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New Safety Technology for Older Vehicles

New Safety Technology for Older Vehicles

Some friends of ours recently purchased a new Toyota Highlander. It’s equipped with some nice safety technology standard including blind spot and lane departure warning, a backup camera, and automatic breaking so you don’t rear end the person in front of you if they brake unexpectedly. I believe technology like this has the potential to help people be safer drivers and avoid accidents. Sheri’s and my 2012 Camry doesn’t have any of the technology our friend’s Highlander has. However, according to a recent Insurance Journal article, we could add technology if we decided to do so. With cars lasting an average of 11.6 years, you could potentially add this type of safety technology to your car too with a few aftermarket products. Here are a couple of items available now. Forward Collision & Lane Departure Warning: Tech company, Mobileye, offers a forward collision and lane departure warning system which warns drivers when they stray from their lane and when a collision is up to 2.7 seconds away. The cost of the system is about $1,000 which includes installation by a Mobileye technician. Garmin’s Dash Cam 35 has the ability to warn a driver of an impending crash up to 130 feet away if the driver is going 30 miles per hour or faster. You can buy this on Amazon for between $92 and $130 depending on which seller you choose to order from. Blind Spot Detection: These systems notify you when someone is coming up beside you in the next lane. Goshers Blind Spot Detection system, also available on Amazon, runs $299 or less and works using sensors to monitor within 10 feet on either side of the car. Unless you understand auto electronics, this is probably not a DIY project. Backup Camera: Yada, a Chinese company, makes a weather-proof camera with night vision which attaches to the rear of the car. It sends images to a 4.3-inch monitor via a wireless connection anytime the car is in reverse. This can be purchased at Pep Boys for about $129. If you don’t like the idea of a monitor, Auto Vox makes a system that displays the image in the rear-view mirror. It’s available on Amazon for about $139. Emergency Assistance: If you want something like General Motor’s OnStar system, but don’t own a GM vehicle, Verizon has something you may be interested in called Hum. It will call emergency services automatically if you’re in an accident, will send messages to your phone if there’s a mechanical problem, and offers a button drivers can push if they need roadside assistance. Hum is offered on a subscription basis for a cost of $10 a month plus...

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Hurricane Season Insurance Review

Hurricane Season Insurance Review

Welcome to hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30th. It’s a great time for Texas homeowners to take a few minutes to review their home insurance keeping in mind a hurricane or named storm can impact north Texas residents as easily as it does our coastal neighbors. Let’s address two key areas of your home insurance policy to review along with two other related policies. Home Insurance:  Review your wind, or wind / hail, deductible. This assumes you don’t have a separate wind policy. Wind coverage may be outlined in one of two deductibles: Wind / Hail Named storm Most Texans are already familiar with the wind / hail deductible. This is usually specified as a percentage of the home’s insured value such as 1% up to 5%, which is the maximum most mortgage companies permit. If your home has an insured value of $200,000 and you have a 1% wind / hail deductible, you’ll be responsible for up to $2,000 of any repair to the home caused by wind damage before the policy takes over. For those with a 2% or higher wind / hail deductible, I recommend setting aside funds to cover the amount of the deductible should a hurricane strike our coastline. The named storm deductible, also referred to as hurricane or tropical cyclone deductible, applies to any storm with a name, such as a hurricane or tropical storm. If your home policy has a separate named storm deductible, determine what is the lowest amount your carrier will write on your policy and that it doesn’t break your budget on the annual premium. I’ve seen a few policies in north Texas which default to a 2% named storm deductible, even from companies that will write a 1% deductible. By the time a hurricane reaches north Texas, it usually has been downgraded to a named tropical storm so this is a good exercise for north Texans to undertake! Wind Insurance: Coastal communities such as Galveston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and others may have wind coverage excluded from their home insurance policy and require a separate wind policy. Like flood insurance, wind coverage can be written to cover the home only or it may be written to cover both the home and your contents or personal property. Having coverage on the home only doesn’t help much if you lose your roof and all your personal property is lost or severely damaged. Confirm you have coverage on both and enough to rebuild your home. Flood Insurance: Flood insurance protects you financially whether the home is flooded by storm surge or from rising waters due to the heavy rainfall which accompanies a hurricane...

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