Fire Safety Week – October 7th to 13th

Sparky bookletIn observance of Fire Safety Week, Estabrook & Chamberlain encourages all of our customers to perform a safety check of their home or business. We’re also offering free bookmarks and coloring books for kids and have fire safety brochures containing lots of useful information. They are free, but supplies are limited, so call or stop by today to request yours.

Estabrook & Chamberlain Online

Home pageYou may have noticed that we have updated our website. We’ve made it more user friendly for both clients and prospective clients. It’s now easier to get quotes and find useful information about our agency and the products and services we offer.

Contact information is always at hand – telephone and email info is located at the top and bottom of every page. Our contact page also has mailing info, maps of our offices and a form that let’s you ask questions and request additional info.
Our re-designed site is organized into four major sections – Auto, Home, Business and Life. Simply click on one of the sections to learn more about a particular coverage. The Life Insurance section for example has a link to a video which guides you to the products that best fit your needs.

Clicking the Service menu lets you access commonly needed forms such as an accident crash report and a number of Registry of Motor Vehicle forms, including change of address and duplicate title forms. The FAQs menu provides answers to our most frequently asked questions – conveniently organized by type of insurance to make finding answers easier.

The News & PR menu takes you to our blog. Here you’ll find news and useful information about our agency, products, coverage tips, community involvement and more. The blog also contains all the articles from our quarterly newsletter. For current and prospective customer, it’s a great resource. Check it out today at www.estabrookchamberlain.com/blog.

To help keep customers informed and to make it easier for prospective customers to find us online, we recently added a Facebook page too. Check out our photos and other info. You can even “like us” – if you like. Find our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/estabrookchamberlain.

Headlights – A Glaring Problem For Some Drivers

Headlights and seniors

As we age, more and more health issues arise. For many, vision problems and an increased sensitivity to light become an issue. Oncoming headlights are more of an issue for older drivers because it takes them longer to adapt to the light.

According to a product marketing manager for Sylvania’s automotive lighting division, the average halogen headlight is 40 to 70 percent brighter today than 20 years ago. That’s nothing when compared to blue-tinged, high-intensity discharge lights, which are more than 400 percent brighter than headlights from the early 1990’s.

Although these newer headlights provide additional brightness, which can make it easier to see and potentially reduce accidents, they can also increase glare which is a problem for some drivers. So what can be done about it? There aren’t many options for those who find glare a problem, aside from limiting driving to daytime hours or wearing sunglasses while driving at night – something we strongly recommend against. However, if your car has the new high-intensity discharge lights, you can help by making sure your lights are adjusted properly. Things like improperly inflated tires, fender benders or hitting a pothole can knock your headlights out of alignment. So be sure to check your headlight adjustment periodically at a local service station – not just once a year when your car is inspected.

Party Tips For Parents Of Teens

Teen danceParties are important to teens, but they can be worrisome to parents because alcohol and drugs may be present. Keeping your teens safe from undesirables is also a concern. So what can you do as a parent? Here are some tips.

• Keep tabs on your teens
Be sure to get the name, location and contact information of the party host and have your teen notify you if there is a change of location/time/etc.

• Contact the host’s parents
Confirm the location/time, etc. and be sure the party will have adult supervision and be drug and alcohol free. Leave your contact information with the adult supervisor for use in an emergency or in case help is needed.

• Underscore the dangers of drinking and driving
Make sure your teen knows not to take a ride from anyone who has been drinking, including adults. Make them aware that rides from strangers or casual friends is also unwise. If necessary, make yourself available for rides and be sure your teen knows they can call you if they have a problem.

• Thank the host’s parents
Call the next day to thank them. This helps improve communication between parents and is a good way to stay informed about neighborhood issues.

Personal Umbrella Policies

E&C logoIf you have a personal umbrella policy, it’s a good idea to make sure you are covered for uninsured/under insured bodily injury claims. Typically you are covered for incidents in which you are negligent. However, in situations where you are not at fault and the other party is uninsured or under insured, you may be exposed to serious financial risk. We offer umbrella policies that protect you in just such instances. For an additional premium, underinsured and underinsured bodily injury protection may be added to the umbrella coverage. For more information or for help reviewing your current policy, give us a call today. We’ll be happy to help.

Read & Ride

Dream Big. Read imageIn partnership with the Bridgewater and West Bridgewater libraries, Estabrook & Chamberlain will once again be sponsoring the Read & Ride program.

To qualify, Bridgewater participants must read at least one book from June 20 to August 10. West Bridgewater participants must read at least one book from June 25 to August 3.

Drawings for each age group will take place on August 3rd for West Bridgewater and August 10 for Bridgewater.

8 Winners in total will receive a new bicycle (value up to $220), donated by Estabrook & Chamberlain.

Entry forms must be filled out including the child’s name, address, telephone number, name of at least one book read during the qualifying period and a parent’s signature.

