How Well Do YOU Know the Rules of the ROAD???

A recent national driving IQ test has proven that “all drivers need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road”.

Even though the average score of drivers increased from 76.2 percent in 2010 to 77.9 percent this year, results still suggest that a large number of people on the road still don’t know basic driving knowledge, leading to dangerous driving habits. Eighty-five percent of test-takers could not identify the proper action to take when approaching a “steady” yellow traffic light; only a quarter were actually aware of how much space to leave between them and the vehicle in front of them.

Without understanding the correct driving rules of the road, many drivers run the risk of increasing the amount of (close-call) accidents. The mentioned test is put into place to remind drivers to refresh their driving knowledge to prevent such events.

Surveying over 5,000 licensed drivers between the ages of 16-65 throughout all 50 states, including DC, the test included 20 questions taken from recent Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exams. The conclusive data was determined by the percentage of state population, age, gender and ethnicity.

Driver Test Highlights:

  • Men are better drivers: 1 in 4 women failed the test with an average score of 74.1 percent while the males dominated with an average score of 80.2 percent.
  • Northeast is WORST driving region: Average scoring at 74.9 percent; the Midwest is the BEST driving region with an average score of 77.5 percent.
  • “The older, the wiser”: Drivers ages 60-65 maintained the highest average test scores at 80.3 percent.
  • Be extra cautious while driving in the Empire State and Beltway: 1 of 3 (34 percent) of all drivers in New York and Washington DC failed the test; Wyoming was the state with the lowest percentage of failures, with only 1 of 20 (4.5 percent) failing the test.
  • Biggest gains and losses: Colorado recently jumped from 24th place in 2010 to third place with an 82 percent average score. Alaska, however, dropped 30 spots from tenth place in 2010 to 40th place this year with a decreased average test score of 76 percent; past years the state had a 79.8 average success rate.

Think YOU’RE smarter than the average driver? Take the test and compare answers with your friends and family!

Facebook users can take the National Drivers Test Facebook quiz; Twitter users can check out the Drivers Test Twitter page.

How do you think YOU will rank? Contact Wolpert Insurance today to find out about The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (Massachusetts), which lists different types of auto accidents and moving violations, and assigns a “point” value (from 0 to 4) to each type based on the severity of the incident. Drivers with accident-free records pay the lowest possible rates. Those who have had accidents or convictions pay more through surcharges added by SDIP points.

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Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Parents- Prom Season is Here. Are YOU Ready???

With prom season in full affect, we are reminded of the driving tragedies that too often occur on prom night. Recently, there has been some encouraging news from a 2011 teen driving study conducted by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) that shows a decrease in these incidents. According to a recent national study of about 2300 high school students, only 6% say they have driven under the influence on prom night.

The SADD study results offer some insight into a possible reason for the limited occurences of drinking and driving by teens on prom night: policies/security measures have been put into place at most schools for these events; it has been reported that about 90% of students say their schools have programs/policies in place to keep teens from taking part in illegal behaviors such as underage drinking at school-related functions. Policies include the presence of security guards/police, organized transportation, breathalyzer tests and other programs.

Although the above reported numbers are low, the probability of such tragic events should not be over-looked.

Underage drinking is never acceptable; however these findings suggest that when schools enforce zero-tolerance measures at official functions, they can be an effective way to curb that dangerous behavior behind the wheel…on the flip side, however, the findings also suggest that when school enforcement is absent, drinking and driving is more [common]. – SADD Chairman, Stephen Wallace

For additional statistics, please visit SADD’s website.

Make sure your teen has the best possible insurance for their driving safety! Contact Wolpert Insurance Agency today!

Published in: on May 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fire Safety Tips and Prevention

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Would your children? Take some time to review the following facts and tips so your family will be prepared in the event of a fire emergency in your home.

Fire Prevention

The best way to practice fire safety is to make sure a fire is not at risk to happen in the first place; parents should always be aware of potential hazards in their home.

It is important to check all electrical appliances, cords and outlets- Are they in good condition? Are your outlets congested with plugs for various appliances? Are your extension cords at maximum plug compacity? Do the light fixtures contain bulbs that are the correct wattage?

Make sure to check your home for potential problems and always make sure all smoke alarms are in working order.

Take a moment to test your fire safety knowledge by clicking the following link to take the fire safety quiz!

Test Your Fire Safety Knowledge

Being prepared is the best way to protect your family from a fire. Make sure to stock your home with fire safety items; also make sure your children know what to do in case of a fire. A few minutes of planning now could save lives in the future.

For a complete list of fire safety tips, visit kidshealth.org

Make sure your home and your belongings are covered in the instance of fire damage. Contact a personal lines agent today to get the facts on a dwelling fire policy by visiting wolpert.com !

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Your Baby is All Grown Up and Ready to Conquer the Road Ahead; Insure Their Safe Travels.

