It’s the Apocalypse, wait its just Snow.

Sitting here today as Oklahoma weather shows it’s ugly face, and everyone preps as if the zombie apocalypse is about to occur, you know rushing to the grocery store fighting over bread and milk.  Nevertheless I thought since everyone else was stocking their cabinets with food and supplies I would prep you all with some winter driving tips!

RCI Snowy Vehicle

Winter Weather Driving Tips from The Weather Channel:

1. Make sure both you and your vehicle are properly equipped to handle the roads and the weather. My husband laughs at me because when the weather rolls around I put snacks & blankets in my car. I don’t want to starve or freeze to death! I think the amusing part here is that we do not live in Montana where you go MILES without seeing anything or anyone. Bottom line here, dress accordingly and be prepared for anything.

2. Slow down & drive smoothly. Speeding to get out of the weather is not going to help anyone. Patience is a virtue (I am not saying I have much of one myself), but driving slower and being more cautious is going to be your saving grace.  Keep your lane changes to a minimum, and do not lay on your brakes.

3. Do Not Tailgate. Obvious as it may be tailgating provides a ton of accidents and claims.  I also know that driving on a busy road makes tailgating hard to avoid.  If you leave too much space between you and the car in front of you other drivers jump right in. Stop and go traffic is the worst. A fender bender in the freezing rain and snow is not the way you want to spend your time. These fender benders are so frequent when roads wet or icy some cities run programs like Tulsa’s “Operation Slick Streets” which means that officers will not respond to non-injury accidents. They suggest you exchange insurance information and if you are close to a Quick Trip you can pick up a collision report to fill out.

4. Do Not use Cruise Control. Hopefully this will keep your speed down as well as keep you more aware of your surroundings.

5. Pull over or stay home. Of course if you are able to stay home and out of the weather that would be your best bet. If you do have to get out then remember that there is no shame in pulling over or waiting till the weather lightens up before heading on your way.

http://www.weather.com/life/safety/autosafety/article/five-winter-driving-tips_2011-10-30

While working on this I have read on cityoftulsa.org that Tulsa has in fact enacted the “Operation Slick Streets” this means it is getting rough out there. Hopefully everyone has their milk and eggs because as of this morning there was not a lot left. Everyone remember these driving tips and be safe as you head home!

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Two Area Families Devastated by Sudden Tragic Accident When Car Kills Child on Bicycle

Joe is a great guy. Beautiful family. Owned his own home. Good job. Boy scout leader. Little league coach. Church trustee. He lived the American dream.
One afternoon in May 2011 Joe left work early. He got in his car and was on his way home. He would be coaching his son’s little league game that night. He was euphoric. They had practiced for weeks and he knew this would be the best season yet. Bats. Balls, Homeruns. A few strikes. His mind was not behind the wheel.
THUD! SCREECH! OH MY G… The last thing he remembers was the little girl’s bike flying over his windshield. He pulled the car over and got out. He trembled as he saw her lifeless body laying in the road. He prayed for her. The paramedics came. He was dazed. His heart ached for her parents because he knew how much he loved his own three kids.
About a month later he got a certified letter from a lawyer in Tulsa. He was getting sued for $2,000,000. Several months later in court, the jury awarded the little girl’s family $1,250,000. Joe’s auto insurance company quickly paid the full policy limit of $300,000 and walked away. He still owed $950,000. Well, they took his savings, and even the little bit of money he had set aside for his own kids’ educations. Those things came to about $175,000. He still owed them $775,000 and would have his wages garnished for the rest of his life.
Nothing would ever bring the darling little girl back. Her parents would be heartbroken forever. Joe would always have a place in his heart for her.

Joe’s legal nightmare will never be over. The whole mess could have been avoided for as little as $150.00/year, by purchasing an umbrella policy.

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You maybe asking yourself what is an umbrella policy, basically it is excess liability for when you exhaust the liability on your auto or home policy.
To learn more about umbrella insurance please visit our website: http://www.rci-ins.com/insurance-solutions/personal-insurance/umbrella-insurance/

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability

In Oklahoma, businesses sometimes need additional business insurance to go with their policies. One of those coverages, would be hired and non-owned auto liability. Hired and non-owned auto liability coverage provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for rented and non-owned vehicles and commercial vehicles used by employees for use in the business.

For example, Jane rents or borrows a car to go visit a client and causes a wreck on the way to her client’s home or office. The people she hit are going to try to get Jane’s company to pay for the damages because she was doing business related activities at the time of the accident.

