4 Driving Emergencies You Can Prepare For

Would you know how to quickly and safely react if your tire suddenly blew out? What if your gas pedal got stuck?

These aren’t everyday incidents, but they’re not unheard of, either. And they can be extra stressful if you have no idea how to handle them.

Do yourself a favor: Take a look at a few ways to help keep yourself safe just in case the unexpected happens while you’re out on the road.

4 Driving Emergencies (and How to React)

Your tire blows out.

What to do: Grip the steering wheel tightly with both hands so your car doesn’t swerve as the air leaves your tire. Don’t slam your brakes; accelerate carefully to maintain your speed. Then, take your foot off the gas, let the car slow naturally, turn on your hazard lights and pull over. It’s safe to gently brake once you’ve slowed to 25 mph.

You start to hydroplane.

What to do: Resist the urge to hit the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator. Look and steer in the direction you want to go. If you’re still skidding, gently tap the brakes.

Your accelerator sticks.

What to do: Jiggle or stomp the gas pedal if an object has lodged underneath. If that doesn’t work or you need a faster response, put your car in neutral, tap your brakes repeatedly to alert other drivers, and pull over.

Your brakes stop working.

What to do: First, try pumping the brake pedal. If your car still won’t slow down, shift into neutral or a lower gear. For a faster response, gently engage your parking brake. Another option is to nudge your car against an object like a guardrail or curb; its friction will slow you down. Your car will get damaged, but you may avoid a crash.

Your insurance can take care of vehicle damage, so always put your life and your safety first. Not sure if you have the right coverage? Get in touch with one of our team members at Vick Insurance Group. You can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

As always stay safe!!


6 Helpful Home Features to Look Forward To

If you could redesign your home today, what would it look like?

Experiencing a pandemic has changed how many of us think about our living spaces. What used to make sense may now seem impractical, and lots of homeowners are wishing for different features and layouts altogether.

How will home design change in the future? Here are a few comfort-focused innovations we might start to see.

Cleanliness and Safety

Looking to the future, you can likely expect to see more voice- and motion-activated technology and stronger barriers between the outside and inside world.

  • Entry areas and mudrooms may become a “must” rather than a “nice to have” feature. Many will be equipped with a place to wash hands, store shoes and clothes, and might even have a washer and dryer.
  • Smart home technology will likely be more focused on monitoring air and water quality. Voice- and motion-recognition features can help minimize contact with surfaces.

Streamlined Storage

Have you felt overwhelmed by clutter lately? Future homes will likely adapt to a more streamlined and storage-friendly mindset.

  • Redesigned kitchens will emphasize storage space with larger pantries and multipurpose islands and counters.
  • Creative solutions will be needed for smaller spaces, and this may include fold-down desks, under-the-stairs storage and making the most of vertical space.

Structural Boundaries

Need some peace and quiet? Want to accommodate multiple roommates or your multi-generational family with ease? Designers and architects can help.

  • Walls will be in demand. Individual rooms (rather than open floor plans) can give residents the privacy they need.
  • Flexible and outdoor spaces that can provide areas for work, exercise, relaxation and recreation will become more appealing than ever.

Do you have questions about your coverage? Need help with anything? Reach out today.

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5 Ways to Help Teen Drivers Succeed

Learning to drive is a summer rite of passage for many teenagers. It’s also a chance for parents to truly make a difference in their child’s life. By instilling smart habits from the beginning, you’ll be helping to keep them (and everyone on the road) safer overall.

Are you getting ready to help your teenager become the best driver they can be?

Here are four key things to keep in mind (and one thing we should all remember):

Take It Slow

Just because a teenager is old enough to get their permit or license doesn’t make them automatically ready to get behind the wheel. Before they start their lessons, take the time to discuss expectations, quiz them on driving laws and then move forward at the right pace for everyone.

Explain the Insurance Fundamentals

Learning to drive also means learning about adult responsibilities like insurance. Go over the essentials and walk through a few scenarios they may encounter. What’s a premium? What should they do if they get into a fender bender? How much is the deductible on the car they’ll be driving?

Discuss Other Costs

Will your teen be expected to cover gas for themselves? What about maintenance? Whether they’re borrowing your car a few times a week or taking over your hand-me-down, be clear about who will be paying for what.

Keep Talking

Most importantly, make sure you continue to have honest conversations about boundaries, curfews, peer pressure and responsibility. Emotions can run high around these issues, but helping your kids stay safe is what’s most important.

Set a Good Example

Finally, here’s something we should all keep in mind: Are you demonstrating solid driving habits yourself? Follow the speed limit, use turn signals and don’t text and drive. If you’re not following rules and prioritizing safety, you’re putting everyone on the road in danger.

Do you have questions about adding a driver to your policy or anything else? Reach out today to one of our team members at Vick Insurance Group. You can also find us online via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


FAQs About Pets and Home Insurance

Your dog just took down the neighbor’s fence while chasing a squirrel (and your neighbor isn’t happy). Will your homeowners insurance cover the damage? The short answer is, “it depends.”

