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A trip in an RV shouldn’t ruin your marriage … or your day

Mistakes happen, especially when you’re somewhere unfamiliar, but the results of a recent survey may still surprise you.

The survey found that among RVers, a spouse is more likely to be accidentally left behind than the dog.

A leading RV insurer, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, surveyed more than 1,000 RVers countrywide to uncover amusing mishaps they’ve experienced while traveling.

The survey found that the most common blunders made while traveling are:

•driving away with the steps extended;

•backing into something;

•misjudging overhead or side clearance space;

•not connecting taillights correctly; and

•running out of gas.

The survey found that 53 percent of RVers spend a month or more each year traveling the open road, and 42 percent travel more than 500 miles per trip.

Traveling the open road in an RV can be a great adventure, but sometimes it gets a little bumpy. That’s why RVers were also asked about their insurance. When mishaps happen, you want to get back on the road fast—ideally with all of your passengers on board.

Only 28 percent bought a stand-alone insurance policy with specialized RV coverages. In fact, 54 percent simply added their RV to their auto policy, and 14 percent didn’t buy any RV insurance.

Although mishaps can sometimes be funny, they can also lead to costly damages. Simply adding your RV to your auto policy can leave you woefully underprotected. It’s important to know what coverages are available to adequately protect yourself and your vehicle.

“There are huge differences in coverage and services from companies that specialize in RV insurance,” says Cathy Pelfrey, RV product manager at Progressive. “Check with your local independent insurance agent or do research online so that you buy the policy and coverages that are right for you.”

Be Safe, Be Smart On A Long-Distance Road Trip

Eight Tips For The Road Ahead

Whether you’re traveling alone, with a buddy or with your spouse and a car full of kids, there are few things more “American” than the long-distance road trip. Countless vacation travelers will drive the highways looking for fun and making memories with every mile. If traveling down the “holiday road” is in your plans, take the time to prepare for your trip. You’ll have a more enjoyable vacation if you plan carefully. Here are a few driving tips, courtesy of Lockridge Agency:

1) Maintain your car. Make sure your vehicle is up to date on its maintenance schedule, and be sure to check the battery and tires.

2) Plan your trip and know where you’re going. Call ahead for proper and safe directions to get you to your destination safely and have maps of the area on hand to help you navigate once you are off the main road. You’re more likely to make good decisions, even in dangerous situations, if you’re clearheaded and know where you’re going.

3) Be alert. Seems obvious, but driver inattention is surely the cause of a lot of accidents. If you stay focused behind the wheel and plan carefully, you will have a wonderful summer road trip.

4) Take precaution with a cell phone. Cell phones can be a lifesaver when you need immediate access to emergency services after an accident. Keep your phone within easy reach and get to know its features. However, use it prudently. Reports suggest that driving while talking on the phone increases accident rates.

5) Wear your seat belt. Whether or not it’s required by law in the state through which you’re driving, always wear your seat belt as a safety precaution.

6) Protect your car against theft. Help deter criminals from taking your car with steering wheel locks, switches that disable fuel or ignition systems, and electronic tracking devices.

7) If you’re in an accident. Taking immediate steps if you’ve been in an accident can protect your family and your car from further damage. Stop immediately and make sure your car is not blocking traffic. Turn off your car to keep it from overheating or catching fire. Warn oncoming cars using road flares or orange triangle reflectors. After you have protected yourself and your family, call your insurance company immediately.

8) Make sure your auto insurance is up to date. Before you even leave the driveway, you want to be sure you’re protected when you’re on the road and far from home. An independent insurance agent or broker can provide the personal service and advice you need to travel in confidence.

To learn more about what an independent insurance agency offers you, contact Lockridge Agency.

Times are tough, but don’t scrimp on your tow insurance coverage

In this economy, every business is looking for ways to save money. But cutting back on certain expenses now could mean heftier bills later.

