Protect Yourself Against the Zombie Apocalypse

It’s Halloween, and that means creepy, crawly, ghoulish happenings are afoot. Anything can happen — including a zombie apocalypse.

At first, we considered insuring our brains against the rise of the undead. After all, what are we without those thought-producing, limb-controlling powerhouses?

But then we thought a little more (thanks, brain). Our brains wouldn’t be the only things at stake in a zombie attack. So why not protect against the zombie apocalypse itself?

Zombie apocalypse insurance*

Just what types of coverage does one need for zombie survival? As insurance experts, we’ve got some ideas … but as zombie apocalypse newbies, we can only hope they’re sufficient!

Bodily injury coverage

If you “accidentally” hit a zombie with your car when you’re hightailing it out of town, you may benefit from bodily injury coverage, which pays for medical care (do the undead even require medical care?) and lost wages for other drivers/listless nightwalkers if you’re found at fault in an accident.

Incidentally, we hear zombie lawyers are particularly vicious, so we suggest buying the highest limits you can afford.

Medical payments coverage

Your brain has just been eaten. You’re probably going to need surgery. Expensive surgery. Medical payments coverage kicks in after your health insurance limits are exceeded. Even with Obamacare, you could probably use the extra protection.

Uninsured motorist coverage

Fact: zombies are terrible drivers. Probably because their minds are so singular (“Must eat brains”). And according to the Centers for Disease and Zombie Control, 9 out of 10 don’t have insurance.

You’ve got enough on your plate just trying to escape those brain-hungry savages. The last thing you need is to pay for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Uninsured motorist coverage can be used when the at-fault driver doesn’t have liability coverage (which accounts for about 1 out of 7 human drivers in the U.S.).

Comprehensive coverage

Though comprehensive coverage is optional, we highly suggest it since it helps cover the following incidents:

  • Fire — if someone gets overzealous with the flamethrower
  • Natural disasters — there’s nothing natural about the walking dead
  • Falling objects — like discarded limbs
  • Vandalism — protect yourself against zombie hooligans
  • Theft — do stolen brains count?
  • Hitting a zombie (or a deer) — both can do a world of damage to a car

Emergency road service coverage

You do NOT want to get stuck on the side of the road during a zombie apocalypse. Just trust us on this one. Get the coverage.

Be prepared

If you’re going to survive the zombie apocalypse, you’re going to need a few supplies. And it turns out a zombie preparedness kit is very similar to an emergency car kit. So pack your emergency kit, gas up the car, and get ready to roll when the zombies, ghosts, and ghouls hit the streets tonight.

Happy Halloween!

*Okay, it’s true. There’s no such thing as zombie insurance, and your car insurance won’t cover such encounters with the undead. But if you’re curious about the different types of car insurance coverage, we’ve got the answers.

Politics, Football, and (Lots of) Corn: Esurance Is Now in Iowa and Nebraska

Esurance has arrived in the land of corn! We’re so excited about our new customers in Iowa and Nebraska that we asked our resident Cornhusker, Matt Savener, to introduce us to these neighboring states.

Who are you calling a flyover state?

If you’re from the East or West Coast, you might consider Iowa and Nebraska flyover territory. And if you’ve ever taken Interstate 80 through them, you might just wish you had flown.

But as this born-and-raised Nebraskan can attest, there’s a lot more to the Heartland than what you see from the air or the highway.

Elections in Iowa and Nebraska

Both of these states are politically unusual in their own ways. Iowa, a swing state in recent elections, holds the nation’s first presidential caucuses every 4 years. And Nebraska is 1 of only 2 states that can split its Electoral College votes in a presidential election (as it did in 2008).

Gridiron way of life

Football is a way of life on the plains. Nebraskans are known to plan weddings around Cornhuskers games, and on Saturdays, Memorial Stadium in Lincoln becomes the state’s third-largest “city.” There’s even a rumor that Nebraskans, per capita, drive more red cars (which — myth busted — are not more expensive to insure) than the rest of the country in support of the Big Red.

Iowa, not to be outdone, gets its football fix from the Iowa State University Cyclones, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, and the University of Northern Iowa Panthers.

And both states boast storied college baseball, volleyball, basketball, and wrestling programs.

Corn as far as the eye can see

Iowa and Nebraska are superpowers in farming and livestock. Iowa leads the country in corn, soybean, and hog production, while Nebraska follows right behind Texas in cattle farming. Iowa also ranks first in ethanol production and second in wind power.

Nebraska and Iowa fun facts

Whenever we enter a new state, we like to gather as much intel as possible. Of course, this starts with knowing how car insurance works by state. But then we move on to the fun stuff. Here’s what we found.

Nebraska stats

Nebraska is known for Arbor Day, the Reuben sandwich, the world’s largest railyard, Omaha Steaks (duh), and Carhenge, a Stonehenge replica constructed from 38 painted cars.

Famous Nebraskans include Fred Astaire, Warren Buffett, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, Gerald Ford, and Malcolm X.

Fun fact: Cherry County is larger than Connecticut but home to only 6,000 people.

Iowa stats

Iowa is home to the Winnebago, the “Field of Dreams,” the bridges of Madison County, and RAGBRAI (a 470-mile bike ride in which 8,500+ cyclists dip their rear wheels in the Missouri River and their front wheels in the Mississippi).

Glenn Miller, John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Herbert Hoover, Donna Reed, and “Buffalo Bill” Cody all hailed from Iowa.

Fun fact: Iowa has almost twice as many people as Nebraska. But Nebraska’s biggest city, Omaha, is home to twice as many people as Iowa’s biggest city, Des Moines.

Tell your friends

If you have friends or family in Nebraska or Iowa, let them know we’re in town. And if you’re a Hawkeye or Husker yourself, check out our Iowa and Nebraska car insurance facts. Or get a car insurance quote online!