Policy coverage and exclusions can vary, and when important factors like pets are involved, the fine print matters.

Want to know more? Here are a few common questions about pets and home insurance.

Does your policy cover damage caused by pets?

Many home insurance policies do not cover damage your pets cause to your own property — like a torn sofa or broken TV. However, liability insurance may cover damage your pet does to other people’s property.

What if your dog bites someone on your property?

Most home liability policies offer coverage for damage a person may suffer on your property, including dog bites (up to a certain limit and provided you’ve disclosed you have a dog). Note that after the first dog bite, you may face additional exclusions.

Are different breeds treated differently?

Some insurance policies may offer limitations on coverage if you have what is considered a high-risk breed. When you share what kind of pet you have we can let you know what to expect.

Are backyard animals covered?

Home insurance policies don’t provide coverage for damage your pets, including backyard animals like goats or chickens, cause to your property. However, liability coverage may still apply (with some limitations).

Will your home insurance pay your pet’s medical bills?

Unfortunately, you’re likely on your own for your pet’s medical bills even if they are hurt during a covered incident (like breaking through your neighbor’s fence).

Have questions about your coverage? Reach out anytime to one of our team members at Vick Insurance Group.


5 Ways to Help Prevent Water Damage

Water damage doesn’t always reveal itself right away. But over time, a small hole in your roof or a slowly leaking pipe can easily lead to big problems and expensive repairs.

With smart habits and a few check-ins a year, however, you can limit the chances of costly damage and annoying cleanup.

Want to keep your home in good shape? Here are five simple steps to minimize the risk of water damage.

1. Care for Your Roof and Gutters

An annual roof inspection is a must. It’s also important to patch holes, replace missing shingles and keep gutters debris-free to direct rain and ice away from your home. Keep downspouts far enough away from the house to ensure good drainage.

2. Keep Your Pipes in Good Shape

Insulate your pipes and check on them regularly to keep tabs on signs of weakness or leaks. Have a plumber inspect your water lines every few years. Also avoid using hard drain cleaners, which damage pipe interiors and make them more susceptible to cracks and breaks.

3. Watch Those Windowsills

Is the caulk around your windows discolored? Is condensation appearing on the inside of the windows or along the frames? Maintaining these areas helps keep moisture out and can also boost your home’s energy efficiency.

4. Install Flood and Moisture Sensors

Smart homes can include simple sensors that alert you to moisture buildup and flooding in high-risk areas like the basement, laundry area and kitchen.

5. Test the Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump that pushes water away from your home, inspect it annually to make sure it’s working properly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Have questions about water damage or anything else? Reach out to one of our agents at Vick Insurance Group to discuss your policy.


4 Driving Mistakes to Watch Out For

You’re driving to work when your favorite podcast suddenly stops playing. You know you shouldn’t look at your phone, but you hate sitting in silence during your commute. What do you do?

Do you glance around for cops, then tap around on your phone until the story starts up again? A lot of us do this — but it isn’t the safest choice.

Beyond breaking the bad habit of distracted driving, here are four more behind-the-wheel behaviors to leave behind.

1. Don’t rely too much on fancy technology. If we let ourselves become less engaged drivers because we’re expecting blind-spot notifications and attention assist to save us when we’re tired or preoccupied, we aren’t really any safer. Continue your same careful driving habits and let these innovations give you an extra boost.

2. Don’t assume other drivers are paying attention, well rested or sober. Learn to spot the signs of impairment: wandering out of their lane, swerving, erratic braking, inconsistent speed and getting too close to other cars or objects. Keep a safe distance from these potentially dangerous drivers.

3. Don’t let your insurance make you complacent. Even if your collision deductible is low, don’t let your guard down. Dealing with car repairs and the other driver after an accident — not to mention the injury risk — probably isn’t worth it.

4. Don’t neglect routine maintenance. Overheating, breaking down or blowing a tire can be terrifying and dangerous. Fortunately, these problems can often be prevented with regular maintenance. Check your tire pressure and fluids monthly and have a trusted mechanic inspect your car thoroughly once or twice a year.

Have questions about your auto coverage? Reach out today to discuss your policy with one of our team members.

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Need a good reason to organize your home?

You’ve probably heard a lot about “decluttering” lately. Sure, it seems better to live in a tidy and streamlined home that isn’t crowded with stuff, but is it really worth the trouble to be that organized?

Here’s one thing you may have overlooked: Organizing your home could actually save you money.

Intrigued? Find out how cleaning up can be a budget-friendly move:

Uncover Hidden Belongings

Think about all the boxes, crates and bins crammed into your closets, garage or attic. If you had a break-in or a fire, would you even know what’s been stolen or lost?

Keep things organized and avoid loss by doing a home inventory, taking photos of valuables and choosing sturdy, weatherproof storage containers. You’ll probably discover a few items to sell or donate during this process, too.

Prioritize Safety

In addition to making it hard to find what you’re looking for, keeping piles of stuff around can actually be unsafe. Stacks of mismatched boxes can easily topple over, overstuffed cabinets can limit access to fire extinguishers, and obstructed doors and windows block airflow and fire exits.

