Motorcycle Safety

You’re no kid and that’s no 10-speed. To stay safe, you need complete command of your machine and the best safety gear you can get. We also have some helpful tips to keep in mind as you’re heading for the highway.

Be Prepared and Protected

  • New Gear? Update Your Policy
    You have to make sure each piece of equipment is listed on your policy. Any time you buy new leathers or safety equipment or customize your bike, update with our customer care professionals before you head out on the highway.
  • Training saves
    One out of four motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006 were driving with invalid licenses.* Safeco offers discounts to riders who attend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s safe riding courses or are active in one of 10 approved groups that promote safe riding. Do both those things and you can reduce your premium by up to 10 percent.
  • No one’s too old to wear a helmet
    A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is forty percent more likely to sustain a fatal head injury in a crash than a rider without a helmet.* A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study reports that “helmets saved 1,658 motorcyclists’ lives in 2006, and that 752 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”* Buy a full-face helmet for the best protection for your head and eyes. Wear other protective gear as well: heavy leather or synthetic gloves, long pants and jacket, and over-the-ankle leather boots.
  • In a crash, the SUV wins
    When cars and motorcycles collide, it’s usually because the driver of the car failed to see the cyclist. With more SUVs on the road, it’s even more critical to take extra steps to become more visible. Use your headlamps—both night and day—and wear yellow, red or orange jackets to make yourself easy to see. Make a point of positioning yourself in your lane for visibility.
  • Ride sober
    Driving impaired is more deadly for cyclers than other drivers. In fact, more than half of all motorcycle deaths occur when the rider has been drinking.*

* Source: NHTSA’s 2008 Traffic Safety report on Motorcycles.

Understanding Identity Theft

Your Identity Belongs to You. Protect It, Too.

One smart way to protect yourself against identity theft is to prevent it. If your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by acting quickly.

Start with Good Habits

  • Print out the .pdf of this information, and store in a convenient place
  • Leave your Social Security card at home in a safe place
  • Shred papers with personal information
  • Reduce your credit card accounts, and carry only the cards you need
  • Write checks with a permanent pen, and mail from a secure place
  • Photocopy both sides of your credit cards and store safely

Watch Your Accounts Closely

  • Review balances and transactions often by phone or online
  • Make sure every transaction on your credit card statements is accurate
  • Take advantage of free credit reports (see sidebar) and watch for unusual activity
  • Sign up with Experian, Transunion, and Equifax and stagger your requests to get a free credit report every four months or sign up for credit watch services which will report directly to you for a fee

Fill Out the FTC Affidavit Quickly

  • The FTC Theft Affidavit supplies proof that you didn’t authorize any accounts opened or debts run up by the identity thief
  • New accounts need this FTC affidavit form to investigate the fraud and process your claim
  • Call your existing accounts for instructions on disputing unauthorized charges as other forms may be needed
  • Keep originals of the affidavit, and all supporting materials such as driver’s license or police report. Send copies only.
  • Send quickly—many creditors request that you send the affidavit within two weeks

Keep This Information Handy

Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Line and websites:

1-877-438-4338

www.consumer.gov/idtheft
www.ftc.gov

Social Security Administration Fraud Line:   1-800-269-0271 

Credit Reporting Agencies
Equifax:  1-800-525-6285      
www.equifax.com

Experian:  1-888-397-3742
www.experian.com

Transunion:  1-800-680-7289 
www.transunion.com

Identity Theft Plan

  1. Call your credit card companies immediately. Explain what happened, and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
  2. Call and report to the police. Make several copies of police report.
  3. Complete a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Theft Affidavit and FTC report (see contact information above to request these forms).
  4. Call your bank. They can place an alert on your Driver’s License number and Social Security Number, and freeze your account.
  5. Call fraud units of credit report agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Give Your Home an Energy Checkup

Over time, your home may not be as energy efficient as it once was. Left unchecked, it will continue to waste energy; costing you money. A home energy checkup is a series of tests and inspections that look for ways to make your home more energy efficient; saving you money.

Steps in a Home Energy Checkup

While you can perform some of the steps yourself, a thorough home energy checkup should be conducted by an energy auditor. A professional auditor uses a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of your home.

Appalachian Power offers a variety of energy efficiency programs for its West Virginia customers, including a free and easy to complete Online Energy Checkup. Once your complete the online assessment, Appalachian Power will send you a free energy efficiency kit to help you get on your way to saving money and energy.

