Be Prepared to Be Away
Here are a few additional tips to help you make sure that the most memorable part of your trip isn’t a problem you could have avoided.
- Make a checklist for your house as well as for your car. Suspend newspaper and mail deliveries, adjust the thermostat, have the lawn mowed, use lighting timers to discourage break-ins, and arrange for a friend or family member to spot check periodically while you’re gone.
- Unplug non-essential appliances and electronics if you live in a storm-prone area, to prevent the possibility of damage from lightning or an electrical surge while you’re away.
- Turn off water lines leading to your washing machine. A small leak can quickly become a flood if left unattended.
- Leave a set of car keys with a neighbor if you’re leaving other vehicles at home. You never know when a vehicle might need to be moved in an emergency.
- Assign alarm duty to a trusted friend or neighbor. If your home has a burglar or fire alarm system, make sure someone you trust has access to your house and knows the cancellation codes. Notify the police and fire departments in your town that you’ll be away and give them contact information for the person you’ve designated. You’ll need someone nearby to act quickly if your alarm goes off while you’re hundreds of miles away.
Most of all, enjoy your vacation and one another. You’ll arrive home relaxed and build memories that will last a lifetime.
Before you leave for your road trip, remember to check out Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder so you can find the best gas prices near you.
Now that your car is ready to take on the road, you have to plan the logistics of your trip.
If you think that you’re ready to go once the car is packed, think again. One of the most important goals of the family car vacation is to arrive at your destination, and back home again, safely. Here are some suggestions to help make the best of your time behind the wheel.
- Plan, plan, plan. Especially if you’re going to travel far from home, know your route and estimate how far you plan to drive each day. Bring along a GPS system, printed directions or maps to help you navigate.
- Learn about local traffic and safety rules. Nothing can ruin a vacation like an expensive traffic ticket.
- Know your limits. Don’t push yourself to “go just a little further,” and don’t drive when you’re tired. Studies have shown that drowsy drivers may be even more impaired than those who are under the influence of alcohol. Pull into a rest area and take a short nap, or share driving duties with another family member.
- Recharge and refresh. Take breaks at regular intervals to stretch, get some fresh air and renew your energy for the remainder of the day’s travels.
Once again, have a safe trip and check out the next segment of this series of safe driving tips about being prepared to be away.
Before you leave for your road trip, remember to check out Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder so you can find the best gas prices near you.
The family driving vacation is back. This series of quick tips will help you prepare for a worry-free trip.
Before You Go
Make sure your car is ready bumper to bumper. You already know that you should prep your car’s major systems for the trip (tune up, oil change, air conditioner checkup), but don’t forget the details.
- Check tire tread and pressure. Be sure to follow the tire manufacturer’s recommendations for inflation, especially if you’re hauling or carrying a heavy load.
- Check wiper blades for wear and replace if needed.
- Check exterior lights and replace any burned out bulbs.
- Check driver’s license, registration and vehicle inspection dates and renew them if needed before you leave.
- Keep roadside emergency supplies in your vehicle. Reflectors, flares, flashlight and a reflective vest can help keep you safer in the event of a breakdown.
- Bring an extra set of keys. Just in case.
- Get an auto insurance tune-up. Talk to a professional insurance agent to make sure your coverage is up to date. If you should break down or get into a fender-bender, you don’t want any surprises about what your insurance policy covers.
Have a safe and fun trip! Stay tuned for the next segment of this series with tips on getting to your destination.
Memorial Day weekend is almost here and the summer travel season is right behind and now is the time to get into the summer spirit! Regardless of whether you are planning on working on your tan in your back yard or venturing far afield there are plenty of options for those procrastinators among you.
If the beach has your name on it, there are several across New England that might strike your fancy which are easily accessible from a variety of locations. For our friends in Vermont and New Hampshire there’s Old Orchard Beach, ME; and Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA! And for those of you who hale from CT and southern MA, Cape Cod and Rhode Island provide a variety of options for the day trippers among you as well as those who want to make a weekend of it.
If sports are more on your mind, there’s plenty of action. The Red Sox have away games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (May 27-29th), but return to Fenway Park on Monday May 30th. So either cook up some Fenway Franks at home and barbecue while you watch the game on TV, or go into Boston to see the game live at Fenway Park. Also, the New England Revolution takes on the Los Angles Galaxy on Saturday May 28th at 8 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. And if you have a few extra bucks in your wallet you can make a full day of it and visit the shops and restaurants at Patriot Place.
Then the 35thAnnual Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series is in Lakeville, CT from May 27-30th. The Grand Sports and Street Tuner races are held Saturday, and a big race is on Monday. Pack chairs and towels/blankets to sit on, grills, coolers, food, snacks, bicycles, and more. There are concession stands as well. If you plan on staying the weekend you can bring a tent or RV for a fee. Enjoy the weekend watching the racing.
Best Gas Prices
Just remember – whether your plans keep you close or take you far – make sure you save those pennies while you can with Plymouth Rock’s Gas Price Finder - where you can find the best gas prices around you. You can use the money you save to buy some extra ice cream for after the burgers and dogs!
Should the Experience Period be Longer When Evaluating Risk?
As long as I have worked in Commercial Lines, the “experience period” for evaluating a risk or for consideration of experience rating has been 3 years. This has been true no matter the line of business (GL, Work Comp, and Auto). This was one of the commonly accepted pearls of wisdom when I was introduced to Underwriting. When I first began working in Massachusetts I was surprised to see the Merit Rating Bureau’s approach of using the fourth and fifth years in assessing points. I had always assumed that by the third year of being incident free what ever the propensity for loss had returned to base line. When it comes to commercial auto, it turns out that that assumption was probably not correct.
