The Reality of Drowsy Driving

The Reality of Drowsy Driving

November 1st, 2018 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

It was 8:00 PM on a Friday night in Chaska, Minnesota. Chad had just finished working a 70 hour week. He was exhausted and couldn’t wait to get home and get some sleep. He was about three blocks from home when he pulled up to a red light. Next thing he knew a police officer was tapping on his window telling him he sat through a green light. Chad had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Sleeping while driving is becoming more of an issue and is garnering more national attention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that 100,000 police-reported crashes per year are caused simply by driver fatigue. This results in roughly 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than $12.5 BILLION in monetary losses. Crashes related to drowsiness are most common in young men and adults with children.

Certain states have started to pay more attention to sleepless driving. New Jersey has even stiffened their laws with regards to dozing and driving. A driver that has gone without sleep in 24 hours is considered to be driving recklessly. It is a little known fact that depending on your insurance carrier, this could be thought of as worse than drunk driving.

Preventing a sleep-related crash is actually pretty simple. Don’t drive if you’re sleep deprived. If you’ve been up all night or feel exhausted, it isn’t the smartest idea to get behind the wheel. Next, try to avoid driving late at night. This is when a large portion of sleep-related crashes take place. Finally, if you’re going to be on a long drive, consume some caffeine. A coffee, soda or even an energy drink can help keep you alert.

Sleep-related crashes are becoming more and more common. Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep before getting behind the wheel. Not only will driving safely save you money on auto insurance, it could save your life!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

Website: www.martinsonagency.com

7 Relevant Insurance Terms for You

7 Relevant Insurance Terms for You

October 6th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Insurance has its own vocabulary. Some words and phrases may be unfamiliar even to those who have long owned insurance coverage. To help recognize key insurance topics, here are seven relevant insurance terms:

Deductible
A deductible is the amount of money that a policyholder must pay before his or her plan’s benefits kick in. For example, if a policy has a $500 deductible, you will have to pay $500 out of pocket after making a claim before the insurance policy would provide coverage.

Umbrella Coverage
Umbrella coverage is additional liability insurance that operates in conjunction with a primary policy such as a personal automobile or homeowners insurance policy. In general, umbrella coverage protects against major claims and lawsuits that exceed your primary coverage limits. Umbrella coverage also is available for commercial insurance policies.

Limit
In insurance, a limit is the maximum amount of insurance that can be paid for a covered loss. In most cases, this refers to a single claim, but may also apply to a policy period (such as a year).

Replacement Cost

Replacement cost is a method of valuation in insurance policies that refers to the cost of replacing an item damaged. Replacement cost refers to the specific cost to get a new or similar item in the marketplace at a certain point in time, without deducting for depreciation – up to your maximum coverage limits.

Loss of Use
Loss of use refers to the additional expenses incurred by a change in situation that an insurance policy covers. For example, if your home is damaged and an insurance claim was filed, expenses related to a change in lifestyle, like eating out because your kitchen is unusable, can be considered expenses related to loss of use.

Additional Living Expense
Additional living expenses refers to any cost associated with maintaining a normal standard of living in a situation involving an insurance claim and is a common form of coverage in a homeowners policy. If, for example, your home is damaged by fire and is unlivable, the cost of a hotel would fall under the classification of additional living expense.

Ordinance or Law Coverage
Ordinance coverage, also known as law coverage, refers to additional expenses incurred by work that must be completed due to changes in local laws or ordinances. For example, inadequate fireproofing,
out-of-date HVAC systems, or use of asbestos may not comply with current building codes. This typically requires extra costs in rebuilding.

Why Insurance Terms Matter
For those not in the business, insurance can seem a little overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Knowing the terms used in policy documents can make it easier for you to understand your insurance coverage options for the risks that may affect you.