Follow these tips so your tow business can save money and be protected from the unexpected:

Make sure you have the right amount of coverage.  Even if business finances are tight, don’t lower your liability coverage. Not only could you put your business assets at risk in the event of an accident, it could also jeopardize contracts that require you to carry specific limits.

Instead, make sure your physical damage coverage, which protects your vehicles in the event of a loss like a collision, theft or fire, accurately represents the value of your trucks. Most insurers do not automatically depreciate vehicles, so take a look at your policy to make sure you’re not overstating their current worth. You could save money by adjusting your limits.

Think before canceling your coverage altogether. Going without minimum liability insurance is illegal in most states, and should only be an option if you are temporarily putting your vehicles out of service. Additionally, keep in mind that if you drop your insurance now, you’ll pay more to get a new policy later because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage. Consider moving to a Comprehensive-only policy during temporary downtime to retain proof of continuous coverage and protect your trucks even when they’re not in use.

Protect yourself from uninsured and underinsured drivers.  You might not be the only one who’s looking to save a little dough – other drivers could cut costs by canceling their policy or reducing their coverage.  And if one of those drivers hits your truck, you could be left paying for the damages.  Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage can protect you.

Keeping an eye on your insurance coverages can protect your business and save you money. Let us help. We can quote competitive tow rates and important tow coverages on the spot with Progressive. Call us today.

Save money on your tow insurance coverage

You want to save money on your vehicle insurance, but cutting back on coverage isn’t the answer. That definitely holds true for your vehicle insurance. If one of your tow trucks is in an accident, not having the right coverage could cost you twice: not only will you have to pay to get the truck repaired, you’ll also lose out on jobs while it’s in the shop.

Instead of scrimping on coverage, think about these other ways to save:

Consider raising your deductibles. If you would rather save a little money today but pay more out-of-pocket in the event your vehicles are damaged or stolen, a higher deductible may be right for you.

Keep in mind that driving history influences rates. Run Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) on potential hires. Your agent can help with this, just make sure to notify your employee(s) first. Also, tow businesses that require larger vehicles and whose drivers hold Commercial Drivers’ Licenses (CDLs) may qualify for pricing discounts.

Think about how you’re going to pay. Some insurers have significant finance charges associated with their bill plans, or don’t have flexibility in payment schedules. Look for companies that offer flexible pay plans, including low initial payments and no finance charges.

Shop around for insurance. One of the easiest ways to save money is to make sure you have a vehicle insurance plan that fits your business’ needs.  While commercial auto insurance can seem complicated, understanding the carriers, coverages and services available to you is the key to making an informed decision for your business. Coverages like On-Hook Legal Liability and Garagekeepers Legal Liability are designed specifically for tow businesses:

On-Hook Legal Liability covers towed property, and was recently expanded to cover more than just the vehicle you have in tow.  Cargo like equipment or raw materials and select personal items in towed vehicles are now covered if they’re damaged at any time between pick up and delivery. Plus, coverage for transmission and transaxle damage is now included. Limits for this truck insurance coverage are now available up to $100,000.

Garagekeepers Legal Liability covers vehicles being serviced, repaired or stored at up to three business locations. This coverage is also now available in limits up to $100,000.

Also, check with your insurance carrier to see what discounts they offer. Some carriers offer discounts to companies who pay in full, have been in business for more than three years, and more.

Regularly reviewing insurance costs can both save you money and keep your business moving forward. We’ll be glad to help. We can quote competitive tow rates and important tow coverages on the spot with Progressive. Call us today.

How To Save on Commercial Auto Insurance In The OFF-Season

Ever mowed a lawn in January? Or plowed a snowy driveway on a hot July day? If you own and operate a seasonal business, chances are you aren’t working in the off-season, so the insurance you carry should be different than what you carry in-season.

Leading commercial auto insurers like Progressive offer seasonal insurance for businesses like landscapers, snowplow drivers, ice cream truck owners, and more. These coverages allow you to customize your commercial auto insurance based on when your business is running on all cylinders — and when it’s not.

