Category Archives: Auto Insurance

Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

5 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders in the Metro Milwaukee area

We love the convenience of parking lots in front of our favorite stores in Oak Creek, New Berlin, Shorewood, Milwaukee, etc., but they can be hazardous places.  When people are driving too fast, backing out of spots without looking, and cutting across the parking lot.

That behavior just so happens to be the cause of many a door ding and irritated driver. Even worse, careless behavior can cause a collision or injury. Let’s all slow down and follow these five tips to make parking lots safer for everyone:

  1. Don’t Speed
    Speeding decreases the amount of time you have to react when a child runs out in front of you, another driver stops suddenly, or a car begins backing out unexpectedly. Is a collision – or even a fatality – really worth the price of getting to your destination 30 seconds sooner?
  2. Use Your Eyes – and Mirrors and Cameras
    Lookout for perils at all times, even if the lot seems empty. When you’re pulling into a spot, watch for doors being opened. When backing out, look all around, in your mirrors and in your rear-view camera, and proceed slowly.
  3. Give Yourself – and Others – Some Space
    Parking in between the lines and in a spot sized for your vehicle may help to minimize dings and scratches. Better yet, park in a less-crowded area of the parking lot and enjoy the extra stroll into the store – just don’t park where you feel unsafe. Always park away from stray carts.
  4. Expect the Unexpected
    Assume things will happen. That someone will dart out in front of you or that someone backing out of his/her spot won’t see you backing out of yours. When you’re on guard, you’re better prepared for those who aren’t.
  5. Be Respectful
    A little kindness goes a long way in a parking lot. So stop for pedestrians, don’t cause traffic jams waiting for a spot and, above all, don’t lose your cool.

Remember, stay alert! Many times the slow speed of a parking lot will cause people to pay less attention and to start multi-tasking while driving.   If you’re actually watching for dangers, you have a better chance of avoiding them. Call us, 414-744-6614, at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee to make sure you are properly protected before an incident does occur.

Tornado Truths

Tornado truths that can help you stay safe

Tornadoes have caused severe and irreparable damage to tens of thousands of Americans and their property in recent years.  Although you can never control the weather or the outcome of a destructive storm, there are steps you can take to help you and your family remain protected in the event of a tornado. Those steps of action begin with knowing the facts.

Here are a few tornado truths that could help keep you and those you love safe:

When indoors, shut all windows and doors. Do not leave them open in an attempt to follow the mythical need to “pressurize” your home because the result would more likely be debris flying through the window and causing severe harm, or wind pressure working to lift the roof off the house from the inside.

If you are inside your home or other structure, retreat to the lowest level (a basement is ideal) or the room closest to the middle of the home or farthest from windows and doors. Do not seek a “corner” of the structure for your retreat; instead, go to the center-most point, away from windows and anything heavy that could fall on your head.

If you’re outdoors, find the lowest spot, such as a ditch, and lie flat on your stomach, covering the back of your head with your hands.  Do not follow the myth of seeking shelter underneath a bridge or overpass because it could collapse on top of you or large debris and winds could come rushing underneath and potentially sweep you up into the tornado itself.

If you are in a vehicle, abandon the vehicle and try to find shelter in a structure or outdoors in a low place where you should lay stomach-down and cover the back of your head with your hands. Most importantly, do not attempt to drive away from the storm unless it’s very obviously far away and moving in the opposite direction.

Do not take shelter near a road and expect the tornado to miss you. Some myths say that tornadoes will reverse their directions when nearing a road or foothill, but a tornado doesn’t discriminate and will keep on its path.

Use head gear, if available. Head protection can be the number-one most important factor in remaining protected from flying debris—indoors or outdoors—so know where bike, football, batting, boxing and other helmets are in the house, and make them easily accessible.

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee we want to help you know the tornado truths that will help keep you and your family safe. For more tornado safety tips, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s comprehensive guide at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html.

 Contact Us!

 At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 414-744-6614 or send us a note at info@insurancecentermilwaukee.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Protection during a Hailstorm

Staying safe on the road during a hailstorm

It may sound surprising, but there are approximately 3,000 hailstorms in the United States each year. The size of hail can widely vary – from pea size to softball size. When it starts building up size, hail can cause severe damage to your dwelling, vehicle damage, bodily harm, and even death. On average, each year hailstorms cause over $1 billion in damage to property, approximately 1,500 injuries, and 80 deaths.  Hail is a main driver of homeowners insurance rates in Wisconsin as well.

