Early this year, California lawmakers gave the go-ahead for 50 companies to test autonomous cars in the state without a person in the driver’s seat. The movement for fully-autonomous vehicles is evolving, increasing safety and benefits for drivers and pedestrians. Read along to learn more about the path to self-driving cars and what this means for you.
Self-Driving Cars: On the Road to Safety
In 2015, a shocking 35,092 people died in motor vehicle-related accidents in the U.S. alone. Ninety-four percent of serious crashes are due to human error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). A study performed by the NHTSA in 2010 revealed motor vehicle crashes cost $242 billion in economic activity. Clearly, the cost of human-error vehicle crashes is high.
Several experts forecast self-driving cars will be on the road as soon as 2025, with fully-autonomous cars taking over by 2030. While much research is still needed, and the pros and cons of driverless cars is still debated, this is a growing trend that will have a major impact on personal vehicle insurance.
An Uber self-driving vehicle in Pittsburgh, PA. Image source: Flickr.com
Self-Driving Cars and Vehicle Insurance
What does the future of autonomous vehicles hold, and how does that impact the everyday consumer? Harvard Business Review (HBR) predicts driverless vehicles won’t be owned by individuals but by auto manufactures, creating fleets that provide ride-sharing services. “Unlike individual car owners – whose vehicles typically sit idle most of the time — fleet owners can send autonomous vehicles out on multiple trips on a 24-hour basis, amortizing the cost of ownership,” according to HBR.
If this trend occurs, this could mean lower premiums for individual vehicle insurance carriers. The decrease in human error and the number of policies means insurance companies will require less each month. A study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute (III) found that 50% of consumers believe the autonomous car’s manufacturer should bear responsibility in case of an accident. Will the change to driverless cars shift the liability of driving from individuals to manufacturers?
Harvard Business Review believes the future for insurance companies in the future of driverless cars lies in three main areas: cyber security, product liability, and infrastructure insurance.
A main concern, protecting against technology failures and cyber security risks will be a major focus for autonomous vehicles. The probability and impact of hacking, hardware and software defects, and other risks is huge. HBR estimates insuring against these risks could generate as much as $12 billion in annual premiums.
A Ride in the Google Self Driving Car from Google self-driving car project on Youtube.
The Future of Autonomous Vehicles
When it comes to the automotive industry, we are approaching a brave new world. The advancements in technology and changing trends means changes for everyone – from consumers, to manufacturers, to insurance companies. Preparing now will help us in the inevitable future of autonomous vehicles.
Firework Safety for the 4th of July
Independence Day is quickly approaching. The summer holiday is always filled with the excitement and anticipation of fireworks displays. From city-sponsored events, to small performances in your backyard, understanding how to keep your family and assets safe from fireworks is important. Read more to discover the power of fireworks and our tips for firework safety.
Firework Structural Damage
The National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) reports that fireworks caused over 15,000 fires in the U.S. in 2013. Of those, 1,400 were structure fires and 200 were vehicle fires. With over $20 million in damage, firework safety is definitely not to be overlooked.
Firework Personal Damage
The largest number of firework injuries were caused by sparklers, according to the NFPA, accounting for 30% of all fireworks-related injuries in 2013. In 2014, over 10,000 people visited the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries. Over half of those were burns.
While we enjoy the displays and celebrating our nation’s freedom as much as every other American, at Abri Insurance, we also care that you are protected. Take a moment to ensure you follow these simple steps to ensure you are covered and your family has a safe and fun independence celebration!
The easiest way to prevent injury or damage is to forego fireworks altogether. You can leave the displays to the professionals at a city-run display. If you are so compelled, follow these tips to stay safe this 4th of July.
Keep your friends and family safe while celebrating Independence Day. Sparklers, while festive, can reach up to 1200 degrees! A fun alternative to sparklers is a glow stick. Kids will delight in the fun of glowing sticks that can also be made into necklaces and bracelets. They come in different shapes and designs. And, glowsticks will help you see your kids better once the sun sets and you’re waiting for the fireworks display.