Progressive offers these tips for getting the most out of your policy in the off-season:

  • If your vehicle will be parked during the off-season, you may think you should cancel that vehicle’s insurance during that time. But if you’d like to protect your vehicle and still save a little money, just switch your insurance to a Comprehensive-only policy. This will give you basic protection against incidents like vandalism, theft, falling tree branches and hail.A Comprehensive-only policy also gives you the bonus of having continuous insurance coverage. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to get a new policy when in-season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.
  • If you plan to drive your work truck or other vehicles for personal use during the off-season, let your insurance carrier know. They can adjust your policy to reflect personal use, which can be less expensive while still providing coverage.

Claims handling capability is the most important feature we sell our commercial customers. Progressive consistently proves superior at settling commercial claims quickly. CallLockridge Agency at (734) 476-8818 for a free quote on your commercial vehicles today.

Four Questions To Get The Right Auto Insurance

Using the right tool for a job is key to success in any profession. Experts say the same principle applies when selecting an auto insurance policy. Having the right type of policy can help ensure that you, your employees and your business are all protected in the unfortunate event that one of your vehicles is involved in an accident.

 

If you’re a business owner and you or your employees use a vehicle for business-related deliveries or to carry certain materials to and from a job site, you may need a commercial auto insurance policy that’s tailored to more closely suit the needs—and risks—of a business vehicle operator.

 

Here are some questions that can help you determine if you might need a commercial auto policy instead of a personal auto policy, courtesy of Lockridge Agency:

 

• Do you need more liability coverage than your personal auto policy provides? Generally, a commercial auto policy provides higher limits of liability, but less or no coverage in areas that are typically not associated with commercial auto risks.

 

• Do you need special coverage for situations associated with con-ducting business? Commercial auto policies also usually offer certain coverages—such as hired and non-owned auto coverage and coverage for towing a trailer for business use—that are not available with personal auto policies.

 

• Do you need to list any employees as drivers? You can do this with a commercial auto insurance policy.

 

• Do you use your vehicle for business purposes? If you use your vehicle for things like pizza or newspaper delivery, catering, door-to-door consulting service, landscaping or snowplowing service, logging business, day care/church retreat van service and/or farm-to-market delivery, you might need a commercial auto policy.

 

Lockridge Agency is an independent insurance agency – trained, licensed insurance professionals who offer personal service and advice. We can help match you with the type of policy that best suits your needs and those of your company.

Get the right insurance for your trucks—and save money, too

Five things you should consider before your next renewal

 

By Andy Fulford, product manager, Progressive

Your vehicle insurance could be as much as 40 percent of your total operating budget.  A Regular policy review is essential in making sure you have the right insurance for your truck—and your business. Plus, you could save big buck if you qualify for additional discounts.

To get started, ask yourself these five questions—then give your local agent a call.

1.    Are all of my employees covered when they drive my trucks, even if they’re not listed on my policy?

You should always list employees who regularly drive your vehicles. Ask your insurance company if it covers temporary drivers as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.

Some insurance companies will only cover drivers who are named on the policy. So, if you regularly employ temporary workers, you need to call your insurer and add them to the policy every time they drive to ensure they’ll be covered in an accident.

Permissive use policies don’t require you to add temporary workers.

2.    Will my policy pay to repair my employees’ personal vehicles if they get into an accident while running a business errand?

If you often send employees on business errands in their personal cars or trucks, or, if you use rental vehicles, consider adding optional coverages to your policy to protect those vehicles. In many cases, a standard commercial auto insurance policy won’t cover damages in case of an accident. Your agent or insurance company can walk you through all of your options.

3.    Should I maintain my policy during the off-season if I’m not using my truck?

When the season’s over, consider switching to Comprehensive-only coverage instead of canceling your policy altogether. This coverage protects your vehicles against incidents like vandalism or hail that can happen when they’re sitting for long periods during the off-season.

