Tag Archives: all of california

Stricter Laws For Hand-Held Devices While Driving

cell-phone-in-hand-while-driving

What Californians Need to Know About Assembly Bill 1785

Smartphone technology is ever-evolving and while these phones conveniently allow us to carry the Internet in the palm of our hands, they’re also a source of distraction for modern-day drivers.

Many states have passed laws against hand-held cell phone use to combat distracted driving, and California’s is about to get stricter.

Distracted driving has declined since 2009 due to laws regulating cell phone use for drivers, but it continues to be a big problem and it’s the cause of many collisions.

The new law Governor Jerry Brown recently signed, Assembly Bill 1785 (AB1785), prohibits ALL hand-held use of electronic devices while driving. Drivers should be encouraged knowing that the law is intended to protect them by keeping their undivided attention on the road. So, put down those smartphones while driving because it’s now against the law to:

  • Read, write or send a text message.
  • Hold your phone and talk.
  • Check or post to social media.
  • Take a video.

Basically, it’s against the law to use technology in your hands in any way while behind the wheel.

This new law requires drivers to mount their smartphones to the windshield or dash, similar to the mounting of GPS devices in vehicles, provided that the device’s use is activated by a simple swipe of the screen to turn features on or off. These conditions impose much stricter rules surrounding cell phone use in vehicles with the aim of reducing distracted driving crashes that are caused by smartphone or electronic device use.

Mercury Insurance wants to remind everyone that distracted driving is not worth the risk. Visit our Drive Safe website for driving tips, vehicle tips and tools to help keep you and your family safe behind the wheel.

 

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Ends Soon

health-insurance-1

Open Enrollment for health insurance ends January 31, 2017. This is the deadline to change or get health insurance.

Please call Integrity First today @ (805) 495-1122. We can help find the best coverage available for the lowest premium.  We can help with Covered California, the marketplace exchange, or direct.  You may eligible for a subsidy to help pay your health insurance.  We offer Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and more.

After January 31, 2017 you will need a special exception to buy medical insurance. If you do not have medical insurance there will be a fee/penalty.

The fee for not having health insurance in 2016 & 2017

The fee is calculated 2 different ways – as a percentage of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay whichever is higher.

Percentage of income

2.5% of household income
Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace
Per person

$695 per adult
$347.50 per child under 18
Maximum: $2,085

Please call us today @ (805) 495-1122

Insurance 101 for College Students … And Parents Too

college-student-insuranceMoving away from home to go to college is an exciting time for most kids. It’s their first real taste of independence, but this newfound freedom also comes with increased responsibility.

Mom and dad aren’t around anymore to nag you about the hours you spend on your smartphone or to wake you up for school in the morning, but this also means they aren’t there to fix problems either. What, for example, would you do if someone were to steal your precious smartphone?

Students can easily get swept away in the excitement and bustle of the college social scene, forgetting that not everyone they meet at school has the best of intentions. Crime exists in most communities, and college life is no exception. According to the FBI, 97 percent of crimes reported by college students in 2012 were property crimes and a whopping 41 percent of these crimes occurred on campus grounds.

Students bring many pricey belongings from home – electronics like laptops, smart phones, tablets, televisions and gaming systems are common dorm room items. They may also have a skateboard, bike, vehicle or combination of all of the above.

Another on-campus threat to personal property is fires. Firefighters responded to an average of 3,870 college housing structure fires per year1. These fires caused an annual average of $15 million in personal property damage and losses.

So, how can you protect your belongings while you’re away at school? The first step is to check with your insurance agent to see if your stuff is covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Some policies, like those offered by Mercury Insurance, will extend coverage to college students living away from home.

Another option is to purchase renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is designed to protect property owners in the event that their belongings are stolen or damaged in a fire. It will also provide liability coverage in the event someone is injured while visiting your apartment or dorm room.

