Tag Archives: community

Understanding Car Safety Ratings

Understanding-Car-Safety-Ratings

Although newer vehicles are generally more expensive to insure than older ones, consumers can often get discounts if their new vehicles have the latest safety features. Advances in crash and accident avoidance technology mean that consumers who buy a new vehicle equipped with the latest safety features are often less likely to be seriously injured in a car crash.

Safety ratings are a function of two major factors: prevention—how well the vehicle is designed to prevent an accident—and, crashworthiness—how well the vehicle performs in a crash.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranks its Top Safety Picks based on good, acceptable, marginal or poor performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, and evaluations of seat / head restraints for protection against neck injuries during rear impacts. Crash tests are conducted on a half-dozen types of vehicles, including large cars, mid-sized cars, small cars, minivans, mid-size SUVs, and small SUVs. You can also visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for a full report on recalls and defects.

Currently, some of the top-rated safety features are:

  • Adaptive front airbags
  • Side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Knee airbags
  • Electronic stability control
  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Brake assist
  • Tire pressure monitors
  • Back-up sensors
  • Park assist
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Smart headlights
  • Crash-alert systems (such as OnStar)
  • Built-in car seats

Technology is ever-improving, and, as time goes by, manufacturers and the government are standardizing these features. Doing your homework ahead of time and knowing what your options are can make the decision-making process smoother and get you into that new car faster!

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.

Yearly Disaster Preparation Check-Up

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When was the last time you thought about an emergency-preparedness plan? “Never,” is the answer most people would give, which could have terrible consequences if you happen to be caught in the middle of a disaster. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), natural disasters in the U.S. have increased 700 percent since 1950 and reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate severe weather events are also occurring more frequently, so now is the time to get prepared.

September is National Preparedness Month, but since disasters can strike at any moment, it’s important to   prepare before disaster strikes …Today. Creating an emergency plan is a good start, but remember, you should review it with your family annually. For example, do you have a newborn in the family? Did you adopt a pet? Have emergency kit materials expired? If you’ve experienced any of these or other changes, then you need to update your plan to make sure you’re prepared. Here are six things to consider during your routine yearly disaster preparedness check-up:

  1. Check emergency kit materials
    Refresh everyone’s memory of where the emergency kit is located.  Check expiration dates of materials in the kit to assure perishable items will last for at least another year, including food, water and batteries. According to FEMA, here’s a full list of materials to include in a basic emergency kit.
  2. Update your emergency plan
    A basic plan should have a meeting place in case disaster hits and your home becomes unsafe, as well as at least two escape routes. Each year, make sure to remind everyone of the meeting place, ensure it is still a safe location and evaluate everyone’s escape routes to avoid new obstructions. Take into account any special needs of children, seniors, people with disabilities, family members who don’t speak English and pets.
  3. Know how to turn off your utilities
    Learn where the utility shut-offs are located and how to operate them. Turning off gas mains can prevent leaks and turning off electricity can help prevent potential fires started by electrical sparks. Additionally, turning off your water main can help prevent flooding.
  4. Practice home safety
    Home safety should be observed year-round, not just in the event of an impending disaster. Install smoke detectors in each room of your home and replace the batteries every six months. Store heavy items on the lowest shelves. Combustible items such as firewood, picnic tables, boats and flammable liquids should be kept separately and 50 feet from your home and other structures.
  5. Prepare your insurance
    Getting ready for a natural disaster actually starts by choosing your insurance policy. Ask yourself: Do I have enough insurance to repair or replace my home if it is damaged or destroyed? Mercury recommends you get an insurance check-up from your agent or broker once a year to help you make an informed decision about the coverage you need.
  6. Catalog your property
    Recovering from a disaster takes time. To ease this process, keep a detailed inventory of your property and update it annually. Photos and videos of your home can be presented to insurance adjusters to help your claim. Mashable, a technology blog, provides a list of eight home inventory apps that make creating inventory of your property easy. Visit the Mercury Insurance website for additional tips to help with the claims process in the event your home suffers damage.

Be proactive about disaster preparedness. You’ll be investing in your family’s safety, property and peace of mind.

Don’t Miss Out On These Local Events!