The amount one pays for insurance depends on a number of factors; age is certainly not the only one. The cost of premiums will typically be more expensive for young drivers than they are for older, more experienced drivers.

The most common factors affecting car insurance costs for a 16 year-old young driver are:

  • The type/condition of vehicle purchases
  • Gender of driver
  • Safe driving record/experience

When shopping for policies for young drivers, consumers should become familiar with what their particular state requires.

New drivers are considered by the insurance companies to be a higher risk; it is very difficult to give a rough estimate about how much insurance will cost since it also depends on other factors, i.e. gender and residential location. However, one should expect to pay around $1000.00 every six months (this amount can vary greatly).

Unfortunately for teenage males, the cost of insurance tends to be greater than the cost of insurance for female teens. Most premiums are established by data compiled and analyzed by insurers; this determines the amount of risk that they will assume and charge accordingly.Tenn male driver

Male teenagers can expect to pay more, not only for being male, but also being inexperienced; studies show that less experienced drivers may have a harder time recognizing hazardous situations and more likely to underestimate dangerous ones.

Another reason young males may also pay higher premiums is that a recent study shows that they have accounted for 30% of the cost of injuries caused by motor vehicles annually. However, they can save money by shopping and comparing rates from competitors to determine which company will be more affordable for them.

In most cases, it can be much more economical to be included on a parent’s policy. A considerable amount of money can be saved while still getting the required coverage.

Contact Wolpert Insurance today to speak with an agent about insuring the new drivers in your family!

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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DUI on Your Driving Record? Be Prepared to Pay More for Auto Insurance Coverage.

If you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, it will likely drive your car insurance rates through the roof. DUI Sign

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), there is an alcohol-related traffic fatality in the US every 45 minutes. Aside from the risk of killing yourself and others, a drunk driving conviction carries with it serious penalty from your car insurance company.

If your insurer discovers your DUI and classifies you as a “high-risk driver”, shopping around at renewal time is the best strategy, as rates will vary greatly among auto insurers. On the other hand, a rate increase may be the least of your problems; your policy could possibly be canceled or non-renewed. If this occurs, you most likely will be forced to look for new car insurance with the double-hit of a DUI and a cancellation on your record.

Laws requiring DUIs and car insurance coverage vary by state. Massachusetts requires that people convicted of a DUI must maintain DUI insurance; or high-risk auto insurance known as an SR22 policy. Massachusetts SR22 insurance is required for a period of 3 years, following a drunk driving conviction and can be very expensive if you go with the wrong provider.

Some car insurance companies don’t even offer SR22 policies, so your policy could be non-renewed or canceled because your company can no longer provide what you need; be sure to do some research and be aware of any possible insurance penalties you may encounter.

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘Fluffy’ Bumped his Head in a Fender-Bender; Chubb Insurance has become his “Safety Belt”

The Chubb Group of Insurance (one of the top eleven publicly traded organizations) has recently decided to add up to $2000.00 in coverage to its Auto and Car Insurance policies for pets injured or killed in a crash or other covered or any other covered loss. Although pets are considered priceless, the policy will help pay to treat, board or “replace” domestic pets, even if they were pulled in a trailer (i.e. horses).

Drivers with adequate health insurance know they’ll be protected in case of an auto accident, but pets are often overlooked members of the family.

-Raymond Crisci, Vice President and Worldwide Automobile Product Manager for Chubb Personal Insurance

Although this pet coverage is only available in Arizona, Maryland, Texas and New Jersey, Chubb plans to make it available throughout the United States. Currently, Chubb Insurance offers many other personal policies and have very competitive Massachusetts Auto Insurance Rates.Dog in car

To learn more about Chubb Insurance policies and options available, contact a Wolpert personal lines agent today by visiting our website or calling 508.459.4700.

Published in: on February 24, 2011 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Potholes, Potholes EVERYWHERE!!!

As the winter snow and ice begin to melt, unpleasant potholes can begin to appear, becoming a threat to vehicles.Pothole

Major winter storms have affected much of the country this season. While many motorists’ cars have made it through the winter storm season unharmed, many could still fall victim to a pothole left in its aftermath.

said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying Programs.

Potholes form when water collects in small holes and cracks in the road surfaces. As temperatures rise and fall, the water expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing, causing “breaks” in the pavement. These breaks combined with the weight of passing cars will eventually result in what one might call a “pothole”, among many other creative names.

To help motorists protect their vehicles from pothole damage, AAA recommends the following:

  • Inspect tires (Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated.)
  • Inspect suspension (Make sure struts and shock absorbers are in good condition.)
  • Look Ahead (Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes.)
  • Slow Down (If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely, being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking.)
  • Beware of Puddles (Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.)
  • Check Alignment (If your vehicle starts to pull left or right, be sure to have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.)
  • Recognize Noise/Vibrations (Any new/unusual noises/vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a qualified technician.)