Follow these other steps to prevent personal injury to you and your guests on the Fourth.
As a general rule, consider pets and small children when you plan a fireworks display. Some animals and children can become anxious with the loud sounds of fireworks. Also, young children may have an early bedtime and the fireworks could interrupt their sleep. When done in close proximity to neighbors and other residences, be thoughtful of others and decide if a fireworks display would be appropriate.
As always, at Abri Insurance, our most important goal is the safety and longevity of all you hold dear. From your loved ones, to your most important assets, taking time to keep what’s most valuable covered is important. While you celebrate the freedom and birth of our nation, keep the holiday fun and make great memories by following the simple rules of firework use. Stay safe and have fun!
In High Water: No flood insurance can cost you
Forty-three percent of homeowners incorrectly believe damage from heavy rain flooding is covered under their standard insurance policy. This is according to figures recently released by Insurance Information Institute(III). According to the group, “most homeowners insurance includes coverage for damage caused by wind-driven rain, burst pipes and water leaking into your house because of a roofline ice dam. But, not by flood.”
The 2017 hurricane season was the busiest since 2005. Last year, 10 of the 17 named storms reached hurricane strength with winds of at least 74 mph, according to III. Experts predict 2018 will be busier than normal for hurricane activity as well.
Hurricane season starts in June. Are you ready?
Irma and Harvey, a recap
Last year, flooding from hurricanes Irma and Harvey unleashed unprecedented destruction across the southern U.S. states. In their wake, hundreds of homeowners were left footing the bill due to a lack of flood insurance. NOAA reports Hurricane Harvey had total costs estimated at $125 billion and Irma at $50 billion. Altogether, 2017 storms caused a record-breaking cumulative cost of $306.2 billion.
Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast last August, lingering for days, and dropping record levels of rain over the Lone Star state. While winds tore through the beach towns of Rockport and Corpus Christi, much of the flood damage occurred in Houston as the storm slowly moved upward along the Texas coast. It was estimated that 80% of homeowners in the Houston area that were impacted by flooding did not have flood insurance. Most of these homeowners were not in designated flood zones and weren’t required to have flood insurance.
Nearly 135,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey flooding.
(Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Harvey)
Closer to Home
Just days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Hurricane Irma began its path of destruction across the Caribbean islands, Cuba, and South Florida early September. Irma became a force to be reckoned with, causing flooding through Jacksonville, Charleston, and Savannah despite being downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm surge Irma caused left homeowners throughout the Southeast devastated.
Hurricane Irma caused residential flooding losses estimated at $25-$38 billion, according to Corelogic. “An estimated 80 percent of flood damage to residential properties from Hurricane Irma is not covered by any flood insurance,” according to the analytics firm.
We’re seeing a theme here.
Are You Covered?
Flood insurance is separate from your homeowner’s insurance policy. Coverage is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP). Floods are the nation’s most common natural disaster, according to Flood Smart by FEMA. “The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions. To increase coverage, you can add excess flood insurance available from private insurers.
Your NFIP flood insurance policy doesn’t differ from company to company or agent to agent. From the FEMA website, the amount you pay is based on several factors such as:
Don’t Risk It
Protect your family, home, and wallet with a flood insurance policy. The risk of flooding for Charleston residents is very real. The monthly costs far outweigh the devastating costs of losing a home after a natural disaster.
Navigating the world of insurance policies can be overwhelming. We can help simplify the process. Speak with one of our agents today and we will get you set up with an option that works to protect your budget, home, and family.
Dog Bites: Know the Facts
“70 million nice dogs…but any dog can bite,” according to the American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA). Dogs are usually man’s best friend and typically make great family pets. Scroll through Instagramand you will see pic after pic of smiling dogs with their happy owners. The truth is though, any dog can bite. As a homeowner you need to be prepared and know the facts. Anestimated 4.5 million people are bittenby dogs each year. Between 2010 and 2012, over 350,000 victims were children. Sixty percent of injuries to children 4 years and younger were to the head and neck, according to the AVMA.
