Remember insurance for your college-age kids

You bought the dorm fridge, rented the loft, and filled out the financial aid paperwork.  Sending a child off to college can be a hectic time. But as you’re crossing tasks off your to-do list, take a moment to check in with your insurance agent.

It’s always good to let your agent know about big changes in your life. He or she can help make sure your family stays protected and maybe even point out some new savings opportunities.

Driver away from home

Notify your insurance company or agent if your student is moving, with or without a car. Your premium may go down if your child moves more than 100 miles away and doesn’t take a car. 

Ask about good student discounts, too. SECURA policyholders can get a discount for any full-time student who maintains a 3.00 GPA or higher—even college students!

Protection from light fingers
In a casual dorm environment, students sometimes gain a false sense of security. They prop doors open or wander down the hall “just for a second” for a quick conversation. By the time they come back, their computer or iPad is missing.

If your child is away at school, your homeowners or renters insurance may provide protection in case their things are stolen. Take time to photograph your child’s high-value belongings and write down serial numbers so you can report anything that goes missing.

Check with your insurance agent to ensure your child will be protected under your policy. Some insurance policies may only cover students living in dorms. If you’re a SECURA policyholder, your homeowners or renters insurance can protect any full-time student who is financially dependent on you, whether your child lives in a dorm or an off-campus apartment.

Study up! Every plan is different. Talk to your insurance agent about your coverage and the best way to protect your college student.

Threats from extreme weather don’t stop when the storm does


Hail and wind storms can damage more than your home, cars, and personal property. They open up the market for storm repair scammers or contractors that look to take advantage of your misfortune.

Storm scammers operate by visiting an area that was recently hit by severe weather. They go through neighborhoods and offer repair services, even though they may not be professionally licensed. Their schemes may include taking up-front payments and never returning to do any work on damaged property, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

It’s frightening enough when a tree goes down in your yard or hail destroys your roof. Don’t let storm scammers add to that worry. Follow these steps immediately after storm damage to protect yourself, your property, and your pocketbook:

  Take photos and document the damage.

  Call your insurance agent or insurance company – usually, smaller damage claims can be handled over the phone, but larger losses will call for claims representatives to be in your area. Have them inspect the damage before contacting any repair services.

  Begin to remove debris (only if you can do so safely) and protect your property from further damage by boarding up windows, for example.

  Never give a deposit to a contractor until you have checked out the business thoroughly and have a written contract.

  In general, avoid letting a contractor inspect your property unless you have requested him or her to do so.

Read more about storm scammers and other types of insurance fraud by visiting www.NICB.org.

Reinforce school bus safety on and off the bus


School buses take to the roads every morning and afternoon for nine months, and that means you need to be a cautious driver throughout the school year, not just during the first week of school. Whether you’re sending your child to school or driving behind a bus on your way to work, keep these points in mind.

Parents
Talk to your children about safety on and around the bus. Remind them to:
      Always cross in front of the bus.
      Wait for the bus driver to signal before crossing.

Drivers

It’s up to you to be on the lookout for children — especially in school zones, playgrounds, and neighborhoods. Plus, you need to know the rules about driving near a school bus.

Here are a few key reminders:
 
Buses have red flashing lights and a stop sign that extends to alert traffic when students are getting
   on or off. When a bus uses its lights and/or stop sign:

     •  Traffic in both directions is required to stop on an undivided road.
     •  It’s illegal to pass a bus that is stopped to let children on or off.
  Drive at least 10 feet behind a bus to allow time for stops — buses make frequent stops, including at all
   railroad crossings.

  Watch for any signals from the bus driver.
  Follow the directions of the school crossing guard.
  In most cases, vehicles on the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop for a bus.
   However, you should confirm your state’s laws.


For the specific bus laws in your state, like what to do on a divided highway or how far behind a bus you’re required to stop, visit http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/school-buses.

Click here for more safety tips from the National Safety Council

One by One starts with you: Join our campaign against breast cancer


One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, meaning exponentially more will know someone affected by the disease. Do you?

We know that one by one, we can spread awareness and win the battle against breast cancer. So far, we’ve raised $80,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).


This year, we need your support to pass the $100,000 mark. Help us reach our goal — all you need to do is share a photo on our Facebook page, and we’ll make a donation in your name.

Simply post a photo of yourself or someone you know who has been affected by breast cancer in any way. We will donate $1 to the BCRF for every photo that is posted. Plus, if we get 1,000 entries, each $1 will turn into $5, meaning a total donation of $5,000!

You also can promote awareness by turning your Facebook profile picture pink with our badge. Access the Facebook badge.

One by one, photo by photo, dollar by dollar, we can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. So, share your photos, tell your friends, and help us spread the word.

Learn more about our campaign.

Small cars earn big marks in IIHS safety tests


We often carry the people and belongings we value most inside our vehicles. So it’s no surprise that the most important factor people look for in a new car is its safety rating, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released results from the safety tests it performed on small cars in the small overlap front test, which measures what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object (like a tree or utility pole).

It analyzed 12 models and found half earned a “good” or “acceptable” rating. These ratings qualify them for the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award that recognizes superior crash protection. Those top achievers are the:

·      2013 Honda Civic 2-door and 4-door
·      2013 Dodge Dart
·      2013 Ford Focus
·      2013 Hyundai Elantra
·      2014 Scion tC

As a group, small cars fared worse than their midsize counterparts in the same test, but better overall than small SUVs.

We’ve come a long way in vehicle safety, but some manufacturers outshine others. Not in the market for a small car? Be sure you’re well informed about any auto before heading to the dealership by reviewing the IIHS yearly vehicle ratings.

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