Summer Can Be Risky for Everyone

A Personal Insurance and Safety update

Summertime means more of us are heading to the pool, lake, ocean, or river to relax and have fun.  Unfortunately, these activities can lead to accidents and injury.  Summer also brings increases in heat related illness and teen driving accidents, according to PC260.com.

It is also important to have a personal insurance review to make sure all your summer activities are covered.  For example, if you have purchased a boat, you may need a separate watercraft policy.  In addition, if you have installed a pool you will need to add that risk to your homeowner’s policy.  We want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer, so here are some reminders about summertime safety.

Some of the Top Summer Risks

River water can be very cold, especially as the early snowmelt flows downriver.  Even if it is 100 degrees outside, the river water temperatures can be very cold.

If you are planning foreign travel, remember to check travel advisories.  Also, be sure you have all your medical issues managed correctly.  Check with your health insurer, as many will not provide coverage in foreign countries.

Don’t forget your pets. Summer heat can affect your pets, so make sure they are not left in vehicles or in homes during long heat waves.

When you are on the water, do not mix drinking and water craft driving.  Verify that you have life vests for everyone and keep life vests on all children all the time.

Heat stress is one of the most common illnesses during summertime.  The risk of getting skin cancer is much higher among people who sunbathe, and especially those who have experienced multiple sunburns.

Barbecues and fire related risks increase during the summer.  Always keep children away for open fires, and keep barbecues away from buildings.

When riding your bike we recommend you always use a helmet.

July 4th Safety Tips

Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:

In 2013 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage. This is why it is a good idea to have a free home insurance review and quote, call us today!

Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)

17%: Sparklers

14%: Reloadable Shells

13%: Firecrackers

7%: Roman Candles

6%: Bottle Rockets

6%: Novelties

2%: Multiple Tubes

1%: Fountains

Fireworks Safety Tips

Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors

Never combine fireworks

Obey all local laws

Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting

Follow directions

Never relight a firework

Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks

Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash

Make sure there is parental supervision

Never experiment with homemade fireworks

Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings

Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby

Light one firework at a time – then move back quickly!

Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers

Never carry fireworks in your pocket

Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals

Clean up all used fireworks including debris

“Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July and year end celebrations. Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths” Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Protect Your Family

smoke-detector-235123_640A Personal Insurance Update

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can kill.  Carbon monoxide, also known as its molecular form “Carbonous oxide” (CO) can be found in many household items, including stoves and furnaces.  According to the latest information from the National Fire Protection Association, there were over $100,000 non-fire CO incidents last year.

Your personal insurance will most likely respond to a claim made by a third party, but you or anyone who lives in your home will need to look to medical insurance if you have an illness because of a CO injury.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.  High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Carbon monoxide detectors sound an alarm when they sense a certain amount of carbon monoxide in the air over time.

Safety Tips

Make sure all appliances are properly vented to the outside.

Never BBQ inside your home or in the garage.

Follow manufacturer instructions when installing a CO detector.

Install a CO alarm in a central location on every level of your home.

Test your alarms on a regular basis.

If the CO alarms sounds, move to the outside and open doors and windows.

Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

How To Survive The Holidays

1211_200_200_c1_center_centerWe are full steam ahead; the holiday rush has begun. Beyond getting the flu vaccine, there is a lot you can do to help your body and mind during the holidays. Allison Aiello, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, offers a few words to help us survive the Holidays.

Get plenty of sleep.

Alcohol use has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. If you drink, do so in moderation.

As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your guests safe from food-related illness. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces.

Wash your hands at least three times per day.

It is always good to give back to your community.

Check your “Martha Stewart” impulses at the door and accept that you can’t do everything—especially if you have a new baby or toddler in the house.

Before you attend a party, or are sitting down to eat a big holiday dinner, make sure to drink plenty of water. Water fills you up and is good for you in just about every way.

Depression and anxiety increases during the holidays. Watch for signs of depression among your friends and family.

Take more walks. Physical activity is the best way to benefit your health during the holidays.

Spicy foods boost your metabolism, so enjoy hot peppers, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and the like when cooking your favorite dishes or vegetables.

Enjoy the season…Happy Holidays!

Remember, Criminals Are Also Looking For Deals This Holiday

aqazxaThe Most Common Holiday Theft Losses

We are in the middle of the holiday season.  While you are out shopping for that perfect gift, criminals are also out looking for ways to enhance their holiday take. While your personal insurance will most likely cover losses from theft, we thought it might be good to identify the most common holiday theft losses.

Now might be a good time to have us review your personal insurance. Stop in and have some coffee while we review your homeowner’s insurance coverage.

Theft From Vehicles

While you are in the store, criminals are in the parking lot looking for easy ways to get into your vehicle.  Keep all packages in the trunk; always lock your car, park close to the store, and in a well-lit area.