If you do decide to cancel your Liability insurance, check with the Department of Motor Vehicles first. There may be some additional steps you need to take to comply with the insurance laws in your state.

4.    How quickly does my insurance company resolve claims?

Find out how long, on average, it takes your insurer to resolve claims. The faster they take care of your claim, the faster you can get back to work.

Also, ask if your insurance will cover a rental vehicle or provide downtime payments.

That way, if your truck’s out of commission, your business will stay profitable.

5.    What can I do to control my insurance expenses?

Discounts can make a big difference, especially with commercial insurance. Progressive offers several, like an experienced business owner discount and a discount if you have a General Liability or Business Owner’s Policy. Other ways that you can save include increasing your deductibles and paying your premium in full.

Andy Fulford is a product manager for Progressive. Progressive, in business since 1937, offers products and services that simplify buying and using auto insurance and is the #1 truck insurer in the U.S.

Truck Insurance Myths Debunked

By Mike Miller, product marketing director, Progressive

Your truck is the backbone that keeps your business up and running. But when it comes to insuring your truck, it can be difficult to distinguish insurance facts from myths. And buying insurance without knowing the facts might cost you big bucks in damages or downtime.

We’ve compiled a number of truck insurance myths and facts. Use them to make sure you have the right insurance coverages for your truck.

Myth: If you’re on a motor carrier policy, you’re covered.

Fact: Motor carrier policies often provide only liability coverage to owner-operator vehicles on lease, so you need to have your own physical damage coverage.  Plus, the motor carrier policy only covers you when you’re driving for work or are under dispatch. So if you have a claim when you’re on a non-business or personal errand, it likely won’t be covered. A non-trucking liability and physical damage policy can protect you and your truck.

Myth: You should have a separate cargo insurance policy.

Fact: Consider adding your cargo insurance as an endorsement on your vehicle policy instead of carrying cargo coverage with a different carrier. If you’re in an accident that damages both your truck and cargo, you won’t need to waste time waiting dealing with two separate companies for your claims. Plus, a cargo endorsement can be less expensive than carrying a separate policy, and one policy means paying just one bill instead of two.

Myth: Downtime following a truck accident is annoying, but won’t significantly affect your bottom line.

Fact: If your truck is out of commission for 30 days, your business could only have a 50 percent chance of survival. Make sure that your insurance company will provide a rental vehicle or downtime payments to help you get back on the road quickly following a claim.

Myth: It’s cheaper to cancel your insurance for stored vehicles if you have a seasonal business.

Fact: Not necessarily. If you cancel your insurance policy, your stored vehicles won’t be protected. A Comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for businesses that don’t need liability coverage during certain months, but want basic protection against incidents like vandalism, fire, theft, falling tree branches, and hail. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during the off-season.

Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to get a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage prior to offering their best rate.

Myth: All commercial insurance companies provide help with state and federal filings.

Fact: Some insurers won’t cover vehicles that require filings, while others simply don’t have the capability to help you get the filings your business needs. Progressive can leverage its truck insurance expertise to provide its customers with filings assistance.

 

Myth: All insurance companies offer 24/7 service.

Fact: Many insurance companies are only available during regular office hours, which can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy, obtaining a Certificate of Insurance, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.

Wonder if one of your perceptions about truck insurance is myth or fact? Talk to a local independent agent. He or she can answer those questions and help you determine which coverages are right for you.

Mike Miller is a product marketing director for Progressive.  Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the #1 truck insurer in the U.S. 

Seven tips to keep truckers safe and protected during the winter season

A carpet of fresh snow can be heartwarming when viewed from indoors in front of a roaring fireplace. But for a trucker, that beautiful landscape can mean treacherous roadways.