Martinson Agency LLC – Chaska, MN

(952) 314-4400

Helpful Fender Bender Tips

Helpful Fender Bender Tips

August 4th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

If you’ve experienced a minor car accident, you’re not alone. Of the 5.6 million police-reported automobile accidents in 2012, 70 percent resulted in property damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Despite the common nature of fender benders, it may be hard to remember what to do when one happens to you. After all, traffic incidents can be chaotic, stressful, and scary, even if no one is injured.

Adding to the potential for confusion, fender benders can take place anywhere. That means you may experience a minor car accident in a parking lot, in a driveway, on a quiet side street, or on the freeway in rush hour traffic.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are involved in a fender bender:

  1. Stop.

First and foremost, stop the car. If you’ve just had a minor accident, it’s not necessary to leave the cars where they are, says Cars.com. Instead, pull off the road and focus on getting to safety. Once you’re out of the line of traffic, turn on your hazard lights. If you can’t move your car without damaging it further, you might have to leave it where it is, but be sure to turn on your hazard lights.

Remember: Though laws differ from state to state, in most places it’s against the law to drive away without stopping after an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault… and hit-and-run penalties may be severe.

  1. Call the police.

Once you’ve pulled over to the side of the road, call 911 and report the accident. Even if no one has been injured, a police officer acts as a neutral third party and may produce a report that could help you with your insurance claim.

  1. Take pictures.

While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, take pictures of the scene. Document any damage to your car, as well as the other driver’s vehicle. You may also want to take a few shots of the location where the accident took place, as well as any witnesses or other people involved.

  1. Exchange information.

This may be one of the most important things you do after an accident: exchange information with the other driver. Grab your insurance card, your driver’s license, and your vehicle registration and exchange the following details with the other driver:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration date
  • Insurance company policy numbers and contact information
  • License plate number of the other car
  • Make, model, and year of the other car
  • Contact information of any eyewitnesses

When the police officer arrives, note their name, badge number, phone number, and accident report number. You should also request a copy of the accident report; this may take a couple of days to obtain, but it will be helpful when it comes time to file a claim.

  1. Don’t say too much.

Other than exchanging information, don’t talk to the other driver. Wait until the police arrive and be truthful, while sticking to the facts.

  1. Call your insurance provider.

Contact your insurance provider to report the accident. You’ll be able to speak with a representative about your options and make the best decisions for your situation.

By following these simple steps, you may protect yourself in the case of a minor accident. If you have any questions regarding your accident don’t hesitate to give our office call. Our family can help assist in even the simplest of situations!

Martinson Agency LLC – Chaska, MN – 952-314-4400

Can You Still Pass Driver’s Education?

Can You Still Pass Driver’s Education?

July 21st, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

We all think we know the rules of the road. But you might be surprised to learn that even common driving habits can be unsafe. So take this simple quiz to ensure you’re utilizing the safe driving essentials:

  1. What is a good way to avoid cell phone distractions while driving?
    1. Call your friends to tell them you are driving
    2. Turn your phone off until you are parked
    3. Only answer important calls and texts
  2. A car is in front of you. What is the minimum safe following distance?
    1. 3 seconds
    2. 3 car lengths
    3. 10 feet behind
  3. You are driving on a two lane road with a double solid line. You may pass when:
    1. A vehicle has hazard lights on
    2. You may not pass or change lanes at any time
    3. A vehicle is going 10 MPH under the speed limit
  4. When a driver tailgates you, you should:
    1. Lightly apply brakes
    2. Slow down and move to the right
    3. Speed up
  5. Two cars reach an intersection with stop signs at the same time. Who goes first?
    1. Driver on the right
    2. Driver on the left
    3. Driver turning left
  6. When confronted by an aggressive driver you should:
    1. Gesture for them to slow down
    2. Avoid eye contact
    3. Pull over and stop
  7. You are driving on a multi-lane road and see a stopped emergency vehicle ahead. You should:
    1. Come to a complete stop
    2. Shift lanes and slow down
    3. Slow to half the posted speed limit

Following these driving tips will make the roads a safer place and can also keep your insurance rates in check. If you think you are paying too much and are interested in a free policy review, please give Martinson Agency a call today!

