Cell Phone Safety: Driving Home the Importance
These days, it’s hard to ﬁnd someone who does not have a cell phone. Cell phones can be invaluable for those business professionals who spend a lot of time out of the oﬃce, or for anyone who wants the added peace of mind of knowing they can call for help in an emergency.
Are there laws limiting the use of cell phones while driving?
New Jersey prohibits the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway. Violators charged for using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle will be ﬁned $100. Also, school bus drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving a school bus, except in emergency situations. A driver in violation shall be ﬁ ned not less than $250, or more than $500.
Hands-free cell phones, however, are permitted. Drivers under 21 are prohibited from using hands-free phones on a graduated license permit or provisional license, except in an emergency situation.
Are there laws limiting the use of cell phones or electronic communication devices used for text messaging or transmitting electronic data while driving?
New Jersey prohibits the use of cell phones or electronic communication devices used to transmit text messages or electronic data while driving. Violators charged for using a cell phone or electronic communication device while driving will be ﬁned $100. Hands-free cell phones and electronic communication devices, however, are permitted.
Familiarize yourself with your phone
Be sure you review all the literature that comes with your phone. Understand how to use its many features including speed dial, re-dial and hands-free options.
Be aware of your surroundings and road conditions
If you ﬁnd yourself in hazardous driving conditions whether traﬃc or weather related, let your voicemail system pick up the call. A few minutes of paying attention and pulling over in a safe location, could make a huge diﬀerence in your safety and the safety of those around you.
Stay calm on the phone and on the road
Don’t use driving time to engage in stressful or emotional conversations. They can distract you from driving safely and sensibly, even if you are using a hands-free phone.
Cell phones can be an invaluable business tool or your lifeline in a real emergency. But, remember, when you’re behind the wheel, your most important responsibility is safe driving.
Flood Claims Talking Points: Hurricane Preparedness
PIA Member Alert: PIA Offers a Few Tips to Help Prepare your Agency for Hurricane Sandy
What are your Exposures for Employee Related Claims and is your Business Adequately Protected?
If an employee of your organization intentionally causes injuries without your consent or knowledge for employment related injuries, your organization could be sued, and without appropriate coverage, legal defense and other expenses could cause a severe financial impact on the assets and profits of your company.
Exposures covered as respects to workplace:
- Harassment, including sexual harassment
- Wrongful hiring practices
- Wrongful termination practices
- Failure to promote
- Failure to provide equal opportunities
These exposures can come from within the organization from a disgruntled employee. Additionally, if you have employees that work with outside organizations at off-site locations, harassment or discrimination suits could be brought against the employee and/or employer organization from other third parties.
Of course, your first line of defense should be a well-written and up- to-date employee manual of company policies and procedures, along with hands on management’s agreement to implement and oversee policies followed by all employees. The manual should include termination procedures for failure to confirm with anti-harassment and anti-discrimination company policies. Grievance policies and termination procedures should be clearly defined.
The financial burden suffered from an organization for these types of suits can be somewhat passed through the purchase of insurance. Legal expense and defense costs could be exorbitant, and you could only benefit from the advice and expertise of the highly-qualified and sophisticated staff of the insurance carrier. Although the policy is subject to deductibles, tailoring limits and deductible options is important based on your size and profile of your business.
While there are many alternatives and coverage differences among each company, I can help you choose the right policy form, limits and deductible options for your fine organization.
You can contact Roseanne Gedman at Schechner Lifson Corp 908-598-7853 or Roseanneg@slcinsure.com
When You Travel, Do You Need Special Insurance?
Travel- whether you’re hitting the road, hopping a plane or taking a cruise, you’re spending some time away from home and usually are spending some money to do it. But what happens if your trip is interrupted by inclement weather, or an unexpected illness? Travel insurance and specialty medical coverage can give you peace of mind from the moment you book the flights or start the car.
What coverage is available?
There are two broad types of travel-related coverage for those leaving the United States:
Travel insurance covers the loss of the prepaid travel costs of a trip (like flights, hotels, etc.)should it be canceled, interrupted, or postponed. It also can reimburse unexpected expenses incurred due to a sudden change in travel plans due to illness or other causes.
Specialty medical coverage protects against personal insurance risks when someone is outside the United States.
The Insurance Information Network of California notes that trip insurance providers sometimes require a physician’s verification if a trip must be canceled before it occurs for illness. It advises buyers to check whether the travel coverage is “cancel for any reason protection”, or more limited coverage.
Trip interruption insurance is another variation. It can provide reimbursement for extra food and lodging costs if a traveler becomes ill during the course of a trip. Some plans cover medical costs. Trip delay insurance covers expenses a traveler incurs in resuming a planned trip or returning home after being quarantined in another country. Often these various coverages are bundled and sold together in a package.