Conejo Valley Events

As the end of summer gets closer and closer, it is the perfect time to start looking for fun events in the local area that you can enjoy with all your loved ones. Check out these exciting local events that people of all ages will enjoy.

The next Malibu Cars and Coffee is scheduled for September 20th, and is the perfect way to shake up your normal coffee routine. The City of Malibu has teamed up with Exclusive Motorcars to allow car enthusiasts to enjoy a scenic drive down the coast to Malibu Bluffs Park from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. The Malibu Cars and Coffee event occurs every first and third Sunday of the month, so you have plenty of chances to enjoy some of the finest automobiles on the road.

On September 26th and 27th, head out to Promenade Park/Surfer’s Point in Ventura for the 11th Annual Aloha Beach Festival. The festival features K9 Frisbee and freestyle Frisbee competitions, live music all day, and outrigger canoe and surfing competitions. There will also be food vendors to enjoy, local arts and crafts, and a beer garden to enjoy.

If you are looking forward to Halloween, then you will love Trick or Treat Street in Thousand Oaks on October 24th. From 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., the Thousand Oaks Community Center is offering a night of safe Halloween fun specially for young children. The Haunted Trail is a short hike that is easy enough for children of all ages and is full of fun. The trail ends with a hayride to the start of the trail so that kids can enjoy a safe night of trick or treating down a specially created “street.”

All of us at Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, California would like to invite you out to all of these family friendly Conejo Valley events!

Don’t Miss These Local Events!

May Events

There is no better way to spend a spring weekend than enjoying a fun, family friendly event in the local community. Make sure to check out these two events that people of all ages can enjoy this May.

On May 8th and 9th, head out to Janss Marketplace for the Free Family Space Day Event. The area in front of Burlington and the fountain at the Marketplace will be transformed into a unique, interactive space experience. There will be many different activities and displays to enjoy, including planetary music, learning about the life of an astronaut, fun physics, an astral art project, an Apollos Missions display, a spacey science magic show, and more. All the excitement starts at 3 p.m. on May 8th and ends at 7 p.m. If you miss the first round of fun it will start back up again at noon on the 9th until 4 p.m.

On May 9th, you will not want to miss the 2015 Simi Valley Street Fair. Over 200,000 people are expected to join in on the fun that starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. There will be a kid’s corner, an emergency preparedness expo, and more than 300 booths that will be selling crafts, arts, food, and other items.

All of us at Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, California would like to invite you and your family and friends out to enjoy both of these community events!

St. Patrick’s Day Events To Enjoy!

Local St. Patrick’s Day Events

St. Patrick’s Day is just over a week away, which means it is the perfect time to start looking for a fun and family-friendly way to celebrate. Make sure to check out these local community events with your friends and family this holiday.

The 27th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ventura is happening on March 14th starting at 10 a.m. The parade will start on East Main Street in front of the San Buenaventura Mission, and will end at the corner of East Main Street and North Chestnut Street.

If you are in the Agoura Hills area, make sure to head out to the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center on March 14th. The event starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. There will be plenty of entertainment, including the Claddagh School of Irish Dancers, Tribal Caravan Belly Dancing Performances, and live music by Innisfree. There will also be tons of fun activities, including rock climbing, face painting, and various inflatables to enjoy.

While enjoying these exciting local events, keep these fun facts in mind to impress your loved ones.

  • Patrick was not Irish. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland.
  • The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in New York City, and brings 250,000 marchers to Fifth Avenue.
  • Chicago dyes its river green each St. Patrick’s day using 40 tons of green dye.
  • While St. Patrick’s Day is typically associated with drinking, it used to be a dry holiday and all pubs had to be closed.
  • While lady leprechaun decorations fill the store, there are actually no lady leprechauns in traditional Irish folk tales.

All of us at Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, California would like to wish you a fun and exciting St. Patrick’s Day!

Check out these Local Events!

Living in the Conejo Valley allows you to enjoy all the fun and exciting activities in the local area. Make sure to mark your calendar for these awesome events in the community!