Bob the Builder owns a construction company and hires Larry the contractor to come in and install windows in the home that Bob is building. While backing into the driveway to unload the windows, Larry backs into the client’s new Mercedes. On impact, one of the windows falls out of the back of the truck and knocks the client in the head. When the client wakes up, he is going to sue and Bob the Builder’s hired and non-owned auto coverage would kick in and protect his company.

Sue owns a restaurant and has an employee run to Walmart to pick up lettuce because they ran out. On the way to Walmart, the employee causes an accident. Because the employee was performing work related duties, the people who were hit can look to the restaurant for payment for the damages. Sue’s hired and non-owned liability would cover at this point.

Little White Lies in Insurance

Deceitful Words for Cheaper Rates:

A common misconception that insured’s have is that they can lie to the insurance company or their agent and get away with it while paying a lower premium for their insurance. Most people will “forget” the number of tickets, accidents and claims they have had within the last five years. This is why, at RCI Insurance Group, we pull everyone’s Motor Vehicle Report (M.V.R.) and Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report. The M.V.R. report shows the insurance company any tickets or accidents, even those accidents that are not at fault. The C.L.U.E. report shows claims that have been made on your auto policy and on your home. This report shows such claims as hail damage to your roof or your car, hot water tank burst causing water damage, an auto collision with another object or person, and anything that has happened to your home or cars that your insurance has paid to fix or replace. When you misrepresent information on your insurance policy and you have a claim, the claim can be denied when the company finds out about the wrong information and you will not get paid for your loss.

When it comes to your life insurance application, insurance companies have access to the following: paramedical exam records, doctor’s records, pharmaceutical database searches, credit reports, motor vehicle reports, and autopsy reports. So misrepresenting your annual income, current health, family health history, tobacco and drug use, or even the fact that you have depression could result in the cancellation of your policy.

In conclusion, just remember that an insurance policy is a contract of Utmost Good Faith: Each party is entitled to rely upon the representations of the other.

  • The insured tells the truth regarding material facts expecting the insurer to fulfill promise to pay any covered loss.

Remember: Deceitful Words for Cheaper Rates up front will lead to MUCH higher costs in the long run.

Oklahoma Auto Coverage: Need vs Want

You are driving down the road and a dog runs out in front of you. Your first instinct is to swerve to avoid hitting the cute little puppy. So, you swerve – right into a semi-truck hauling a mobile home. The mobile home overturns and the home is completely destroyed. It takes out a couple of mailboxes and a couple more cars. Four people are injured and need medical attention.

Let’s see what kind of damage we have done:

Mobile Home – $50,000
Mailboxes – $200
Mutilated Vehicles – $35,000
Medical Expenses – $100,000
Having Enough Oklahoma Auto Liability Coverage – PRICELESS

The biggest question you should consider when shopping for auto insurance is, “When this happens to you, how much of the damages do you want your insurance to pay for?” I have only ever heard one answer – “I want my insurance to pay for all of it!”

Guess what? If you are carrying Oklahoma’s state required minimum auto insurance coverage, your insurance company is only going to pay for $50,000 of the medical expenses and $25,000 for property damage. You will personally owe an additional $60,200 to cover what insurance did not pay to replace the mobile home, mailboxes, and damaged vehicles. And you owe another $50,000 for the medical expenses that were not covered. So, you now need to write a check for a grand total of $110,200.

If you have the money in your savings account, it is no problem. Of course, your child may not be able to go to college or you may not be able to buy the lake house you have been saving for. If you own a home or business or other assets, the lawyers will be glad to put a lien on your home or take your motorcycles and boats. Of course, you could always sell your business to cover the expenses, but then you have no way to support your family. If you do not own anything, the lawyers will go to court to get a judge to agree to garnish your check until the damages are paid for – which should only take about 50 years.

Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if you had an Oklahoma risk manager who explained the coverage in detail so that you knew what was at stake and understood the importance of purchasing the higher coverage limits (sometimes only costing as little as $5 or $10 a month for all the vehicles on the policy!). You need more than an insurance agent trying to make a fast buck off of you – you need a personal risk manager who will spend time to understand the risks you personally need to cover. Contrary to popular opinion, insurance is not a “one size fits all!”

Oh, and my last word of advice? Never swerve to miss hitting animals. No matter how cute and cuddly Fido may be and how sad it is to injure an animal – if you hit an animal, the claim is considered a comprehensive claim on your Oklahoma auto insurance policy. If you dodge the animal and hit other vehicles or trees or run in a ditch, etc., the claim is considered an at fault accident and will cost you a lot more than a comprehensive claim.

Are You Sure You Have the Right Oklahoma Auto Insurance?

