NJ Motorists Must Comply w/ New Law or Get Caught on Thin Ice

October 21, 2009

NJ Legislators have passed a law requiring drivers to clear snow and ice from cars or be subject to a fine.

Let me set the scene: It’s the day after a snow storm and you need to head to the market, so you’re shoveling your driveway and digging your car out of the snow.  You clean off the snow and ice that have accumulated atop your vehicle and then you finally hit the road (if you haven’t stopped to take another shower and a nap because all that work got you perspiring and tired!).

You’re on the road now and even though the snow has stopped, you see snow and ice flying at your car from all directions because the cars in front of you failed to clear their cars of the wintery mix. Besides being a nuisance, snow and ice on cars presents a serious safety hazard. In the event that a sheet of ice becomes dislodged from a car, it could find its way to another car’s windshield, causing property damage, an accident or injury.

In an effort to protect drivers from this hazard, a recent New Jersey law requires motorists to make all reasonable efforts to remove ice or snow from vehicle or face a fine.  The lawstates that a police officer may stop a motorist whose vehicle has accumulated ice or snow which may pose a threat to persons or property.  The driver will be subject to a fine of not less than $25 or more than $75 for each offense, regardless of whether any snow or ice actually dislodged from the motor vehicle.  The law assures “no motor vehicle points or automobile insurance eligibility points shall be assessed for this offense.”

Though you may not live in New Jersey, take it upon yourself to clear your car of snow and ice before driving. The consequences of failing to do so could be much greater than a $75 fine.  If a piece of ice takes flight from your car, you could be held liable for damaging one’s property or causing bodily injury to another.

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OH, DEER…

October 6, 2009

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reported that deer-to-vehicle collisions are on the rise, spiking 18.3% over the last five years. The average property damage cost of these incidents was $3,050 and if your policy does not cover deer collision, guess who’s paying. Unless you can harangue that deer to write you a check for a cool $3,000, the money will be coming out of your pocket.

Here’s How it Works:

  • All states require motorists to have liability insurance. This means that if you are responsible for causing an accident, your insurance company will pay for any bodily injury or property damage to others…
  • …But there is no mandate that you must insure against damage to your car.  Even the most cautious and conscientious driver can be involved in an accident, though, so you may consider securing collision and comprehensive coverage.  
  • Collision coverage pays for loss due to collision with another vehicle or object (like a tree that came out of nowhere!). It also covers loss due to upset (if your car does a triple lutz or a back flip).
  • Comprehensive coverage provides coverage for any direct damage to your vehicle other than collision. This includes: fire, theft, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, missiles (whoa), falling objects, hail or water, flood, vandalism, riot and civil commotion, glass breakage, contact with birds or animals (oh deer!)

Contact us for a complimentary policy review to ensure that your coverage protects your car adequately: 914-598-3004 or jaime@assetsecurityrm.com

Take Preventative Measures:

The III offers these defensive driving tips to avoid hitting a deer:

  • Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. Deer seldom run alone. If you see one deer, others may be nearby.
  • When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

If your vehicle strikes a deer, get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.

Happy and safe driving!


Gettin’ Busy: Growing Your Business Online

October 2, 2009

Last week I traveled to Boston for Safeco‘s “Bricks & Clicks: Growing Your Business Online” workshop. I was a bit apprehensive because I thought I already knew everything there is to know about using the internet and the resources which it has to offer (ooh, the arrogance of today’s youth)!  My apprehension was met, though, by an incredibly informative workshop led by sharp, knowledgeable instructors. They were able to artfully deliver engaging presentations on topics that normally would have lulled me to sleep.  The wealth of information, ideas, advice, tools and resources the workshop provided was almost overwhelming, but exciting nonetheless.

I’ll share with you some of the valuable INSIDER information (ooh la la)! I learned and will be implementing on our re-vamped site!

What Your Customers Want:

  • People want to manage their affairs and finances online
  • …and they want to do it on their own time—are you there (with your online presence) when they need you?
  • Online shoppers (i.e. looking for insurance quotes) want speed, convenience & objectivity à they want a virtual producer, available after the 9-5
  • People network online; they refer, endorse and review
  • Users look for relevancy, familiarity, quick answers/info and calls to action—what should they do next?
  • LISTEN! They’ll tell you what they want! If not, ASK! 

How You Can Deliver with Your Website:

  • Clarify: What you need, want and don’t want. Create a PLAN.
  • Find out: Who is visiting and from where are they navigating?
  • Ask: What do my customers/prospects expect when they get to my site?
  • Address: User needs in terms of aesthetics, content, usability—you know what they say about first impressions!
  • Try: The 5-sec test & have others test it for you: what will people glean from your site in 5 seconds? Will they know who you are and what you do?
  • Engage: Identify valuable content! Keep it current and succinct.
  • Use: Free advertising in your favor! Put customer feedback & testimonials on your website and use them to your advantage—they show your value to prospective customers!
  • Create: a plan to review your site regularly. Keep it current!
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Improve the volume & quality of traffic to a website from search engines via search results
  • Use: Free SEO tools like Google’s—www.google.com/webmasters/start  and check your page rank here: www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php  
  • Or: Hire a SEO company. They improve your organic rating, ensure search-engine friendly content, conform to search engine guidelines, improve your site’s relevance in search results
  • Use: E-mail marketing to build and strengthen customer relationships (marketing, upselling/cross-selling, newsletter); measure your results
  • Have: A strategy! Be creative, implement an organized deployment plan (have a database or hire vendors/e-mail services that do it for you [i-contact, constant contact, jango mail, mail chimp, responsys, cheetah mail, epsilon, yes mail, exact target]
  • Track and measure: Your marketing efforts! Is it working? What can you do to make it better?

Social Networking

Visit us on:

Asset Security Insurance on Facebook Asset Security Insurance on Twitter Jaime Randle on Linked In

  • It’s your digital business card! Extend your hub of connection, control your online reputation and reach out!
  • A human approach to business and marketing
  • Have a conversation w/ your audience & clients
  • Engage audiences in an authentic way to provide helpful info, solve problems & build relationships to achieve business goals
  • Address problems, concerns, what’s going on in your industry, news, relevant seasonal info, self-written articles, guest spots on your blog, community events and info
  • Listen (gather feedback & customer insight)! Talk (spread the message about your company/product/service)! Energize (enthusiastic customers use the power of word of mouth)! Support (tools to help customers engage w/ you and each other)! Embrace (integrate customers into how your business works & use their help for new products or improved services)!

If you are a Safeco agent, seriously consider attending a Bricks & Clicks workshop in your area. I enthusiastically endorse the program!

Now go get busy!