On the AEPrebates.com site, there is a lot of information about energy efficiency programs for Appalachian Power customers, including a list of contractors who can help with your improvement projects.

Outside—the auditor will begin by inspecting the outside of your home, looking for problems around walls, joints, or doors and windows.

Attic—the next stop on your energy assessment may be the attic. The auditor will make sure that you have the right amount of insulation, and check for air leaks, as well as proper ventilation.

Walls—wall insulation should meet recommended R-values and should be evenly applied throughout the structure. If it is attached loosely or has fallen down, it is not doing its job. Your auditor will use a thermographic scanner to inspect your walls to determine if they are insulated properly.

Basement—the auditor will look for air leaks in the area where the basement walls meet the ceiling. If you have a crawlspace, it should be inspected for proper insulation. Next, the heating and cooling system will be checked for regular maintenance. Something as simple as a dirty air filter could be costing you money. Depending on the age of your heating and cooling system and your water heater, the auditor may recommend upgrading to newer, more energy-efficient units.

Ductwork—the auditor will inspect connections to make sure they fit tightly. They must be sealed to keep the conditioned air going where it is supposed to go.

Blower Door Test—this test measures the overall air tightness of your home. Blower doors consist of a frame and panel that fit inside an exterior door, a fan, and a pressure gauge. As the fan pulls air out of the house, it lowers the interior air pressure. The higher pressure, outside air then flows in through all unsealed openings. With the fan operating, the auditor can spot leaks using an infrared camera or smoke pencil.

An energy checkup will reveal the various ways energy is escaping your home. Your auditor may suggest additional ways to save energy, such as installing low-flow faucets and shower heads, or switching to energy-efficient compact-fluorescent lights (CFLs). At the end of the checkup, you will receive a comprehensive report showing which energy-efficiency measures are right for you. Upgrading your home to save energy can reduce your utility bills by up to 30%.

10 Things You Should Know About Purchasing Home Insurance

You Need Home Insurance

Homeowners need to buy home insurance to protect their homes and personal property. Those who rent need insurance to protect their furniture and other personal property. Everyone needs protection against liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property.

Decide How Much Coverage You Need

The better your coverage, the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket if disaster strikes. In some cases, your lender decides how much coverage you need and may require you to buy a policy that covers at least the amount of the mortgage. It is important to note that the amount of coverage you buy for your house, contents and personal property will affect the price you pay.

Compare Deductibles

The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket on each claim and applies only to coverage on your house and personal property. Make sure when choosing a policy that you are comfortable paying the deductible if you make a claim. Remember, a policy with a $100 deductible will cost more than one with a $250 deductible. Higher deductibles may be available at a reduced price.

Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value?

You have the option to choose to insure your home and belongings for either replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost is the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your home or repair damages with materials of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation. It is important to insure your home for at least 80 percent of its replacement value. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home afterdepreciation.

Shop Around Before You Buy

You are not required to purchase insurance from the company your lender recommends. There are a number of unbiased sources available to find out what different insurers charge for identical products and services, including your state insurance department, consumer publications and your public library.

Ask Your Agent About Discounts

In some states, insurers offer lower prices for such things as insuring your home and car with the same company, installing deadbolt locks or alarm systems or replacing the roof.

Basic Coverages Available

Whether you own or rent, there are different packages of home insurance offered to protect your home and belongings. Each package protects against a specified number of events that cause damage to property. Three examples are fire, windstorm and theft. In addition, each package policy usually contains four additional types of coverage: property damage, additional living expenses, personal liability and medical payments.

Where to Shop

Check the newspaper and yellow pages of the telephone directory for companies and agents in your area. In addition, ask your neighbors, relatives and friends for recommendations on insurance companies and agents. Remember to shop around to get the best price and service.

Read Your Policy Carefully

You should be aware that a home insurance policy is a legal contract. It is written so that your rights and responsibilities as well as those of the insurance company are clearly stated. When you purchase home insurance, you will receive a policy. You should read that policy and make certain you understand its contents. Keep your policy in a safe place and know the name of your insurer.

Review Your Home Insurance Needs Every Year

Check with your insurance agent at least once a year to make sure your policy provides adequate coverage. The addition of a room, new insulation or remodeling add value to your home and therefore may increase replacement cost.

For more information or if you need questions answered right away, please contact us at Yeager Insurance & Financial Services. We are proud to provide affordable insurance for our neighbors in West Virginia… including Cross Lanes and St. Albans.