Amber Helmuth

Many people opt for a basic coverage plan rather than choosing individualized insurance that could save them a lot of grief and expense.

Some might find it interesting that the phrase “one size fits all” has become so commonplace in our marketplace, since there is rarely any truth to it. Whether one is talking about shoes or clothing or cars or homes, most people have their own unique needs and preferences to consider when making purchases that will affect their everyday lives and comfort.

Insurance is no different. Many companies might present insurance within a series of easy choices, available with a few clicks of a button and an online payment. But Mick Cottom of RCI Insurance in Claremore warns about the pitfalls of making a hasty decision when buying insurance. “Trying to compare apples to apples will get you smashed when you hit the road,” he says. “You want coverage that protects your personal situation.”

Cottom uses this example to illustrate his point: A man has purchased the most basic coverage, 25-50-25,on his vehicle. This means that the coverage caps at $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 for the entire accident, and $25,000 for property damage. One day, he collides with a Mercedes Benz, driven by a doctor who is transporting his wife and two children. Not only are two people in the other vehicle killed, but the man himself is badly injured and is in the hospital for six months. “Will that 25-50-25 insurance cover the devastating costs of this accident?” Cottom asks. “Who will pay the man’s salary while he is off work?”

Protection against the worst that could happen is the reason for procuring insurance in the first place, but ironically people often don’t consider the very worst that can happen when they actually make the purchase. “We all think we are invincible,” Cottom states. “A lot of consumers are uninformed when it comes to insurance and will gravitate toward the lowest price.”

Basing a decision on the lowest price, however, will often leave huge holes in the safety net that  insurance was designed to provide. That’s why Cottom encourages current and potential clients to call or visit Amber Helmuth, personal lines risk manager at RCI Insurance, to review and discuss an individualized plan. Amber specializes in personal service, helping to set RCI Insurance apart from the “one size fits all” discount companies whose one-on-one service ends once the policy has been sold.

“Sometimes we actually can provide a person a great deal more insurance for the same price they were paying just through these discussions,” Cottom adds. He cites the example of a local businessman whose assets were worth around $2.5 million, but who was only carrying the basic 25-50-25 insurance. After discussion and review, RCI Insurance was able to provide the man over 10 times the coverage of his previous plan, combine his auto, home and other insurance policies, plus add a $1 million umbrella over all his assets – for about the same price he’d been paying for the basic insurance.

How much insurance do you need? The only way to know for sure is to talk it over with an agent such as Amber Helmuth. “Come sit down or have a meaningful conversation over the phone,” Cottom says. “In order to maximize discounts, we will review your whole situation, give you total protection, and bring you into our circle of safety.”

This article was written by Lorrie Ward of the Value News for Rogers County.

How much Insurance is too much?

Oklahoma Auto insurance is one of those things that you can never really have too much of. If you don’t have it, or don’t have enough, a significant accident could leave you with thousands of dollars’ worth of bills to pay. That type of calamity could bankrupt just about anyone. Minimum coverage, while satisfying state laws for auto insurance, is a bad idea for many financial reasons.

If you choose to get minimum automobile insurance coverage, you are probably worried about the monthly bill. The problem with minimum coverage however, is that while you may be saving a more money each month, if you get into a major accident and are at fault, the money your insurance company pays will be capped at a certain point, and all costs above that coverage maximum will be your responsibility to pay. If the person you’ve injured has huge medical bills, you’ll be responsible for them after your insurance coverage has been exhausted.

One our agents recently told us this story, I thought it might help explain what I’m talking about a little better.

 A couple of years ago one of my friends had asked me to quote their car insurance.  I did quote their insurance but I raised the coverage and tried to explain that if a serious accident were to occur they would need the insurance company to pay more on their behalf.  My friend decided to save the few extra dollars that it was going to cost.  Just last month my friend’s daughter caused an accident.  There have been two surgeries and a hospital stay to the other party to go along with the vehicle they were driving.  If you know anything about medical bills these days you know that a minimum coverage policy is not going to pay for all that damage.  Now my friends are looking at having to pay the rest of that amount out of their pocket.  The thousands they could end up paying will certainly put a financial hardship on their family.

Minimum coverage is a bad idea not just for financial reasons, but for ethical reasons as well. If you have minimal coverage, and you’re responsible for an accident that costs thousands of dollars to another person and can’t pay for any of it, you’ve burdened another person with huge debt.

To learn more about your insurance coverage and if you have the right amount of coverage not just for your auto insurance, but also for your home, health, and life, visit our Free Protection Report website.