Hidden Dangers: Why Potholes Are More Dangerous Than You Think

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

Th-thunk. What the heck was that? You drove over a pothole, or small uneven area, in the road — and you sure felt it. While most potholes just give you a momentary jolt, some can cause real damage to your vehicle. Almost half of all drivers have had some damage to their cars or trucks caused by potholes in the past 5 years. These problem areas in the road are more common in areas where there are severe winters, but drivers report issues throughout the U.S. What kinds of damage can potholes cause? Just about anything. Here are the most common reasons why drivers request coverage from their auto insurance policies: Tire damage Wheel rim damage Suspension damage, including broken components Steering system misalignment Exhaust system damage Engine damage How to Avoid Damage from Hitting Potholes The best way to keep from incurring damage is to avoid hitting potholes all together. Just like with all driving, staying observant is key: If you see one pothole, there could be others. Be cautious. Always travel the speed limit. Going faster could increase the damage your car gets when you hit a pothole. Keep an eye on the drivers in front of you. If they show signs of hitting a pothole, or look like they are trying to maneuver around something in the road, watch out. Don’t swerve if you see a pothole at the last minute. It’s better to hit the pothole in the road than swerve into the path of another car. Report potholes that you see or hit to your city or state transportation departments. It’s their responsibility to repair the roads. If, despite your best efforts, you do drive over a pothole, wait until you are in a safe place to pull over and inspect for damage. Take photos and note the details of the situation so you can report the pothole to transportation authorities and request compensation, if appropriate. Recovering Repair Costs It’s the job of your local or state transportation crew to keep the roads maintained and patch or repair any potholes. Before they can make repairs, workers need to identify potholes with obvious road signs. If this hasn’t been done, you may be able to recover the cost of repairing your vehicle from the government rather than your insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about the incident, along with all the details you have. Your agent can advise about how to request compensation from your city or state; if that’s not possible, your agent can assist you with filing a claim. Before you hit a pothole, take the time to check with your agent, such as someone from Hamsher Insurance, and make sure that you have the coverage you need to pay for any damage. That can make hitting a pothole a little easier to...

Read More »

Perform A Financial Check-Up For The New Year

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Looking for a New Year’s resolution that can make a real difference in your life?  Why not complete a financial check-up?  It doesn’t take as long as you might think to ‘pop the hood’ on your financial engine and make sure that your family is prepared for whatever rough weather may come in the next year. Here are a few suggestions: Insurance.  How long has it been since you assessed your life, health, and homeowners insurance coverage?  Years?  A decade? A lot may have changed since then.  Some of the reasons why old insurance coverage amounts may no longer be sufficient (or perhaps may be too high) include changes in income levels, number of children, ages of children, working spouses, levels of debt or home values.  Meet with your insurance agent to review changes and recommendations.  Wills/Trusts.  Do you have a will?  How about a living revocable trust?  Advanced medical directives and powers of attorney?  No one wants to think about death or end-of-life decisions, but it’s especially important for families with young children to do so.  Dying without a will or a trust in place may result in your assets not going to the persons you desire or even the state being the one to appoint guardians for minor children.  Portfolio.  Do your investment choices still make sense? While it’s usually not advisable to try to ‘time the market’ by changing an investment portfolio constantly, every investment plan needs to be monitored at least once a year (it not more).  Has your risk tolerance changed?  Are your investments still doing consistently well or do they need replaced?  This is especially important as you move closer to retirement and the horizon on your investments gets smaller.  Contact your brokerage company to see if they offer an annual review online or in person.  If participating in automatic investment plans through your employer or brokerage firm, consider increasing auto-deposits-  even by a small amount.  Interest Rates.  Look up or contact your banking institution to find out the current interest rates on savings and checking accounts.  With some research, you may be able to find better rates, rather than let inertia keep your accounts stagnant.  Consider online only banks, which often are able to offer better rates due to lower overhead.  Also, keep in mind high-interest checking accounts as an alternative to a traditional savings account.  Whether you spend a few moments or a few hours doing annual maintenance on your financial plan, it’s time well spent and has the benefit of fewer worries in the next year. Talk to your financial advisor, such as Watauga Insurance Inc, for more...

Read More »