For more information and to submit entries visit the Bridgewater or West Bridgewater Public Libraries.

Kids, College & Coverage

College studentFor Students
Most students are too busy worrying about grades to even give a second thought about the insurance for their possessions.  The good news is that their parent’s homeowner’s insurance automatically provides insurance on their personal belongings while they live on campus in a dormitory.  The bad news is a student who lives off campus in an apartment has no coverage for his or her personal items.  The parent’s policy excludes extending coverage there. The student may also mistakenly assume the landlord’s insurance will cover any loss/damage.

Contrary to what many students or parents may think, rental insurance can be very affordable – $10 to $25 per month, depending on the amount of coverage and deductible. Knowing that insurance can help cover the cost of replacing your possessions is a good feeling. It’s also good to know that insurance can help cover living expenses and the cost of housing should a catastrophe occur. Insurance can even cover you if a guest is accidentally injured in your apartment and you have to pay medical expenses.

Determining the amount of coverage that suits you best can be tricky. Many people don’t realize all the things they own or the furnishings they’ve added to their apartment/dorm. That’s why it makes sense to talk with an agent who can explain coverages and maybe even remind you about that expensive mountain bike you keep in the hallway.

Switching gears – if you take your car to school with you, it’s wise to review your auto policy. Rates are based on where the vehicle is primarily garaged and, depending on where you go to school, this may impact your coverage and premium. To be sure you’re properly covered, give us a call. We’ll review your situation and let you know the best course of action.

For Parents
It may not occur to many parents, but back to school time is a great time to review your auto and homeowners policies. Many insurance companies allow a credit to be applied to the parent’s auto policy when the child is at a college over 100 miles away from home. Reviewing your homeowners insurance makes sense too. It’s helpful to know if and how much of your coverage extends to your child when they’re away at school. So pull out those policies and give us a call today!

Property Claims Payments & Hold Backs

Property claim holdbacksAfter making a property claim, some customers are often puzzled when they see their payment doesn’t match the estimate.  Are you being cheated? Mistreated?  Certainly not.  To understand why this happens, it helps to know how the process for property claims works.

After you report a property claim, the insurance company assigns an adjuster who estimates the damage.  The estimate is then processed by the insurance company and a check is mailed to you.  The insurance company will normally hold back a percentage of the payment – typically, 20-30 percent of the estimate.

Once repairs to the property have been completed or the damaged property has been replaced, you’ll need to provide proof of repair or replacement to the insurance company.  Typically, required proof includes:
• Canceled check(s)
• Credit card bill detailing the related purchase(s)
• Contractor’s invoice(s)

The proof of repair/replacement is required to ensure that claims payments are used for their intended purpose.  Once proof has been verified, the remainder of the claim will be paid to you.

Recreational Vehicles

RVWhen warmer weather arrives, lots of people take off in their Rvs and head for the great outdoors.  Many will park at a campground and stay there all summer long – their RV becomes their summer residence.  Relaxing at a campground is great, especially when you have attachments that add comfort and convenience to your RV, such as awnings, or satellite dishes.  But, it’s important to know that in circumstances like this, attachments would not be covered if the RV or camper is insured under an automobile policy.  When an RV is parked at a campsite, there would  also be no liability coverage if a visitor should sue after tripping and falling at your RV site.  To help keep your summer enjoyable, we offer specific insurance to meet the needs of RV owners.  Don’t let a lack of proper coverage spoil your summer fun.  Call today for details on RV insurance.

I Was A Teenage Crash Victim

Teen driverAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in America – accounting for more than 1/3 of deaths in this age group. It is estimated that nearly 8 teens die in car crashes every day and over 350,000 teens are treated each year for injuries resulting from a crash.

Among teen drivers, those at especially high risk of crashing include:

• Males
From 2000 to 2006, deaths of male drivers and passengers in the 15 to 19 age group outnumbered deaths of female drivers and passengers nearly 2 to 1 – 12,479  vs. 6,579.

• Teens Driving With Teens
When unsupervised teens drive with other teens in the car, they are more likely to be involved in a crash.  This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.

• Driving At Night
The chances of a teen being involved in a crash nearly doubles when they drive at night

• Newly Licensed Teens
During their first year of driving, teens face the highest risk of being involved in a crash.

The more experience teens have behind the wheel, the safer they’ll drive.  That is why many states have implemented graduated driver licensing programs.  These programs allow teens to gain experience as they gradually move from learner’s permit, to intermediate or “provisional license” and finally, unrestricted driving.

The CDC recommends that parents take an active role by
Making sure new drivers and their passengers always wear seat belts
Prohibiting teen driving at night and when other teens are in the car
Enforcing a zero tolerance position toward alcohol.