Insurance Helper Blog
For those of you out there who depend on flood insurance to protect your property from losses during drastic weather conditions, did you know that there is no guarantee that your flood insurance will be renewable when it expires? You see, the flood insurance program is sponsored by the federal government and the laws that allow this program to exist are currently being debated and caught up in other bills that leave some doubt as to whether or not we will have a National Flood Insurance Program after May of this year.
You might be wondering why the federal government is mixed up in an insurance program like this in the first place. Well, flood insurance is a funny animal in that those that need it most (those in flood plains) are the only ones who will ever consider purchasing. Since those with no risk (those who live at the top of a hill) will never want to buy flood insurance, the insurance companies selling flood insurance would face an adverse selection process when they sell flood policies. This would make the cost of flood insurance nearly unaffordable as there is no subsidy at all from the lower risk buyers. So the federal government steps in with the NFIP.
The NFIP must be continually reauthorized by Congress periodically as its charter expires. The most recent extension was passed at the 11th hour on Dec 23, 2011 but this extension only authorizes the program through May 31, 2012. Barring an extension past that date, the NFIP will cease to function. Normally this kind of deadline doesn’t create a huge problem, in fact the current extension is the 15th one since 2002 and in 2010 the NFIP was allowed to lapse four different times. There were 53 days in 2010 when you could neither purchase a new flood insurance policy nor renew an existing one. And I’m willing to bet that most of the homeowners who lost coverage during that time were at best only dimly aware of the new risks they were taking on.
The problem for the NFIP, and the reasons it is getting band aid type treatment as opposed to long term funding support are complicated but in large part are unrelated to the NFIP itself. The debt limit issues that the government ran into in late 2011 led to this current short term extension instead of a multi-year solution. Also, the bill in which the legislation to extend the NFIP charter into 2016 is also tangled up with a few political hot potato items such as tax rates and the Medicare payments to doctors debate.
If you live in a flood prone area, be aware that your homeowners insurance policy will not cover losses due to flooding. You will need to purchase a flood insurance policy to have protection. If you have a flood insurance policy in place, then keep a close eye on your mail or stay in touch with your agent to make sure that your policy remains in force after May 31st. At this point there is no certainty that you will be protected on June 1st.
For most of us, driving is a second nature activity, like walking or eating. We can do it without even realizing that we are doing it and as such, that can lead to a confidence that we do it well, whether we actually do or not. In this blog I want to go over the top 5 driving mistakes that we all make from time to time, and hopefully it will serve as a reminder to avoid these practices.
One thing the people rarely consider when they get into an automobile is that the process of driving a vehicle is for most of us, the most dangerous activity that we will do in any given day. Now we go years and years without a mishap or accident so it is easy to forget this. But, looming out there every time you get behind the wheel, is the risk that if you do make a mistake, the results could be catastrophic or even fatal for you. So taking time every now and then to honestly evaluate your own driving habits with yourself is a practice that could save your life or the life of someone else.
Let’s start with one of the biggest and most common mistakes: Tailgating. We see this all the time on the highway; people in a hurry, trying to push others on to drive faster may use tailgaiting as a way of emphasizing their point to the driver in front of them. Some people drive too close to the car in front of them simply as a matter of course. I’ve seen people who simply drive right up to the next car in front of them, not because they are in a big hurry, but because this is their default setting for how fast to drive in any situation. Put an open road in front of them and they aren’t sure what to do. For those of you who commute on the highway, when you are forced to spend an extra half hour in traffic on the way home or to work, most of the time it is because someone ahead of you was following too close.
Stopping instead of yielding. There are several places where this creates a problem. The most common is the acceleration ramp in the highway. Inexperienced drivers often have trouble with this and simply come to a stop instead of finding a way to blend into the flow of the traffic on the highway. Stopping is very dangerous, not only for the stopped car, but for the cars behind that are not expecting a car in front of them to stop. This is also a big problem at traffic circles where a driver’s attention is on the cars to the left in the circle as opposed to the car in front of them which they don’t expect to stop.
Trusting Mirrors. This is one I find myself guilty of from time to time. I know, I know, it does take a bit more effort to look over your shoulder when changing lanes, especially when you have checked all of your mirrors and you don’t see anyone coming. But I think most of us have had that scary experience of starting to make a lane change, only to hear the honking of the car beside us that was in our blind spot. This is a habit that takes effort but could save your life.
Failing to Yield on Green. The green light means go of course, but some intersections seem to be worse than others for having people force their way through a red light. Experience will help here but you should always be cautious when moving through an intersection. Intersection accidents often result in terrible injuries and you can avoid this by being more aware of everything going on outside of the green light itself.
Multi-Tasking and driving. This is one of my pet peeves. I personally quit using my phone in my car about 2 years ago. In my business I see the results of multi-tasking while driving and frankly I’m just scared that I will forget where I am if I use my phone for any of the many great things it can do while I’m driving. Keeping your focus on the driving that you are engaged in could save your life or someone else’s, so really it is worth the effort.
At Clinard Insurance Group, we want all drivers on the road to finish their errands and come home safely to their loved ones. I hope these tips will help keep you aware of the importance of staying engaged in your task of driving while you are operating a motor vehicle.