Thinning out and organizing your stuff can minimize the chance of personal injury and damage to your belongings, which can both be expensive and frustrating.

Avoid Repairs

Finally, taking the time for routine maintenance can help keep insurance costs low and help avoid having to make costly repairs. Go the extra mile by creating a reminder system to help you stay on top of things like changing the batteries in your smoke alarm, replacing air filters and regularly checking on the health and cleanliness of your appliances.

Want more money-saving ideas or have questions about your insurance? Reach out today to one of our team members.

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How should you handle a fender bender?

Would you know what to if you were involved in a fender bender?

Even if the damage doesn’t seem significant, you might have a time-consuming and stressful process ahead of you and it’s important to proceed carefully.

If it’s a serious wreck, call 911. Otherwise, here’s what to keep in mind in the event of a minor accident.

What should you do at the scene? 

If you accidentally bump another car (or if they bump you), here are a few steps to take:

  • First, make sure everyone is okay. Then, if it’s safe, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic.
  • Even if the damage seems minimal, call the police.
  • Exchange information with the other driver, including full name, phone number and insurance details.
  • Take photos of the vehicles involved and document the location, road conditions, the weather and any other relevant details about the scene.
  • Were there any eyewitnesses? Try to take their names and contact information, as well.
  • When the police arrive, be direct and polite. Make sure you gather their names, badge numbers and contact details and ask about obtaining a copy of the accident report.

It’s also important to contact your insurance company, so reach out as soon as you can to let us know what happened. We’ll walk you through the next steps, start the claim process and guide you through any necessary repairs that need to be made.

What if the other driver leaves the scene?

If the other driver doesn’t cooperate, doesn’t share their information or refuses to stop altogether, you should still stop and call the police. Try to remember as many details as you can (the color, make and model of the car, details from the scene, etc.) and share them with the police.

If you have any questions about how to handle a fender bender or any other claim, reach out to one of our team members today at www.vickinsurancegroup.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Smart Ideas for a Safe and Happy Winter

Winter is known for being a time of celebration, family gatherings and staying cozy by the nearest fireplace. It’s also a season of potential challenges when it comes to your home, vehicle and health.

Want to keep the season as festive and problem-free as possible? Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the rest of 2019 and beyond:

At Home

It’s good advice for any time of the year: Give your home a thorough once-over and complete the maintenance tasks that can prevent you from having to make expensive repairs later on. This includes:

  • Examining your roof and gutters and looking for any leaks or obstructions
  • Trimming dying tree branches or those that are too close to your house (or your neighbor’s)
  • Checking the bulbs in your outdoor lighting
  • Insulating pipes in unheated areas and inspecting your windows and doors for any areas that need recaulking or new weatherstripping

On the Road

Winterize your car by checking all its vitals:

  • The battery
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • All fluids, including antifreeze

It’s also wise to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially during the winter. A flashlight, blankets, portable phone charger, first-aid kit, extra batteries and a small supply of food and water are safety must-haves.

Health and Safety

Last but not least, take good care of your family and yourself during cold and flu season by getting a flu shot, washing your hands often and regularly wiping down commonly used items like light switches and remote controls.

And whether you’re getting your home ready for colder weather or the upcoming holidays, always exercise caution when using ladders, power tools, fireplaces and candles.

Want more tips before the upcoming new year? Need to discuss your coverage? Reach out to one of our team members anytime. Stay connected with us through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


4 Wasteful Habits to Watch Out For

No one likes to feel like they’re being wasteful. Luckily, you don’t have to radically transform your lifestyle to feel better about your everyday consumption and spending habits.

Want to make a few easy changes? Here are some tips to help you stick to your budget, minimize your environmental impact and save yourself time and stress:

Spend Less Time Behind the Wheel

Between gas costs and regular maintenance, cars can be a real cash drain. Consider taking public transportation or carpooling to save. If your employer allows it, working remotely can also help you cut down on your driving time.

Don’t Overbuy at the Grocery Store

How often do you toss spoiled fruits and veggies into the trash? Shop smarter by creating a grocery list based on three to five meals you know you’ll have time to prepare (and then don’t buy beyond that). It also pays to look at ads in advance to see which pantry items are on sale.

Cut Back on Recurring Subscriptions

It seemed like a good idea to spend $20 a month for unlimited car washes, but you haven’t gone in months. Are you getting enough value from your music and TV streaming subscriptions? What about that meal kit service? It pays to regularly review recurring charges like these to see which ones are really worth it.

Turn Off Energy Hogs

Unplug – don’t just turn off – the devices you aren’t using, like the gaming computer in the spare bedroom or the big-screen TV. And the next time you’re ready to upgrade your appliances, check with your utility company: some offer rebates for energy-efficient models.

Choosing the right insurance policy is also a great way to save. Reach out today to one of our team members at Vick Insurance so we can take a closer look at your coverage and make sure you’re not overpaying.

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