One of the most frightening places to be during a hailstorm is on the road in your car. Obviously your vehicle is at great risk of damage, but even more importantly, you are in danger in the event you can’t see well enough to drive or your windows are broken by the power of the storm.

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we want to ensure you, your loved ones, and your vehicles stay safe this hail season. Here are some pointers for navigating a hailstorm while on the roads in in Southeastern Wisconsin.

 

  • Make sure you have a blanket in your car at all times. It can help protect you from glass injuries in the event the hail breaks your windows or windshield.
  • Turn on your low-beam headlights, and slow down.
  • Make sure you have more distance than usual in front of you so you have ample space to brake if necessary.
  • Turn on the local weather radio station to stay apprised of the status of storms.
  • If there is enough space on the shoulder of the road, pull over.
  • If there is a covered shelter to pull underneath, do so; this will reduce the damage sustained by your vehicle.

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we hope you stay hailstorm-free this season! 

 Contact Us!

 At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 414-744-6614 or send us a note at info@InsuranceCenterMilwaukee.com and we will get quotes, from the 12 insurance companies that we have available, tailored for your needs. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

College Graduation – Insurance Tips

Protect your college grad with the right insurance

College graduation is an exciting time for students and their parents alike.  While the graduate is focused on job offers and first-job jitters, it’s a time of major transitions and it’s essential to prepare for what comes next.

One area new college graduates need to address is insurance.  At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we know insurance can be a confusing topic.  We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses.  We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world, so we have compiled the following pointers.

 

  • Review your family’s current insurance. The first step when considering insurance for your new graduate is evaluating the coverage you have currently.  Make an appointment with your agent, who can advise on whether it’s appropriate given the pending changes, and whether it will cover your son or daughter.
  • Know the law. Most states require drivers to have auto insurance, and most of those have minimum policy limit requirements.  Consult with your agent, to make sure they are covered adequately.
  • Read your lease. Many apartment, condominium and home rental properties require tenants to maintain renter’s insurance, which covers the contents of the home in the event of a robbery, fire, liability claim, or specified other losses. Make sure you know the terms of your son or daughter’s new lease.
  • Don’t end up liable. Any renter or owner is exposed to liability risk. To ensure there is adequate coverage in the event someone gets injured on your son or daughter’s property, speak with your agent about liability insurance.
  • Don’t gamble! Never go without. It’s simple: your son or daughter should always have insurance in place. Be sure to discuss with your agent what types they need.

We, at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, congratulate you on the graduation of your daughter or son!  Please contact us with any questions at 414-744-6614.

Reduce Car Accident Risk

3 Easy Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Car Crash

Spring is right around the corner, and the warmer weather often prompts people in Southeastern Wisconsin to hop in their cars for weekend road trips.

Unfortunately, too many of those trips will end up being memorable for the wrong reasons, due to accidents and other risks that drivers face each time they hit the road.

You can take control of your next trip, whether it’s heading up north or across town, by following these simple rules:

1.      Pay attention. Do you know how many drivers around the U.S. are using cell phones or other electronic devices right now – this very second? If you are reading this during the daytime, the answer is approximately 660,000, estimates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Anything that distracts you increases your risk of a crash. Our #1 distraction – our mobile phones!  Here’s another reason to avoid distractions: If you’re completely alert, you have a better chance of steering clear of that distracted person.

2.      Stay sober. One bad decision can change lives forever, and driving under the influence is an extraordinarily bad decision. Nearly 15,000 people died in 2012 in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). So get a designated driver — or better yet, be a designated driver.

3.      Slow down. Crashes caused by excessive speed cause more than 10,000 deaths a year on average, the NSC estimates. Interestingly, you are most at risk on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or below, probably because of speed disparities between speeders and non-speeders and the likelihood that drivers feel that they can multitask at lower speeds. Please remember, the posted speed limit isn’t always the best speed to travel. Depending on conditions (like today in Milwaukee), going slower might be the safest option.

