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22ndJuly
Boating Insurance FAQs

 

 

 

 

 
We’re right in the thick of summer, and boat owners should all be assessing their insurance needs if they do not carry boat insurance already.

 

 

If you have a boat, you need boat insurance.  Some people assume their homeowners’ policy is all they need to protect their boat. Not true. Typically, homeowners policies limited coverage for boats and may not cover injuries or accidents while you’re on the water. To make sure you’re covered for boat injuries, theft and damage, buy a watercraft insurance policy.

 

 

Tune ups aren’t just for cars.  When you’re out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a fire extinguisher and keep it charged.

 

 

Have your boat’s operating systems checked at least once a year by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks. For information, go to www.vesselsafetycheck.org.

 

 

Eight out of 10 boating fatalities happen with untrained captains on the wheel. Experts say most boating accidents could be prevented by an experienced driver. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You also can qualify for discounts on your boat insurance by completing a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

 

 

Life preservers aren’t just for kids. Hundreds of people drown in boating accidents every year – and nearly all of them were not wearing a life jacket. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board – you must wear them. In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. The rule applies for adults, too; more people in their 30′s die in boating accidents than any other age group. New lighter, more comfortable and attractive life jackets available today, making it even easier to get passengers to suit up.

 

 

 

 

17thJuly
Help Families in Our Community With The Annual Backpack & School Supplies Drive!

 

 

Backpack Drive

 

 

Help Gene Morgan Insurance collect backpacks and school supplies for local children in need throughout the Tri-Valley area!

 

 

They are looking to collect new or gently used backpacks, pencils, erasers, notebooks, lined and craft paper, calculators, scissors, glue, rulers, Crayola crayons, colored pencils, markers, smelly pens, folders, 3-ring binders, etc.

 

 

Gene Morgan Insurance is located downtown at 2020 4th St. and open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and closed daily from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm for lunch. They will be accepting donations during regular business hours. The drive will end on 8/18/2017.

 

 

If you have any questions regarding the backpack drive, or would like to make arrangements to drop something off after hours, please contact Michelle Morgan at (925) 447-2565 ext. 218 or michelle@genemorganinsurance.com.

 

Thank you!

 

 

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12thJuly
Driving Dangers

Driving At Night

Responding to 4 Unexpected Incidents

This summer, you might be headed out on a road trip to a state park or maybe just for a quick visit to the in-laws. But, if you lose your brakes, blow a tire or experience another unusual (but not unheard of) problem, you could be headed for trouble.
 
So, let’s take a look at four situations you might face and some general guidance that may help you reach your destination safely:
 
The brakes go out
Your primary concern, of course, is to work your way over to the shoulder and stop the vehicle. To do so, try to downshift smoothly through the gears, which should slow down the car. Once you’re off the road, try the emergency brake and, if needed, roll into something that will help bring you to a stop while going at a low speed. Always avoid high-speed collisions, if at all possible.
 
The accelerator sticks
Quick action may help you get things under control here. Shift into neutral, which will stop the engine from powering the wheels. Doing this allows you to retain power steering and braking ability, so you can better control the car. You can try turning off the car (which will certainly slow it down), but it will be harder to control without power.
 
A tire blows
The National Safety Commission advises drivers to not slam on the brakes. The car will want to veer toward the side of the bad tire, and braking can make it veer even more. Instead, concentrate on steering to the side of the road as you slow down gradually.
 
An animal jumps into the road
There are more than a million collisions between vehicles and wildlife each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Be mindful whenever you’re driving, especially around dawn and dusk, which are high-activity times for large animals. If you encounter a deer, moose or other animal in the road, hit your brakes and sound your horn. Try not to swerve — serious injuries and fatalities often occur when cars make extreme maneuvers to avoid animals.
 
We here at Gene Morgan Insurance Agency hope you never encounter any of these situations. But, if you do, keep your cool and respond safely. If something does happen, we’ll be here to help you through. Give us a call at (925) 447-2565.

8thJuly
Borrowing a Friend’s Car

I’m borrowing my friend’s car … am I covered?

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at Gene Morgan Insurance Agency, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.
 

Anytime you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project, or borrow a friend’s car if yours broke down, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.
 

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission.
 

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.
 

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car to Disneyland, your coverage likely won’t apply.
 

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that.
 

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, might also consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.
 

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your friend your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.
 

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions — after all, you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers! (925) 447-2565.

29thJune
Home Security Technology

Burglar-in-Window-300x300

Home Security is Easier — and Better — Than Ever

Think home security in California. is still about bulky camera equipment and wires running all throughout your home? Think again.


