Archive for May, 2014

Keep Your Maryland Pet Safe During Travel this Summer

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

pet safetyPets are usually regarded as part of the family. We like to take them along with us on vacation so we can spend our leisure time with our animal companions. A big problem that arises, especially in the summer, is keeping pets safe in the car while you travel. Accidents happen all the time and the more you do to prevent problems from arising, the less issues you’ll have while traveling. Animals are a lot like us and need to be provided the same level of care that you would show a child or other family member while traveling. We’ve got a few tips for you to keep your pet safe in the car this summer.

  • Use a pet harness – You wouldn’t want to put a child in the backseat without a seatbelt. The same goes for Whiskers or Grover. Buying a pet harness can be a difficult process. You need to make sure that the harnesses have actually been tested and are secure enough to keep your pet safe in the event of a car accident. Make sure that the harness is the correct size for your pet and do as much research as possible on the harness before making an informed decision on what the best product is for your pet.
  • Never leave a pet in a hot car – All animals are susceptible to heat stroke. You should never leave a pet in the car on a hot day, even if the windows are rolled down. The interior temperature of a car can easily reach above 150 degrees. Most people start getting uncomfortable around 80. Leaving your pet in the car on a hot day can result in the death of a pet, or even the theft of a beloved animal. If you can’t take your animal inside at your destination, you shouldn’t take your pet with you.
  • Find a vet – If you’re going on vacation somewhere out of your immediate area, you should research and find a reputable veterinarian in the area, in case of emergency. Many things can happen on vacation and it’s generally harder to track down an emergency vet than it is to find an urgent care or doctor for humans. Check out healthypet.com for reputable vets in the area.

If you consider your pet family, like many do, you should do everything you can to keep them safe in the car this summer. If you have any questions about keeping your pet safe in the car or would like to discuss insurance options, you can reach us by phone at 301.371.6335, visit our website, or drop by our Middletown, Maryland office. We’ll help you figure out exactly what you need to help you drive safely.

How to Avoid Hydroplaning

Monday, May 19th, 2014

hydroplaningRain in Frederick has been very heavy the past few weeks. You’d be hard pressed not to notice all of the flooding that happened in downtown last week. With that rain behind us and even more in the forecast, we figured that this week would be as good as any to discuss hydroplaning. When your car hydroplanes, you lose all control over your vehicle and until you end up on solid ground again, you don’t get control back. It’s a pretty scary thing, especially when there are other vehicles around or there’s the threat of crashing into something solid. You should try to avoid hydroplaning at all costs and know how to deal with a hydroplane incident if you happen to be in one. Following are some tips on how to deal with wet roads.

Prevention

  • Take care of your car – Make sure that the tread on your tires is still intact. You should have your tires inspected before spring hits to make sure that they can handle the rainy spring weather in Maryland. It’s also advisable to get your tires rotated at least once per year to avoid uneven wearing. One thing that many people neglect to get changed are wiper blades. Make sure that your wiper blades are keeping your windshield free and clear of water.
  • Avoid puddles – This one is pretty self-explanatory. You never know how deep a puddle goes and your tires can easily start floating on top of the water. If a puddle is too deep, you might also have a pothole to contend with, especially after the winter that we just had. Take care to avoid puddles, and if you can, avoid driving in heavy rain or flood conditions altogether.

What to do if you hydroplane

  • Relax – Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many precautions we take. Things happen. If you panic, you are more likely to lose control entirely. Take a breath and grip your steering wheel firmly. Let off of your gas and your brakes. Do your best to steer, but understand that since your tires aren’t touching the ground, you won’t have much control.
  • Think little – If you’re forced to brake, brake lightly and make small adjustments. Try not to do anything too big as you may overcorrect or end up skidding out of control (similar to ice). Driving through a hydroplaning situation is a lot like driving on ice – make sure that you’re driving carefully and thinking about everything you do. It can be a scary situation, but it’s necessary to react calmly and take a few deep breaths.

The first step in hydroplane prevention is to avoid wet roads, but if you can’t do that, follow the advice above and drive carefully. For more information about what type of insurance might help cover you, check out our previous blog on vehicle insurance options. To learn more about how to avoid hydroplaning or what vehicle insurance is available to you, please contact Wachter Insurance. You can reach us by phone at 301.371.6335, visit our website, or drop by our Middletown, Maryland office. We’ll help you figure out exactly what you need to help you drive safely.

Source: http://www.eriesense.com/prevent-hydroplaning/#.U3ogzvldXTp, http://www.eriesense.com/what-should-you-do-if-you-start-hydroplaning/#.U3ogz_ldXTp

What Should You Consider When Purchasing Home Owner’s Insurance?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Hurricane DamageWe’ve all heard the old adage, “At least you have a roof over your head!” Having somewhere to call home is one of the most important considerations to take into account when considering basic human rights. What happens when your home is destroyed in an accident or that ever important roof has a tree branch come crashing through it? Homeowner’s Insurance kicks in. Knowing everything that you can about Homeowner’s Insurance and what it can do for you can save you headaches in the long run. Following are some thoughts you should take into consideration when purchasing an insurance policy for your home.

