Here’s Why You Should Always Sleep with the Door Closed

by Marie Turko on October 2, 2019

According to firefighters, every second counts during a fire. In fact, house fires can double in size every minute that goes by. About half of home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are sleeping.

But here’s the good news: There’s a simple step you can add to your nighttime routine to keep you safe.

Research from UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FRSI) shows that closing your bedroom door helps prevent a fire from spreading, lessens smoke damage and could even save lives.

Here’s why it works: Fires spread more quickly the more oxygen they have. Keeping your bedroom door closed can slow the spread of a house fire, as well as reduce toxic smoke levels.

Having the right kind of fire extinguisher nearby can help. But when it comes to fire-related deaths, it’s usually not the flames that are to blame. Smoke is actually more likely to cause suffocation and death. Continue reading “Here’s Why You Should Always Sleep with the Door Closed”

Is an Animal Living Under Your Porch? Here’s What to Do Next

by Justin Metz on

As a homeowner, you’ve probably entertained guests who overstayed their welcome. But unlike your in-laws or a former college roommate… an animal that’s made itself at home on your property has no intention of leaving.

Some of the usual suspects include raccoons, opossums, woodchucks, skunks or the occasional stray cat. And while they’re just looking for a safe place to call home, you’d probably prefer it wasn’t under your porch or shed.

How can I tell if an animal is living under my porch?

Wondering if an animal has decided to move in? Here are some things you should look for:

  • Animal sightings: This one’s obvious. But if you see an animal entering and exiting the space below your porch multiple times, there’s a high likelihood it’s not just visiting. Of course, many nuisance animals are nocturnal. So if you want to catch them in the act, think about investing in a motion-sensor trail camera – many models can be found for less than $50 online.
  • Damage: One of the reasons animals are worth evicting from around your home is the damage they can do to your home and property. Look for burrow holes, gnawed wood and eaten vegetation around the area.
  • Paw prints: Spread a light dusting of sand or flour around your porch at night, then check for prints in the morning.
  • Droppings: We know – ewww. But animal droppings, or scat, can help you confirm the identity of your newest neighbor.
  • Continue reading “Is an Animal Living Under Your Porch? Here’s What to Do Next”

What’s Cheaper: Insuring Old Cars or New Cars?

by Alex Buczynski on November 14, 2019

If you believe insuring an old car costs less than insuring a new car, you’re not alone. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to auto insurance.

Newer vehicles with safety features like back-up cameras and automatic braking do a better job of preventing accidents. However, it typically costs more to repair and replace a car with the latest technology. (See also: Can You Guess The Real Cost of a Fender Bender?)

If your car was made overseas and parts will have to be shipped to you if they need replaced, that can also drive up the cost of your insurance.

We spoke with Dave Freeman, vice president and regional underwriting officer at Erie Insurance, to find out how insuring old cars and new cars works. Continue reading “What’s Cheaper: Insuring Old Cars or New Cars?”

30 Screen-Free Activities Your Family Can Enjoy This Summer

by Justin Metz on

Summer is finally here! As a kid, few times of the year bring more joy. But for parents, all that unstructured free can bring its own share of struggles.

When you were growing up, summer probably meant spending more time outdoors than inside. It meant swimming, bike rides and games of pickup basketball. Today, however, many children are content to replace those activities with television, video games and social media.

According to health professionals, all that screen time can have a negative effect on your child’s development. So how can you get everyone outside and away from the television or iPad? Continue reading “30 Screen-Free Activities Your Family Can Enjoy This Summer”

Yep! Accidents Happen. (Then What?)

by Scott Westcott on

You pride yourself on being a good driver. You drive defensively, avoid texting and other distractions, take safety precautions, and keep your car in good shape.

Still, accidents can happen. And when they do, you’re faced with the question: What now? For Erie Insurance customers, the best first step is to seek the advice of an expert: your ERIE agent.

See also: 6 Reasons You’ll Love Having an Insurance Agent

Even if it’s minor, there may be considerations that you’re not thinking about regarding your deductible or certain features in your auto insurance policy. This is where your agent can coach you and offer guidance about filing a claim.

We’ve enlisted the help of longtime ERIE agent Jill Yaekel of Yaekel & Associates in Belleville, Illinois, to walk us through some common scenarios in which customers often call to seek guidance from their agent. Come along for the ride to see what some of your options might be if something similar happens to you. Continue reading “Yep! Accidents Happen. (Then What?)”

This Program Uses Brain Science To Help Teens Drive Safer

by Erie Insurance on June 7, 2019

For many teens, getting a driver’s license is a prized rite of passage. But with drivers age 16 to 19 involved in more accidents than any other age group – it’s also a risky and nerve-wracking time for parents.

So, what’s a safety-minded family to do?

