ERIE Earns Top Ranking in J.D. Power Study

Thousands of people shared their experiences about shopping for auto insurance in a national study and Erie Insurance was awarded “Highest Satisfaction with the Auto Insurers Shopping Experience.”

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study SM provides an in-depth look at the auto insurance policy selection process. It explores why customers shop, their attitudes toward and perceptions of auto insurance brands and how they make their final purchase decision.

Related: Is ERIE auto insurance right for you? Find out.

For ERIE, it’s the sixth year in a row in the study’s top spot. Satisfaction is measured on three factors (in order of importance):

  • Price: How customers rate their new auto insurance provider on the price of the policy given the level of coverage.
     
  • Distribution channel: How customers rate their experience interacting with their new auto provider’s agent, call center reps and website.

Related: 6 Reasons You’ll Love Having an Independent Insurance Agent

  • Policy offerings: How customers rate the variety of coverage options, the degree to which their needs are met and the ease of obtaining a new policy.

The study methodology
The study is based on responses from more than 15,000 shoppers who requested an auto insurance quote from at least one of the top 25 insurers that have the largest market share in the United States. Customers were surveyed in April, July and October 2017 and January 2018.

Why Your Kids Should Play Outside This Winter

You’ve just weathered your way through another winter snowstorm. But just because school is canceled or the roads are bad doesn’t mean your family needs to be cooped up inside all day. 

In fact, playing outside is the perfect way to make the most of your next snow day. And despite what you may think… there are several reasons why it’s actually better for your kids than staying inside.
 

STAY HEALTHY

We all know winter weather can be harsh. As temperatures drop and the snow piles up, it’s tempting to let your kids spend the day playing video games or watching TV.  But making a habit of keeping your kids inside has been proven to affect a child’s weight and mood – not to mention the potential of causing a case of cabin fever

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. And that number isn’t limited to the season. 

You probably have fond memories of sledding and snowball fights from your own childhood. But the benefits of playing outside don’t stop there. If you’re wondering how it makes a difference, here are some health benefits of getting outside on a winter day: 

  • Fresh air: The idea that cold air causes flu and colds isn’t true. In fact, staying indoors is more likely to expose kids to germs and bacteria. A short walk outside or a visit to your local playground can give families some fresh air — and maybe even improve your immune system.

  • Vitamin D: Sunshine does more than warm you up. It can actually improve your health. Spending just 10 minutes in the sunshine will give your child their daily dose of vitamin D, which helps improve their mood and overall health.

  • Muscle and bone strengthening: We all know exercise makes you stronger – but this is especially important for your child’s growing body. According to the CDC, regular exercise helps kids develop lifelong healthy habits and prevents serious health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

  • Boosting creativity: While kids are outside getting the physical benefits of fresh air and sunshine… their minds are being exercised, too. Imaginative play can help develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. The snow can turn parks, backyards and playgrounds into completely different worlds! Ice and snow present just enough challenges to help kids maneuver and expand their minds.

PLAY IT SAFE

Cold weather doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. But it does mean you need to be prepared.

Before you step out the door, dress your child in multiple layers – more than an adult would wear. Cover them up from head to toe with hats, scarves, gloves and anything else that will warm them up. 

Wondering how cold is too cold? The best measure for when to stay inside is wind chill. If the wind chill drops below 32 degrees, be sure to take frequent breaks to warm up. And keep an eye out for shivering, drowsiness, numbness and other signs of frostbite or hypothermia

Use good common sense. The closer you move toward single digit wind chills, the more you may want to consider staying indoors.

KEEP MOVING

Once you get moving, your body will actually start warming itself. Keep your kids active and convince them to get in the snow with fun ideas like:

  • Snowball fights
  • Sledding
  • Ice skating
  • Making snow sculptures
  • Playing summer sports with a winter twist
  • Hide and seek
  • Snow angels
  • Shoveling snow 

Want in on the fun? Get ideas for kids and grown-ups alike in our list of 12 ways to stay active this winter. 

While you’re out playing in the snow with your family, don’t forget to enjoy the time you’re spending with each other. 

At Erie Insurance, we know living well means feeling confident and calm. When the investments you’ve made in your home and the things you value most are protected, you can relax and enjoy more of what makes you and your family happy.
 Want to talk to somebody who’s committed to helping you protect what you value most? Call your local Erie insurance agent. They can answer questions on what yourhome insurance will cover and help you find a policy that’s right for you.

Insure your LOVE. Life Insurance for Stay-at-Home Parents

Life insurance isn’t for the people who die. It’s for the people who live.

If you never thought a stay-at-home parent needed life insurance, you might want to think again.

