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What to do Before and After an Auto Accident
No person is completely prepared for a car crash whether it is minor or major. However, drivers can be more prepared to handle the claims process afterward by remembering some important information. By taking a few simple preparatory steps, auto owners can prevent costly mistakes or delays that keep them from receiving compensation for damages.
What To Do Ahead Of Time
Make a list of important information to keep in a vehicle. An insurance agent's contact information, emergency phone numbers and contact numbers for family members should be included. Download our app with built in help for accidents. It will walk you through the steps to follow such as taking pictures and writing down information, and upload the information directly to us. The app is especially helpful since it may be difficult to remember what to do immediately after an accident with the confusion and stress that inevitably follows.
What To Do After An Accident
The first and most important step is to call an ambulance. People may not realize that they are injured. Anyone who is involved in an accident should be examined to rule out major injuries. Do not get out of the vehicle unless it is unsafe to stay in it. Never admit fault if another driver or spectator approaches. Be polite and courteous to everyone.
If taking any photos after an accident will put anyone at risk, do not take any. Take them from inside of the vehicle until help arrives. When it is safe to do so, take photos of the following:
License plates of all involved vehicles.
Damages to all involved vehicles.
Damage to any property affected by the accident.
Street signs or surrounding buildings that identify the location of the accident.
When it is safe to do so, write down the following information:
Names and contact information of any other drivers or affected passengers.
The year, make and model of any involved vehicles.
Insurance and agent contact information for the other driver.
Name and contact information for responding police officers.
Your HALO agent is an advocate throughout the claims process. Many people are afraid to contact their agent quickly because of a potential rate increase. However, the cost of handling an accident incorrectly can be much more expensive than a small rate increase. To learn more about preparing for an accident, speak with us at HALO Insurance and Benefits Group 314-351-HALO(4256).
Protect Your Business by Giving Employees Rules for Social Media
Use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have become a standard part of many businesses' operations. These tools are effective at reaching customers in new ways, but they also bring risks. Businesses need to consider which tools to use and how they want employees to use them.
New social media platforms sprout every year, and businesses cannot use all of them well. The first thing they need to figure out is which sites their potential customers are using. Many businesses have Facebook pages for this reason. Also, sites like Facebook and You Tube enable businesses to post live and pre-recorded videos, permitting them to reach customers in innovative ways.
If individual employees are posting on these sites for work purposes, the business must decide whether it should associate with those posts. Professional, informative or entertaining posts reflect well on the business. Crude or angry posts written in the heat of the moment can land the business in controversy. A publicist for a media company, as she was about to board a flight to Africa, tweeted a joke about hoping she would not catch AIDS while there. By the time she arrived, her tweet had received worldwide attention. The company fired her shortly after.
Companies should also consider the types and amounts of information their employees should share on social media. Some things, such as confidential employee and client information, should be obviously off-limits. Other things may be less so. An employee who views solving a customer's problem as a success story might see no harm in posting it online. However, getting the customer's approval beforehand is always a good idea.
Another issue is just how much time employees should spend using these sites. Marketing agency Mediakix estimates that people spend nearly two hours a day on social media. Posting and following social media has become part of many people's jobs, as they track what is being said about their companies or follow industry news. However, time spent reading these sites is time not spent on other, more productive activities. Employers need to manage work performance to ensure that the organization is accomplishing its mission.
Lastly, businesses should consider what the consequences should be for employees who use social media inappropriately. The most extreme sanction, as illustrated by the publicist, is termination of employment. Depending on the seriousness of the action and its repercussions for the organization, less severe consequences may be more appropriate. However the business decides to respond to such actions, the time to make that decision is long before something happens. That allows the business to inform employees in advance of the possible consequences, as well as giving it the basis for objective decisions.
Virtually every business needs to have some presence on social media today. Customers, potential employees and vendors have come to expect it. Used wisely and well, these platforms enable businesses to compete effectively. Used carelessly, they can cause major problems. Businesses should treat them as seriously as they would any other parts of their operations.
Buy Term Insurance Based on Benefits Not Price
Many of you have large life insurance needs and not-so-large life insurance premium budgets. We can usually meet your insurance needs at a price you can afford by using term life insurance rather than a cash value product.
One of the primary reasons people buy term life insurance is its low cost. But costs can be deceiving-what seems like a great deal at first isn't such a bargain when you look more closely. Why is this so?