Improving safety on the roads isn’t rocket science. A little common sense can make a big difference for you, your passengers, and your fellow drivers. So be alert and be safe out there on the roads in Oak Creek, Franklin, Greenfield, Milwaukee, or wherever you live.

Classic Car Shows

Make the most of a classic car show

My wife and I attended a classic car show at St Elizabeth Ann Seton in New Berlin, WI last Sunday.  I started to think about the variety of these antique autos – there are as many unique vehicles as there are unique owners.  The shows can be unique as well.  Classic car shows are held all across the country, from small rural towns to large metropolitan areas, and they draw classic car enthusiasts from near and far.  Some people attend classic car shows as spectators to check out unique and rare vehicles. Others go to connect with fellow car buffs, show off their prized possession, or some attend shows to shop/sell.

Whether you’re planning to shop, sell, show, or just go, here are some tips for making the most of a classic car show.

  •  Family fun. Larger classic car shows typically feature entertainment, food vendors, raffles, and more. You can bring the whole family for a day of fun.  St Elizabeth Ann Seton held the car show as part of their Funfest weekend, which featured live entertainment, food, drink, kid’s games, etc.
  • Plan. In particular, make sure you’re aware of the hours for check-in.
  • Be the early bird. If you’re entering your automobile in a competition, sign up early. Most shows are limited to a certain number of entries.
  • Know the value.  If you are planning to sell or buy, you should be well versed on the values of the vehicles and the market conditions. Buying or selling a car can be an emotion-driven experience and knowing the facts is essential to get the best deal.
  • Need parts? Some larger car shows also feature a swap meet. Research the show and take note of car accessories and parts you might need.
  • Pack a bag. Be prepared to get the most out of the day by bringing along what you might need for the weather (from coats to sunscreen) and for your basic needs (from water to snacks).

Whatever your reason for attending your next classic car show, we at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee hope these pointers will ensure you make the very most of it.

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Borrowed Cars?

I’m borrowing my friend’s car … am I covered?

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. However, at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we get a lot of questions about borrowing a car from someone or loaning a car to someone.

Now that summer is here (finally), and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, in Wisconsin, insurance coverage follows the vehicle first then the driver. In most instances, as long as the car’s owner has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission and do not have regular access to the vehicle (for example: they don’t live with the person whose car they are borrowing).

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. As stated earlier, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. If the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that either.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, should consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

Feel free to give us a call at 414-744-6614 if you have any questions — after all, you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers!

Do I need insurance for a rental car?

Do I need rental car insurance?

 You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the rep ask if you want to purchase their insurance for the rental car.  The thoughts start racing through your head, “Is this a rip-off? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me?  What about my credit card?  Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we are here to help.  Every situation is not the same, but we’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you’re standing at that counter.

1. Know your personal auto policy.  Insurance policies vary, so it’s a good idea to give us a call — before you rent a car — to make sure you have the coverage you need.  In many instances, your personal auto policy coverage will carry-over to your rental car — but that coverage may be limited, particularly if you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your current policy.   Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.

Keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge for the decreased value of the car due to the accident.  Not all insurance policies cover these fees.

2. Check your credit card protection.  Most credit cards provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your car insurance deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit card provider to determine their policies.  And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others.  Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.

3. Consider any unique circumstances.  Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for a long period of time?  You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply.  No matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard policies.  If the car is being used for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply either. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverage will apply to them as well.

4. Learn about the insurance offered by the rental car company.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage:

a) A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you of responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This may also provide coverage for loss of use.

b) Liability Protection provides protection from lawsuits if you are sued after an accident.

c) Personal Accident Insurance covers you and passengers for medical bills after an accident. You may not need this if you have adequate health and auto coverage.

d) Personal Effects Coverage protects you if items are stolen from the car.  You generally are covered for this under your homeowners or renters policy, but keep in mind that the loss must exceed your deductible for you to receive payment and certain items may be excluded from those policies.  Particularly if you have a high deductible, it may make sense to purchase this coverage from the rental company.

When you go on vacation, you don’t want to stress out about insurance.  Give us a call before you leave!  Then, when you head over to the rental-car counter, you don’t have to worry about your coverage — and you can start enjoying your trip!