10 Reasons to Check Your Coverage

January 31, 2010 in bradford, Bradford Car Insurance, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, Uncategorized

As our lives change, so do our insurance needs. Speaking to your ERIE Agent about these changes can ensure that you have adequate coverage. In some cases, your agent can also offer safety guidance.  The following situations are examples of when to check your coverage:

1. Remodeling or Building an Addition to Your Property – When you hire the contractor, request a certificate of insurance to confirm their liability coverage. Review the certificate and your homeowners policy with your agent. In some cases, remodeling projects can increase your home’s reconstruction value.

2. Teen Drivers – If a teenager in your home is learning how to drive, even with a learner’s permit they need insurance. Your agent can also provide materials about safe driving behavior.

3. New Swimming Pool – Your agent can recommend steps that you can take to help keep your backyard safe and determine whether additional liability coverage should be considered.

4. New Work Location – If you have accepted a position where you will have a shorter or longer commute to work, call your agent. A significant change in annual mileage could warrant a change in your auto policy.

5. Retirement – When it’s time to retire, you may be able to maximize the benefits of your retirement plan with a life insurance program.

6. A Change in Vehicles – If you’ve purchased or leased a new or used vehicle you should contact your agent as soon as possible. Car dealers are required by law to confirm insurance coverage, but only you can make the necessary changes to your policy.

7. Home or Auto Refinancing – When you’re taking advantage of lower interest rates by refinancing your home or vehicle, your policy will need to be updated to reflect the new lien holder.

8. Just Married or New Baby – When you get married or welcome a new baby to the family, the new responsibilities may warrant a change in your home, auto and life insurance coverage.

9. Purchasing Valuables – When you purchase valuables such as a diamond ring or a rare piece of art, you should contact your agent. Your homeowners policy covers personal belongings and furnishings, but higher-valued items may have coverage limitations. An endorsement may be advisable for more costly or unusual items.

10. Home Business – If you are starting a business in your home, you should call your agent.  Depending on equipment and the nature of your work, an endorsement or separate policy may be necessary to protect your investment and liability exposures.

Reviewing your insurance policy with your Erie Insurance Agent is always a good idea when these changes occur or whenever you have questions about your coverage.

Understanding Insurance Scoring

January 30, 2010 in bradford, Bradford Car Insurance, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, Uncategorized

Now, more than ever, you hear co-workers, family members or advertisements talking about credit scores.  Your credit score is the information resulting from how much money you borrow and how your pay your bills.  More and more industries are turning to this information when assessing applicants. 

Home and auto insurers use credit information to produce an “insurance score,” which helps them to accurately assess an applicant.  Research has shown a strong correlation between a person’s insurance score and their likelihood of having a loss.  Erie Insurance uses this tool along with other factors when accepting applications and making underwriting decisions.

Factors for consideration may include:

  • Credit Score
  • Years of driving experience
  • Previous accidents and violations
  • Type of car
  • Type of home construction (for homeowner’s insurance)

 If you have any questions on how this may affect your pennsylvania auto insurance be sure to check in with us

Stop Dripping Ice and Melting Snow from Ruining your Home

January 29, 2010 in bradford, Bradford Car Insurance, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, Uncategorized

– If dripping ice and melting snow are seeping their way through your roof and walls, it’s time to do some major damage control.  Musty smells and watermarks on walls and ceilings are a sure sign that water damage is wrecking havoc on your home.

“If the moisture problem is not corrected, it can lead to serious structural damage,” says Dan Williams of  Williams Agency  “Increasing temperatures, humidity and rain can make the problem even more prevalent,” Williams adds.

Moisture damage such as rust, rot, mold and mildew is specifically excluded in most standard homeowner’s policies. Mold contamination is only covered on a limited basis and only if it is the result of a covered peril. Dan Williams says it is imperative that the source of the moisture be eliminated and the affected area properly dried, cleaned, and if necessary, replaced as soon as possible.

If you have water damage, Erie Insurance suggests the following steps to dry out and protect your home:

  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers.
  • If the damage occurs during the cold months, leave the heat on. In the summer, use an air conditioner if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible.
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  • Do not lift tacked-down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.