 

ANSWERS:

  1. B
  2. A
  3. B
  4. B
  5. A
  6. B
  7. B

The Typical College Student’s Insurance Needs

The Typical College Student’s Insurance Needs

June 30th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

It’s an exciting and emotional time when a child – err, young adult – heads off to college. And, for many parents, a confusing time in regards to car insurance and personal property coverage. Should college students remain on the family’s auto policy? Do they have coverage for their belongings in the dorms? Let’s take a look at these and other issues to help clear up some of the confusion.

Wheels or No Wheels?

If you’re supporting your college student financially, you can still consider him or her a household member for insurance purposes. Yes, even if your child doesn’t live at home or moves out of state. This means that:

  • If your child takes a car to school, he or she can stay on your auto insurance policy. Be sure to make it known that lending the car to friends is out of the question!
  • If your child leaves the car at home, there’s likely no need for him or her to be listed as a daily driver on your policy. This could reduce your car insurance rates, especially if the school is more than 100 miles away from home.
  • If your child returns home for a weekend or holiday, he or she can still drive under your coverage. However, if your child will be using the car for an extended period, such as during summer break, you should let your independent agent know.

Oftentimes a carrier will offer Good Student Discounts for students who maintain a high GPA, such as 3.0 or above. If you college student is remaining on your auto policy, be sure to talk with your agent about whether this is an option for you. Also be aware that if your student owns a vehicle or you transfer ownership of a vehicle into your student’s name, that vehicle will need to registered and insured in his or her own name. This is a great way to start building your child’s insurance history!

What’s It All Worth?

Car or no car, your student is no doubt taking several thousand dollars’ worth of personal belongings with him or her to college: laptop, tablet, TV, smartphone, gaming equipment, books, wardrobe, luggage, etc. Some lines of study may even require costly gear, such as musical instruments or cameras. Your existing homeowner’s policy should extend some personal property coverage to your student. For example, 10 or 20 percent of your personal property coverage may extend to your student’s dorm stay. So, if you have $100,000 of personal property coverage on your policy, your student has $10,000 or $20,000 worth of coverage. This may even follow your student to a foreign country if he or she is studying abroad for a semester or longer, but be sure to check with your local independent agent. To make it easy to take advantage of this coverage in the event of a covered incident, be sure to:

  • Create an inventory of what your student is taking before he or she heads off to college and what it’s all worth. Include receipts, photos, serial numbers, and as much other information about the items as you can.
  • Itemize any items worth more than $1,000 since, in most cases, there is a cap on how much coverage particular items or types of items receive under your policy. Itemizing the valuables offers broader coverage and also broadens the coverage territory to anywhere in the world.

For students renting a house or apartment off-campus, or even a dorm on-campus, a renter’s insurance policy in their own name is another option. Renter’s policies are oftentimes highly affordable ($10 to $20 a month in some cases) and provide liability and medical payment coverages in addition to personal property.

What About Umbrella Insurance?

An umbrella policy covers all household members. If you have one, it gives your student even more liability protection in auto accidents and other mishaps, according to your policy. It’s normal to be nervous when your kids head off to college. But, there’s no reason to be nervous about whether you’ve handled their insurance needs properly.

Use this primer as a guide but remember that your own insurance coverage may differ depending on your policy, your carrier, and your state. To further put your mind at ease, check in with your local independent agent for regular guidance. Trust me, there is no such thing as too many questions when it comes to keeping your young adult safely insured!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: amartinson@aibme.com

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Ride Sharing (Uber & Lyft) Coverage

Ride Sharing (Uber & Lyft) Coverage

May 4th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

So you’re a ride share driver for Uber or Lyft, generating extra income or maybe even working full-time using your personal vehicle to transport others. You love the freedom of setting your own hours and traversing the city with interesting people in tow. Make sure you understand when your personal auto insurance policy affords coverage for Ride Sharing and when it does not.

Where’s Your Coverage Gap?

