This Year, Resolve To Go Beyond Basic Auto Insurance Coverage

A new year is a time for self-reflection and positive changes. While many do not consider their insurance policies as something that they could change to contribute to a better 2014, our team here at the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency encourages you to think otherwise this year.

Just one example of something you could change for the better in 2014 might be your car insurance – particularly your liability coverage. Auto insurance liability coverage is often put to the test during the winter, when ice, snow and slush turn roads into obstacle courses. In fact, while statistics show that August is overall the most dangerous time of year to drive, the winter months are still incredibly dangerous, as both nonfatal-injury and property-damage-only car crashes increase significantly when it snows, according to the American Journal of Public Health.

So just how likely is it that your area might experience dangerous road conditions due to the weather, and what sorts of risks might you face when driving in the winter? Well, consider these statistics from the Federal Highway Administration:

-Over 70 percent of the nations roads are located in snowy regions, which receive more than five inches (or 13 cm) average snowfall annually. Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these snowy regions.

-Snow and ice reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability, causing slower speeds, reduced roadway capacity, and increased crash risk. Average arterial speeds decline by 30 to 40 percent on snowy or slushy pavement. Freeway speeds are reduced by 3 to 13 percent in light snow and by 5 to 40 percent in heavy snow. Heavy snow and sleet can also reduce visibility. Lanes and roads are obstructed by snow accumulation, which reduces capacity and increases travel time delay.

-Each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.

Statistics like those are exactly why we’re encouraging everyone to take the time this month to complete one simple New Year’s resolution: check and ensure that your auto insurance offers more than basic liability coverage.

 Liability car insurance, which covers what happens to the other driver’s vehicle in a crash where you are at fault, is so important that it’s required in most states. Typically, liability insurance is most often offered in two categories: bodily injury liability (which assists with medical bills and lost wages in an accident) and property damage liability (which offers help when paying for damage a property sustains during an accident).

Not all auto liability coverage is created equally, though. Often, liability policies don’t even cover other major expenses that can be incurred during an accident. For example, basic liability coverage rarely offers damage coverage for your own vehicle – and only covers damage to the other car! It also often does not cover damage caused to you or your possessions by an uninsured driver, or comprehensive coverage of medical expenses incurred as a result of an automotive accident; instead, it offers a fixed amount of money that may or may not be enough to keep you from paying a lot out of pocket.

In short: if you get into a serious accident with basic liability coverage, you may find yourself paying for some or even all of the major expenses and claims that result from that accident all by yourself – and that is always more expensive than the cost of comprehensive insurance plans. That’s why we don’t believe that it’s worth the risk of owning basic liability auto insurance. After all, that car you bought was an investment. Surely it – and you – deserves the best protection possible, especially during this dangerous season.

This year, make it your goal to supplement or even replace your basic liability policy with comprehensive coverage that goes beyond the state’s minimum requirements. If you’re not sure where to get started, don’t fret: our staff is ready to help you evaluate your policy options to ensure that what you select offers adequate coverage that will truly protect you should you experience troubles on the road. We offer personalized assistance and have numerous local contacts across the state ready to help you at a moment’s notice. We also have connections with 15 major insurance companies, including our newest partner, Safeco Insurance, a Liberty Mutual-owned company that will work with our team to ensure that your liability insurance goes beyond the basics.

Remember, whether you’re in Johnstown or any other area in central Pennsylvania, and whether you need an entirely new policy or to update the one you already have, we’re here to help you. Our representatives in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties are all ready to work with you so that you can continue driving with peace of mind during this wonderful, but risky, time of the year.

If Your Business Serves Alcohol, Invest In Liquor Liability Insurance

Working in a restaurant presents a unique set of challenges to the involved employees and business owners alike, especially if the restaurant serves alcohol. Introducing alcohol into any environment can potentially create a bad situation, either due to fighting or even due to medical emergencies caused by drinking too much.

Due to the risks involved with drinking, restaurants, bars and taverns that serve it are always advised to invest in liquor liability insurance, which is a type of business insurance that would protect the restaurant (or bar or tavern) against any claims made by a patron who became intoxicated and injured themselves or anyone around them. These sorts of claims are not covered by standard liability policies, which is why liquor liability insurance is recommended as an investment not only to restaurants that serve alcohol, but to any businesses that sells, serves or facilitates the use or purchase of alcohol.

Often, restaurants are given two options when purchasing this insurance: to add it on to a commercial liability policy, or to purchase it as a separate policy. No matter which option is chosen, there are five things that any good liquor liability insurance policy should cover:

-Assault and Battery Coverage – The typical claim made against a bar or restaurant stems from a fight that occurred as a result of drinking; as such, a solid liquor liability insurance policy should always include coverage for assault and battery claims.

-Defense Costs Included – If a restaurant faces any claims as a result of serving alcohol, the greatest expenses as a result of these claims usually result from using a lawyer to defend against the claims. Needless to say, since legal fees are incredibly expenses and any business deserves to get skilled legal counsel, it’s best to pass over any insurance policy that does not include defense costs.