Pesky Potholes
AAA clubs can be visited on the internet at AAA.com/news

In the case your automobile should fall victim to a pothole, make sure your vehicle is properly insured to help cover any pesky pothole damage.

Would you like more information on increasing your auto coverage? Contact an agent today to obtain the latest, most competitive Massachusetts Insurance Rates, as well as other New England state rates.

Interested in an insurance quote? Visit our website at Wolpert.com today!

Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blackberry or Apple Problems?

Maybe your problems are similar to the ones in this British Comedy Skit.

But seriously, many people call and ask questions about whether their mobile devices or laptops are covered under their MA homeowner’s policy or MA renter’s or condo policy. That’s a difficult question to answer, so “it depends” is the best response. So now many of you are thinking, “You insurance people are all alike. Why is it so difficult to give a straightforward answer”?

Because these type policies generally have limitations, deductibles and limits.

For instance:

Was the device a work device?           Limitation!

Was it stolen from your car?              Limitation!

Was it being borrowed?                     Limitation!

Was it at a college dorm?                  Limitation!

Was it under your deductible?            Limitation!

I hate saying that phrase!  But the best course of action is to discuss your needs with one of our MA Homeowner Insurance professionals.

Just visit our website or call one of our toll free numbers…

Sales 888.596.5344 / Service 877.215.1571

Your answers are just a phone call away.

Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ice Dams – Why and What to Do and What to Avoid

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Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice dams occur when ice builds up along the eaves of your roof. Ice dams form when snow and ice melt off the main part of your roof and re-freeze when they reach the eaves. This happens because the eaves (the overhangs at the edge of your roof) tend to be colder than the rest of the roof. If the ice dam grows large enough, it may prevent water from draining off the roof. The water can then back up underneath the roof shingles and make its way inside your home.

You can take immediate steps to help prevent damage from ice dams:

  

Clearing snow and ice off the roof before it melts is the best way to keep ice dams from forming. If your roof is accessible from the ground, a roof rake can be a safe and effective way to remove snow from the edges of the roof where ice dams occur.

 

If your roof is not accessible from the ground, a contractor may be able to help.

 

If you cannot safely access your roof from the ground, it is best not to try. Never attempt to climb on a snowy or icy roof, and never place a ladder on snowy or icy ground. Also, keep in mind that chipping the ice with a mechanical device can be dangerous and may result in damage to the roof.

 

Make sure to shovel around downspouts so that your gutters can drain freely. This will help prevent ice buildups in gutters.

 

Properly insulating and ventilating your attic will help reduce the chances of snow melting on the roof and refreezing at the eaves.

If water does leak in, wait until the roof completely thaws to report the homeowners insurance claim. Often times your deductible is linked to claims so if you report all your damage at once, you will likely only pay one deductible.  Go to www.wolpert.com for a free rate quote.


Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Necessary Steps to Staying Warm and Fuzzy this Winter…

By September 30, 2011, homeowners must upgrade their home heating system equipment in order to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to the furnace. Making this relatively small investment now will prevent a much greater expense in the future.

Massachusetts has a new law to address oil leaks from home heating systems; this law has two major specifications that require:

  • the installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices;
  • insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil.

Most homeowner policies do not currently include such coverage, leaving many to pay for costly cleanups out of their own pocket. Although it has been mandatory since July 2010 that insurance companies make such coverages available, it still remains an optional purchase.

Who must take action?

Owners of one to four unit residences that are heated with oil MUST already have or will be installing an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with a protective sleeve. Heating oil systems installed on or after January 1990 are most likely, already in compliance because state fire codes required such installations at that time.

Who is exempt?

Homeowners are exempt from said prevention steps if:

  • the oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank;
  • an oil safety valve or supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 2010;
  • those changes are in compliance with the oil burning equipment regulations (a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance).

Why comply?

Not only is compliance required, but it also makes good financial and environmental sense. Taking these preventative measures can avoid the disruption and expense caused by heating oil leaks. A leak may result in exposure to petroleum vapors in your home; if such leak reaches soil and other contents of the underground, be prepared to have a cleanup performed in order to restore the property to environmental standards. However, if the leak affects neighbor’s property or the public water supply, further complications could result, increasing the overall expense.

 

The typical cost of installing an oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve ranges from $150 – $350, including labor, parts and local permit fees. If this seems expensive for an out-of-pocket expense, consider the alternatives: digging up an additional $15,000 for a “simple” leak cleanup or $250, 000 for the more extensive, deep clean feeling.

To continue getting that warm and fuzzy feeling this winter, contact an agent at your local Worcester insurance agency to learn about the insurance options available and what steps to take next.

You may also visit www.mass.gov/dev/cleanup/laws/hhsl.html for more information.

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment