Safe Driving on Slick Roadways

winter driving

Winter weather can present many driving headaches for drivers, slick roadways being one of them. Most skids can be prevented by simply adjusting driving to the conditions and remembering how to recover if you should come in contact with a slick surface.

Skid-Free Driving

Remember these tips to avoid a dangerous accident when roads are slick:

  • Slow down before reaching curves and turns, as most skids occur on these parts of the road. When reaching a curve, apply power slightly and steer steadily with no abrupt changes in direction or excessive braking.
  • Plan ahead for lane changes by checking in your rearview mirror and your blind spots to make sure the other lane is clear. Then, turn on your directional and swing over to the other lane in a gradual line. Make this move with the smallest possible steering changes and with a light foot on the gas.
  • Watch out for ice patches or piles of wet leaves on overpasses and in shady areas. They are especially slick.
  • Anticipate stops by slowing down gradually, well ahead of intersections. Also be aware that approaches to stopping areas will be slick because of excessive starting and stopping traffic.
  • Increase the following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. This will give you extra cushioning so that you can stop safely.
  • Use only a light foot on your gas pedal when driving in heavy snow. Pushing your gas down hard will only cause your wheels to spin with little or no forward movement. If you go into a skid, remember the following:
  • Do not steer against the skid or hit the brakes.
  • Steer in the direction that your vehicle is sliding until you feel your wheels recover traction. Then slowly straighten your wheels and keep rolling.
  • If braking is necessary before rolling traction is recovered, apply the brake carefully so that you do not lock your wheels and intensify the skid.

     AssureSouth wants you to be safe while driving. Contact us today to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your auto, home and life.

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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

frozen-pipe

Frozen Pipes in Southern Climates

Homebuilders in the South often do not consider the threat of freezing weather and thus place water pipes in vulnerable locations. Houses built on slab foundations, common in the South, frequently have water pipes running through the attic, an especially vulnerable location. In addition, Southern homeowners experience relatively few severe cold spells, so they don’t consider freezing a problem and don’t bother checking the condition or location of pipes in their homes.

In the North, by contrast, homebuilders know freezing is a threat, and they usually do not place water pipes in unheated portions of a building or outside of insulated areas. Southern homeowners should be aware that pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all subject to freezing and bursting. If these pipes don’t have insulation or heat to protect them, a strong overnight freeze can cause trouble.

Homeowners in the South need to be alert to the danger of freezing and bursting water pipes when the outdoor temperature threatens to drop to 20° F. That’s the temperature at which ice is likely to start forming in water pipes located in an unheated portion of a house. Once ice forms into a blockage in a pipe, continued growth of ice in the pipe can lead to excessive water pressure. It’s pressure of the water that has no place to go when ice builds that causes the pipe to burst, rather than ice pushing against the wall of a pipe. Although 20°F is well below the freezing temperature of water, two factors make this the critical outdoor temperature:

1. The temperature of an unheated portion of a house is almost always at least a few degrees above the outdoor temperature. For example, an insulated attic may be at 37 or 38° F when the outdoor temperature is 32° F.

2. Water “supercools” several degrees below freezing before any ice begins to form. In research tests at the University of Illinois, water pipes placed in an unheated, insulated attic consistently started forming ice when the outdoor temperature dipped just below 20°F.

The 20° F threshold is primarily for homes in the South and other areas where freezing may occur only a handful of times each season. There are several precautions homeowners in the South can take when the temperature is expected to dip into the low 20s:

•Seal all openings where cold air can get at unprotected water pipes. It’s especially important to keep cold wind away from pipes, which speeds up the freezing process.

•Leave cabinet doors open under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer room air to circulate around pipes.

•Let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice might still form in the pipes, but an open faucet allows water to escape before the pressure builds to where a pipe can burst. If the dripping stops, it may mean that ice is blocking the pipe; keep the faucet open, since the pipe still needs pressure relief.

•Pipes in attics and crawl spaces should be protected with insulation or heat. Pipe insulation is available in fiberglass or foam sleeves. Home centers and hardware stores have sleeves providing 1/8 to 5/8 inches of insulation; specialty dealers have products that provide up to 2 inches of insulation. The extra thickness is worth the price and can save a pipe that would freeze with less insulation.

•Heating cables and tapes are effective in freeze protection. Select a heating cable with the UL label and a built-in thermostat that turns the heat on when needed (without a thermostat, the cable has to be plugged in each time and might be forgotten). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.

•Exterior pipes should be drained or enclosed in 2″ fiberglass insulation sleeves.

•Pipes leading to the exterior should be shut off and drained at the start of the winter. If these exterior faucets do not have a shut-off valve inside the house, have one installed by a plumber.

Most building codes now require homes to have adequate protection for pipes, but many plumbing installers are either not aware of the requirements, or simply disregard them. Additionally, many houses were built before the codes required such protection, and thus remain vulnerable.

Article courtesy of the Weather Channel. Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety. IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters.

Click here to read what you should do if your pipes freeze or break

Could the words “under oberservation” be costing Medicare patients thousands?

The following news item discusses Skilled Nursing Facility benefits
under Medicare.  Last year the amount for Skilled Nursing Facility
benefits were zero cost for up to twenty days.  However, you must have
been admitted in the hospital for a 3-day Medicare covered hospital
stay.  The words “under observation” could leave you liable for all
physical therapy charges.  Please see the video below for the entire
story and feel free to contact Robert Barnette at 864-591-8815 or by
email Robert.barnette@assuresouth.com for any questions you may have
about your Medicare or healthcare coverage.

