Drive Safe: These Safety Measures Can Reduce Accidents
The nation’s roadways see more than six million motor vehicle crashes annually, and the most recent information indicates there were more than 37,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2016.
Fortunately, car manufacturers continue to improve safety features to help lower these numbers. Drivers, too, can take steps to reduce their risk of accidents and increase highway safety. These efforts can also keep claims to a minimum and insurance costs low. Consider the following top safety measures to make your driving experience safer and more affordable:
Focus: Distracted driving, which includes operating a cell phone, eating, or talking while driving, accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle crashes in 2015. And a February 2018 AAA report found that drowsy drivers accounted for almost 10% of all crashes. Decrease your risk of an accident: leave texting, conversations, lunch, and naps outside the car.
Seatbelts: These lifesaving devices have become standard practice for many drivers and passengers, but not all. Take a moment to click it on. Seatbelts are worth wearing; they saved more than 14,500 lives in 2016.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC): This vehicle feature is designed to control engine power and brakes to prevent accidents and rollovers. ESC saved more than 7,000 lives between 2011 and 2015. All vehicles manufactured since 2012 are required to have ESC.
This feature and other innovations are making vehicles safer each year. If you’re considering a vehicle purchase, don’t overlook the safety features newer cars can provide. They can make your drive safer, and may even reduce your insurance premiums.
Cities Are Thinking Instagram: Is This Good, Bad, or Just a Fad?
Do you want to live in an “Instagram Playground”? According to a recent CityLab headline, it’s happening right now: “Your Entire City Is an Instagram Playground ….” But is this good or bad? You decide.
People have been posting on Instagram since 2010, but now there’s a twist: humans are sharing the frame with city signs, like the mega tourist attraction “I Amsterdam” sign, which became the city’s marketing slogan. Posted outside the Rijksmuseum (and now in several spots around town), the giant red and white sign has attracted millions of tourists, all toting cellphones and looking for the perfect angle for selfies.
Many others have followed, including Toronto, Canada, where big block letters shout “Toronto” in front of its iconic city hall. Brand experts describe it as a huge marketing success, drawing some 120 million social media impressions. Kids (and adults) love the letters, climbing on them, jumping off them, and crawling through them as if the sign were a giant jungle gym.
But, of course, there’s a downside. Notes Amsterdam website Dutchamsterdam.nl: “… now that (according to a growing number of locals) Amsterdam is ‘overrun’ with tourists, many Amsterdammers believe the sign has worked too well, and has overstayed its welcome.” With it, apparently, came petty crime, vandalism, and crowded restaurants and attractions. As a result, the city’s marketing message is now targeted to corporations and organizations, not tourists.
The dilemma: anonymity or tourist overkill? Decide where you stand now. Big block letters may soon be on their way to a city near you.
On the Road Again: The Return of the RV Lifestyle
North Americans are traveling the highways and byways again. And doing it in style. After the halcyon days of RVing in the 70s, the industry declined. The 2008 financial crisis practically destroyed it, but now vehicles ranging from small trailers to high-end products (like the $400,000 Winnebago camper “that looks like a fancy, spacious apartment,” according to an NPR report) are once again “on the road.”
As RV sales rep Renèe Hinson told NPR: “Having seen the business since the ’70s forward, it’s back to like the ’70s. … We’ve seen astounding growth.” Why the popularity? Seems there’s a new wave of RV fans: millennials.
Traditionally the largest group of RV enthusiasts has been retirees, staking out a place in the sun or just traveling the country. But according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the average age of an RV owner is now under 50. And Hinson says she’s selling campers to 30-year-olds “like never before.”
As a CBS News report from last summer says: “Images of millennials on RV road trips and outdoor adventures have filled social media all summer long, and #Camping posts on Instagram are now over 14 million.” As Allison Lago Leonard, general manager of the KOA campsite in Mystic, Connecticut, notes in the CBS article: “There’s 75 million campers out there, and one third, 38%, of us are millennials. So, I mean, we’re catching up and we’re catching on.”
Concludes CBS’s report: “… you can live just about anywhere. And for the millennials now driving RV sales, that’s the point.”
Insurance-Speak: Industry Terms Explained Here
Every industry has its own lingo. Are you familiar with the language of insurance? Consumers frequently encounter common insurance terms, but many are unsure how to define them.
Following are a few of the most common definitions. Becoming familiar with these will help you navigate insurance purchases, questions, and claims.
Actual cash value: This form of insurance provides coverage equal to the value of your damaged property less the depreciation.
Adjuster: This individual evaluates losses to help settle claims.
Comprehensive coverage: This portion of your auto insurance covers any damage to your car that is not related to a vehicle collision, including damage from events such as fire, vandalism, and theft.
Deductible: Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your policy kicks in to cover the rest of the claim. If you set a higher deductible, you can pay a lower premium.
Depreciation: Over time, your property decreases in value due to wear and tear. This decrease in value is called depreciation.
Exclusion: An exclusion highlights certain risks or specific types of damage or acts that won’t be covered under your policy.
Liability: Liability insurance protects you if you become legally responsible for personal injury or damage to another person’s property.
Premium: This is the price of your insurance policy. It is typically paid annually, semi-annually, or monthly.
Replacement value: This coverage provides the amount you need to replace damaged property with a new item, regardless of the damaged item’s depreciated value.
Rider: Also referred to as an endorsement, this agreement expands or limits the benefits of a policy.
Underwriting: This is the process by which an insurance company reviews a policy application and sets the appropriate premium for coverage.
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