Dog bite homeowner’s liability claims are on the rise, with an 18% increase from 2016 to 2017. The average cost per claim in 2016 was $33,000. This is a 70% increase from 2003. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.),the rise in the costs of claims is attributable to increased medical costs and size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs. The total claims paid out in the U.S. for dog bite liability claims in 2016 was $612,500,000. To see how your state stacks up for dog bite liability claims, check out this interactive map infographic from the I.I.I.
Are You Covered?
Dog bite liability coverage is not usually a common concern. However, a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims are for dog bites. You need to make sure you have enough coverage in case your pet decides to bite, as unlikely as that scenario may seem. Coverage can vary by state with some excluding coverage on certain breeds. South Carolina is a “strict liability” statewhich means the dog owner is responsible for their pet’s behavior even if they had no idea the dog was going to attack. “Homeowners insurance policies are frequently designed to cover at least the value of the home itself,” according to Nerdwallet. You can purchase an umbrella policy or pet liability insurance if you want further coverage. Call Abri Insurance to make sure you have the right coverage. Then, take the proper steps to prevent dog bites.
Protect Your Family and Your Wallet
Most dog bites are preventable. Being a responsible dog owner will not only ensure the health and happiness of your pet, but safeguard against your dog making an attack. If you own a dog, take these steps to make an attack less likely.
Protect Yourself from Other Dogs Too
Though not always predictable, most dogs exhibit certain warning signs prior to attacking. Sometimes a dog is sick, scared, annoyed, or hungry. The dog could feel threatened or startled. In any case, to prevent a dog bite it’s best to avoid these risky situations, according to the AVMA:
Take time this Dog Bite Prevention Week to educate yourself and your family on the best methods to stay safe with dogs and stay covered with your homeowner’s insurance. At Abri Insurance, we have over 20 commercial and personal insurance carriers. We will match you with the right policy to keep you protected. Call us to set up an appointment to make sure you’re covered with the right insurance. We shop and compare. You feel safe and save.
Know Your Plan App
Gets You Prepared for Every Disaster
With this free app, you can make your own checklist or use pre-loaded lists to set up your disaster kits. With a plan for every disaster, from earthquakes to tornadoes, you can be ready no matter the weather.
How Prepared are You?
Last year was the costliest year on record for natural disasters in the United States according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. From wildfires in California, Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and record lows and flooding in areas throughout the country, 2017 proved that disaster preparedness is a must. However, most Americans lack basic emergency preparedness plans, as this infographic from the U.S. Census Bureau proves.
“Only half of the population reports having a family preparedness plan that all family members know about,” according to National Center for Disaster Preparedness. Although the numbers have been rising steadily since 2003, only 57% of the population is disaster ready, according to the study.
The statistics are startling. That’s why the Insurance Information Institute Inc. made the Know Your Plan App. It’s now easier than ever to get ready for bad weather and unexpected disasters. With a swipe and tap, you can plan evacuation routes, decide on meeting locations, create supply lists, and share plans with family members. Even your family pets are safe with the Know Your Plan App.
“Use Know Your Plan to be prepared when disaster strikes! Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, severe cold, evacuations – this app will help plan ahead to better protect yourself, your family, your home, and even your pets. Get started by using the preloaded checklists to learn about important mitigation and preparation steps or create your own lists from scratch. You can set due dates, chart your progress, and include notes with your tasks, and share your checklists with family and friends. Get organized now so you can be ready for what may come.”
After you’ve prepared your kits, give Abri Insurance a call and finish your disaster preparedness plans. We shop and compare. You feel safe and save.