 

You may be tempted to turn up the heat to speed up the drying process but, that’s a big mistake. Increasing the heat could promote the growth of bacteria and mildew. Instead, attempt to stabilize the air temperature at 70 degrees. You should also avoid using an ordinary household vacuum to remove water and never use electrical appliances while standing on wet carpet or floors. If the electricity is still on, avoid going into rooms with standing water.

Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours. And although cleaning up the damage is important, the problem will only reoccur if the area is not kept dry.  “The best defense is keeping your home dry and water tight,” Williams says.  Proper home maintenance can help prevent water damage from becoming a more serious problem.”

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 16th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 18th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has over four million policies in force and operates in 11 states and the District of Columbia.  To learn more, visit www.erieinsurance.com.

Erie Insurance Named in 2009 Ward’s 50

January 28, 2010 in bradford, Bradford Car Insurance, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, Uncategorized

— Erie Insurance is once again being recognized on the list of Ward’s 50 Group of top performing insurance companies.  This is the 19th consecutive year Ward Group has conducted the analysis, and ERIE has been on the national list 12 times.

The Ward’s 50 award analyzes the financial performance of 3,000 property and casualty companies and 800 life-health insurance companies and recognizes the top performers for achieving outstanding financial results in safety and consistency over a five-year period (2004-2008).

Erie Insurance is represented locally by Williams Agency, located at 509 E Main St  Bradford, Pa.  The Williams Agency offers a full line of property/casualty insurance products, including auto, homeowners and commercial insurance, as well as life insurance products and services from Erie Insurance.  Williams Agency serves Western Pa and New York state.

The Ward’s 50 analysis provides a detailed look at what makes a top performing insurance company. It highlights these companies as excelling at balancing expense management, technology deployment and customer service. A top performer must meet a five year consecutive operating history and follow a detailed list of financial criteria and metrics.

According to Jeff Rieder, President of Ward Group, “Volatility in the investment portfolios, economy and competitive landscape has forced companies to evaluate many of their business strategies.  In selecting the Ward’s 50, we identify companies that pass financial stability requirements and measure their ability to grow while maintaining strong capital positions and underwriting results.” 

Ward is a consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry and leading provider of industry benchmarking and best practices services.  For more information on the Ward’s 50 Group of top performing companies, see Ward’s Web site at www.wardinc.com.

The recognition follows Erie Insurance recently moving up three spots from 21 to 18 on A.M. Best’s top 200 Property/Casualty Groups ranked by 2008 net premiums written.  A.M. Best Company also affirmed the financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) of the Erie Insurance Group and its property/casualty members, Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Company of New York, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company.  A.M. Best has also affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) of Erie Family Life.  Only 10 percent of the ratings handed out by A.M. Best are Superior or better.

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 16th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 18th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has over 4 million policies in force and operates in 11 states and the District of Columbia. To learn more, visit www.erieinsurance.com.

College Bound Coverage 101: Protect expensive items

January 27, 2010 in bradford, Bradford Car Insurance, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, Uncategorized

Students heading to college are packing more expensive items then ever before. And many are not bringing those items back home. The Independent Insurance Agents of America, Inc. (IIAA) reports that more than 100,000 property crimes occur on college campuses each year with an average of $1,250 in property loss.    

“Most students take expensive items to college with them”, says Dan Williams of Williams Agency “With everything from computers and MP3 players to televisions and mountain bikes, quite a bit of money can be lost in the event of a fire or robbery.  And, most parents are not financially prepared to take on the out of pocket expense.”

Williams says it’s always best to consult with your insurance agent when any changes occur in your household and before the unthinkable occurs. And most policyholders, including ERIE Policyholders, will not likely need additional homeowners insurance coverage when their son or daughter goes to college.

“Because ERIE’s resident relative coverage applies worldwide, your homeowners insurance will extend coverage when your child is away at school,” explainsWilliams.

One item a homeowners policy limits coverage for is the theft of money. “It’s always good to make sure your child has a checking account or a debit card with them at school,” says Williams. “You don’t want your child to carry large sums of money with them.” 

Other insurance carrier’s homeowner policies, not including ERIE, may limit a student’s personal property coverage while at school to 10 percent of the total coverage. For example, if you have $50,000 in personal property coverage, your child’s coverage at school could be limited to $5,000.

Keep in mind that every insurance carrier has different limits, so it’s best to double check the provisions of your policy with your agent.

For more information contact Williams Agency.