Home and Auto insurance

Crashes

Winter is picking up.  Winter storms have slammed into Utah, bringing ice and snow to Cache Valley.  Just yesterday alone (December 2, 2018), there were over 200 reported car accidents on the road.  Even now, as I look out the window of my office, I can see the flurries of snow blowing in the wind.  Local authorities are encouraging drivers are being urged to slow down.  We also have something we’d like to encourage you to do: check your auto insurance.

 

Winter Hazards

As the ice and snow build up, they bring particular hazards that you should be aware of.

1. Icy Hills


Hills can sometimes provide problems for cars.  If your car’s engine is going out, or you have bad breaks, or some other problem, hills become a challenge.  In winter, hills are an even bigger problem.  Ice can cause you to slide down the road, hitting parked cars on the way down, or sliding back into oncoming traffic as you re-enter the intersection.  You should try to avoid hills during the winter, especially steep ones.  Don’t risk your safety when going a minute or two out of the way can avoid the problem altogether.

2. Ice; Just Ice

Icy roads are a problem in general.  The ice reduces the friction of your tires, meaning it’s harder to speed up and to break.  When driving on icy roads, it’s a good idea to slow down.  Hitting the gas too hard will cause your wheels to spin without traction, while slamming on the breaks can cause you to slide.  Let your car build up speed slowly and apply the breaks slowly. This also means beginning to stop before you normally do so you can give yourself time to come to a full stop without sliding.  Get winter tires, or put chains on them.  The treads will give your tires extra friction, helping you maintain control of your vehicle.

3. Ice and Snow On Your Windshield

Icy Windshields

This Is Not Adequate

When you first get in your car, there’s probably going to be some ice on the windshield.  Obviously, you can’t see while it’s there, so you get a scraper and clear it away.  That’s easy enough, but you’d be surprised how often people manage to screw it up. The biggest mistake people make is getting impatient; they only scrape off just enough ice to see through. While you might talk yourself into saying that’s good enough, it really isn’t.  The windshield is big for a reason: you need to see the entire road in front of you.

The other mistake people make is forgetting to clear the snow off their roof.  Sure, it might not be on your windshield, but whenever you stop or start, the change in momentum is going to make that snow slide.  You don’t want to be on the road, stopping at a light, and suddenly have a layer of snow slide off your roof and block your windshield.

The solution really is simple: clear the whole windshield and the roof.  Don’t get in a rush and let your safety slide, or you will later regret it.  Plan ahead to get around this.  If you know that the ice and snow will be a problem, be ready to go earlier so you can give yourself extra time to scrape your windshield and clear the snow.

4. Storms

Winter storms are bad news for drivers.  They reduce visibility, put more ice and snow on the road, and can knock over trees and power lines.  The first and most obvious bit of advice is to avoid driving during a storm.  Less obvious is to watch where you park.  Avoid parking under things that a storm could knock over.  If you’ve got a garage, park inside.  If your garage is full of junk, get rid of it so you can park inside. The extra protection is worth it, especially since it also means your car is less likely to have ice and snow on it when you need to drive it.

5. Icicles

Icicles are more dangerous than people realize. Sure, you may think they look pretty, but if they snap, they’re basically small, cold spears hurtling downward. Even very small icicles can ding your car.  The large ones can cause a surprising amount of damage when they fall.  Avoid parking your car under icicles and clear them from your home before they get too big.

 

Check Your Auto Insurance

Winter is a good time to check your auto insurance coverage.  While standard insurance will cover standard problems, many of the problems unique to winter fall under extended coverage policies.  Falling trees and icicles in particular are rarely covered in standard policies.  Not to mention all the holiday driving you might be doing this year.  Traveling for the winter holidays will put you on the road a lot during the worst conditions of the year, so you don’t want to skip on protection.

Before the winter weather gets too crazy, it would be a good idea to check your policies and make sure you’re covered for all the things you might need to worry about this winter.  A quick check now and a few dollars extra can save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.

 

Recreational Vehicles

What about snowmobiles?  They aren’t covered in standard auto insurance either, but crashes are just as possible.  If you’re going out to the mountains for snowmobiling this winter, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got good coverage on them.  Better safe than sorry.

 

Get In Touch

Have you got any questions?  Have we convinced you to check on your auto insurance policy and make sure it gives you the best coverage it can?  Get in touch today.  Give us a call at (435) 752-0101, or email us (office@q1ins.com) to make an appointment.  We’ll make sure you know what your choices are and will help you get the best coverage for your money.

 

Open enrollment

 

2019 Open Enrollment is A Go

From November 1 to December 15 is the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act.  If you miss that period, you risk not being able to get coverage for the next year.  Even if you’ve already got coverage, though, now is probably a good time to check on your benefits.

 

Prices May Be Dropping

The prices available for any ACA coverage plan are subject to change.  For the first time in years, we’re starting to see some significant drops in coverage costs in many states.  Some have dropped by as much as $200 per month.  While drops in rates are not universal, it’s a good idea to check each enrollment period to find out what’s going on.  If the prices are changing on you, it might be time to re-evaluate your plan. Changing your coverage plans can potentially save up to $125 a month if you find the right plan for your needs.

 

Circumstances Change Annually

The plan you have now might have been good in the past, but circumstances can change very suddenly.  Perhaps your kids have moved out.  Maybe you’ve moved into a different home.  It’s possibly you’ve changed a job.  All of these changes could bring chances to improve your health coverage.

Different employers offer different levels of coverage on their company health insurance plans.  Many employers are shifting the responsibility of health care onto their employees.  Over the past 10 years, employees have been made responsible for as much as 75% more of their health coverage costs.  Given that, your job’s health insurance may not be enough to cover your needs.

Even if you do have coverage, many people have suboptimal coverage that can lead to costly medical expenses they could have had covered. While you still have time, check your policies to make sure you’re getting the best you can.

 

Time is Short

The open enrollment period is a shockingly brief window. You’ve got a month and a half to take care of it.  This also means that insurance brokers will have shorter windows for their appointments. You can’t afford to delay if you want to check on your health benefits.  If you don’t sign up during this time, certain life events – such as having a baby, losing coverage, or moving – may qualify you for a special enrollment period.  However, if you don’t meet these conditions, you risk having to wait for the next year. You may sign up for Medicaid at any time, but only if you qualify for it.

The penalty for not having health coverage was removed in 2017 for many states, but the small savings you might have from opting out of coverage are weighed against the risk of having to cover all of your medical expenses if there should be an emergency.  You don’t want to be left hanging if something unexpected should come up.

 

Give Us A Call

If you’d like to see how we can save you money on this year’s insurance premiums, give us a call at (435) 752-0101.  We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Get in touch and see how we can help you get the best coverage possible, just like we have for many other customers.