If your small business is growing and you need to hire a few employees, you’ve probably already thought about workers’ compensation insurance. At first, it might seem like just one more annoying and confusing business expense, so we came up with this little guide that summarizes what workers’ compensation is, what it isn’t and how to get the best coverage for the lowest prices. Read on…
Why It Exists
Workers compensation is an insurance program set up to provide workers who were injured on the job benefits to make up for lost wages while they’re out taking care of their injury. According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, the laws surrounding worker compensation serve to relieve employers of liability from common law suits involving negligence in exchange for becoming responsible for medical costs and lost wages of on-the-job injuries regardless of fault. That’s right: offering workers’ compensation can actually protect you and your small business from litigation if an employee gets injured or becomes sick as a result of the job.
How Much It Costs – and Who Has to Provide It
The cost for workers’ compensation insurance varies by provider and industry (high-risk jobs like roofing or construction carry higher premiums than office jobs, for instance). In addition, a business’s premiums can either increase or decrease depending on the number of claims filed. Laws vary by state, but in South Carolina, any business with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
How To Lower Your Premiums
One of the best ways to save on workers’ compensation insurance is through safety measures, such as:
An employee can collect benefits even if they weren’t at the workplace when they were injured.
According to FindLaw.com, generally any time an employee is injured within the scope of performing their job – even if they are not at their workplace – they’re covered. Examples include a salesperson who is injured at a the hotel he’s staying at for business purposes or an employee who’s injured while out running an errand on behalf of the company.
Workers can be paid for an injury that occurred at work, even if it was partially their fault.
While employees don’t have free reign to injure themselves on purpose in order to collect benefits, if the injury rises out of or is within the scope of their employment – even if they might have been careless – then they’re covered.
Want to learn more about how to make workers’ compensation work better for your business? Contact us anytime!
Distracted driving is one of the fastest growing safety issues on the roads today. These are the driving behaviors that make you shake your fist in frustration or bow your head in recognition. But these behaviors are more than frustrating or something you know you should not do: Distracted drivers aren’t just a threat to themselves; they’re a danger to everyone else on the road.
At any given moment during the daylight hours, over 900,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone. Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
Yes, younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distracted driving (and distraction-related fatal crashes). But people of all ages are using a variety of hand-held devices, such as cell phones, mp3 players, personal digital assistants, and navigation devices, when they are behind the wheel.
The infographic below from AllState shows what the distracted driving statistics look like today.
There are three main types of distraction:
Visual: taking your eyes off the road
Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
Texting While Driving – The Most Dangerous and Most Common
Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph. And CNBC reports that texting and driving is actually more dangerous than drinking and driving. One test, which involved measuring how long it took for a driver to hit the brakes in a car going 70 mph, found that a legally drunk driver took an additional 4 feet to hit the brakes, while a driver sending a text took an additional 70 feet.
NHTSA leads the fight nationally against distracted driving thru campaigns, public service announcements and partnerships with local police to enforce laws against distracted driving that help keep us safe. You’ve likely seen or heard one of their public service announcements, but we’re also on Facebook and Twitter sharing stories and tips to help save lives.
Since April of 2015, the NHTSA has promoted the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. And as of June 2017, two new driving rules went into effect:
The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness, and education.
Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.
Parents first have to lead by example—by never driving distracted—as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Remind your teen driver that in South Carolina, which enforces graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.
To learn more and access materials you can use at www.distraction.gov.
The holidays are here – time for cooler weather, cooking big meals and Christmas decorating. And with these things, come new in-home dangers. So we took the best advice from the best sources – The National Fire Protection Association, the US Fire Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Home Safety Council and the EPA – to bring you these winter weather home safety tips.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 40% of home fires between 2009 and 2013 were caused by improper use of a space heater.
Christmas Trees and Holiday Decorating
The National Fire Association reports that fires involving decorative lighting cause an average of 150 fires, eight civilian deaths, 14 injuries and $8.5 million in property damage annually.
Fireplaces and Firewood
Kitchen and Cooking
Live to Ride, Ride to Live, and Save Money in the Process
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, in 2016, there were 8.6 motorcycles on the road and 88,000 motorcycle riders and passengers suffered injuries. Those are the type of statistics your mom worried about when she warned you to “never to ride a motorcycle.”