Does having an incident in your driving record three years ago influence your behavior in the fourth or fifth year? For what ever reason, the presence of that incident has some significance-even if the incident is not your fault. Drivers who are clean for the fourth and fifth year have lower loss costs.
To recognize those lower costs on 5/17/2011 Plymouth Rock Assurance Commercial Auto is introducing a “clean driver” discount for all of our commercial auto programs - applicable when the driving record is incident free for 4 and/or 5 years. Our Agentweb will automatically determine the correct discount based upon the driving record. The discount applies to individual drivers so one driver won’t make the entire risk ineligible. The total discount is up to 15% depending on the drivers on the policy.
The driving record is just a proxy for the driving behavior. I don’t know why the 4th or 5th year incident free matters. (I could guess: Do you obey the speed limit? How do you accelerate the car? Do you often have to brake hard? The technology exists to tell us these things and more but until it is widely accepted we use variables that are proxies.) But the data is clear that the effect should be recognized, we are pleased to be able to introduce this discount.
The month of May marks the start of National Youth Traffic Safety Month. The National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS) encourages programs to educate the youth about safe driving. This time of year and through the summer in particular is when many traffic crashes with young drivers occur.
Distracted driving can be a factor in traffic crashes. Among the distraction are passengers in the car, using a mobile device to talk or text, adjusting the radio, CDs, iPods, or GPS. These distractions can be controlled if drivers adjust the settings of the device, such as a GPS, before embarking on a trip, or to pull over to adjust them. Also, avoid using a mobile device while driving. Almost all calls and texts can wait; if it is an emergency pull over so that you are not endangering yourself and those around you.
Not using a seatbelt is another factor in these traffic crashes. According to the NOYS toolkit, “Seat belt use reduces the risk of death by 45%...One quarter of youth do not use their seat belts – which is the worst non-belt use rate of any age group.” Whether you are a driver or passenger, new driver or experienced, remember the importance of wearing your seat belt.
If you are a young driver, this is a time when you can develop safe habits while driving that will always stay with you. Set an example and encourage your peers to drive safely. If you are an experienced driver, whether you practice safe driving such as wearing seat belts and avoiding distractions, your behavior can influence young drivers. Show your children, young passengers, or others that safe driving skills can prevent traffic crashes. Check out Plymouth Rock’s Teen Safe Driving Tips.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get a FREE 12-month subscription to the iZUP cell phone app! With iZUP software, incoming and outgoing calls, texts, and emails will be put on hold while you are driving to help eliminate distractions behind the wheel. The first 250 Massachusetts residents who register will receive 12 months of iZUP free! Click here to register and don’t forget to “Like” us on our Facebook Fan Page so you can stay in the know about the happenings at Plymouth Rock Assurance.
Take the train, subway or bus to work?
Not only do you save on gas and on wear and tear on your car, you can also save on your auto insurance. That is because “miles driven” is one of the many risk factors that determine a policyholder's rate.
Drivers who reduce the amount of time spent behind the wheel could prompt an insurer to switch them to a less risky — and cheaper — classification. Some insurers offer extra discounts to low-mileage drivers as well. Of course, available discounts will vary by state and a driver's other risk factors (such as years of driving experience, vehicle type and accident record).
Working with three local independent agents – Barrows Insurance Agency, Holman Insurance Agency and Richardson-Cuddy Insurance Agency – Plymouth Rock representatives are running an innovative pilot program using guerilla marketing techniques at the Attleboro and Mansfield stations to ensure that commuters are aware of the potential discounts available to low mileage drivers. In addition to receiving free coffee, newspapers and other giveaways, commuters can visit the URL plymouthrock.com/save where they can enter to win an XBox 360® Kinect™ Starter Bundle worth over $400!
Check with your insurance company today to see if you qualify for any additional savings!
As much as we don’t like claims, they are often the best opportunity to build customer loyalty through superior service.
My question today: are we setting ourselves up for success or failure?
Last year, JD Power & Associates surveyed customer satisfaction levels for people involved in automobile accidents. As you might expect the “settlement” portion of the claim process was the largest factor in the overall experience-37% of the total (how fair did the insured feel the settlement was?). The Company claim department will have the most impact on the “settlement” experience. But there is one opportunity area where you can influence how the insured views the “settlement” and increase the chance of a superior customer service experience: rental coverage.
The JD Power survey revealed some interesting facts:
- Customers with inadequate rental coverage scored the same as those with no rental coverage at all for customer satisfaction scores-they both were below average.
- Insured’s who had inadequate or no rental coverage were 3 times more likely to switch Companies if they incurred extra rental expense than those with full coverage.
- 65% of the people surveyed had less than $30 per day rental coverage
Is there a rental car available for less than $30 per day? Is that likely to be a car that is comparable to the one the insured is replacing? The answers to both questions is probably no. Selling your customer a rental limit of $30 per day or less is setting yourself up for a customer service failure-if they need a rental vehicle they are likely to have uncovered expenses. They become a much higher risk to look elsewhere at renewal.
When discussing appropriate limits with your customer keep in mind that the few dollars saved by foregoing the coverage or buying the lower Rental limit may come back to haunt you at the time of a loss. The JD Power survey shows that incurring these extra expenses has a significant effect on the satisfaction of the insured with the claim process-enough so that they become a customer that is harder to retain. Don’t set yourself up for failure-make sure you are talking about the risks and benefits of the correct limit for rental coverage with your customers.