Morgan Hill Today 2014 03 Spring - Page 13

Protecting yourself in everyday situations! Carl Schindler, LUTCF, CSA Agent, State Farm Insurance Carl Schindler is a 40-year State Farm Insurance agent in Morgan Hill. His agency has been voted #1 in Morgan Hill for the past 5 consecutive years. He specializes in Auto, Homeowner’s, Life & Disability Insurance. Visit StateFarm. com/CarlSchindler or call (408)779-6969. You’ve just turned off a traffic-congested street and into the relative calm of a parking lot. Time to relax, right? Not really. It’s actually a time to be extra alert. About 20 percent of all vehicle accidents happen in parking lots, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Though these lowspeed collisions are rarely serious, they can be costly, time consuming, and aggravating. Protect yourself and your vehicle by following these tips. Buy Time To React Parking lots are filled with obstacles and hazards, but often the biggest danger is other drivers. They may cut across empty rows, drive too fast, or ignore signs and pavement markings, endangering everyone in the lot. The best way to deal with these drivers is simple: Slow down. This buys you time to react and avoid a collision. Be especially cautious when turning corners and backing up. “If you drive just a little bit slower, you are in a better position to absorb the misbehavior of others,” says Leonard Evans, an expert and author on traffic safety issues. “You must absorb their folly so you don’t pay for it.” Expect Pedestrians Parking lots are full of people coming from and going to their cars. “Pedestrians have a great sense of security in parking lots...they don’t look for traffic,” Evans says. Though pedestrians may not be looking out for you, it’s still your responsibility to look out for them. Keep a wary eye out for any pedestrians who may cross your vehicle’s path, and be sure to obey all crosswalks within the parking lot. When entering particularly high foot-traffic areas, take your foot off the accelerator and cover the brake. Anticipate pedestrians even if you don’t see any. If you’re in a busy shopping area, remember that people lugging sacks of groceries or other purchases could also be shepherding hard-to-see children. Distance Yourself Door dings and scratches are aggravating and hard to avoid. No matter how courteous and conscientious you are when parking, you can fall victim to someone else’s carelessness. One way to reduce the risk of door damage is to park away from other vehicles. This may be inconvenient, but it’s considerably more polite than parking your vehicle across several spaces to keep others from parking near you. And the extra walking is good exercise. Your babysitter uses your car to drive your kids to the swimming pool. You’ve given her your permission—but what happens if there’s an accident when someone else is behind the wheel of your car? “Generally it’s not a problem if they’re driving with your consent,” says Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president of Public Affairs and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. “If it’s an occasional use—say I borrow your car to go pick up milk—and as long as permission has been verbally granted, you’ll typically be covered.”But borrowing a car under other circumstances may not be as clear-cut. (Coverage will depend on your insurer and your particular policy.) Typically, even if the person driving your car has his or her own insurance, your insurance will likely pay damages first if there’s an accident. The driver’s insurance may cover some of the personal injury or medical expenses, and it may supplement your plan if the accident maxes out your coverage. “When you have someone you employ, such as a nanny or a nurse who will be a regular driver, contact your insurance agent about your coverage,” Salvatore recommends. “He or she may need to be added to your policy.” Because the policy terms and state laws can vary widely, always contact your insurance agent before loaning out your car—or any other motor vehicle, such as a motorcycle, boat, jet ski, snowmobile, ATV or RV. “Any time you have a question about your coverage, call your insurance agent first,” says Salvatore. “You always want to let the insurance company know the circumstances. Get their advice.” “Don’t be cavalier about lending your car,” adds Salvatore. “If you know someone isn’t a good driver, think twice about giving your permission. Any accident they’re in could go on your insurance record.” More at: learningcenter.statefarm.com/insurance/health/seasonal-light-solutions-to-help-you-through-the-winter S P R I N G 2 0 1 4 M O R G A N H I L L T O D A Y 13