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  Home Insurance News  
  by Cindy Parroné |  
 

After the long winter we have endured, it is nice to welcome the warmer weather and spring showers that bring beautiful flowers. Thunderstorms, hail, wind and severe weather are also possible. Even though these “Acts of God” are out of our control, there are several tips to reduce the chance of damage to your home. In order to prevent water from getting into your home, make sure the gutters are cleaned out and pointing away from the house. Tree limbs and shrubs within five feet of any structures, the AC unit, outdoor pools, etc. need to be trimmed back. Those of you with finished basements need to make sure that the sump pump is in good working order and has back-up energy if the power goes out. You might want to talk to us about a water and sewer back-up endorsement for your homeowner’s insurance. Inspect outdoor faucets for any freeze damage.

Pride in ownership is something that all homeowner insurance companies take into consideration during underwriting. Make sure the lawnmower is safely ready to be used, and use it as necessary. If you are considering some new landscaping, planting rose bushes, blackberry bushes, holly or other plants with thorns or sharp leaves in front of window areas will discourage illegal entry and theft.

Last but not least, let us coach you about turning in a homeowner’s claim. Insurance is not the same thing as maintenance. In order to “get someone out to look at my roof”, we have to turn in a claim to the insurance company. If they determine that the damage is “normal wear and tear” on the roof, the claim will be denied completely or depreciated to the point that you have a fraction of the money you need to replace the roof. If the cost of the repairs is less than your deductible, the claim would be closed without payment. The adjuster could also determine that there is no damage to the roof, and the claim would be closed without payment. Each of the examples above would be counted against you. Our recommendation is that you document the damage, do what is necessary to prevent further damage and contact us for further advice prior to turning in a claim yourself directly to the company. If you were to have two claims within a five year period, you can count on getting non-renewed and having to move the coverage to a high-risk carrier with exorbitant rates.



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  Auto Insurance News  
  by Cindy Parroné |  
 

One of the newest trends in auto insurance is referred to as “Pay How You Drive”. The concept of this rating system is that the less time your car is on the road, especially during hazardous periods such as late night and rush hour, the less chance there is of having a claim. Drivers with smooth braking and acceleration habits are less likely to have an accident than those who burn rubber or slam on their brakes. In order to earn these discounts, a small device has to be plugged into a port on the car itself. Some companies’ measuring devices are more complicated than others. Some devices include a GPS tracking feature, which allows parents to monitor teen driving and the insurance company to more easily find a stolen vehicle. As drivers reduce the amount of time they spend on the road to get these savings, they also reduce their carbon footprint and gas usage, which is an additional benefit.

At Diederich Insurance Agency we have three carriers so far that are offering “Pay How You Drive” rating options. Progressive has the “Snapshot” program, and the Hartford now has “Right Lane”. Neither of these has the GPS. Travelers has upgraded “Intellidrive”, and it does have the GPS. If you feel that you are a good driver who could earn some of these additional discounts, please let Patty or I know prior to your next renewal, and we will get you set up.



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  Concealed Carry Insurance  
  by Cindy Parroné |  
 

The issuance of concealed carry permits in the state of Illinois has begun. You may have completed the required training, filled out the appropriate application and paid your fee, but have you investigated the personal ramifications of using your concealed weapon? Criminal and civil lawsuits are certainly a possibility in this litigious age.

As a personal lines insurance producer with 20 years of experience, I have had to do some research to counsel my insurance customers considering concealed carry. Many people would assume that their homeowner’s insurance will cover them in the event that they use their weapon for self defense. At this juncture, assumptions are all we have because there have not yet been any insurance claims, court cases or awards. Assumption is not insurance. Until precedents have been established, anyone with a concealed carry permit should consider them self vulnerable. Policy verbiage varies from company to company and “intentional” harm exclusions will come into play. Any restitution for legal fees including retainers may not occur until after a court has verified that the act constituted legal use of a concealed weapon. At that point, you could be floundering in debt or experiencing significant disruption of your normal lifestyle.

The whole purpose of carrying a concealed weapon is to reduce your vulnerability, so I would strongly urge you to purchase a product specifically designed to cover you in the event of a self-defense incident. At Diederich Insurance, we are recommending reasonably priced packages through CCW Safe. The chart below shows why CCW’s product is the most comprehensive available in Illinois today. For more information or to purchase the coverage, please go to www.ccwsafe.com/diederichinsurance or give me a call.



