Why Life Insurance? 7 Things Your Policy Covers

Life insurance is something people in many different situations and stages of life should consider.

Even knowing this, you may still wonder why life insurance would be a good fit for you. Check out the following list to understand what kinds of expenses life insurance can cover. You and your loved ones will have greater peace of mind knowing exactly why life insurance could play an important role in the future.

7 things life insurance can cover

1. An income stream. Your family depends on your income to meet daily needs like food, medical care, utilities, car payments and much more. If you pass away without a means for replacing that income, their current standard of living could be in jeopardy.

2. A mortgage. Could your family afford your home’s mortgage without your paycheck in the picture? If not, an already sad situation would be compounded by possibly losing the house they love. This could also mean your children could no longer attend a school in their current district or maintain the friendships they currently have.

3. A college loan. College tuitions have grown faster than inflation—and so has student loan debt. Many private lending institutions do not forgive education loans in the event of death. That means the debt may reduce the amount of assets available to pass to the beneficiaries of a deceased student’s estate. It could also trigger repayment obligations for anyone who agreed to be a cosigner on the loan.

4. A child’s needs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it costs $233,610 to raise a child who was born in 2015. Making sure that there’s enough there for each child is something both employed and stay-at-home parents should consider.

5. A business. The right life insurance is critical if you own a business. This is especially true if a business has partners. If one passes away, it is advantageous to have funding in place for the surviving partner to buy the deceased partner’s interest in the business. Funding also needs to be in place to help a business survive after a key partner passes. Finding the right person may take time and resources the business may not have without life insurance.

6. A retirement. Many experts recommend you need to bank 11 times your annual pay in order to retire at age 65. (You’ll need even more if you don’t work until age 65.) Without enough savings or life insurance, your surviving spouse might not have such golden years.

7. Funeral expenses. The median price of a funeral is more than $7,000. Funeral directors say families without enough funds are forced to cut back on the service or ask friends and family for donations.

Life insurance needs vary from person to person. If you’re interested in learning which one is right for you, contact a professional like an Erie Insurance Agent in your community. They can tell you why life insurance might be a good option for you and help you find the right protection at the right price.

Erie Insurance is participating in a Life Insurance Awareness Month Twitter Chat hosted by Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about important insurance planning topics.  The Twitter Chat will begin at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, and will address questions that may help educate the public about the value of life insurance and discuss suggested best practice tips.

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle

You’ve been riding your motorcycle for months. You may have even hit up a motorcycle rally or two over the summer.

Yet there’s no denying the fact that temperatures are dipping. Soon, snow and ice may very well make it impossible for you to take to the open road on your motorcycle.

If you’re lucky, you have enough space in your garage to store your motorcycle during winter. If not, you’ll need to find a place to store your bike. Then you’ll want to make sure to follow these tips when it comes time to winterize your motorcycle.

  • Give it a wash. Certain substances can corrode the exterior of the bike. So it’s best to get any dirt and grime off your bike before stashing it away for the winter. Also wax your bike—it helps protect it from rust and moisture.
  • Take care of the tank. It’s a good idea to top off the tank with fresh fuel and fuel stabilizer. The stabilizer will help prevent the gas from breaking down. It will also help prevent buildup from forming. Just make sure to run your bike for at least five minutes to ensure that the stabilizer makes its way through the system.
  • Change the oil and filter. Old oil can be corrosive, so invest in an oil change before you stash away your motorcycle for the winter.
  • Check the coolant. It’s important to make sure your coolant can stand up to freezing temperatures. Use a floating-ball tester to see if your coolant is up to the task.
  • Mind the muffler. Mufflers can rust when they’re not in use. Protect yours by spraying the muffler with light oil. Then, stuff a plastic bag into the muffler before tying another plastic bag around it for added protection.
  • Remove the battery. There is a small but steady current drain when your battery is hooked into your motorcycle but isn’t being used. For this reason, it’s best to remove the battery from your bike and store it in a cool, dry place. A battery maintainer can help ensure the battery doesn’t run out of juice while in storage. Some battery maintainers have a built in float charger which will prevent the battery from being overcharged. Do not allow a battery to freeze and do not try to charge a frozen battery.
  • Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure. Cold air causes tires to lose air.
  • Cover it up. A snug-fitting, breathable cover provides a protective barrier.

A final way to protect your bike is to have the right motorcycle insurance. Erie Insurance now offers improved motorcycle coverage for your motorcycle so you can ride easy. Contact an Erie Insurance agent in your community to learn more and get a free quote.

Teamwork

Celebrate July 4th with your family and friends!