-Employees Included – A good liquor liability insurance policy will include employees as patrons, because as experienced restaurant owners know, no rules will stop the determined rule-breaker amongst your staff from enjoying a drink or two on the job. Both you, and your insurance policy, should be prepared for potential trouble because of this.

-Damage Definition Includes Mental Damages – While assault and battery charges are the most common claim made against a bar or restaurant, other claims include charges that patrons were damaged emotionally or psychologically. The right liquor liability insurance policy will include these claims in the damages that policy covers.

-Reduced Premiums Based on Safety and Claims – Finally, it’s also recommended to look for an insurance group that offers things like free classes and training to their policy holders, as well as offers discounts on premiums for undergoing training and having a clean claim record.

While many restaurants avoid purchasing liquor liability insurance, not investing in this insurance is a major gamble. Sometimes it just takes a single suit to potentially bankrupt a restaurant or bar. This isn’t a risk any business owner should take, especially if they live in states with “dram shop” laws, which legally hold bars and restaurants liable if they knowingly over-serve a visibly intoxicated patron who goes on to injure another person; Pennsylvania is one of those states.

So with New Years celebrations just around the corner, now is the time to talk to one of our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff members (F.W.F Insurance Agency) to either evaluate or find your liquor liability insurance. Contact our staff now to set up an appointment! Whether you’re in Johnstown or any other area in central Pennsylvania, and whether you need an entirely new policy or to update the one you already have, we’re here to help you. Our representatives in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties are all ready to work with you so that you can continue operating with peace of mind during this wonderful, but risky, time of the year.

10 Important Safety Tips To Remember During The Holidays

December in America is a time of tradition and celebration, thanks to the three major holidays that take place throughout the month. This year, with Hanukkah already at a close, Christmas and Kwanza are looking to steal the spotlight for the remainder of the year.

Despite their differences, all three of these holidays share common elements: the use of lights and fire. As a result of holiday traditions that use these items, our holiday celebrations can pose a real danger if not practiced safely. Consider these statistics:

-Each year ERs across the nation treat around 12,500 people for injuries related to the set-up and use of holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These injuries usually result from falls from stepladders or roofs, cuts, or shocks from faulty electric equipment.

-The CPSC also warns that candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss.

-Finally, Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage. Causes of these fires often range from short-circuiting to damaged cords or plugs.

We want to ensure that all of us can enjoy the holidays safely – plus, good fire and electric safety practices are the key to keeping your property and casualty premiums low. Due to this, we’ve put together a list of ten tips that you can use to protect your home during the holidays; these are also tips that any business that has decorated for the holidays can follow:

1. Before putting up any holiday lights, review their packaging for the mark of a recognized testing lab to make sure that they have been tested and meet safety standards. Also, since there are different lights for indoor and outdoor use available on the market, it’s good to double check and make sure that you’re using the proper light sets in each area.

2. Before using your lights, check them over for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Be sure to throw out damaged sets and to replace any burned-out bulbs.

3. Check your extension cords and be sure that you’re not overloading them; a good rule of thumb is to use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

4. If you buy a real tree for Christmas, ensure that you buy a fresh one – this means looking for a tree that’s green, sticky with resin, and that does not lose too many needles when tapped against the ground. Once this tree is in your home, be sure that it’s set up far away from heat sources like fireplaces and radiators (and do not light any candles near the tree!). Give it plenty of water to keep it from drying out as long as possible (and dispose of the tree as soon as it begins dropping lots of needles, as this is a sign that it’s becoming even more flammable).

5. Check that the items you use to trim your tree are made from non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.

6. If you buy an artificial tree, make sure that it’s fire resistant; note that while this does not make the item fire proof, it does lesson the chances of a fire starting (and should a fire start, it’s likely to extinguish quickly).

7. Never use lights on a metallic tree, as faulty lights can create a charge that could electrocute someone who touches a branch on the tree.

8. Do not put a tree up in front of a door or in a busy hallway, as this can cause an accident or even block an emergency exit in unforeseen situations.

9. Always double check that candles have been extinguished when no one is in a room or when you to go bed. Additionally, always turn off all of your holiday lights, from the ones outside to the ones on your tree (fake or real) when you go to bed; a single short in a light circuit or candle accidentally falling over can easily result in a fire.

10. If you open presents and have a fireplace, do not burn any wrapping paper in the fireplace; since wrapping paper can ignite quickly and burn intensely, a flash fire could develop right before your eyes.

Tips like these should be added onto the safety procedures we recommended using during Thanksgiving, since safety guidelines for cooking and keeping guests out of harm’s way should also be taken in account during December celebrations. Remember: taking these precautions will go a long way in protecting your friends, family, and your property during the holidays, allowing you to truly enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

Our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff all wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Stay safe!

EMC’s Light Manufacturers Program Truly Protects What You Build

These days, working in the manufacturing industry is no small feat. Not only do even the smallest of manufacturing businesses usually face a massive workload, but the manufacturing industry has a very unique set of challenges – as well as a unique set of risks – that business owners and staff must deal with and address on a daily basis.

