Pro tips on road trips – Memorial Day travel at a record high despite gas prices

The national average cost of a gallon of unleaded fuel is now at $4.56 but it is still expected that Memorial Day weekend will be one of the most heavily traveled times of the year. AAA predicts that over 39 million people will hit the road and go 50 miles or more from home to enjoy the three day weekend. This prediction of travelers is up over 8% from 2021. So what does this mean if you’re one of those brave road trippers? Here are some pro tips:

  • Have your vehicle serviced ahead of time – oil and fluid change/top off, check tire pressure or rotate them, and windshield wipers
  • The Red Cross recommends always having an emergency kit with supplies such as water, a flashlight, cell phone charger, jumper cables, first aid kit and spare tire
  • Be sure your proof of insurance card and registration are in the vehicle
  • Pack extra bottled water and stay gassed up in the event of traffic delays
  • Use a navigation app such as Waze for traffic detours, road closures, etc.
  • It’s also a good idea to pack your spare key in a purse or bag that won’t necessarily be in the vehicle the whole trip. It’ll do you more good in your hotel room than all the way back home if you happen to misplace or lose your keys while you’re away.

If you plan to rent a vehicle at any point on your trip, we always recommend purchasing the insurance coverage that they offer. It’s very common that people assume they have everything they need on their own auto policy back home but it doesn’t always transfer to a temporarily rented vehicle. Typically, the coverage for the vehicle itself would (as long as you have comprehensive and collision on your policy), but liability is one of the most important parts as well as injury protection for you and your passengers. It’s wise to add their protection when possible, especially since it’s usually inexpensive.

The best move you can make is to be prepared… with your packing list but also your mindset. With 39 million people on the road, you’re bound to have delays or detours but try not to stress. This kicks off a summer of sunshine and should be a fun time! After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have the ability to vacation during the pandemic so hang in there and safe travels!

What exactly is Comprehensive coverage?

When it comes to auto insurance, the coverages on your policy can get a little complex. Some are for your injuries, some for injury to other people, some for your car itself, and some for other people’s cars or property.

Regarding your car, Comprehensive and Collision coverage can get confusing since both apply to damages sustained to your vehicle. In this video, Michelle and Jessica break down what exactly Comprehensive coverage is for and when you would use it in the event of damage.

Stay tuned to our You Tube channel for more videos to come! Thanks for tuning in!


How a proactive strategy on risk management may help lower commercial auto insurance rates

With commercial auto insurance rates consistently increasing, many business owners are looking for any ways to reduce cost, all the while keeping their employees safe. Contrary to what most people realize, this can be addressed proactively rather than reactively.

Here are a few ways companies with commercial automobiles can manage their losses and in turn, keep insurance rates as low as possible…

• Make safety a priority: Running MVRs (Motor Vehicle Reports) prior to hiring a prospective employee is huge. This shows you factually how safe of a driver they are, which is also a reflection of their character in many ways. Staying on top of their driving records is equally as important, which can be done with ongoing MVR monitoring.

• Offer trainings and education: Distracted and Defensive Driving courses have been proven to be highly effective in encouraging techniques that promote safety and awareness. These can be made as a requirement to obtain access to a company vehicle or, similar to a CE course for a license, something that has to be maintained semi-annually or annually as a refresher. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), distracted driving claims 9 lives per day — approximately 3,500 per year. This data also states that more than 1,000 people are injured daily in accidents in which at least one driver was distracted. In 2019, distracted driving was a reported factor in 8.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes. Defensive driving is just as important in recognizing accident prevention methods, identifying the importance of seat belts and always being fully aware of surroundings.

• Update your technology: We recently talked about the “tattle tales of driving habits†in telematics. Front facing cameras and GPS systems are among the most commonly used now that gain popularity by the day. Optimizing technology pays for itself in the real-time data you receive. There are also apps to detect distracted driving or disable certain modes of technology that serve as a distraction.

• Vehicle Maintenance program: Maintaining a commercial fleet can be extremely helpful in keeping everyone safe. There are apps and software programs that do the heavy lifting of this and keep check-ups consistent. Without a system in place, it’s essentially unmanageable and will be a major headache, rather than a seamless process you can count on and not have to worry about.

Having a policy in place is one of the most beneficial plans you can make and stick to. Implementing these few things can ultimately reduce the amount of claims for damages and injuries, as well as paint a picture of how you as the business owner view risk management… all things that can come full circle and help bring rates down.

Vehicle Telematics: the tattletales of driving habits

The words “Fleet Management†may make some business owners’ skin crawl but it’s one of those things they just can’t ignore. For most companies, this is a key aspect of their overall operations and something that needs constant attention.

Some commercial insurance companies are providing “Fleet Monitoring†premium discounts for the use of telematics, with the hopes that it will reduce the amount of claims and incidents within their commercial auto fleet.

Telematics refers to technology such as front facing cameras, sensors, GPS, and vehicle engine diagnostics. These devices can effectively monitor driving behaviors such as location, hard braking, rapid acceleration, speeding and hard cornering. Identifying these habits is an important element of commercial auto insurance, especially given the increasing rates lately.

The results of these telematics can help determine the risk, along with appropriate pricing and proactive loss control. Some of the technology can even alert the driver itself in real-time of any unacceptable driving behaviors to prevent an accident or injury. Vehicle engine diagnostics also helps tremendously with monitoring things like the health of the vehicle, for example: oil life, fuel efficiency, tire pressure, engine or fluid needs, etc. This is yet another part of fleet management that can be very time consuming and stressful on a business owner/manager.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the amount of fatal crashes involving large trucks and/or buses has increased by 42% since 2009. Ironically, technology such as cell phones could have contributed to that and here we are, talking about technology of other forms to help prevent it. But isn’t that our reality now… All things technology? But shouldn’t we be open to anything that can get that number back down? While telematics are optional for now, it could be very soon that they are actually required and that may not be a bad thing.

Additional auto insurance carriers are issuing premium refunds

Some people may think insurance companies are only there for them when they need to file a claim. Well, we are pleased to share some good news that shows how much auto insurance carriers across the board really do care.

These are challenging times and your insurance company wants to help! Many drivers are using their vehicles less as they abide by our current stay-at-home orders. Therefore, the following companies will all be issuing a one-time premium refund for personal auto policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each company is handling it slightly different so we’ve included the details below. This only applies to motor vehicle policies (not including golf cart, motorcycle, ATV or boat). This is still awaiting final regulatory approval but is headed in the right direction.

The best part about this is that policyholders don’t need to do anything! Refunds will automatically be either credited to their policy account or refunded.

*Nationwide: $50 per policy active as of March 31, 2020

*Safeco: 15% of premium as of April 7, 2020 for 2 months

*Auto Owners: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*Mercury: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*Progressive: 20% of April premium (refunded in May) and 20% of May premium (refunded in June)

*Chubb: 35% of premium for April and May, 2020 upon annual renewal

*Travelers: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*MetLife: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*AAA: 20% of auto premium for April and May, 2020

Geico: 15% of premium as the policy comes up for renewal between April 8-October 7, 2020. The credit will also apply to any new policies purchased during this period.

Allstate: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

USAA: 20% of premium as of March 31, 2020 for 2 months

State Farm: 25% of premium for policies in-force between March 20-May 31, 2020

Hartford: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

Liberty Mutual: 15% of premium as of April 7, 2020 for 2 months

Florida Fam Bureau: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*The companies with an * are the carriers in which we, at McGriff-Williams, represent and received this data directly from. Information regarding the other companies listed here was collected from their individual websites.