 

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/54026469?from=en-us_msnhp%2354026469#54026469

Workplace Wellness Programs- Simple Ideas for Small Business

froot

Many companies simply do not have the resources to create a large, complex wellness program. In fact, many groups struggle just to provide health insurance for their employees. However, targeting wellness is still important for smaller companies, because wellness efforts have been proven to:

  • Improve company morale and productivity.
  • Reduce overall health care costs.
  • Retain and attract employees.

Though your organization may not be able to fund a comprehensive wellness program, you can do some low- or even no-cost things to improve the health and wellness of your employees. Consider these ideas:

  • Ask a local hospital, non-profit organization or other health care provider to come and provide presentations to your employees on living healthy lifestyles.
  • Ask your broker if your health insurance carrier offers free health risk assessments (most do).
  • Create a wellness committee consisting of various employees to lead the effort. Start with simple activities, such as healthy eating days and lunchtime walks.
  • Make your workplace smoke-free.
  • Offer on-site flu shots for free or at a reduced cost.
  • Provide healthy vending machine choices.
  • Provide physical activity breaks during the day for your employees and encourage them to go outside for a quick run or walk. Encourage taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Provide educational materials about the benefits of healthy eating, exercising, not smoking and other lifestyle changes. Ask your broker about the Live Well, Work Well newsletter and series along with posters and other communications to support your efforts.

Contact AssureSouth for a variety of wellness tools to benefit your employees!

Risks of Lowering Auto Coverage

dad and kid driving

Lowering Coverage

If you have your eye on expenses, you may be tempted to trim your auto insurance bill by dropping or lowering your coverage—especially if you have not recently had a claim. Dropping some of your coverage—like comprehensive or collision—to the lowest legal level can cut your premium, but it could also put you at serious risk.

 

Study the following guidelines and work with AssureSouth to ensure that the coverage you purchase is enough to protect your assets.

 

Which Coverage Do I Need?

An automobile insurance policy is designed to provide you with a level of protection against property, liability and medical costs if you are involved in an accident.

 

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
  • Underinsured motorists coverage pays for property damage and bodily injury caused by another driver whose coverage is insufficient to cover damages suffered.

 

Selecting the correct liability limits is fundamental. 100/300/50 means you are covered for up to $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $300,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $50,000 in property damage per accident.

Many states have minimum liability limits of 25/50/10, although some states are higher or lower than this. While it may lower your premium, reducing your liability limits to minimum legal levels and dropping underinsured motorists coverage could open you up to substantial risk.

crash

Collision Insurance—Know the Worth of Your Car

Your policy will not pay for repairs that exceed the value of your vehicle. For this reason, if you are driving a vehicle that isn’t worth more than a few thousand dollars, it may not make sense to purchase collision coverage. AssureSouth can help you determine whether or not collision insurance makes sense for you.

 

Protecting Your Well-being

There are many reasons to buy insurance, but the best one is the financial security it provides. You insure yourself to protect your assets. A large accident could easily exceed low insurance limits, putting your house, savings and investments at risk. If you’ve dropped underinsured motorist coverage, you could be risking even more. Accidents happen to cautious drivers, too, and having adequate insurance can save you from serious financial burden should one happen to you.

We can help you determine which automobile insurance coverage is needed and what limits to buy. Contact AssureSouth at 864-582-5481 today to discuss your options.

Could Your Cold Medication be Affecting Your Ability to Drive?

road

We are in the midst of cold and flu season.  Taking an over-the-counter medication could make you feel a little better but could it also affect your ability to drive safely?

This tool from AAA could help you assess any drug interactions before you get behind the wheel.  Simply enter in any over-the-counter and prescribed medications that you are taking and hit submit.  The results will give you medication interactions, food interactions, driver warnings and a link to learn more about the medication you are taking.  Of course, the best tool is YOU.  If you feel too drowsy to drive- stay home, rest and feel better ASAP!  More than 11,000 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving from 2000 to 2010, according to federal statistics.

Remember… we do more than just help you avoid claims and arrive at your destination safely. Contact us today to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your auto, home and life!

Winter Driving Tip- Check Your Tire Pressure Often

blue car

Air pressure in  your tires has likely dropped since the temperatures outside have gone so low. Properly inflated tires improve your gas mileage and can help to prevent unwanted blowouts. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes each month to maintain the life of your tires and to keep them working to their utmost potential. Properly inflated tires also help you to get the longest life from your tires and get the best traction.

Tire Maintenance Tips

Check your air pressure once per month:

  • The correct air pressure for your vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual, on the gas tank lid, on the driver’s side door edge or on the doorpost.
  • The air pressure listed on the tire is NOT the correct air pressure; this is the maximum amount of air pressure that the tire can handle.
  • Check the air pressure on your spare as well, and make sure the bolts on your spare fit correctly with the rims on your vehicle.
  • Check air pressure on a cold tire before you drive somewhere to get air. Air pressure changes one to two pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change and goes up in warm weather and down in cold weather.
  • Tire pressure must be the same on the tires of each axle but may vary from the front to the rear axle.
  • Close valve caps to protect the valve from dust and dirt, and to prevent leaking. Replace missing valve caps immediately.
  • When checking tire pressure, also look for punctures and deformities. 

car mirror

Check your tread depth:

Conduct the penny test by placing a penny upside down with Lincoln facing you, in the center of the tread.

  • If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head or the metal above it, replace your tires immediately.
  • If Lincoln’s hair is partially visible, start price comparing for tires.
  • If you cannot see the top of Lincoln’s hair (tire tread should be as deep as his forehead), your tires do not need replacing yet.

Rotate your tires:

  • Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, or as outlined in your owner’s manual.

    Make sure your car is properly protected by calling our office today  to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your auto, home and life. 864-582-5481