6 Common Car Insurance Coverage Gaps

Even the most careful people sometimes have car insurance coverage gaps that could put themselves, their families and their belongings in danger.
And it’s not just about car insurance. Coverage gaps in your home and life insurance can leave you vulnerable, too. Here are six of the most common coverage gaps—and why you might want to consider closing them.
Not having Transportation Expenses coverage
Does your policy cover a rental car or other form of transportation if your car ends up in the shop after an accident? At ERIE, it will if you have a coverage known as Transportation Expenses.
Transportation Expenses coverage can apply to two types of claims: a comprehensive claim (resulting from something other than collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism) and a collision claim (resulting from physical damage to your vehicle caused by rolling over or hitting another vehicle or object).
After a comprehensive occurrence, an ERIE policy automatically provides a set coverage for a rental car. You can also purchase higher limits that let you rent a more expensive vehicle. But with collision claims, you must purchase Transportation Expenses coverage in order to receive a rental car allowance. (The only exception is Virginia, where coverage is offered at no additional cost.)
Transportation Expenses coverage for collision claims can save you big bucks down the line, and the coverage starts at just $8 a year per vehicle with ERIE.
No personal catastrophe liability coverage (a.k.a. an umbrella policy)
Whether you’re at fault for an accident or not, you could still get hit with a personal injury or liability lawsuit. That’s bad news since lawyers’ fees, hospital bills, pain and suffering payments, and more could potentially exhaust your auto and homeowners policies (and possibly even your net worth).
An umbrella policy adds an extra $1 to $5 million to your liability limits with premiums that start at $150 per year. That should give you enough coverage—and peace of mind.
No flood insurance
Insurance companies can’t cover floods at reasonable rates since they tend to be so devastating. But the federal government offers it through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It’s definitely worth considering since people who live outside of high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of NFIP claims. What’s more, just one inch of water can cause major damage to your home.
ERIE partners with American Bankers Insurance Company to offer Customers flood coverage. There’s a 30-day waiting period for the policy, so it’s best to start the application process ASAP.
No coverage for your valuables
Have any expensive jewelry? Electronics? Artwork or furs? Since most ERIE homeowners policies have a $3,000 limit for theft of personal items, you might want to consider an inland marine endorsement. It will provide coverage if any valuables worth $3,000 or more are misplaced, lost or stolen.
No life insurance beyond your group coverage
A group life insurance benefit typically offers about two times your annual salary, which is almost never enough. “You may need more like six to eight times your salary just to break even,” says Greg Wieser, director of Life Marketing.
Another downside to group life insurance is that you lose it when you take a new job. In tough economic times, employers may also reduce or eliminate coverage.
ERIE offers a variety of affordable term life policies. Just one is ERIE LifeSense℠, which gives you up to $90,000 of term life coverage in as little as 15 minutes with no medical exam required.*
Not keeping your homeowners insurance up to date
Done some recent home renovations? If so, you definitely want to let your ERIE Agent know. If you don’t, you run the risk of coming up short if you have to rebuild after a total loss.
“Report all remodeling or renovations,” advises Terry McConnell, vice president, Personal Lines Underwriting, “and let your Agent determine if they affect your home’s replacement cost.”**
Concerned about an insurance coverage gap? If so, make sure to contact your ERIE Agent to discuss your concerns or request a review of your insurance needs.
*Issuance of policy may depend on answers to medical questions.
** Guaranteed Replacement Cost requires home improvements over $5,000 to be reported within 90 days. Coverage of costs to comply with laws or ordinances is subject to limits. Depreciation may be deducted until repair or replacement is made. Visit eriesecure.com/details or talk to an ERIE Agent for more information.

Happy Memorial Day

How to Help Winterize Your Car

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You may be inclined to think that your car runs well without much maintenance year-round, and besides an occasional trip to the mechanic for an oil change, any preparation for the winter months is not high on your priority list. In fact, cold temperatures and icy roads can create additional hazards for drivers and place extra seasonal strains on your car. In addition to making sure your vehicle is prepared for slippery road conditions, it is equally important to ensure it is in top mechanical condition to avoid getting stranded when the temperature drops.

Before You Hit the Road

The cold, snow and ice can make driving dangerous if your vehicle is not properly maintained. Here are some things you can do to help prepare your car for winter:

  • Make sure all scheduled maintenance is up-to-date. Have your mechanic check belts, fluids and hoses to help reduce the risk of a mechanical breakdown. The mechanic should also check the exhaust system for holes, missing or loose clamps and leaks.
  • Ensure that your tires are in good condition, properly inflated and have ample tread. If you live in an area where heavy snow is common, consider having snow or winter tires installed.
  • Be aware of the various state laws, which dictate if and when chains and studded tires can be used.
  • Make sure your heater and window defrosters are working properly.
  • Check that your lights and windshield wipers are operating properly. Also check that your engine coolant and washer fluid reservoirs are full and that the fluids are protected with a sufficient percentage of antifreeze for the temperatures in the area where you will be driving.
  • Make sure your battery and connections are in good condition. Even a newer battery can fail if it gets cold enough or the battery terminals are not clean and corrosion-free.
  • Check your oil for proper level and weight (viscosity). Heavier oils become thicker (more viscous) at low temperatures, which can make the engine harder to start.
  • Make sure your gas tank is full and your phone is charged. In bad weather, roads could either be backed up for hours or closed.
  • If you drive in remote areas or are planning a long trip, keep a winter survival kit in your car.

We know that winter can create challenging conditions for drivers. But we also know that adequate preparation can help keep you safe, even under the worst weather conditions.

We encourage you to drive carefully in adverse weather conditions and to avoid driving in blizzard conditions unless absolutely necessary.