostly, you just sit there. Thanks to this, it’s easy to avoid drinking water — you almost forget about it. But you can still get dehydrated. If you change altitude (driving into the mountains or boarding an airplane) this happens even quicker. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. It may mean more frequent restroom breaks, but that just means you get up and stretch!

3. Keep Essentials On Hand — If you travel with any essential or valuable items (for example, prescription medicines) keep those within easy-access. This means checked baggage if you’re flying or glove compartment if you’re driving. You never want to spend time tracking down an item you need in the moment.

4. Maintain Vehicle — Remember to tune up your vehicle before driving it across the country. Take it in to a trusted mechanic and find out if anything needs fixing to make it roadworthy. If your auto insurance has roadside assistance, make sure you have the phone number handy.
While You’re There

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, practice a few simple principles to avoid unnecessary risk or hazard.

1. Communication Plan — Before you leave, create a communication plan. When will you let friends back home know you’ve arrived at your destination? If traveling internationally, do you know how you’ll communicate? Does your cell phone plan work, or will you use FaceTime or email?

2. Documents — While at your destination, keep important documents with you, and copies in a safe place. Necessary documents vary depending on destination, but may include passport, drivers license, and emergency phone numbers.

3. Don’t be a Target — Most tourists stand out in a crowd — large camera, loud clothes, wandering aimlessly and looking at a map. In other words, they’re easy targets for pickpockets. If you want to stay safe, sometimes the best method is to look safe. Walk confidently and blend into the crowd.

4. Travel Insurance — The best thing you can do to protect your trip is insure it. The right travel insurance can pay your medical bills for travel-related accidents, reimburse you for cancelled flights, and protect your car insurance rates if something happens to your rental. Some credit cards come with travel insurance, but check your coverage — it may not cover everything you want it to. Purchase your own travel insurance policy to be sure you’re fully covered.

Though traveling comes with its own risks, it doesn’t have to be dangerous. Take the time to properly prepare, and you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation safe and sound!

Common Auto Insurance Coverage

Two cars crashedMost Auto insurance policies are actually many levels of coverage, combined together to form a single insurance policy. Like items in a first aid kit, each option can cover you from different damages, accidents, and events.

To build the policy you want it’s important to understand what each common type of Auto insurance covers:

Liability Coverage – There are two types of liability coverage – coverage for Bodily Injury and coverage for Personal Property. Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, or post a bond, to register your vehicle or obtain a driver’s license.If you’re legally responsible, or “liable” for damages, Liability coverage helps pay for them. Legally required for drivers in almost every state, Liability coverage includes Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage, which pay for someone’s medical expenses, personal injuries, and property damage if you’re at-fault.

Collision Coverage – If you hit something like another vehicle or a fixed object like a guard rail, lamp post, or telephone poll, Collision Coverage helps pay for the damages to your car.

Comprehensive Coverage – If your car is broken into, or dented in a hail storm, Comprehensive Coverage would help cover the losses to your car. Sometimes called “Other Than Collision” or “Fire and Theft,” Comprehensive covers losses from things other than an accident, like vandalism, riots, floods, hail, fire, animal collisions, and theft.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – These days, about 1 in 7 drivers are completely uninsured…and about 30% of drivers don’t have enough insurance. That’s why it’s important to consider Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage. It provides Liability (Bodily Injury and Property Damage) coverage for you, if an uninsured or underinsured motorist is at fault in an accident. If you or anyone in your car is ever hurt in an accident, Medical Coverage can pay for their medical expenses.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Pip is similar to Medical Payments coverage, but it covers a wider range of costs. It can help pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses, work loss, funeral costs, and even replacement services. Many states require drivers to carry a minimum level of PIP coverage. When deciding on your Auto insurance policy or making changes to your coverage, it’s important to understand what each option does, and how it would work if you ever needed it. Some coverages are required by your state, while others are extra options you may want to expand your coverage.

How you’d like to customize your car insurance depends on your needs, budget, and the amount of coverage you want. Get an Auto insurance quote or work with Nancy Kuznieski, your local Farmers agent, to choose the coverage combinations that provide the best car insurance coverage at a price that fits your budget.

How to Lower the Cost of Car Insurance

Not all car insurance premiums are created equal. From your driving record, to how far you live from work and the type of car you drive, there are many factors that impact your car insurance costs.

Try these 5 smart tactics to reduce your car insurance rates:

 

1. Keep your driving record clean

When it comes to driving, it’s wise to leave racing to the pros over at NASCAR. Why? While using caution on the road may not win you any checkered flags, it could translate into substantial car insurance savings down the line.

In fact, Farmers offers a safe driver discount* if you’ve managed to avoid accidents and citations, and maintained a spotless record over a period of time.

2. Choose your car wisely

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new car – comfort, options, fuel economy, and (most importantly) cost. But a factor that’s often overlooked is auto insurance.

Auto insurance rates are calculated based on a host of factors such as make and model, cost of replacing parts, crash test rating, history of theft claims, price, and more.

(Believe it or not, if the SUV you’re planning to buy is considered theft-prone, that could possibly drive up your premiums.)