To maximize your college experience, here are a few tips to protect personal property:

Cover personal belongings with an insurance policy. Students who live on-campus may have coverage available through their parents’ homeowner’s policy. Some companies have policy options that extend personal property coverage for students away from home. Students living off-campus may not be covered by their parents’ policy and should look into purchasing renters insurance.
Create an inventory. Record the value of all personal property to determine the right amount of coverage needed in the event of a loss.
Always lock doors. Talk to roommates and make sure to communicate the importance of securing personal belongings.
Conceal valuables. Never leave electronics or other valuables out in plain sight, and do not advertise their presence on social media.
Secure valuable electronics, like TVs and laptops, to stable fixtures with locking mounts in your room so they can’t be easily removed. Also, protect personal electronics with passwords to guard accessibility and discourage theft.
Use a bicycle lock when you’re out and about or for added security while on-campus. Steel and titanium locks are difficult to cut and provide thieves with a challenge. Reinforcing these locks with cable locks, which can be threaded through wheels, will provide extra security.
Install or activate an alarm if you have a vehicle on-campus. Insurance companies frequently offer discounts for vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices. Students with good grades – at least a B average – may be eligible for an additional discount as well.
Ensure your auto insurance is up-to-date. Coverage for vehicles left at home while in school should be maintained to protect the vehicle from theft or any damage that may occur while it is parked. This will also protect you if you forget to notify your agent to add coverage back to your vehicle when you return.

Consult with your local Mercury agent to learn more about renters insurance and they’ll help build the protection plan that best suits your needs.

The bottom line: with greater independence, comes greater responsibility.

1 The National Fire Protection Association reports this annual average occurred during the five-year period from 2009-2013.

The Top 5 Family Cars

2015’s Best Family Cars

When you have a family, you have specific needs for your vehicle. According to Parents.com, the cars on this list are the epitome of family friendly automobiles. They are responsive, spacious, and have excellent crash test ratings. If you are looking for a new vehicle for your family, keep these cars in mind!

Top 5 Family Vehicles:

  • Chevrolet Malibu: This car offers strong fuel economy paired with quiet power for a comfortable ride for your family. There is plenty of legroom for taller family members and a large trunk for all of your family’s belonging. If you want to go green, there is a hybrid version of this car to suit your needs.
  • Chevrolet Equinox: This is a larger vehicle that may be more practical for your family, if you need more space. It also has a sliding and reclining second row for added comfort.
  • Ford Fusion:  This car is the perfect example of a passenger car with a roomy interior and great driving dynamics. Some available features include voice activation, self-parking, keyless entry and start, blind spot monitoring, and much more.
  • Honda Accord Hybrid: This car is one of Honda’s best sellers. It is extremely reliable and is easy to drive, which is always a plus. It includes a rear-view camera, a dual-zone climate control, and blind spot monitoring. Plus, it’s a hybrid, so it is earth friendly.
  • Honda Odyssey: With a variety of optional features like a split-folding third row seat and a Pandora interface for streaming music. This stylish and well-equipped minivan is perfect for large families!

For all of your auto insurance needs throughout the Conejo Valley, contact the insurance professionals at Integrity First Insurance Services in Thousand Oaks, California. We can give you the protection you deserve, at the right price for your budget. Give us a call today!

 

Young, Cool and Ready For – Life Insurance?

You’ve graduated college, have landed your first real job, are on your own and are living life. Money isn’t nearly as tight as it used to be, you’ve got a nice car and you love to have fun with your friends. So, why worry about something like life insurance now? Actually, now is one of the best times to establish a life insurance plan for several reasons. Here are just a few:

– Life insurance is an investment. Starting a solid life insurance plan now gives you financial flexibility you’ll be able to take advantage of later.

– Life insurance adds security. If something were to happen, life insurance can cover a lot of bases. Not only can a plan cover mortgages and car loans, but funeral expenses and a wide variety of other expenses someone else would have to cover.

– Life insurance as stability. While you may not have dependents or those who would benefit from insurance monies in your life now, starting a family and finding ways to meet there needs isn’t that far away. You’re setting up a stable, solid future for yourself, and for the family to come.

Having the right life insurance coverage now isn’t something to worry about, it’s something to take advantage of later. Contact Integrity First Insurance in the Conejo Valley, California area (or all of California, actually) and see how they can help you secure your future today with a great life insurance plan. 

OakHeart Country Music Festival: The Perfect Mix of Country Music, Food and Merchandise!

The OakHeart Country Music Festival is being held this year in Thousand Oaks, California on June 14th at Conejo Creek Park South. This year’s event will feature live music from Love and Theft, Jana Kramer, Craig Campbell, The Other Words, Von Cotton and several more.

This is a family-friendly local event with children 12 and under getting in free of charge. You can start arriving at 1pm and enjoy looking around at the merchandise for sale at the various booths or you can show up a little later when the music festivities begin. Regardless, if you and your family love country music and food, then this is an event you will want to mark on your calendar now!

