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.


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!


Floody Waters: Insure Your Home/Business & Ensure Calm After the Storm

September 29, 2009

Philippines, Typhoon Ketsana, Tropical Storm, Flooding
Erik de Castro, Reuters • Typhoon Ketsana ravages The Philippines

Flooding in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana has left millions in The Philippines devastated–the homes of nearly 1.9 million were flooded; displaced–nearly 380,000 people have been brought to evacuation centers; and dead–the death toll has risen to at least 240 and it is expected to increase as many remain missing (The National Disaster Coordinating Council).

The Philippines may seem worlds away from us, but just days ago, flooding in our state of Georgia has left many devastated, displaced and dead.  A woman in Georgia affected by the flood suggested that she “knows it’s not Katrina,” to which Vice President Biden replied, “For someone who is in a situation the people here in this shelter are in, it is Katrina. It is not Katrina in its scope by any stretch of the imagination, but the impact on their lives, on your lives, we understand it is Katrina.”

In a flash, disasters such as these remind us how inherently unpredictable and unforgiving nature is. Even if a hurricane or tropical storm doesn’t rip through your area, flooding is still a real threat. Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Whether floods are rare, unexpected or frequent where your home or business is, a flood risk is always present and it takes just an inch of water to cause damage to your property and disruption to your life or business.

Your homeowner, condo, renter and business policies do not cover damage by flooding (in fact, flooding is explicitly excluded), so it is important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains, snowmelt and other conditions that impact the U.S. Consider the possibilities of what flood damage can do to your assets… and then strongly consider protecting your home and business. If your home or business is covered by flood insurance, you can rest assured that there is calm after the storm.

Call or e-mail us at Asset Security to discuss protecting your home and business against flood damage. 914-598-3004 or jaime@assetsecurityrm.com.

Not-So-Fun Flood Facts…

  • Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.
  • Everyone lives in a flood zone.
  • Your car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
  • Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
  • One-third of all claims paid are for policies in low-flood-risk communities.
  • Floods are the #1 most common natural disaster in the United States.
  • 90% of floods aren’t declared federal disasters leaving the full cost to rebuild up to the home or business owner. Flood insurance protects you whether or not a disaster is declared.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) awarded over $16 billion in flood claims in 2005. Source: http://www.floodsmart.gov