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Area Independent Insurance Agent Offers Tips for Avoiding Unwanted Vacation Surprises

The summer road trip is as American as baseball and apple pie. Of course, even the best-laid vacation plans can be undermined by car trouble, a fender bender or, perhaps worst of all, unhappy passengers. Michael Bailey, an independent insurance agent representing Insurance Plus Agencies, LLC in Houston, TX, offers these tips for avoiding unwanted surprises on the road:

· It’s all about planning. It’s hard to get lost when you know where you’re going. This is especially true of family road trips, where confusion often reigns behind the wheel, according to Michael. "Try to plan as much of each day’s trip as you can before hitting the road; a sudden change in plans can cause the driver to be less attentive behind the wheel."

· Always wear your seat belt – and that means everyone. Any extended road trip means multiple stops and at least as many occasions when passengers need to refasten their seat belts. Although it’s tempting to take a break for that "last leg" of the journey, the car should not move until everyone is properly restrained in their seat. "It’s that one instance when you either forgot or decided to give the kids a break that could end up haunting you for the rest of your life," Michael said.

· Keep young occupants occupied. It’s no fun to sit in a car for seven hours – especially if you’re a kid. And if a young passenger is unhappy, the same mood may eventually sweep the rest of the family, including the driver. A growing number of families are relying on technology – in the form of rear-seat entertainment systems – to keep kids occupied during extended drives. Some of these DVD systems even include wireless headphones, and one major manufacturer now offers a system with integrated video games, which it calls a "backseat babysitter." If electronic diversions aren’t your style, try to plan fun games and other creative activities to help young occupants pass the time.

· Maintenance before motoring. Sure, the trusted passenger vehicle seems to be running fine, but Murphy’s Law says that mechanical issues –radiator leak, bursting hose or air conditioning condenser failure, for example – often arise on extended road trips. Schedule an appointment with your trusted automotive service provider and ask for: Air conditioning system check and tune-up; battery, starter and alternator test (a single test can check all three); inspection of belts and hoses; brake test and inspection; ride control (shocks and struts) inspection; and tire inspection (including spare). Also have the oil and filter changed and – if you want to increase tire life and fuel economy – the wheels aligned.

· You’re insured, right? If it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed your auto insurance policy, now might be the best time to call an independent agent. Because independent agents represent multiple companies, they can help you identify the best coverage’s and services – as well as the best price – available on the market. "Independent agents like Insurance Plus can provide consumers with the advice and service they need when faced with making decisions about coverage and rates," said Michael.

· Prepare for the worst and expect the best. Be sure to bring your proof of insurance card and the insurance company’s claims reporting information with you. In the event of an accident, you’ll need to have both to minimize hassles and expedite the claims process. If you are involved in an accident, come to an immediate stop while making sure your vehicle is not blocking traffic, turn off your car, post flares or reflectors to warn other drivers, call the police, and contact your insurance provider. When you speak with the insurance company, ask them what you need to do before leaving the scene of the accident.

"Some insurance companies are very proactive in supporting their customers following an accident. Progressive Insurance, for example, offers 24/7, in-person claims service," Michael said. "These are the sorts of services that can help save a vacation road trip if you have an accident."

Insurance Plus Agencies, LLC has been in business since 1996. Our Independent agents provide expert advice and personal service. To learn more about Insurance Plus, call us toll free at 1-866-466-1699, visit one of our 7 Houston area locations or go to YourInsuranceCompany.com. We can check with several companies including Progressive to find the best combination of coverage and price.

Posted 4:18 PM

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