Term life insurance comes in several types and there are variations within each type. An important thing you need to remember for any term life insurance-if you miss a payment, your insurance is gone. You may be able to get it reinstated, but don't count on it.
The least expensive form is often "Annual Renewable Term" (called ART). ART is so cheap because the premiums rise each year. With ART, what was a bargain initially quickly becomes a burden.
A more expensive (at least initially), but more predictable form is called "Level Term." Level term has a fixed premium for a set number of years, after which the premium increases dramatically. This level premium period may be five, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years, or even longer. In some cases the premium is level for five years, then rises, then stays the same for another five years, and so forth.
While cost is an important issue, there are other factors that are even more important. In reality, the cost per $1,000 of term life insurance for you is not much different from one company to another, assuming a similar product structure. Cost is actually driven by other benefits and administrative considerations.
The most important benefit to look for is "convertibility." If you suddenly become very ill, you are going to want to keep your current life insurance. Convertible term life lets you do that. Your premium will be much higher because if you convert you will own a cash value permanent policy, but knowing the insurance is there is worth it. Don't buy a policy without this benefit.
Another important benefit is the ability to purchase more insurance without proving you are still healthy (insurable). This is not a feature with many term products, but it could be an important one, and this option costs money.
Policy fees also affect the cost of your term life insurance. Rather than have a lot of seemingly inexpensive policies, you may be better off combining them into one larger policy to reduce these fees.
Some policies offer a return of premium option-after a number of years you get all the money you paid back. This is very expensive, but if it makes you feel better about spending the money in the first place, consider it worthwhile.
One other benefit that the lowest cost term life policies may not have is "waiver of premium." With waiver of premium, if you become disabled you will not have to pay any premiums during this time. This can be a valuable benefit.
The bottom line-if you buy the "cheapest" policy, it may cost you. You may not be able to convert it, the premiums may rise each year, you may be paying lots in policy fees, and you may have to keep paying even if you are disabled. Know the features you need and the time frame for which you plan to keep the insurance, and look at its cost over that entire period. Cheaper may not be better! Please call an agent today at 314-351-HALO(4256) to schedule an appointment to discuss your Life insurance needs and options with an agent.
Tips for Preventing and Dealing with Water and Sewer Damage
Water is known for penetrating structural cavities and creating growing pockets of saturation without the knowledge of the homeowner. Unfortunately, it often requires sophisticated tools and technology to find the source of such water damage.
If the moisture remains undetected, it causes damages that eventually lead to an expensive restoration process. IICRC-certified restoration specialists possess the skills, knowledge and equipment needed to dry a building and stop the source of the damage. They monitor conditions carefully to help prevent future issues and problematic mold.
Always be sure that it is safe to enter a building that was previously flooded. Look for structural damages that create falling dangers, electrical hazards and other issues. Wear rubber boots and gloves, and wear a safety hat that does not conduct electricity. Also, a respirator will help protect from airborne health hazards. If the building is known for containing asbestos, lead paint or other harmful substances, contact a qualified professional for help. These are some important cleanup tips to follow:
Act quickly to minimize the severity of the damage and prevent mold growth that may not be covered.
Ventilate the area well to help it dry faster.
Assess the damages to belongings and the structure, and make a list of all damages.
Take photos of specific damages if possible.
If sewage is present, leave and have a professional conduct the inspection.
Expose pockets of saturation such as layers between building materials to help them dry.
Clean the area as much as possible when it is safe to do so.
Confirm that all pockets of moisture have been thoroughly dried before starting reconstruction.
Sewage Backup Tips
Sewage can be one of the biggest dangers associated with water damage. The bacteria and pathogens commonly found in it can cause serious health problems for homeowners, their children and their pets. These are some important tips for dealing with sewage:
Anyone working on sewage should have current Hepatitis B and other important vaccinations.
Anyone who is on prescription drugs or chemotherapy should not work around sewage.
People with immune disorders, pregnant women, elderly adults and young children should not be near sewage.
The affected building must be evacuated unless the sewage-damaged area is properly sealed off.
Textiles, carpets and padding should be replaced and not washed.
Sewage-saturated drywall must be discarded and replaced.
Only trained professionals should perform sewage remediation tasks, and an environmental professional should inspect the property afterward.
Be sure that these tasks are completed before attempting to reoccupy the home. Living in a home with mold and especially improperly treated sewage damage can have expensive and lasting effects on health. To learn more about this topic, ask your Halo agent about Water and Sewage Damage Coverage.