The entire time your TNC app is on, your personal auto policy is suspended. Your TNC does provide coverage, but only for the period of time between accepting the passenger and dropping off the passenger. No passenger means no coverage for your vehicle and any damages or injuries you may sustain or cause.

Safeco Ride Sharing Coverage steps in to cover you between passengers, effectively closing the gap.

Safeco Ride Sharing Coverage Fills in the Gap – and Then Some

Extend your personal auto policy: With Safeco Ride Sharing Coverage, you get nearly the same coverage during applicable ride sharing activities as you do any other time you drive. Most of the coverage and options you selected for your Safeco auto policy extend to your Ride Sharing Coverage.

Identify which vehicle you use for ride sharing: Your Ride Sharing Coverage will only apply to the vehicle specified on your policy. If you have other vehicles insured with Safeco, the coverage will not apply to them unless you purchase coverage for each one.

Contact your local independent agent at the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN today for more information regarding Ride Sharing coverage and how it may be handled with your current policy.
Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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What You Need to Know About Leasing a Vehicle

What You Need to Know About Leasing a Vehicle

March 2nd, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Leasing a car is becoming more and more popular as time goes on. Leasing offers significant benefits as compared to purchasing a vehicle. Edmunds, a research publication that focuses on the automotive market, released the following data from its study last summer on leasing:

  • The first half of 2016 saw the highest number of new car leases on record.
  • Over the past five years, the number of car leases has doubled.
  • Millennials represent the largest group of lessees at more than 34%.
  • When looking at the whole, lessees pay 23% less each month on average than those who have a financing program

If you are one of the many Americans considering signing an automobile lease, there are some things you should know.

The Basics

Anyone interested in leasing a car should first understand whether or not it’s the right move compared to buying, according to US News. For example, the source explains that the standard lease agreement puts a limit of 9,000 to 15,000 miles annually. If you think you are going to exceed that, it might not benefit you to lease given the immense penalties you could end up paying. On the other hand, individuals who are committed to maintaining their leased vehicles or desire an automobile they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, are indeed strong candidates for this path.

Bankrate, a financial website, urges consumers to avoid five common mistakes in the leasing process, including, paying exorbitant sums up front, failing to maintain the interior and exterior of the vehicle, and leasing a vehicle for more time than the warranty period. Bankrate also notes that failure to get gap insurance could lead to financial peril for the lessee.

Since Coverage is an important factor in this conversation, let’s look further into the key matters involved.

Insurance Considerations

The Insurance Information Institute offers some helpful guidance to individuals who are looking to lease a car and protect themselves from the potential financial damages that could accompany theft or an accident. In most instances, you will have to keep comprehensive and collision coverage, but this will rarely cover the entirety of your liability if the vehicle is completely totaled. That’s where gap coverage comes in. Gap coverage, sometimes referred to as loan/lease coverage, reimburses the lessee in the event of an accident and there’s a “gap” between the amount owed the auto dealer and the insurance claim payment.

The vast majority of consumers will not have to purchase their gap insurance separately, but rather foot the bill as part of the monthly payment to the lessor.

Make sure that you read all of the fine print on leasing contracts, especially the content related to insurance and liability, before signing on.

With any questions regarding coverage when leasing a vehicle, give your insurance professionals at the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Dangers of Distracted Driving

Dangers of Distracted Driving

February 10th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

The dangers of driving drunk are well documented. Over the last few years, there have been many campaigns aimed at raising awareness about driving under the influence. Designated drivers, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” and “Drink responsibly” are now mainstays of media and social consciousness and intoxicated drivers are heavily fined and penalized.

