THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2020
Winter storms often bring a rash of auto claims. Winter driving can be dangerous, so it is essential to stay alert and be smart. Let’s talk about winter driving safety tips, and steps to simplify the claims process should you be involved in an accident.
Here are five winter driving tips:
- Prepare your vehicle for winter. Assure tires are properly inflated, fluid levels are maintained, the gas tank is at least 3/4 full when a storm is approaching, and windshield wiper blades are working well.
- Stock your vehicle. In the event you do get stranded, be sure to have plenty of blankets, some snacks, a good working flashlight, and extra clothes.
- Have something with grit. If you get stuck, it’s always good to have a bag of salt, sand, ice melt, or even kitty litter to provide some traction.
- Dress appropriately. This would include a warm coat, gloves, good shoes or boots, hat, and scarf.
- Don’t be in a hurry. Judge the road conditions and drive accordingly. Try to stay on roads that have been plowed, salted or treated. Drive defensively when in heavy traffic. And remember, black ice can always be a possibility.
Despite your best efforts, should you be involved in an auto accident, keep these five tips in mind to help simplify your claims process:
- Gather as much information as you can at the scene. Take photographs of the damaged vehicle. Snap a shot of the scenery if it’s safe to do so. If multiple parties are involved, try to take pictures of their damage, and always call the police. It never hurts to have a formal document to show what happened at the scene and be sure the police officer provides the report number.
- If another party is involved, trade insurance information as soon as possible if it is safe to do so. Once the police arrive, they often separate the two parties so no contact is made. The police will record the insurance information on the police report, however, this report may not be available until days or, in some extreme cases, weeks later. If you get this information from the start, there is less chance your claim will be delayed.
- Write down details so you don’t forget important information. It’s always helpful to give your claims adjuster the key pieces of information about the claim. Write down what street you were on when the accident happened and what direction you were traveling. Which lane were you in? What time did the accident happen? How was the traffic? Be sure to take note of the weather or road conditions. If you are in an unfamiliar area, write down some local landmarks to help an adjuster pinpoint your location.
- File the claim as soon as possible. The sooner the insurance company knows about the accident, the better. Information that is transferred from the insured to the adjuster is fresher and details are sharper if less time has passed. This gives the adjuster a much fuller picture of the accident, allowing him or her to provide you quicker and more accurate service.
- Remember, it’s a partnership. Your insurance company wants to help you get through this difficult situation as efficiently and painlessly as possible. However, in order to do that, they may need your help. They may ask you to give a statement regarding what happened in the accident, or they may ask you to get an estimate of damages from your body shop of choice so they can properly review the damages. Paperwork, such as your title, may be required to effectively pay out your claim. Although these documents may require some effort, they are essential to providing seamless service in adjusting your claim.
A great resource after an accident is our “What to Do After a Car Accident” brochure. Print a copy and keep it in your glove box as a guide to what information you should collect after an accident. You can also view our What to Do After a Car Accident video for additional tips.
I hope these winter weather driving tips help keep you safe on the road. Stay alert and be smart, but if you find yourself needing to file a weather auto claim, remember these tips to help simplify the claims process.
Copyright © 2020 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2019
Happy New Year! As we bring 2019 to a close and look forward to the year to come, we hope you make the choice to celebrate responsibly. Drunk and impaired driving caused 10,511 deaths in 2018 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Check out their site for more information and statistics.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2019
From the Battles Insurance Family, we wish you a Merry Christmas. May your travels be safe and your celebrations bright and cheery!
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2019
Check out the latest installment of our quarterly newsletter for useful insurance information!
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019
The most dangerous animal in the U.S. is not the sharp-clawed bear or the sharp-toothed shark. Surprisingly, it may be the kind, furry animal we grew up calling “Bambi.” And the most dangerous time of year is now!
Between October and December, the annual deer breeding season (known as the rut) happens. During this time, deer can be very active and unpredictable, and many find their way on to our roadways. On average, more collisions between vehicles and deer occur in November than in any other month. “Oh deer,” is right!
Although we can’t keep deer off of the roads, here are seven steps we can take to reduce the chance of having an accident if a deer crosses our path while driving.
1. Wear your seatbelt or motorcycle helmet! The size of an adult male deer can be 200-plus pounds, and a collision with one can pack a powerful punch. Safety belts and motorcycle helmets can help prevent injuries and deaths!
2. Be vigilant and alert. Although deer can be found almost anywhere at any time, it is important to be extra cautious when driving through heavily wooded areas at dusk and dawn. Look for the reflection of their eyes in your headlights on the side of the road.
3. Use high beams when possible. Using high beams can help better illuminate deer and also make it easier to see the reflection in their eyes. Be cautious with high beams, however. If a deer does cross your path it may freeze in your headlights. Be careful, but turn off the brights quickly and beep your horn to help scare the deer away.
4. Watch for deer crossing signs. When you see a deer crossing sign, pay even more attention to your surroundings. These signs are placed at well-known deer crossing paths, so slow down.
5. Drive in the center lane when possible. If you are traveling down a multi-lane road, try to stay in the center lane when possible. This will give you just a little more reaction time if a deer does dart onto the road in front of you. Stay as close to the centerline as you can safely when on a one or two-lane road.
6. Do not swerve. If a deer does come at you from the side of the road, hit the brakes but avoid swerving. Deer will typically move, so if you swerve, you may put yourself back into the path of the deer. Also, sharp turns can increase the likelihood of losing control of the vehicle and causing an accident with another vehicle, tree, etc.
7. Watch for relatives. Deer are herd animals. If you see one, rest assured there are more nearby. If a deer does jump in front of you, be aware of more deer possibly crossing your path. This is another reason swerving is a bad idea. Swerving to avoid one deer may put you in the path of another.
If you do hit a deer:
- Pullover and call local law enforcement.
- Ask for medical assistance if you or your passengers are injured.
- Stay away from the animal! It could still be alive and panic.
- Take advantage of your roadside assistance program offered by your auto insurance, if available. Check out this video to see how it can help in this type of situation!
Deer are one of the most dangerous animals due to their contributions to auto accidents. Taking simple precautions can be the difference between having an accident with a deer and almost having an accident with a deer. There are products out there, such as deer whistles, which attach to your car and emit a high-pitched whistle that notifies deer of your oncoming vehicle. There are conflicting reports as to their effectiveness, so be sure to take all necessary precautions when driving.
As always, contact your independent insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage on your vehicle should you have a run-in with a deer!
Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.