On October 26th, make sure to check out the 14th Annual Taste of Ojai. Each year, the Rotary Club of Ojai puts on one of the most looked forward to events in the area, and this year promises to be no different. Held at the world class Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, attendees will get to taste delicious creations from wineries, caterers, and restaurants in the area. Make sure to buy your ticket today, before they sell out!

If you are looking for a fun and friendly Halloween event in the area, you will not want to miss the 53rd Annual Simi Valley Halloween Carnival at Rancho Santa Susana Community Center, on October 31st. Make sure to wear your costume and enjoy all the fun activities, including inflatable slides, face painting, bounce houses, and hay rides. There will also be a Trick or Treat Village where kids can collect Halloween Candy.

If you are looking to get a little dirty this fall, make sure to sign up for the 5th Annual Conejo Valley “Mud Crazy” 5K Mud Run on November 2nd. The course features more than 25 obstacles, including spider webs, climbing walls, balance beams, tunnels, and a monster mud pit! There is also plenty of entertainment to enjoy after the race, including live music and local food vendors. You can sign up and create a team, or run solo.

Integrity First Insurance Services in Thousand Oaks would like to encourage you and your family to check out all of these exciting events in the local community.

Things to do in January in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks

There is no lack of things to do and experience in Thousand Oaks or Westlake Village California.  Some of the events going on in January are:

Mamma Mia

The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza will host this production beginning on January 14th at 7:30 p.m.  Don’t miss out on this event.  It runs through January 19th.

Forever Plaid

After all the activity of the the holidays, sit back and be entertained by the musical Forever Plaid.  This production will begin on Friday, January 31st at 8 p.m., and run through February 9th in the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.   

International Night of Guitars

The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza will host the International Night of Guitars.  Pino Foastiere of Italy, England’s Mike Dawes, and Argentina’s Quique Sinesi will be there to perform for you.  Pino is respected for his talent on the steel string guitars.  He has the ability to mix melodies and improv when needed.  Dawes is a young performer who has virtuoso style and has mastered micro-techniques. Quique has mastered a lot of the South American rhythms as well as melodies on the guitar and the charango.  This should be an interesting night of music.

We are Integrity First Insurance and we serve the community of Thousand Oaks as well as Westlake Village in the Conejo Valley area.  For all of your insurance needs, contact Jason Mayling President of Integrity First Insurance.

9th Annual Conejo Valley YMCA Turkey Day Dash 2013

Come on out and participate in the 9th Annual Conejo Valley YMCA Turkey Day Dash! As always, this fun event is held on Thanksgiving morning leaving you plenty of time to go home and prepare your Thanksgiving celebration.  This year’s turkey dash begins at 8am on Thursday, November 28th at California Lutheran University.

What better day than Thanksgiving to support your local community?  Bring the whole family to participate in this great cause that benefits the programs at the Conejo Valley YMCA.  This fun event has something for everyone – a Family Fun 1K run/walk and a 5K Run/Walk.  Can’t participate in the run?  Why not volunteer to help at this event?

Integrity First Insurance hopes you’ll come out and support this worthwhile cause!  We are insurance specialists serving Thousand Oaks and the surrounding areas since 1981!. Our insurance services include auto, homeowners, life, health and business insurance. For information about our services please do not hesitate to contact Jason Mayling!

Reyes Adobe Days

Coming on October 3-6 is the Ninth Annual Reyes Adobe Days festival. A fantastic way to get the community together, Reyes Adobe Days has something for everyone to enjoy. The opening ceremonies and Fiesta at the Adobe, a 50+ event, are on Thursday, October 3 and all of the fun begins Friday, October 4.

Friday, October 4

There are several events taking place such as the Night at the Adobe, including art, music, wine, beer, food, and a whole lot more. Take in some art during this great event. There is also a wine and beer tasting on this day.

Saturday, October 5

The Big Bad RAD 10 Miler and 10K is the spotlight on this day, allowing some exercise and a chance to donate to a worthy cause. The RAD Parade is also a good precursor to the marathon. Musical entertainment and a Day in the Park provide enjoyment for everyone young and old.

Sunday, October 6

The highlight on this day is Gymkhana which offers spectators a chance to see truly great horse competition.

To learn more about local events in and around Thousand Oaks, make sure to contact Integrity First Insurance.