Yet there is another behavior that:

  • Is six times more likely to cause an accident than DWI
  • Makes you 23 times more likely to crash
  • Is the same as driving blind for at least five seconds (the time it takes a car going 55 mph to travel the length of a football field)
  • Is being practiced by approximately 800,000 drivers at any given time

And the results of this behavior are horrific. This behavior:

  • Causes nearly 25% of all car accidents
  • Results in 1.6 million accidents and 300,00 injuries every year
  • Causes 11 teenage deaths every day

This behavior is distracted driving. Distracted driving includes but is not limited to: texting, tweeting, using snap chat, changing songs, talking on the phone and eating. These activities can always wait until you arrive at your destination. Put the phone down. It can save a life.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Super Bowl LI: Four Myths About The Big Game

Super Bowl LI: Four Myths About The Big Game

February 5th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, let’s look at four of the most common myths surrounding the big game.

The Marketing Misconceptions

The Super Bowl is known as one of the biggest events of the year in advertising. However, Advertising Age explains that there are a lot of myths about advertising during the big game. The news provider explained that broadcast advertising is not the only way to gain some visibility, as one company carried out a campaign on the web ─ without purchasing a $4 million ad spot ─ and reached 10 million individuals by becoming a part of the conversation. Even small businesses can capitalize on the event, not just large ones.

Right Down The Drain

TIME Magazine explained that some people believe the “flush effect” myth, which is the belief that everyone in the country will flush their toilet at the same exact moment during halftime, and that this will strain the nation’s water supply. Interestingly, TIME Magazine points out that research in various cities has proven that water use peaks during breaks in the game.

Plenty of Beer, But Not The Most

Americans might believe the big game would be the biggest day of the year for beer purchases, and for good reason. However, this is false. The Nielsen Co., a ratings and research firm, lists this event in February as the eighth-biggest day for beer sales, behind other days including Independence Day, Labor Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Easter.

Stock Market Predictor

One theory states that the Super Bowl can predict the stock market’s performance for the coming year. As ridiculous as it sounds, there is some evidence to back this theory up. The “Super Bowl Indicator” states that if a team from the old American Football League (AFL) wins, the stock market will go down; if a team from the old National Football League (NFL) wins, the markets will go up. The Super Bowl indicator has been accurate roughly 80% of the time!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Supporting Your Local Businesses

Supporting Your Local Businesses

January 9th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Small businesses are among the most important components of the American economy, both on local and national levels.

Consider the following statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration, an entity devoted to supporting entrepreneurs:

  • Small businesses outnumbered large ones by a margin of 28.8 million to 18,600 in 2013.
  • More than 99 percent of all companies that have employees in the U.S. are small businesses.
  • Small businesses are responsible for more than half of the total export value.
  • Between 1992 and 2013, small businesses created 63.3 percent of net new jobs.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at why you should consider shopping at your local retailers.

Support The Local Economy

While entrepreneurs have a massive impact on the national level, their greatest value is often found in the local areas they reside. For example, if you were to shop at a major, multi-national chain, much of their profits will go back to shareholders in other states. On the other hand, small business revenues and profits will often be funneled back into their local economies via the salaries of employees from the area, vendor relationships within the community and more. PV Local First, a nonprofit advocacy group supporting independent businesses, states that local companies are more likely to purchase and sell goods from other entities in their areas.

Higher Quality

Small businesses are also rarely involved in mass-production activities, especially when talking about local retailers. This means that you will be able to purchase more artisanal, higher-quality goods in many situations. If the small local business is a re-seller, then you will be supporting artisans, craft makers, cooks and other professionals in your area as well.

Indirect Philanthropy

When you shop local, the philanthropic and charitable groups in your area are more likely to thrive. Sustainable Connections, a nonprofit that focuses on green initiatives, states that small businesses donate 250 percent more to nonprofit organizations than larger, national chains. These funds, which you will be fueling when shopping local, can go a long way toward making tangible differences in the lives of your neighbors.

Be A Part Of The Movement

American Express, the credit card company that started Small Business Saturday, estimates that $14.3 billion was spent in 2014, and 95 million Americans shopped local during 2015’s iteration of the event. Do not miss your chance to show your support for your community’s companies and entrepreneurs!

If you are looking to make an insurance purchase please contact Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN and remember, SHOP SMALL!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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