That’s because in addition to being full-time caregivers, stay-at-home parents are often also cooks, housekeepers, tutors, psychologists, chauffeurs, nurses and more. That’s a lot of responsibilities that often demands life insurance protection.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in five primary caregivers for preschool age children is a man. Recent economic trends that saw big layoffs in traditionally male sectors such as construction, finance and manufacturing only ushered along that trend.

Regardless of whether it’s a mom or a dad, stay-at-home parents add to a family’s bottom line in a big way. According to salary.com, stay-at-home parents work an average of 92 hours per week and contribute a salary of $143,102 to the family.

Another cost stay-at-home parents often assume is caring for elderly relatives as well as young children. Pew Research reports that one in seven adults falls into this “sandwich generation.”

This list makes it easier to see the hole a stay-at-home parent’s premature passing would present. In addition to footing the bill for the mortgage, car and credit card and funding any college and retirement funds, the surviving spouse will likely need to pay for more childcare, buy more prepared meals and hire more household help.

“If there’s no money, there are no options,” says Greg Wieser, business initiatives leader, Strategic Marketing. “A family might have to split up, look at nursing homes if there are elderly relatives in the picture, sell possessions, drastically cut expenses and/or move to a less expensive house in a different school district. These are painful realities to confront during an already trying time.”

Luckily, even a small amount of life insurance can help in these sorts of situations—so no excuses about not being able to buy a big policy.

So now that you know a stay-at-home parent needs coverage, how do you figure out how much is needed for how long? Start simple by considering the four L.I.F.E. questions:

Liabilities. What’s your total debt?
Income. What will your income needs be—and how long do you need that income?
Funeral. Figure $8,000 for a very simple service.
Education. How much do you want to contribute toward your children’s education?

While no policy can replace a parent, it can help your family in a big way if the unthinkable happens. Your ERIE Agent can help you get an accurate picture of your family’s needs and which coverage would work best.

Easy, affordable life insurance for stay-at-home parents
term life policy that provides coverage for a set number of years is usually the best bet for stay-at-home parents. That’s because it’s ideal for handling expenses during the high-cost childrearing years in a more cost-effective way than a whole life policy.

A great term life option for stay-at-home parents is a term life policy from Erie Family Life, a product that lets you easily and affordably get $90,000 worth of term life coverage – without a medical exam.*

Applying for an Erie Family Life term policy is easy. Instead of a physical exam, there’s just a simple application that asks a few medical questions. All told, most people can get approval in as little as 15 minutes.

Connect with an insurance professional like an ERIE Agent to discuss life insurance that fits your needs and budget.

ERIE® life insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home office: Erie, Pennsylvania) and are not available in New York. Additional terms, conditions, exclusions, licensure and territory information are available at erieinsurance.com/life. The insurance products and rates described in this letter are in effect as of July 2013 and may be changed at any time. Eligibility for insurance coverage will be determined at the time of application, based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

*Issuance of policy is dependent on answers to medical questions.

Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. Life Happens Pro furthers its mission of educating the public by making its resources customizable and putting them directly into the hands of agents.

What You Need to Know About Snow Tires

Before the first snow falls, you’ll want to freshen up your car emergency kit, check the antifreeze and throw in that bag of kitty litter in case you need a little extra traction.

And speaking of traction: How are your tires?

If you think your tires aren’t up to the job of winter driving, it’s time to swap them for a set of snow tires. Here’s what you need to know.

HOW DO SNOW TIRES WORK?

Winter brings some of the most difficult driving conditions including slush, black ice and snow. Unlike regular tires, snow tires were created to endure these harsh conditions. Snow tires have a deep tread and special pattern that provides extra grip and traction. The design packs the snow while they’re moving to avoid slipping.

Related: Here’s what to do if you get stuck driving in a whiteout

While they are great at withstanding snow, they are even better with weathering the cold. A snow tire’s rubber formula allows them to remain flexible, even at the lowest of temperatures, which helps ensure optimal performance in snow and ice. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to slow down or stop on an icy road.

Tread depth, pattern and tire compound are three things you’ll want to consider if your car needs snow tires.

DOES MY CAR NEED SNOW TIRES?

If you live in an area where snow and ice are a frequent reality through the winter, snow tires can make driving easier and a lot safer. That’s especially true if you have a steep driveway or often drive on unplowed roads.

Related: Whoa: Here’s what road salt can actually do to your car

Parents of teen drivers can also find peace of mind knowing that the family car is equipped with reliable winter tires. (Learn more about auto insurance for teen drivers.)

If you live in an area where it doesn’t snow very much, you might be better off without snow tires. That’s because snow tires are made from softer compounds than regular tires – so if you’re driving on regular pavement that isn’t covered with snow, they are likely to wear out faster and be noisier on the road.