Short-term medical insurance may be appropriate for the millions of U.S. residents who travel outside the U.S. every year. Those who travel outside of America may be going beyond the boundaries of their medical insurance without knowing it, according to Clements International, a provider of international insurance policies.
Travelers may wish to consider short-term medical insurance if they’re traveling outside of the United States for an extended vacation or business trip. To determine whether it’s necessary, it’s advisable to check if a domestic health insurance policy covers out-of-country travel. If not, short-term medical insurance provides coverage for illnesses or medical evacuation that occurs while traveling outside of the United States.
International travelers face the same insurance risks (and sometimes additional risks) while outside the country that they do while stateside. Life insurance issued in the U.S. may not be available on the same basis while a person is traveling for an extended period as when not traveling. It’s prudent to check on the validity of life insurance coverage as part of the travel-planning process.
Check with your Trusted Choice ® independent insurance agent about what type of insurance protection might be needed if taking an overseas trip.
You can contact Carrie Crockett at Schechner Lifson Corp 908-598-7848 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a Travel Insurance quote today.
Does our Homeowners Policy Cover our Son or Daughter While Away at College?
A student younger than 24 who is your relative, enrolled in school full time and is a resident of your Household, before leaving to attend school, is considered an insured. The homeowners policy states the limit of liability for personal property usually located at an “insured’s” residence, other than the “residence premises” is 10 percent of the limit of liability for coverage C, or $1,000 whichever is greater.
Theft of property located at school is covered as long as your child has been there at any time during a specified number of days before the loss (typically, 60 or 90 days). All of the normal personal property policy limitations apply to the collegiate away at school. These limitations are called special limits of liability and limit coverage to specified amounts for such property as money, jewelry and tickets. Some insurance companies have a special limits for computers and there may be a limit that applies to the unauthorized use of credit cards and fund transfer cards. Please refer to your policy for specific coverages and exclusions.
Children away at school are covered for bodily injury or property damage they cause to others, when held legally liable for their actions. Included is the liability, children have for a hazardous condition in the dorm room, since this location is automatically covered as premises not owned by an “insured;” and where an “insured” is temporarily residing. However, your children are not covered for liability they incur from unlawfully providing alcohol to others who become involved in an auto accident.
You can contact Carrie Crockett at Schechner Lifson Corp 908-598-7848 or email@example.com for more information.
Protecting Your Family and Home from Flood
Flood damage can be mitigated if you and your family take precautionary measures. Here are some steps you can take before, during and after a flood.
Before a Flood:
- Know the terms. Know the difference between a Flood Watch, meaning flooding is possible, and a Flood Warning, which means flooding is occurring or will occur soon. This will help you take necessary steps.
- Maintain an emergency supply kit that will sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period. This kit should include flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, non perishable food, bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing and sanitary/hygienic supplies.
- Keep all important papers such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, and insurance policy information in a safety deposit box, or fireproof and waterproof box on an upper floor inside the home.
- Have an evacuation plan. Flash flooding can occur quickly. Know where you and your family will go. If you have pets, plan for their evacuation as well.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
During a Flood:
- If the threat of flood exists, move to higher ground.
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
After a Flood:
- Avoid tap water until you learn that your community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters as water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings. There may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage
This information is advisory in nature. No liability is assumed by reason of the information in this document.
Protecting Your Family and Home from Hurricanes and Severe Windstorms
If you own a house that is located along the ocean, bay or within a coastal county, your home may be vulnerable to wind damage caused by a hurricane or Nor’ Easter. It is important to take preventative measures to help protect your family, home and possessions. Here are some things you can do:
Protect Personal Belongings and Important Documents Jewelry and collectibles
- Valuables should be inventoried and stored in a secure location (such as an inland bank safety deposit box). If off-site storage is not possible, then place these items in a waterproof container and store in an interior closet.
- Keep all Personal documents and important papers such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, and insurance policy information in a bank safe deposit box or other off-site storage, or in waterproof containers.
Damage Prevention Steps When a Storm Approaches
- Clear loose objects. Bring outside patio and lawn furniture, potted plants, and outdoor bicycles and toys indoors. Help your neighbor bring in their backyard items as well so these items do not become flying objects that impact your home. Be sure all awnings are closed and secured. Tie down any other loose items that may become projectiles in a high wind.
- Reinforce windows & doors. If your windows and doors are not wind and impact resistant, plywood can be used as last minute protection. However, be sure it is strongly secured.
- Reinforce your garage door. If you do not have a storm bar or other garage door reinforcement, you may want to back up your car against the inside of your garage door to help prevent it from “twisting” due to high winds.
- Move furniture and household fixtures. Move them away from exterior door and window openings. If possible, elevate these items and cover them with plastic.