However, despite mom’s advice, many of us have a lifelong love of motorcycle riding. And part of being a cyclist is carrying insurance. Here is our advice on how to get the best insurance at the best price.
How clean is your driving record?
A clean driving record – one with no or very few accidents, tickets or violations – can qualify you for significant discounts.
Do you belong to a club?
Motorcycle clubs sometimes offer discounted rates to members. They’re also a great way to compare notes with other bikers, get recommendations, and see who’s paying what. Examples include Harley Owners Group, BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, and the American Motorcyclist Association.
How much seat time do you have?
You riding time and experience can also save you some money. The amount of seat time you have and how much of that time has been spent riding the specific motorcycle to be insured are both factors that can help reduce your premiums.
How much riding do you do?
If you’re a seasonal cyclist, riding on sunny weekends or avoiding winter riding altogether, ask about our discounts for part-time or occasional drivers. Keep in mind that if you have a loan on the bike, the lender will likely require full coverage on it year-round.
“Riders should carry enough insurance to cover bike replacement costs, hospitalization and to avoid bankruptcy.”
Have you shopped around?
It used to be that only a few major insurance carriers offered motorcycle insurance, but today, it’s a buyer’s market. If you haven’t comparison-shopped, good. Because we do it for you. As an independent insurance agency, we work for you, not a specific insurance company. Meaning, we can do the shopping around and comparing for you and present you with the best option customized for you.
Did you get enough coverage for extras?
Regular motorcycle insurance policies don’t cover any enhancements you have made to your bike, such as chrome accessories, custom paint, or a sidecar. We can customize your coverage so that it covers everything from a full bike replacement to medical payments if you get in an accident.
When we are suffering from a cold or just having a bad day, the one who helps us feel better is often just a tail wag or purr away. It goes without saying that our dogs and cats are full-fledged family members. According to the latest American Pet Products Association’s Pet Owners Survey, Americans spent over $15 billion on vet care in 2014; yet only 4% of dog owners and 1% of cat owners carry pet insurance policies.
“It’s puzzling why we are a nation so in love with our pets, yet so slow to embrace the concept of pet insurance,” said Kristen Lynch, executive director of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).
You wouldn’t think of not insuring yourself or your child, but what about the four-legged members of your family? If you’re like most pet owners, you’ve probably heard about pet insurance but don’t know too much about how it works, whether it would work for you or whether it’s worth the cost.
Here are 4 things that make pet insurance a worthwhile investment:
1. You’ll Never Have to Decide Between Your Wallet and Your Pet
More and more veterinary treatment options available for sick and injured pets every day. That’s great news—though it comes at a cost. As a pet owner, deciding whether or not to have a major surgery or procedure on your furry friend is one of the hardest things you will have to do. By having pet insurance (most policies reimburse up to 80% of costs after deductibles),you can take the financial aspect out of the equation so you can focus on your pet’s care—not the cost.
2. You Can Pick Your Plan
Depending upon your pet’s age and breed, pet insurance can be tailored to fit your budget and your pet’s needs. The options vary greatly – from major accidents, hereditary and congenital conditions and behavioral issues to simple vaccinations and checkups.
3. You Can Pick Your Vet
Unlike human health insurance, with pet insurance, you can pick your provider. Choose your current vet or from any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada—you can even go to a specialist or an emergency clinic.
4. It’s Easy
Most pet insurance companies make it as painless as possible for you to be reimbursed. Here’s how it typically works: you pay the vet, send in an itemized receipt from your visit and, within a few weeks, you’ll receive a check for part or all of the costs from that visit.
Each company differs slightly when it comes to protecting your pet, however pet insurance works on the same basic principles as most other forms of insurance (minus the copays – phew!) We can help you compare policies and look at coverage and budget options to build a pet insurance policy that works best for your entire two-legged and four-legged family.
We are Abri
We've created this blog to keep our customers and others in the know. When it comes to insurance and keeping people safe, no knowledge should be off limits.