Esurance Mobile: Accident and Emergency Services

If there’s one thing no one likes, it’s an accident. Aside from being extremely stressful, accidents can be painful, scary, expensive, and more than a little nerve-wracking. Hey, we’re an insurance company … we know.

And while we do everything we can to help you avoid accidents, a huge part of our job here is also helping our customers deal with accidents. To that end, we’ve been making our cool mobile app (Esurance Mobile) even cooler.

Accident and Emergency Services on Esurance Mobile

Recent updates to Esurance Mobile mean that you have a whole network of helpful, friendly options available if you’re involved in an accident.

The latest update adds Accident and Emergency Services to our mobile repertoire of fast and easy tools. Using these features, you can provide accident info — including driver and vehicle info, location, and a description of the accident — right from your phone. You can also include up to 4 photos.*

Once you’ve entered all your info, we’ll get started on your claim. Simple as that. It’s one more way we’re making car insurance faster and easier.

Where you can get Esurance Mobile

If you’re an Android user, get the Android™ app here. iPhone-er? Get the app for iPhone® here.

Don’t have an Android or iPhone?

No worries. We’ve updated the mobile version of our website with the same functionality, meaning you can now file a claim on the spot using just about any web-capable phone — no app needed.

Related link

11 iPhone® Apps for Drivers (and 1 Shameless Plug)

*iPhone users will need to download the native iOS app to enjoy full mobile functionality. This is due to some limitations with the photo-uploading capabilities of the Safari mobile web browser.

America Recycles Day: Make a Pledge to Do More

You might not know it, but today is America Recycles Day. So for 300+ million Americans (that’s us), it’s a great day to step it up and share our passion for recycling with friends, neighbors, and the rest of our communities.

How important is recycling?

You’ve probably heard that recycling is important more times than you can count. But how vital is it really? Consider the benefits of recycling aluminum cans to get a better picture.

According to the Aluminum Association, recycled aluminum only takes 5 percent of the energy that mining and refining traditional aluminum requires. Plus, recycled aluminum reduces greenhouse gas production by 95 percent. Those are some serious savings just for putting your soda cans in the recycle bin (and that’s not to mention the CRV).

The state of recycling and dangers of e-waste

In 2009, Americans created 243 million tons of trash but recycled and composted only 82 million tons (33.8 percent).

While recycling of office paper and yard trimmings (74 and 60 percent respectively) is relatively strong, metals (34.5 percent) and glass containers (31.1 percent) are not as good as they could be — particularly since recycling these materials can reduce greenhouse gas production.

Perhaps the biggest area for improvement, however, is e-waste.

In 2009, only 25 percent of the 2.37 million tons of electronics ready for end-of-life management (a handy term for disposal or reuse) were actually recycled. With millions of Americans replacing their old laptops, TVs, and cell phones every couple of years in favor of the latest and greatest, this leads to quite a bit of waste.

And because this e-waste includes materials (such as lead and mercury) that can adversely affect both people and the environment, it’s even more crucial that we recycle our devices. It’s also a good idea to research products and companies before making purchases.

Don’t know where to recycle your items?

The biggest stumbling block for recycling is not knowing where to do it. can help you find nearby recycling centers for everything from electronics and plastics to paint, glass, and more.

Another service, Call2Recycle, offers a listing of drop-off locations for cell phones and rechargeable batteries. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a great resource for dropping off and mailing in old cell phones.

Make a pledge

At Esurance, we feel it’s important to support sustainable, eco-friendly practices. We also sponsor a number of green events and community organizations that promote greener, healthier communities.

But sometimes we all need a little push. So in honor of America Recycles Day, why not make a pledge to do more? From reducing your carbon footprint to making sure all your recyclables get sorted or printing double sided at work, every little bit counts (especially if all 300 million of us pitch in!).

Related links

America Recycles Day
Find out about recycling events in your area at the official website for America Recycles Day.

Hazardous materials in electronics (PDF)
Learn about the hazardous materials used in electronics.

Rental Car Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy?

Picture this: you’re visiting the family in another state for the holidays. After a long, less-than-comfortable flight you make a beeline for the rental counter to get some wheels. Within a few minutes, it seems like you’re good to go — but then the rental agent asks, “Would you like to buy rental car insurance?”

And all you can think is, “Do I?”

With Thanksgiving and the holidays just around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to answer this all-important question once and for all.

Know your coverage to see if you need rental car insurance

Knowing how to answer the rep at the rental agency is all about knowing the answer to an entirely different question: “What insurance do I already have?”