Today, things have changed quite a bit, and the playing field has been leveled. Advanced tools and security systems are more accessible and affordable than ever. (And installing them might get you a discount on your homeowners insurance, too.)


Full-service systems are still a popular option with many people. Companies offer central monitoring, video surveillance, smoke/carbon monoxide detection and more. Some even include home automation tools so you can control appliances from anywhere, and many will send text-message alerts in response to specific occurrences, such as when the kids enter the house after school.


Do-it-yourselfers who don’t want an all-in-one system have many choices as well. Here are three of the newest and most popular security tools:


  • 1. Smart (and small) cameras
    Cameras today can be tucked anywhere and don’t require wires. With a good battery and wi-fi connection, you can see what’s happening outside — or inside — with a glance at your phone or computer.
  • 2. Key-free doors
    Say you have a friend stopping by to check on your dog while you’re gone for the day. You don’t have to risk leaving a key outside. With a code-based entry system, you can simply provide your friend with temporary access that turns on and off when you want.
  • 3. Home automation products
    It’s easier than you think to give yourself remote access to the lights and appliances in your home. At least one available product can be used with your existing power outlets; simply plug it in and control the power to that outlet from an app on your smartphone. Don’t ever worry about forgetting to leave a light on again.

Of course, even “old-school” tools, such as motion-activated outdoor lights, can still have a big impact on security. So whether you choose high-tech tools or stick to the basics, you’ll be making your home here in the Tri-Valley a less attractive target for burglars.

25thJune
Jet Ski & Wave Runner Safety

JetSkis

Stay Safe on Your Jet Skis™ and WaveRunners™

For a lot of people in the Bay Area, summer means getting out on the water. And you don’t even need a boat to do it. Personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis and WaveRunners, provide a fun and accessible way to enjoy the water.

However, these small, fast and maneuverable watercraft can present their own set of safety issues. So if you’re planning to make waves, let us at Gene Morgan insurance Agency help you out with some safety tips. We want you to be able to hit the water next summer, too!

Make sure you’re following the law
In addition to U.S. Coast Guard boating regulations, which operators and passengers must follow (personal watercraft are classified as Class A inboard craft), many states have specific laws regarding personal watercraft such as Jet Skis and WaveRunners. Make sure you are aware of these laws before you hit the water in California.

While state regulations vary, they may require the operator to be of a minimum age, complete a safe boating course and/or obtain an operator’s certificate. States and cities may also regulate speed limits, hours and areas of operation.
Because they are classified as Class A inboard craft by the Coast Guard, the following items are required on board personal watercraft: An approved personal floatation device for all passengers, a fully charged B-1 type fire extinguisher and a whistle or horn for signaling or warning.

Be prepared with safety gear
Other things to have handy on board include:
-Your owner’s manual
-A small waterproof first-aid kit
-Flares, brightly colored cloth or a mirror to use as a distress signal
-A tow rope
-Sunscreen
-A helmet – many personal watercraft injuries are to the head
-Sunglasses or goggles

When you’re on board
First, make sure your kill-switch safety lanyard is attached to your life jacket or wrist, so if you fall off, the engine will stop. And remember, you are required to know and obey the rules of the water. It’s a good idea to take a boating-safety course to learn these rules, as well as other essential knowledge.

Know your load limits, and don’t carry more weight than your watercraft can handle.
Know where you’re going, and the hazards in that area, such as rocks, pilings, etc.
Remain constantly alert for other watercraft, as well as swimmers, divers, water-skiers and people fishing. Don’t operate your watercraft in swimming or fishing areas.
Weekends and holidays with high boat traffic can be especially dangerous.
Never operate your personal watercraft after dark.
Be considerate of others. Noise is a common complaint about personal watercraft, so don’t stay in one location for too long. Also, avoid early-morning rides.
Remember, you are responsible for any damage caused by your wake. Avoid creating wakes near other individuals or boats.
Finally, don’t use alcohol before or during your time on the water. Your passengers and fellow boaters will be grateful, and you’ll be less likely to have an accident.

We hope to see you out on the water this summer in California. And remember, we can help you get the insurance coverage you need for your personal watercraft. Give us a call today!

21stJune
Reduce Car Accident Risk

Cars

3 Easy Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Car Crash

Summer is here, and the warmer weather often prompts people in the Bay Area to hop in their cars for weekend (or longer) road trips.

Unfortunately, too many of those trips will end up being memorable for the wrong reasons, due to crashes and other risks that drivers face anytime they hit the road.