- Secure household appliances. Appliances, including personal computers, should be unplugged and stored away in cabinets or interior closets.
- Test and refuel your backup generator
Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit
Assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit throughout the hurricane season. Items should be stored in a watertight container. Include items that will sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period. This kit should include flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, canned food, a fire extinguisher (ABC rated), bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing, sanitary/hygienic supplies, and a first aid kit. Store your kit in a place commonly known to all family members. Replace and/or refresh items in your kit every six months.
Prepare an “Action Plan” in the Event of an Evacuation
- Become familiar with your community’s disaster preparedness plan and know your evacuation route. Check with The American Civil Defense Association for the safest escape route in the event of a flood warning.
- Have a predetermined destination in mind so you can quickly relocate to a shelter or relative’s house. Select a common meeting place or single point of contact for all family members in case you are separated through the evacuation process.
- If you have pets, plan for their evacuation as well.
- All vehicles should be fueled well in advance of evacuation. Gas will be hard to come by. Power failures will render gas pumps inoperable.
- Make sure your cell phone has a full charge, and bring along the charger.
- Always stay informed of approaching storms by monitoring local television and radio stations for severe weather updates.
If You Are Unable to Evacuate
- Identify a “shelter” room in your home. This enclosed area should be on the first floor, in the central part of the house and with no windows. When the storm gets bad, go there. Avoid all unprotected windows and doors until the storm passes.
- Remain in contact with neighbors. Others who are riding out a storm may need your help and you may need theirs.
- Use your emergency supply of water or boil any water before drinking, until official word is given that the water is safe.
- After the storm passes, beware of loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the proper authorities.
Understand Your Insurance Coverage
- Review your homeowners policy with your agent or broker so you understand the amount you will receive in the event of a covered loss and if it will be adequate to rebuild your home. Also know the amount of your deductible and any special provisions in your policy such as wind exclusions.
- Know your responsibilities such as installing shutters, making arrangements to have your home secured if you are away, and verifying that emergency generators and sump pumps are functioning.
- Homeowner’s policies usually do not cover loss due to flooding. However, coverage can be purchased from the federal government.
Life Insurance has Two Purposes: To Either Create or Protect an Estate
Life insurance has two purposes: to either create or protect an estate.
Creating an Estate. This is what most people think of as the traditional use of insurance. If a family’s primary wage earner dies before the family has accumulated enough assets to survive, life insurance provides enough money to replace the income of the primary bread-winner.
Protecting an Estate. Estate taxes are somewhat in flux, but are certainly high, and we don’t think they’re going away. Capital gains taxes must be paid. Then there’s something called estate equalization.
Someone with a $10 million estate at their death will have to have to pay several million dollars to the government. Rather than liquidate a family business or sell some possibly illiquid assets, like real estate, it’s usually much more efficient to purchase insurance– and the numbers bear out that it’s actually a good investment (even though it’s technically not one) and the returns are very worthwhile.
Paying estate taxes through the use of a number of specialty life insurance policies is much easier than having to worry about coming up with the cash to pay those taxes within nine months of the death of the person, which is when the estate tax is due.
LIFE INSURANCE YESTERDAY
For many, many years, life insurance came in just two flavors: term insurance and whole life, which we refer to as permanent insurance.
Term insurance is what people bought if they wanted coverage for a term of years; 10 years, 15 years, 20, and so on.
Whole life what you bought to have for the whole of your life.
The problem was up until four or five years ago, whole life was an interest-sensitive investment product. So, while the policyholder thought they knew what the premium was, if interest rates went down, the length of time it took to pay off the premium had to be extended. What you thought you’d pay in 10 or 12 years, could wind up instead being 15 or 20 years.
And term insurance had its own problem: after a while, it ran out.
LIFE INSURANCE TODAY
Today there are new products on the market that are a hybrid between term and permanent life insurance. We call this lifetime term insurance: a policy that stays in force for your entire life. It’s a guaranteed product with a fixed premium. And, like term insurance, it does not have a cash value, which keeps the premium nice and low.
Some hybrid policies do have a cash value, what we refer to as an exit strategy, so if times or circumstances change (i.e. you used to need a lot of insurance, but don’t need as much anymore) there are ways you can bail out and get some or all of your money back.
So, now you don’t have to make a choice between term and permanent life insurance. Lifetime term insurance gives you the best of both:
- You pay a fixed premium amount.
- A flexible exit strategy
- Lifetime coverage
Now for the bad news: we think these types of policies won’t be available for very long. In fact, within the next18 to 24 months we believe these products will start to go away. We’re seeing insurance companies already raise premiums or cut back on coverage. Therefore, we believe there is a great window now to get this coverage while you can. Anyone looking for the security of lifetime coverage should consider this.