Before you walk out of the dealership with a new car, consult with your insurance agent, who can help you compare insurance rates on different models.

3. Research your car’s safety reputation

Keep in mind that owning a car with a high safety rating not only makes you and your family safer on the road, but with a reduced risk of accidents, it could lead to a lower premium too. Also, cars with factory-installed safety features such as air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes, or an anti-theft device, may help you qualify for additional savings.

View the 2015 Top Safety Picks to see if your car’s a top performer from a safety and insurability standpoint.

4. Look into teen and senior discounts

As any parent will tell you, it’s hard not to picture the worst case scenario and worry about mounting expenses when your teen gets behind the wheel for the first time.

There’s a silver lining though! Teen drivers who have good grades or live away at school may be eligible for policy discounts. So you’re usually better off adding them to the family plan rather than purchasing a separate policy.

Seniors, too, enjoy some auto insurance perks. Farmers, for example, offers discounts to residents of most states, who are 55 and older, and have completed an approved driving course.

5. Cut down on your driving

Driving less could save you a bundle not only on gas but also on your premium. If it’s an option, try moving closer to work or carpooling. Infrequent drivers are at a lower risk of being involved in an accident, and may therefore enjoy low-mileage discounts.

Remember, it’s never a good idea to let your car insurance policy collect dust. Doing a yearly check-in with your agent and reviewing your existing policy can really pay off.

Your agent can point out any discounts you may be missing out on, and help revise your policy to cut costs. For example, did you know that raising your deductible or bundling multiple policies together may help slash your monthly premium even further? Find out more with 5 Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Premiums.

Pet Insurance Can Take the Bite Out of Veterinary Bills

puppy and kittens sleepingOften times, when picking out the perfect puppy, or deciding which feline you favor, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the adorableness of your future pet, that you don’t think about the associated costs. Aside from the food, vaccinations, toys and accessories a furry companion requires, illnesses and injuries can make for painful dents in the finances if there’s no money in the budget.

Just like for human patients, broken bones, surgeries, long-term medications, special dietary requirements, emergencies and/or accidents can amount to a lot of money needed to get and keep our pets healthy. Even so-called “free” dogs or cats never are, because for those lucky enough to avoid serious injuries or illness, being a responsible pet owner still dictates regular shots, wellness exams and teeth cleanings — and none of THAT is free.

That’s why pet insurance might be something to consider. There are many different options for insuring a pet’s medical care, but not many people know about them, evidenced by the fact that less than 10 percent of pet owners carry pet insurance, according to Consumer Reports.

Whether pet insurance makes sense for you depends on several things, including the availability of a savings account for unplanned trips to the vet (or a willingness to take on the debt of expensive procedures,) and the breed and general overall health of your pet. If using a breeder, find out about any health issues your pet’s parents may have had to give you an idea of possible future expenses. Talking to your veterinarian can also be helpful. Pet care professionals should know if your type of pet is prone to hip problems (Labrador retriever,) back issues (Dachsund,) or certain cancers (many cat breeds.)

Like human health insurance, you never know if you’re going to need a certain coverage until you do, and by then, a “pre-existing” condition clause might eliminate a lot of options. But also like people policies, pet coverage plans can offer a lot of peace of mind for those who don’t want to risk having to get rid of their pet or put it to sleep because they can’t afford to treat it. Monthly payments range from $10 to more than $100, and can include X-rays, MRIs, surgical procedures and ongoing care. Some policies have wellness or dental add-ons and most require you to pay the bill up front and will reimburse you afterward.

Farmers now offers pet insurance from Pets Best. Pets Best is providing special pricing for Farmers customers by giving current clients a 5% discount when purchasing pet insurance through Pets Best. Plans are offered beginning at $19 a month and can cover many aspects of your animal’s health with coverage ranging from accidents, illness and optional coverage for routine care.

It’s hard to put a price tag on your pet’s health. After all, they are part of our families!

Benefits of Travel Insurance

Family at the airportSpring break is coming up which means you’re most likely putting the final touches on your travel plans. Whether you’re headed to an island getaway, a cozy mountainside cabin, or visiting family across the country, one of the most important things to consider is Travel Insurance. From unexpected flight cancelations to lost luggage, a care-free vacation can quickly become a stressful nightmare.  Consider some of these benefits that Farmer’s Travel Insurance:

  • A complete range of coverage options from a basic coverage to a complete package called “Zmart”. This provides: medical evacuation, higher limits for property damage as well as liability and towing services to the nearest U.S. city, as long as the accident happens anywhere with 200 kilometers of the U.S. border.
  • Best-in-class claims service whenever you choose to repair your car (U.S. or Mexico)
  • Medical, Roadside, and Legal assistance
  • Bilingual support in all locations

A Travel Insurance policy from Kuznieski Insurance Ageny can help save you from any of the unexpected events that can ruin your plans. Get peace of mind for your upcoming adventure by contacting me today. I’ll help answer your questions and get you the insurance coverage that you need. That way, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is making sure to pack the toothpaste and extra sunscreen.