These risks are why manufacturers, like any other business, need comprehensive insurance policies in place to protect against a worse case scenario work accident. The challenge, however, is that in many cases, what might be a comprehensive policy in another field could just be the beginning of what a manufacturer needs.

For example, like any business, manufacturers need property insurance that offers additional protection for the company’s building location, inventory, and valuable manufacturing equipment. However, manufactures must then take care when evaluating their liability insurance – which, while a staple of many business plans, often needs to be more comprehensive for a manufacturer; after all, manufactures need to ensure that they have protection in place to help them deal with problems such as product recalls, customer complaints and claims regarding serious injury and illness, or equipment breakdowns.

Our staff here at the Johnstown-based the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency (F.W.F Insurance Agency) understands that if you own a manufacturing business, then you truly do need a comprehensive, personalized policy – one that covers all of your needs, and not just the basics. We also understand that due to the demands and risks placed on the businesses in your industry, there is a need for manufacturers of all sizes to make sure that precautions are in place to minimize the risks their staff face every day.

That’s why for manufacturers, we can’t think of anyone better than EMC Insurance to protect your business. Where EMC excels is the ways it will go above and beyond for the businesses under their care; in fact, EMC offers both coverage and prevention strategies through their incredible commercial insurance programs.

We are especially fond of their Light Manufacturers Program, which was specifically designed to help businesses that work with metal goods, wood products, furniture and fixtures, plastic or rubber products, textiles, and electronic equipment and accessories. EMC offers a multitude of benefits to manufacturers in this comprehensive insurance program, including:

-Property coverage for your building and personal property

-Auto coverage for your commercial vehicles

-Liability coverage to protect your business from things like product or operations liabilities

-Umbrella coverage, offering extra financial help in the face of a catastrophic issue

-Worker’s comp to assist with medical expenses and wage compensation, as well as employment practices liability coverage in the case of employment discrimination or wrongful termination charges

-A series of additional coverage bonuses that can help address any expenses associated with brands, labels, deferred payments or contractual penalties, as well as offer additional protections against things like financial damage as a result of a manufacturing error or data security compromise

-Free “less control services” that address concerns such as slip-and-fall prevention, injury management services, and safety training procedures 

With a thorough list of coverage like that, it’s safe to say that EMC ensures that when you have coverage, you’re truly covered. So if you’re involved in the business of making products, then please contact us now to set up a meeting with one of our local representatives in central Pennsylvania and ensure that you’re protecting what you’re building.

Whether you’re located in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties, we can help you get in touch with EMC Insurance’s independent agents and can make sure that you get great coverage, extensive loss control resources, expert claims knowledge and local service through your independent insurance agent.

Sail Smoothly Through The Winter With The Right Boat Insurance

As the air grows chillier and the holidays are approaching, most of Pennsylvania’s proud boat owners have already placed their beloved watercraft into storage for the winter. With these vessels set to sit indoors for several more months, we urge any and all local boat owners to make sure that in addition to being properly stored, their vessels are properly insured.

Whether you have a bass or fishing boat, a cabin cruiser, a ski boat, a sailboat or pontoon, any boat owner should have a separate policy fully covering their boating needs. Don’t assume that your boat already has coverage through your auto or homeowners policies; this is often not the case, which is why a separate policy for your watercraft is incredibly important. Additionally, with about 20% of all boat claims occurring during the fall and winter months – when boats and watercraft are most susceptible to fire, theft, vandalism, transportation damage, and sometimes even liability issues – having insurance that provides year round, on- and off-water coverage for your watercraft is an absolute necessity.

Our staff at the Johnstown-based the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency (F.W.F Insurance Agency) believes that if you’re a boat owner, both your time on the water during wonderful weather and your time off during the chilly months should be relaxing and worry free. We understand the importance of having a solid boat insurance coverage plan that ensures you’re protected at all times, not just during the summer months when you and your friends are enjoying a water-side vacation.

Our partner, Safeco Insurance (a Liberty Mutual-owned company), understands this as well. That’s why we’re working together to help you buy the perfect policy to ensure that your vessel, and even some of your boating-related personal effects, will be covered and protected year-round. Work with our staff, and we promise that you’ll be able to find an inexpensive plan for your boat that ensures your vessel, your boating gear, and even your friends and family are covered both on land and in the water, year round; in fact, SafeCo offers high-quality coverage that lasts an entire year, as well as roadside assistance coverage that ensures your boat will also be covered in the event of an emergency tow.

Don’t look at the winter as a time-out from protecting your treasured boat; talk to one our representatives today for personalized advice based on what kind of water vessel and gear you own. Whether you’re located in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties, we’re ready to work with you so that you can plan your next summer by the water knowing that you’ll be covered when you’re ready to set sail, no matter what happens during the off-season.

Contact us now to set up a meeting with one of our local representatives in central Pennsylvania! Our representatives will use their connections to 15 other major insurance companies, including SafeCo, to ensure that your boat’s policy is as comprehensive as possible.