One more factor to consider is your car’s drive. Depending on your vehicle, snow tires might be more beneficial to its performance in snow.

  • FWD (Front-Wheel Drive): Heavy snowfall and icy roads sometimes make it harder for a FWD vehicle to stop as quickly. Adding winter tires will help improve your vehicle’s braking system in winter conditions. These cars handle better on slippery conditions than their rear-wheel drive counterparts, and usually provide better tire traction because the weight of the engine is over the drive wheels.
  • AWD (All-Wheel Drive): These vehicles have a definite advantage in winter conditions. Experts recommend them for drivers living in areas with heavy snowfall because they provide more control on slick surfaces. Winter tires can help your AWD vehicle’s ability to stop on icy roads.
  • 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive): This option is typically found in trucks and SUVs and is reliable for driving in deep snow or areas that don’t get plowed regularly. As with AWD vehicles, snow tires can come in handy to provide more traction on slick, icy roads.
  • RWD (Rear-Wheel Drive): While in the minority, this drive usually doesn’t do well in slippery conditions. Most of the weight of the car is in the front, which means less weight is on the drive wheels. The drive wheels won’t have enough weight on them to maintain their traction, which could result in sliding sideways on slippery roads. Cars with this drive could benefit from winter tires.

Regardless of what’s in your garage, remember that while a car’s drive supplies torque and power – only tires provide traction. That’s what makes all the difference as soon as you hit the brakes.

DO I NEED TO CHANGE ALL FOUR OF MY TIRES?

You may have heard of some drivers only buying two tires, such as two front tires for a front-wheel drive car. When driving in the snow, you want all four of your tires gripping the road… not just two. When it comes time to switch over to your snow tires, changing all four tires will give you the best control and stability when stopping or turning on a snowy or icy road.

Wondering what else you’ve gotten wrong? Check out this list of 7 debunked winter driving myths.

ARE THERE ANY ALTERNATIVES TO SNOW TIRES?

If snow tires aren’t what you’re looking for, here are a few different traction devices. Before you invest in any one, it’s important to review the laws in your local area. Some alternatives – like chains – may be prohibited.

  • All-Season Tires: Changing tires from season to season can be a nuisance. All-season tires provide reliable performance in most weather conditions. However, they don’t perform quite as well as winter tires when weather becomes more severe. In Consumer Reports’ tests, snow tires outperform all-season tires in heavy snow and ice.
  • Studded Tires: Studded tires are fitted with lightweight metal studs and are more adept at gaining traction on ice. When the road is clear of snow and ice, however, the studs can often damage the road. They can also be very loud and are outlawed in many states.
  • Tire Chains or Cables: Metal chains wrapped across tires can provide additional traction, but legality varies widely. Many states have outlawed chains because of the damage they do to roads, while other regions experiencing treacherous snowfall and ice make them mandatory. Either way, tire chains are not recommended for high-speed travel. If you’re considering chains, first make sure they are legal in your area. Then make sure you understand their recommended speed limit and whether that limit will work with your driving style.
  • Tire Socks: As an alternative to chains, reusable snow socks pull over the wheel like a pillow cover to form a tight fit once they are strapped down. The socks get their grip from specially designed textiles and from the friction the spinning wheel causes. Snow socks exist for all tire sizes, making them a versatile option.

WHEN SHOULD I GET SNOW TIRES?

Fall is a great time to begin shopping for winter tires. You’ll want them on your vehicle before the snow starts to fly. Consider installing them when the temperature drops to a steady 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter – and that includes a checkup of your auto insurance policy. At Erie Insurance, our local agents can answer your questions, help you with a quote and help you get the right coverage for your needs and budget.

Choosing Your Medicare Supplement Plan

We’re here to help. Simple solutions from people you trust.

 

Health care and out-of-pocket costs for Medicare participants are on the rise, making the need for supplemental insurance even greater.1 With the advice of your ERIE agent, selecting a Medicare Supplement plan can help alleviate some of those costs.

ERIE offers several supplemental plans2 designed to meet your needs and fit your budget. Our agents are standing by; ready to answer your questions and provide the information you need to make your decision.

As always, we’ll be there when you need us. That’s our promise of service.

 

 

 

1. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation report on Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket health care spending.
2. These plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.
This is a solicitation of insurance. An agent (or the company) may contact you.
ERIE® life and health insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company. The policy has terms, limitations and exclusions under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs, complete details and licensure information, contact an ERIE agent. Eligibility for insurance coverage will be determined at the time of application, based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. In some states, Medicare Supplement policies are available to disabled individuals under the age of 65. Not all plans are available in all states and not all ERIE agents offer Medicare Supplement insurance. Medicare Supplement insurance is not available in the District of Columbia, New York and Wisconsin. Life insurance is not available in New York.