The fact is, for most people, insurance purchased from the rental company is unnecessary. Why? Because if you have car insurance, you likely already have all the coverage you need.

The following standard coverages will continue to protect you while you’re driving a rental:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision

Note that the existing limits on your liability coverages and the deductibles on your comprehensive and collision policies will still apply. Your comprehensive and collision coverages will pay up to the actual cash value (current market value) of the rental vehicle for repairs or replacement.

Sounds good, you might say, but what if someone steals my stuff from the rental? No worries: your existing homeowners insurance or renters insurance will, much like your car insurance, continue to protect you when behind the wheel of a rental.

Business travelers, beware

There’s another caveat, though: if you’re renting a car for business rather than personal use, there’s a chance that your personal car insurance coverage won’t protect you. If you’re just commuting to and from work or some work-related event, your personal policy should be sufficient. But if you’ll be transporting products or work-related equipment, you’ll want to check with your insurance company to be certain you’re covered.

Give your credit card company a ring

Another thing you may not know is that your credit card company might offer additional rental coverage as well. So before you fork over extra money for insurance, give your credit card company a call.

How a rental car claim could affect your premium

Keep in mind that if you have to file a claim to cover the cost of an incident in your rental car, that may affect your policy premium in the future. Thus, the advantage of buying the rental agency’s coverage is that you’ll be able to use it instead of your own coverage, thereby avoiding the need to file a claim on your personal policy. Plus you avoid needing to front your deductible.

Want to know more about rental car coverage?

Our myth-busting article on rental car coverage provides in-depth info on what coverages most rental agencies offer, why you might or might not need them, and what your existing insurance policies may offer when you’re behind the wheel of a rental.

Veterans Day: 11/11/11

November 11 marks the anniversary of the end of World War I and was first proclaimed Armistice Day in 1919. Somewhat fortuitously, the end of the war occurred the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when Germany signed the Armistice. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to honor all veterans.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. –John F. Kennedy

Today (and every other day) we live our gratitude and express our appreciation to all who have served our country.

Drowsy Driving Prevention: 6 Tips for the Road

Sometimes, it seems like 24 hours isn’t enough time to get all the things we need to do done. Between working, working, making time for family and friends, and working, it’s easy to scrimp on sleep.

While one less hour of sleep might seem relatively innocuous, sleep deprivation can lead to a host of problems, not the least of which is drowsy driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates (conservatively) that drowsy driving results in about 100,000 car accidents and $12.5 billion in losses each year. And as if that’s not enough, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involved a tired driver.

What’s more, sleep deprivation can cause microsleeps, brief sleep episodes lasting a few seconds. If you’re in a meeting, a little shuteye will only result in a few snickers and some embarrassment on your part. Microsleeping behind the wheel, on the other hand, could quite possibly mean the difference between life and death (or at least an accident or not).

In honor of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, here are some tips from the National Sleep Foundation to help you stay alert behind the wheel.

Before hitting the road

  • Get your safety sleep. The average person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep to function optimally. Getting 6 or less hours of sleep triples your risk for drowsy driving. So before long trips, or anysure you’re caught up on your Zs.
  • Get a copilot. Not only will your drive be more enjoyable with a buddy or 3, passengers can look for warning signs of fatigue (like lane drifting) and can also help with driving when needed. Plus, during those unending stretches of highway when the only things of interest are a few lone trees and slow moving cattle, stimulating conversation could keep you engaged and alert.
  • Don’t imbibe. Sure, everyone knows that when you mix drinking and driving, you get a risky (and expensive) cocktail. But did you know that alcohol, even just a tiny bit, can increase the effects of fatigue? Practice safe driving: don’t drink, drive, and drowse.

While on the road

  • Schedule regular stops. Plan on stopping every 100 miles or 2 hours to give yourself a break and freshen up.
  • Take a 15-minute nap. If you’re feeling drowsy, or find it hard to focus or stay in your lane, pull over to a safe spot and snooze for 15 minutes.
  • Caffeinate. Yeah, it works. Experts recommend drinking the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee to keep awake. Just remember that it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter your bloodstream and work its magic.

This week and every week, make sure you catch your 40 winks and then some. Not only will you feel more refreshed in the morning, you’ll stay safer on the roads as well.

Related links

Driving at night and drowsy driving go hand and hand
Drowsy driving app
Drowsy driving and automobile crashes