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  CCW Safe Announcement  
  by Cindy Parroné |  
 

Protecting the things that you love and are important to you has always been our mission at Diederich Insurance. With the recent passage of Concealed Carry legislation in Illinois, we know many of you will decide to carry a firearm for your own safety. The liability coverage that extends from your homeowner’s insurance is limited. We have researched several concealed carry consumer protection packages. We are pleased to announce that we can provide comprehensive protection through our new partnership with CCW Safe. This coverage can be purchased through our agency as a gift to yourself and/or spouse, or you can purchase a gift certificate for someone on your Christmas list. Please contact us at 618.457.6721 for more information.



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  Deer Hunting begins today in Southern Illinois  
  by Cindy Parroné |  
 

A quarter of a million deer hunters hit the woods today in Illinois for the first shotgun season of the year, which continues through Sunday, November 18th. The deer have already been restless and mobile because it is mating season, but with the report of gunshots echoing around them, deer are even more likely to dart out onto a roadway. This annual ritual makes November the month with the largest number of deer/vehicle accidents (DVA) followed by December, October and June.

Statistics recently released by the insurance industry found that the average property damage deer claim ran about $3,305 in the first half of 2012. With reference to bodily injury, there were 613 persons hurt and six fatalities from DVA in Illinois during 2011. The chance of hitting a deer in our state is 1:250. Illinois ranks 26th in the U.S. for DVA, and the top ten DVA counties in Illinois are well north of Jackson County.

The most common driver DVA error is swerving to avoid hitting the deer. Instead of colliding with the animal, the vehicle is likely to leave the roadway to flip in a ditch, hit another vehicle or hit an object such as a tree, utility pole or guard rail. Swerving causes more significant damage and injury than a direct deer hit. The insurance carrier categorizes an animal collision as a comprehensive claim, which is not surcharged as heavily as a non-animal collision. Avoidance of the deer resulting in contact with another vehicle or object is an at-fault, surchargeable accident.

If you want to avoid harvesting a deer with your car, consider the following precautions:

  1. Be on the lookout for deer especially at dawn and dusk.
  2. Be on the watch for deer where signs mark deer crossings.
  3. Look for deer where you have seen them or deer carcasses previously.
  4. Use caution when deer habitats such as field edges, woodlots and water are near the roadway.
  5. When driving at night, watch for headlight reflections from the deer’s eyes. Using the high beams when there is no oncoming traffic is encouraged. Flashing your bright lights at the deer can wake them from their “trance” and scare them away from the road, especially if you honk the horn a few times.
  6. If you spot a deer, slow down and use your emergency flashers to warn other drivers. Be prepared to stop.
  7. Do not follow too closely behind another vehicle. If they encounter a deer, you could end up colliding with them from behind, which would be your fault.
  8. Wear your seatbelt.
  9. Remain alert, awake and sober.
  10. Minimize distractions inside your vehicle like loud music, cell phone use, texting, map reading or conversing with passengers.
  11. Do not rely on “deer whistles”.

Drive safely Southern Illinois! May the venison on your table be a hunting trophy rather than road kill!





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  The Scariest Night of the Year  
  by Cindy Parroné |  
 

As an insurance agent, Halloween has become the scariest night of the year. It’s not the fake blood and grotesque masks that scare me, though. It’s the gruesome statistic that a child 5-14 years old is four times more likely to be hit by a car and die than any other day or night of the year according to a recent Center for Disease Control study. The odds are stacked against a youngster versus a motorized vehicle, and you are the responsible adult behind the controls of that vehicle.

Excited children tend to forget safety tips in their quest for sugary treats. 84% of child fatalities on Halloween occur mid-block as kids dart between cars to cross streets. They may not be able see you if they are wearing a mask that obscures their vision. Yes, the bodily injury liability portion of your auto insurance is designed to cover injury to others, but do you want to experience the anguish and guilt of harming a child? This is the sort of claim I hope not to ever handle, so promise me to use the following driving tips this Halloween.

  1. Be Alert. No texting, cell phone use or other distractions as you watch for children and irresponsible drivers.
  2. Communicate your driving intentions to others. Using your turn signals is especially important on a night like Halloween. Also use your hazard lights if you are pulling to the curb to let your own car full of trick-or-treaters enter or exit your vehicle.
  3. Slow down below the regular speed limit in areas where youngsters are present. For most communities in Jackson and Williamson counties, trick-or-treat runs from 5-8 or 9 p.m.
  4. Extra caution is necessary when entering or leaving driveways, parking lots and alleys. Tapping your horn to get attention couldn’t hurt.
  5. Do NOT pass cars that are stopped in the street. Even though these drivers are inconsiderately blocking traffic, children are likely to be getting in and out of the car on either side.
  6. Be certain to share these tips with the young drivers in your household that will be behind the wheel on Halloween. Nearly one third of child fatalities on this night are attributed to drivers 15-25 years old.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Cindy Parrone’
Licensed Insurance Agent
Diederich Insurance Agency





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