Enter teenSMART®, an award-winning crash reduction training program from ADEPT Driver®. A new partnership between Erie Insurance and ADEPT Driver offers special discounted access to the program to teen drivers covered by ERIE policies in Wisconsin and Virginia.

Read more: What To Know About Insuring a Teen Driver

Using advanced behavioral science and research, teenSMART offers youthful drivers realistic and challenging driving simulations. Teens that complete the computer-based course learn skills proven to dramatically reduce teen driver crash frequency and severity.

Even better? Teens who complete the program may be eligible for an auto insurance premium reduction when they’ve finished. Continue reading “This Program Uses Brain Science To Help Teens Drive Safer”

How to Parallel Park Like a Pro

by Justin Metz on

Will my car fit in that parking space?  How do I park without hitting the cars around me? I don’t have time for this!

If you’ve ever been forced to parallel park your vehicle, chances are these thoughts have crossed your mind. It’s sometimes an intimidating and frustrating task. And the potential for embarrassment can leave you wanting to just find somewhere else to park.

But in some cases, parallel parking may be necessary. And if you’re just learning how to drive, it may even be required to pass your driving test.

See also: What To Know About Teen Drivers and Auto Insurance

There are some self-parking cars on the market today that will do the job for you. However, they do come with a hefty price tag.  So, what’s the easy way to parallel park without taking too much time – or worse, causing a fender bender? Continue reading “How to Parallel Park Like a Pro”

Buyer’s Remorse: Can You Guess What Homeowners Regret Most?

by Erie Insurance on

These stainless steel appliances show EVERY fingerprint!
Is that how much it’ll cost to refinish our hardwood floors!?
I thought I’d love these granite countertops… but I’m so over them!

Ever experience a homebuyer’s hangover? You’re not alone. What seemed like a great feature during that walk-through gradually loses its sparkle when you’re living with it every day.

Our latest national survey asked 500 U.S. homeowners what they would – and wouldn’t – choose again if they were buying a home today.

Here’s what we found out.


By a slight margin, the majority of homeowners said they wouldn’t change anything. More than half of U.S. homeowners (53%) said they’re happy with the features they chose. The rest (47%), however, admitted to some regrets.

Infographic: See More Results From Our Homeowner Hindsight Survey

The survey asked homeowners about features they wanted and got when they bought their home, but wouldn’t get again if they were buying a home today. It also asked about features homeowners did not get but now wish they had. Continue reading “Buyer’s Remorse: Can You Guess What Homeowners Regret Most?”

When is a Car Considered Totaled – And What Happens When It Is?

by Erie Insurance on

The first step in determining whether a car is totaled (or, in insurance terms, a total loss) is to calculate its actual cash value (ACV) at the time of the loss. The ACV is how much your vehicle is worth after factoring in depreciation. On average, vehicles depreciate more than 20 percent the first year and approximately 10 percent each additional year for the first five years according to Carfax data.

How is total loss value calculated?

At Erie Insurance, a claims adjuster assesses your vehicle’s condition. Then, they run the make, model and year of your vehicle through an industry-leading vendor database.  The database generates an accurate estimate of your vehicle’s market value based on its mileage, condition, options and other comparative factors. The database also considers the demand for a particular vehicle in your local market. For example, a pickup truck could fetch a higher price in a rural area than in a heavily populated city.

Another factor is the resale value of the parts and the metal. This factor, known as the “salvage value,” is considered along with the cost of repair.

If a vehicle’s cost of repair plus its salvage value exceeds the vehicle’s ACV, it is typically declared a total loss. (One exception is certain state laws that require insurance companies to declare a vehicle a total loss even if the cost of repair and salvage value are less than the ACV.) Continue reading “When is a Car Considered Totaled – And What Happens When It Is?”

7 Benefits of Driving Stick Shift

by Leah Knapp on

You know the great thing about driving a car with an automatic transmission? They’re so much fun. The thrill of shifting from park into drive is just exhilarating…said no one ever.

Thirteen years ago, I was in the market for a new car when I found it: a beautiful Saab 9-3 in pristine condition and heated seats. Heated seats! (Please keep in mind this was long before those things were mainstream.)

The dealer was willing to negotiate, putting that beauty well within my price range. There was just one, tiny glitch. It had a stick shift, and I didn’t know how to drive one of those.

“No problem,” said my then boyfriend, who helpfully test drove it, assured me it was a great find and then got it home for me.

All that was left was to learn how to drive it. After a couple weeks of frustrating (and sometimes harrowing) commutes, I more or less had it figured out and never looked back. I’ve since traded in my beloved Saab for a Volkswagen. The one requirement I had when I was looking for a car the second time around? It had to have a manual transmission. Continue reading “7 Benefits of Driving Stick Shift”