  • Having the right amount of coverage – This may seem obvious, but if you aren’t well versed in insurance policies, you may not know whether or not you have enough coverage to rebuild your home in the event of total disaster. Anytime you do a home improvement project, you should report it to your insurance company so that they and you can adjust accordingly. It’s also advisable to look into Guaranteed Replacement Cost so that you’re absolutely certain that you can rebuild your home, regardless of depreciation.
  • Protecting yourself – Liability coverage on your home will help you in the event that someone is injured on your property. As much as you may love and trust your friends and family, you never know when someone is going to decide to file a lawsuit. They’re much more common than you might think, and if you aren’t properly covered, you can have a financial catastrophe on your hands. Loss of Use insurance will also help you in a tough situation. If your home becomes completely inhabitable, you’ll need somewhere to go. Loss of Use will help pay for somewhere for you to stay while you’re rebuilding your home – that’s one worry out the window.
  • Having a good backup system – Your insurance company is the backbone of financial stability and safety in a time of hardship. Make sure that you’re using a reputable company. You should always do your research and find out everything you can about the people representing you. Likewise, it’s good to have someone who is local to Frederick to help you with any questions you may have and to address issues that need immediate attention. Get to know your agent and make sure that you trust him or her implicitly.

At Wachter Insurance Agency, we take the time to get to know you and find out more about what kind of coverage you need. We’re local to the Frederick area and can better understand your situation and needs.  We are a family owned and operated facility, right down to the 3rd generation. We’re an independent agency representing the ERIE Insurance Group, Progressive, AIC – Agency Insurance Co., Foremost, Chesapeake Employers Insurance, and Wright Flood. Our offerings include auto, home, motorcycle, boat, flood, business and life insurance coverage. If you have any questions about homeowner’s insurance, or you’d simply like to talk to a representative, please feel free to contact us at 301.371.6335.

Are Smart Phones the Answer to Distracted Driving?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

smart phoneOne of the main causes of accidents on our highways is distracted driving – and one of the top reasons people are distracted are mobile devices. In fact, Maryland recently passed a new law regarding the use of mobile devices while driving. “Jake’s Law” is new legislation that could put a distracted driver in jail for up to a year with a $5,000 fine attached. If it can be proven that the driver who is at fault in an accident where the other party is injured was using a mobile device at the time of the accident, that driver could face the penalty under “Jake’s Law.”

Most of us are guilty of distracted driving at one point or another. Kids fighting in the back seat, a ringing cell phone, or exhaustion can all be causes of distracted driving. As it turns out, though, smart phones could actually help decrease the amount of people participating in distracted driving. How, you ask? By using the right apps! There are a few different apps that have recently been released that can help reduce distracted driving cases.

Three apps in particular have proven useful. When DriveScribe is activated, it blocks all of your incoming texts, calls, and notifications, while giving you feedback on your driving. This may be a useful tool for new or young drivers who are still learning the ways of the road. It tells you when your speed is excessive, if you’re braking too hard, or miss stop signs. The company even rewards you by letting you earn gift cards for good driving! The second, Canary, is designed for parents of teen drivers. It tells parents when teens are participating in distracted driving practices, such as talking, texting, or checking social media on their phones. The one problem with this app is that it’s easy to turn off, giving teen drivers some control over it. The third, Vokul, is great for the business person on the go. Vokul is a voice control app that lets you dictate to it for certain social media and email, control your music hands free, and call people without picking your phone up. You can also have the phone dictate information to you. Overall, the app is useful, even if it does have a few tweaks that need to be worked out.

Distracted driving is a very dangerous practice that needs to be carefully monitored and eventually eradicated. Safe driving practices should be taught from the very beginning and carried throughout your life. Downloading apps like the ones above can help you be a little bit safer on the road! To get more ideas on how you can eliminate distracted driving, or to learn about how it could affect your car insurance, give us a call at 301.371.6335, visit our website, or drop by our Middletown, Maryland office. We’ll help you figure out exactly what you need to help you drive safely.

Source: http://www.eriesense.com/can-smartphones-reduce-distracted-driving/#.U2f47vldXTq

What Vehicle Insurance Options are Available?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

car insurance policiesHaving at least the most basic insurance on your vehicle is a legal necessity. If you’re uninsured, you won’t be able to drive your car. Period. There’s more than just having the most basic insurance on your vehicle, though. You want to make sure that you have an option for different types of coverage that could be useful in any situation. You could just as easily suffer storm damage in Maryland as you could being involved in an accident. Knowing what the proper level of insurance is for your situation is important. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you don’t have enough coverage; similarly, if your vehicle rarely gets driven or isn’t worth much anyway, you may want to settle on a minimal coverage plan. Either way, we’ve got some extra information for you regarding insurance options and what’s right for you!

  • Bodily injury liability and Property damage liability – These are the most basic forms of insurance that are required by law when you purchase a vehicle. In the event of an accident that causes damage to either another person or another car where you are at fault, insurance covers their expenses.  This saves you from having to pay for the entirety of someone’s medical bills or car damage.
  • Collision coverage – This is useful for YOU. Sometimes accidents happen and you hit a tree or another object. Collision coverage will help you pay for damages if they add up higher than your deductible. Generally, the deductible with collision coverage is fairly high, but in the case of a bad accident, it can be worth it to have the excess covered. (Optional – if vehicle is not financed)
  • Comprehensive coverage – It’s just what it sounds like – coverage against just about anything. Think storms, vandalism, and animal encounters. Securing yourself against events like this can help, especially with some of the summer storms Maryland gets. Hail and flooding can wreak havoc on your car. (Optional – if vehicle is not financed)
  • Uninsured / Underinsured Driver coverage – Sometimes people break the law and decide NOT to pay for their car insurance or to pay for very little insurance. In that case, you’ll likely need a little extra backup. Purchasing insurance to protect against uninsured or underinsured drivers will help make you feel more secure on the roads.

Knowing your options and being properly insured can help you avoid disaster and hold on to your money. The above-mentioned insurance options are just some basic, general options. To learn more about what vehicle insurance is right for you, please contact Wachter Insurance. You can reach us by phone at 301.371.6335, visit our website, or drop by our Middletown, Maryland office. We’ll help you figure out exactly what you need to help you drive safely.

Source: http://www.iii.org/articles/infographic-types-of-auto-coverage.html