When buying a car, don’t let factors such as styling, price and fuel economy push important safety considerations aside. Here are some points to keep in mind when making a new or used car purchase.
• Size & Weight
Larger, heavier cars provide more protection. Bigger vehicles have more structure that can absorb impact forces, which can help minimize the chances of injury or death. Drivers of smaller vehicles are also subject to greater impact forces when struck by larger vehicles, so it’s best to avoid very small cars.
• Structural Design & Safety Features
Strong occupant compartments help reduce injury and death. Likewise, safety features such as air bags, restraint systems and crash avoidance features such as “lane departure alert”, can make all the difference if you’re involved in a crash. Crumple zones absorb impact forces and a strong roof helps minimize injuries/deaths in roll-over situations. Seat belts keep passengers in their seats and distribute crash forces and front/side airbags help keep occupants from hitting hard interior objects such as the steering column and side pillars.
• Review Crash Ratings & Recalls
The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) publishes vehicle crash test ratings. Go to www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings to learn more about vehicles you’re considering. Preference should be given to vehicles with good front and side impact ratings, airbags (front and side), electronic stability control (ESC) and other safety features.
In addition to safety ratings, check to see if a vehicle you’re considering has been recalled or has other safety issues. You can do so at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website – www.nhtsa.gov/recalls#vehicle.
Auto insurers increased rates significantly in 2016, but apparently the increases weren’t high enough. Insurance buyers may not be sympathetic to such news, but the reality is that losses are outpacing rate increases. In addition to competition, factors that increase claim costs have had a significant impact. People driving more and driving distracted increase the likelihood and number of accidents as well as subsequent claims. More complex vehicle parts also increase repair costs.
A recent report suggests that insurance companies will likely continue to struggle with the cost of claims, but only time will tell.
Don’t forget to set your clocks back on Sunday, Nov. 5th. That’s also a great time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have home fire extinguishers, it’s a good idea to check them too. Even if they haven’t expired, home fire extinguishers should be checked each month to help make sure they are ready for use.
Lightning Bolt Blues
Most people know how damaging lightning can be, but people often don’t know
how to avoid that damage. Lightning protection systems, commonly called lightning rods, are a good way to avoid damage from a lightning strike, but there are other things to consider. For example – a lightning strike can cause a power outage.
When power is restored, the resulting surge may cause substantial damage to
home systems and electronics.
To help protect your home and property from lightning strikes, consider the following:
• Lightning protection systems (lightning rods)*
• Whole house surge protection systems*
• Individual surge protection devices (SPD)
*Be sure to consult a qualified contractor
Estabrook & Chamberlain partnered with the Bridgewater and West Bridgewater public libraries again this year to sponsor the 2017 Summer Reading Program. As in past years, the program’s intent is to help kids expand their knowledge and horizons through reading. The Read & Ride program also offers young readers the chance to win a new bike – just for reading one book over the summer.
This year’s participation was once again outstanding and we’re proud to announce the winners.
Bridgewater winners, front row (left to right) Cole Morrison, Luke Negrich, Joshua Kelsch. Back row (left to right) Tom Chamberlain, Petra Littlewood, Benjamin Lucia, Bradley Gates, Audrey Gates and Librarian Cindy Davis.
Winners not in picture: Ada Smith and Lily Cooley.
West Bridgewater winners Hannah Edlund on the left and Viviana Morales Wakin on the right.
Pictured with the girls is Miss Teenage Massachusetts.
A few years ago, we wrote about telematics – devices used by insurance companies to gather data about your driving habits. Using this data, insurers can more easily identify good drivers and offer them greater savings. In fact, one of our carriers now offers drivers who tick all the boxes, additional savings of up to 30%.
How it works …
Drivers who sign up for the program install a telematic device in their car and receive a 5% discount just for enrolling. Over a 90 day review period, the device records data related to your driving habits, including:
• Mileage after midnight
• Hard braking
By analyzing the data related to these categories, the insurer is able to paint a picture of your driving habits and determine whether or not you qualify for a discount. Based on how much and how well you drive, you’ll receive a credit of up to 30%.
Using telematic devices may even help improve driver safety. Think about it … drivers who know their performance behind the wheel is being tracked may be more likely to drive with greater care in order to increase their potential discount.
If you’d like more information about this program, get in touch with us today. We’re always happy to help you save!
It’s summer time and that means Read & Ride! Once again, Estabrook & Chamberlain is proud to sponsor the annual Read & Ride program in association with the Bridgewater and West Bridgewater Public Libraries. This year’s theme is “Build a Better World”.
To participate, kids simply have to register, in an appropriate age group, and pledge to read just one book during the program. At the end of the program, lucky winners* will receive new bikes!
We urge parents to tell their kids about the program and get them involved. It’s lots of fun, helps them discover the joy of reading and is a great alternative to staring at a video screen. So be sure to stop by the Bridgewater or West Bridgewater Public Library and sign up today. Registration forms may also be obtained at our 45 Main Street office in Bridgewater.
If you drive for Uber, Lyft or any other ride sharing company, it’s important to be aware of insurance gaps. Your own insurance or that provided by Uber/Lyft/etc. may not cover you in all instances or may not provide as much coverage as you’d like. To address this, one of our insurance companies now offers a plan that provides coverage during “standby periods” – the time when you’re online and available for hire, but have not yet accepted a passenger.
This stand by coverage extends your personal auto policy for certain coverages that are not offered by ride sharing companies. The plan also offers excess liability coverage for both bodily injury and property damage. This gap insurance applies only during the standby period. For details on this coverage, call or email
Over many years, the number of auto accidents had been steadily declining.
However, even with safer vehicles and advances in technology, accidents have increased sharply in the past two years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motor vehicle deaths nationally rose nearly 8 percent from 2014 to 2015 – the largest annual increase in 50 years. The cause? There are many, but distractions are a big contributor. Phone calls, texting, juggling drinks/snacks, fiddling with the GPS, or dealing with kids and pets – they can all distract you and even the slightest shift in focus can mean the difference between safety and tragedy.
Distracted walking is a big problem too. Smart phones, music players, “wearables” and the like are ubiquitous these days – as is the lack of focus they cause. The number of videos posted to YouTube alone is a good indication of how bad the problem is.
If the increased likelihood of bodily injury or public embarrassment doesn’t convince you to sharpen your focus, maybe this will – distracted driving and walking have an impact on insurance rates. By decreasing the distractions in your life, you’re doing your part to keep insurance rates low.
In a recent study, one insurer found that the cities most at risk for fires are:
1. Detroit, MI
2. Shreveport, LA
3. Boston, MA
4. Flint, MI
5. Richmond, VA
It’s disappointing to see Boston in the top 5, but it does help illustrate the need for better fire safety and prevention education. One in eight Americans have experienced a home fire. Knowing how and when most fires happen can help keep that number from growing.
The top three causes of home fires are:
• Electrical ‐ 26% • Cooking/stoves ‐ 25% • Candles ‐ 12%
Knowing when fires happen can also help you avoid them. The data shows that:
• Most fire claims are reported on July 5th
• Lightning fires are most common in the summer
• Most cooking fires take place on Christmas Eve
• The 2 weeks following Christmas see the most electrical fires
Geographically, the Northeast experiences the most heating-related fires. Given our cold winters and the use of portable space heaters, this isn’t too surprising. However, combined with the other data, it underscores the need
to be aware of specific dangers and times of the year.
Even with all this information, it’s not always possible to prevent a fire. So be sure you’re protected. For more information about homeowners insurance, or to make sure your coverage is up to date and adequate,
get in touch today.