You can take control of your next trip, whether it’s across the state or across town, by following these simple rules:

  • Pay attention. Do you know how many drivers around the country are using cell phones or other electronic devices right now? If it’s daytime, the answer is approximately 660,000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says. Anything that takes your eyes off the road or distracts you increases your risk of a crash. Here’s another reason to avoid distractions: If you’re completely alert, you have a better chance of steering clear of that guy who is shaving on his way to work.
  • Stay sober. One bad decision can change lives forever, and driving under the influence is an extraordinarily bad decision. Nearly 15,000 died in 2012 in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). So get a designated driver — or better yet, be a designated driver. Best of all, have the party at your house and let everyone sleep over.
  • Slow down. They say “speed kills,” and, as depressing as it sounds, it’s true. Crashes caused by excessive speed cause more than 10,000 deaths a year on average, the NSC says. Surprisingly, you are most at risk on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or below. Remember, the posted speed limit isn’t always the best speed to travel. Depending on conditions, going slower might be the safest option.

Improving safety on the roads isn’t rocket science. Just a little common sense can make a big difference for you, your passengers and your fellow drivers. So be alert and be safe out there on the roads in Northern California.

17thJune
RV-Friendly Routes

 

RV trip

5 Tips to Plan the Best RV Route

It’s summer – prime RV season in California. But, even if you know where you want to go, do you know how to get there?


After all, driving an RV is a little different than simply hopping in your car, so we here at Gene Morgan Insurance Agency put together some tips to help you plan your route and enjoy your trip.


  • Use an online trip planner: Two that we know of are FreeTrip.com and the Good Sam Club (this one requires a membership). You can set guidelines, such as avoiding highways or low clearances, and get a route customized to you.

  • Don’t forget guidebooks and atlases: There’s nothing wrong with going low-tech, too. In fact, it’s good to have a backup for when you need to change plans without Internet or GPS assistance. Atlases for commercial truck drivers, in particular, can be useful, because they highlight some of the same things you need to consider, such as overpass height, etc.
  • Know your vehicle: It’s tempting to just take the height specifications from your manual, but it’s better to know for sure. Measure your RV from the ground to the highest item on the roof. Stick it on a label inside your windshield so it’s always visible.
  • Utilize other tools: Some GPS models have RV/truck modes that will adjust routes based on the larger size of your vehicle. Use them if they’re available.
  • Have multiple sources of information: Online trip planners and GPS systems make things easy, but they’re not always up to date. So, in addition to your trip plan and guidebooks, also take care to pay attention to signs and your surroundings when you’re on the go.

It’s easier than ever to plan for a great road trip, so get out there and explore! We’ll be waiting to hear all about your trip and to help you with all of your RV insurance needs!

13thJune
Security Tips for Small Businesses

Office Desk

 

5 Tips for a More Secure Workplace

Protecting your business in Livermore used to mean locking the doors at the end of the day. That’s still important, of course, but now a security breach can extend beyond your physical assets to include software, systems and sensitive data. And, if customer information is compromised, you may lose the most important asset you have — their trust.

How can you protect your business? Here are five tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration and others to help you stay secure, both physically and digitally.

  • Manage and assess your risk. What valuables do you need to protect? What about data? What losses would impact you most? The answers to these questions can help you form a plan.
  • Control physical access to your workplace. Establish procedures for distributing keys and how you keep track of them. Secure valuable information or equipment in a locked area with access only to those who use it. Customers should be able to access your office only in one monitored entrance.
  • Don’t forget about controlling digital access. You wouldn’t give every employee a key to your safe, so take similar precautions when it comes to access to computers, networks and sensitive data.
  • Be proactive. Set up automatic software updates for your most important systems. Require your employees to change passwords at regular intervals for additional security. If you provide a wireless network, make sure it is secured, and preferably encrypted.
  • Consider other measures. It’s easier than ever to install cameras and monitoring systems that allow you to check on your facility at any time. Of course, there also are companies that will monitor your office and alert you to any issues. Cybersecurity insurance is relatively new and can provide some protection if your systems are compromised, but find out exactly what is included in the policy. Remember, even if you purchase coverage, you’ll still need to keep your data as secure as possible.

We here at Gene Morgan Insurance Agency hope you find these tips helpful, but keep in mind that we’ve only scratched the surface! We encourage you to dig deeper and thoroughly investigate potential solutions to help ensure your office and data have the right level of security for your particular needs.

28thMay
Memorial Day 2017

American Flag

Our office will be closed tomorrow, Monday, May 29th in observance of Memorial Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 30th at 9:00am.

Thank you!

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