To prepare for brutal winter weather, here are a few tips from Bill Kampf, Progressive Commercial Auto general manager, to help protect against harm to you or your truck this season:

1.  Pull together a winter survival kit for yourself… – Make sure your truck is fully stocked with everything you might need so a stall-out or breakdown doesn’t leave you stranded.  Key items to include: a shovel, battery booster cables, ice scraper/snow brush, flashlight with extra batteries, and a space blanket to help prevent heat loss from a person’s body.  Additional items might include extra pairs of dry socks and gloves, energy bars or other non-perishable food, bottled water and spare fully-charged cell phone batteries.

2.  …AND your truck – Before the cold weather hits, equip your truck with new winter windshield wiper blades as well as winterized washer fluid and fuel. Also make sure that your tires, headlights, cooling system and battery are all in good shape. With all of these precautions, both you and your vehicle will be ready for any snow, hail, black ice or below freezing temperature that you might face out on the open road.

3. Slow down – Give yourself more time to react if something occurs in the road ahead. Compensate for poor traction by driving slower and making all changes slowly and gently.

4. Give yourself extra space in front and behind – To stay out of harm’s way in a sudden emergency, increase the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. Normal following distances should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.

Look further ahead in traffic than normal to get a split-second extra to react safely. Awareness of other drivers can go a long way this time of year.

5.  Keep an eye on the temperature – Be alert to potentially dangerous road conditions. Touch the front of your outside mirror to see if ice is forming. If it’s forming on your mirrors, it’s forming on the road too. Be especially cautious when crossing bridges and overpasses where ice often forms first.

6. Check your favorite station – Listen to the weather forecast before you leave town. If travel seems hazardous, postpone your run.

7.  Be ready for the unexpected – No matter how cautious you are, you still need a safety net on the road. Specialized insurance coverages and services designed specifically for truck owners and operators are offered by commercial insurers like Progressive.

Check with your insurance company to see what they offer.  Make sure your policy has tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of you and your business, including:

  • Cargo Coverage to protect against damage or loss due to theft, fire, collision and hitting or running over cargo. Progressive’s Cargo Coverage includes no co-insurance penalty, no exclusion of coverage if a vehicle is left unattended, and no reduction in coverage limits for items such as electronic equipment.
  • Roadside Assistance that provides 24/7 towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, emergency fuel delivery, locksmith service and on-scene labor.
  • Rental Reimbursement to pay for a replacement vehicle following a covered claim.

Bottom line: make sure you and your vehicle are safe and covered, even during the coldest and most treacherous winter months.

Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.

Three Tips To Help Your Vacation Get Off To A Worry-Free Start

With vacation season in full swing, you may be in the process of planning an annual getaway. While most people spend lots of time looking for ways to maximize their budget, one costly decision is often left to the last minute—whether to buy the optional insurance offered by a rental car company.

 

“Deciding whether to buy ‘damage waivers’ or insurance at the rental car counter can be a confusing experience—especially if you don’t know if you’re already covered by your personal auto insurance policy,” said Rick Crawley of the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies. “Optional rental car insurance can cost between $7 and $25 per day, depending on the rental car company, vehicle make and model and type of waiver. Those daily charges can significantly add to the cost of your rental.”

 

Follow these three tips, courtesy of Lockridge Agency, to help you decide whether or not you should buy the coverage:

 

1. Consult with an independent insurance agency – like Lockridge Agency. As licensed insurance professionals, independent insurance agents and brokers can review and evaluate your policies to find out if the coverage you have on your personal vehicle provides protection for you in a rental car.

 

2. Check with your credit card company. Some credit card companies provide coverage at no charge if you use their card to charge the cost of the rental. However, some restrictions may apply so be sure to ask for a description of the exact coverages provided.

 

3. Take your personal auto insurance policy and details of your coverages with you to the rental car counter. You may be asked a question that these papers can help answer—or, if you’re in doubt, you’ll have your agent’s name and phone number readily available. “We want people to have the information they need to make more informed decisions about car insurance,” said Crawley.

 

“Knowing whether you need to buy additional coverage can save you money and give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your vacation. Don’t start off your trip questioning your decisions—take control by talking with your independent agent or broker and knowing the answers to those inevitable questions.”

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