Hurricane Sandy: Driving Tips for Florida and the East Coast

With Hurricane Sandy heading toward Florida, much of the East Coast is preparing for heavy rain and high winds this Halloween. But whether or not you happen to be in Hurricane Sandy’s path, winter is just around the corner, making this an opportune time for all of us to brush up on the basics of driving in inclement weather.

How to avoid a hurricane

Of course, the safest way to deal with a hurricane is to simply avoid it. If you can, evacuate even before an official order is given. Make sure you have a full tank of gas, but plan on going to the nearest evacuation destination.

Try to make reservations before you leave and give yourself plenty of time to get there (you won’t be the only one trying to leave town). Shelters can be uncomfortable and often don’t take pets, so try to stay at hotel or with friends if possible.

More info: How to avoid a hurricane

How to drive in rain (if you can’t avoid the hurricane)

You don’t have to be in Hurricane Sandy’s path to experience the peripheral effects of the storm. In fact, The Weather Channel is warning residents in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New England to be prepared for damaging winds and heavy rain.

The best advice for driving in a hurricane is to slow down. Wet roads make it harder to maneuver and require extra braking distance, so it’s a good idea to drive slower than the posted speed limits (which don’t take rain into account). Keep your headlights on low beam to avoid possible glare and don’t use your cruise control, which can increase your chances of losing control or hydroplaning.

More info: How to drive in rain

How to drive in high winds

With 105 mph winds, Hurricane Sandy will pack some serious punch as it makes its way along the Eastern Seaboard.

When driving in hurricane weather, it’s important to slow down and keep both hands on the wheel. Try to steer clear of trucks and buses as much as possible and watch for downed power lines and flying debris. Most importantly, be extra attentive to what’s happening around your vehicle — you never know what high winds might kick up.

More info: How to drive in high winds

Additional safety advice

If you happen to be in the path of Hurricane Sandy, your best bet is to avoid the roads as much as possible. But if you do need to drive through the storm, remember to stay calm, be attentive, and drive slowly.

No matter where you live, check out our safety tips for drivers for info on everything from seat belt laws to driving through floods.

Stay safe this weekend, everyone!

Related links

The Weather Channel: Sandy’s potentially serious impacts

The National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Sandy

THOR: The God of Crash Test Dummies

Last week, we showed you how crash test dummies have evolved over the years. Today, we take a look at where they’re headed and how modern improvements are making crash tests increasingly reliable.

How crash tests work

The way we gather and interpret crash test data has come a long way since the practice began in the 1950s, but the basics of how we actually perform the tests haven’t changed all that much. A dummy — or sometimes a whole family of them — loaded with sensors gets buckled into a stripped-down car. Grease paint is often applied to the dummy’s head, and then the car is sent hurtling into a barrier (or, in the case of side-impact tests, a barrier is sent hurtling into the car).

During the collision, the dummy’s grease paint rubs off on any surface it comes into contact with, indicating potential injuries caused by air bag deployment.

Researchers then decipher electronic records from the dummy’s numerous load cells — sensors that convert the force of impact into electronic signals — and various other devices on different parts of the dummy’s body (head, neck, chest, pelvis, legs, feet, etc.). They also look at physical damage to the car and review video of the impact to paint a complete picture of the crash. That picture eventually becomes a crash test rating.

THOR: the future of crash tests

A new crash test dummy named THOR, which has been in development since the 1990s, is slated to replace the Hybrid III — currently the crash test dummy of choice for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The biofidelity (a fancy word for being lifelike) of THOR is amazing. The dummy’s head and neck are designed with muscular resistance so they swivel like an actual human’s head and not like a rag doll. THOR also features clavicles and an entire set of ribs lined with sensors to give researchers a better understanding of how crashes affect the human thorax. And as development continues, THOR will react (and look) more and more like us.

But THOR isn’t just a pretty face filled with over 134 channels of data (78 more than Hybrid III). He can also decipher everything from the tension in the Achilles tendon during a crash to the force of a blow to the head in a front-end collision. And in addition to load sensors that measure the force of impact, THOR sports accelerometers, which record the post-crash acceleration on particular parts of the body.

While THOR hasn’t quite made his way into the standard rotation of NHTSA’s dummy list, his development has certainly paved the way for even more detailed crash test results. Along with virtual crash testing, THOR represents the future of more lifelike crash testing and increased automotive safety.

Color Us Purple — It’s Spirit Day 2012

There’s a relatively new holiday on the block, and it’s one worth getting to know. Spirit Day commemorates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are or have been victims of bullying and harassment.

As a proud supporter of The Trevor Project and Pride events across the country, we believe in honoring diversity and embracing inclusion both in the workplace and the world at large.

How Spirit Day started

In 2010, Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan started Spirit Day to honor those victims of bullying and homophobic abuse who had recently died. She campaigned for people to take a stand against this injustice by wearing purple for one day in October.

How to observe Spirit Day

The color purple in the rainbow flag stands for spirit. To show your spirit and share a message of hope, you can wear purple in support of LGBTQ youth and the fight against bullying.

You can also “purple” your profile pic for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as a way of showing your support.

The bullying epidemic

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 28 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied (PDF). Yet there are few protections in place that can properly address this activity — particularly when it comes to LGBT youth, as adults in authority sometimes condone, participate in, or turn a blind eye to the harassment.

That’s why Spirit Day and efforts to address and combat bullying — both in the gay and straight communities — are important. Join us today by adding a little color (purple) to your world, and make a statement in favor of diversity and inclusion!

Related link

Show your spirit
Visit GLAAD’s Spirit Day page to learn about the event and how to “purple” your profile pic for a number of social media sites.