Keep your eyes peeled if you attend the OakHeart Country Music Festival in June because you may just see one of us out there! In the meantime, if you need to update or upgrade your insurance coverage, Integrity First Insurance covers all of California and the Conejo Valley and would be honored to become your choice in insurance! 

No, You Cannot Drive In Your Sleep

Granted, there are plenty of times you probably feel like you could do your commute in your sleep since you’ve done it so many times. As much as you’d probably like to do it, to get in that extra hour or so of snooze time, it can’t be done. Unfortunately, drowsy driving causes some 100,000 accidents per year. This means you could be susceptible if you don’t take advantage of a tip here and there to stay sharp. 

Here are a few that work:

  • "Snooze" sensors in some modern vehicles pay attention to how you drive. If that changes like you’re drifting off, an alarm will sound to awaken you.
  • If you work shifts, establish a time you’ll go to bed after each shift and stick to it. 
  • For those who change time zones, adjust your sleep times so you’ll be getting up at the "same time". That means if you get up at 7AM in San Francisco, adjust your bedtime so you can get up at 7AM when you’re in New York.
  • Get enough sleep. That sounds trite, but studies show that we as humans require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to function properly and anything else can impair our functionality.

For all the great tips you can find, nothing beats having the right auto insurance coverage. While drowsy driving causes accidents, there are a lot of reasons accidents happen. If you live in the Conejo Valley area, or anywhere in all of California and want to get a great quote on auto insurance, contact Integrity First Insurance. Getting a great night’s sleep and saving money on your insurance is definitely a win-win situation!

Do I Have Enough Earthquake Insurance?

For California residents, living with earthquakes is something you get used to. Most quakes are small and you may have gotten to the point you really don’t notice anything less than a 3.0. And, most earthquakes don’t do any damage and aren’t strong enough to do much more than cause water to ripple in a glass. However, when a good shock does happen, damage can occur. That’s when you start to worry whether your insurance gives you the proper coverage. 

While most Californians who own homes have some type of earthquake protection clause built in, it may not be enough. Ordinarily, earthquakes are classed as ‘natural disasters; along with such things as floods, forest fires, tornados and hurricanes and handled differently than other losses by insurance companies. This means you’ll want to check out your homeowners insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage if a big quake does occur.

Working with a great insurance company like Integrity First Insurance in Conejo Valley, California can give you the assurance you’ve got the right financial protection, regardless of where in all of California you’re located. Earthquakes will happen and it’s up to you to make sure you’re completely prepared. Having the right homeowners insurance helps you to be sure.

April 2014 UberFacts

If you’re not familiar with UberFacts, it is a super fun Twitter account which promises to offer "the most unimportant things you’ll never need to know." Their facts cover the entire globe and spans several subjects. And while you may never really need to know them, you’ll enjoy learning some really interesting and unique facts and then sharing them with your friends and family.

Here are a few fun UberFacts for the month of April:

  • 20,000 species of plants and animals are nearing extinction.
  • Honeybees can recognize individual human faces.
  • 25,000,000 of your cells died while reading this tweet, but that’s okay because today your body made over 300 Billion new ones. 

Since 1981, Integrity First Insurance has worked diligently to serve the needs of individuals and families throughout the Conejo Valley and, indeed, all of California. As a full-service, independent agency, their agents are not limited to a particular carrier, but can search for the best products from high-quality carriers in the auto, homeowners, life, health and business insurance markets. This assures you’re getting the best possible coverage at the best prices around.

For a no-obligation quote, contact Integrity First Insurance today!

Health insurance deadline extended

Once again the Obama administration has extended the deadline for affordable health care coverage. The final day for open enrollment was March 31st. However due to technical difficulties caused by the masses logging on last minute many seeking health insurance were unable to complete their registration by the deadline. An extension was given to assist those in fear of being penalized for missing the deadline.

Those who have started the process to sign up for health insurance through the marketplace now have until April 15th to sign up for health insurance. This extension is only for those who have started the enrollment process, have a user name and password and were unable to complete it due to technical difficulties.

After April 15, those who have not signed up for health insurance may face penalties on their next year’s tax return. Plus, they will not be able to sign up for private health insurance until the next open enrollment, which is expected in November 2014.

For more information about your health insurance options in the Conejo Valley area, contact Integrity First Insurance. We are based in Thousand Oaks, but proudly serve all of California.