Home Burglaries

Home burglaries increase in December, due to people traveling and an increased number of easy targets.  When you leave your home, keep lights on, close your drapes, and never leave packages on your front porch.  Thieves will follow delivery trucks waiting for an opportunity to strike. Most online retailers send emails and text messages so purchasers know almost immediately when a package has been delivered.

Stolen Purses

When you are shopping, never leave your purse in the shopping cart, keep your purse closed, only take the credit cards you need, and leave other cards and documents at home.  Don’t carry a lot of cash and wait until asked to produce your credit card so a nearby thief can’t get your account information.

Identity Theft

Online shopping has become as big as direct shopping. Make sure to use secure websites and log off when completing any purchases.

Don’t Let The Grinch Steal Your Holiday Cheer

christmas-1078678_640Personal Insurance and Safety Update

Many of us will be out looking for deals this holiday season. And criminals will be looking out for deals too. Criminals feed on the chaos of this season. Shoppers are distracted and the police are overworked, making it a great time for criminals to get bargains, at our expense.

Now would be a good time to make sure your personal insurance is up to date. A quick call to our office can insure you are properly protected. For example, if you purchased expensive jewelry, you may need to ad that separately to your homeowner insurance policy.

Shopping Safety Tips

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t leave car phones, purses, CD cases, or any other item of value in your parked car where they can be seen.

Use a credit card rather than a debit card whenever possible.

Always place purchases in your trunk.

Never leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

Always park in lighted areas.

Shop with a friend.

Keep receipts in your wallet or purse.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.

If you make expensive purchases like jewelry or guns, call our office as we may need to add these to your policy

Are You Shopping Online This Holiday?

WJFlwtJKSzRWQhvRPersonal Insurance Update

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and many of us are searching our favorite web pages for the best deals on the items that top this year’s wish list.  Last year, cyber Monday was the year’s single biggest day for shopping, generating over 2 billion dollars in sales.  This year, consumer experts predict an even bigger day.  However, this online activity is also a big day for cyber criminals.

We recommend that you have us review your personal insurance to make sure you have the right kind of insurance, including identity theft protection, to protect you and your family throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Cyber Safety Tips

Use a credit card rather than a debit card.  It is easier to resolve issues.

Make sure your computer has updated security software.  Verify that your antivirus software is up-to-date with the latest virus definitions, and that useful features like real-time scanning are enabled.

Update your passwords and make sure they are strong.  Do not use 1234 as your password.

Don’t open email advertisement for sources you do not know.

Use only familiar websites.

Check you statements to make sure charges are correct.

Always log out of websites after your shopping is complete.  Cookies can often keep you logged into accounts even after you close the browsing tab, an obvious no-no.  Get in the habit of clicking the “log out” button.

Try not to do your online banking on the same computer you use to shop online.

An extremely important online shopping safety tip is to keep your personal information protected.  No store needs your social security number or your birthday.

The National Retail Federation predicts that 25 percent of adults will do online browsing with their smartphones to find gifts.  If you use your smart phone to shop, make sure that you are only browsing safe, well-known sites.

 

Sources – Protection one, CNET, Identity Hawk.com, and Tripwire.

Take Control of Your Home Fire Safety

Simple ways to reduce your chances of having a fire

According to the National Fire Safety Prevention Association (NFPA), over 2,700 people die, and 12,000 people are injured each year as a result of home fires. Home fires cause over $6,000.000 each year in damage. The top causes of these accidental fires can be tied to cooking, heating systems, electrical, and smoking.

Homeowner’s insurance and fires

Most homeowner’s insurance will cover damage or losses due to a fire. One exception is if it is determined that you set the fire intentionally.  We hope you never have a fire, or have to deal with the stress that comes afterwards.

Home fire safety prevention tips

Never leave candles unattended. Always place candles in an enclosed holder and place at least one foot away from anything that can burn.

Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles.

Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors monthly andchange the batteries at least once a year.

Never leave food cooking unattended on the stove.

Keep portable and space heaters at least three feet from anything that may burn.

If you have halogen lights, make sure they are away from flammable drapes and low ceiling areas.

Learn how to use your fire extinguisher.

Get a home insurance check up to make sure you have the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

Inspect the attic and crawl spaces for wiring which may have been damaged by pests or insects.

Never use extension cords for air conditioners. An overheated cord is like an out-of-control electric heater.

 

Don’t Burn That Tree Down!

christmas-bauble-1016680_1280According to the US Fire Administration over 400 homes are destroyed annually by causes related to Christmas tree fires. offers competitive rates on homeowner’s insurance that would cover accidental damage due to Christmas tree fires. Here are a few good reminders to help you enjoy the holiday:

Keep your Christmas tree well watered. Refilling the water every day will help it last about two to three weeks.

Check the tree for freshness before buying. A freshly cut tree will have a sticky trunk and the needles will not fall off if touched.

Set your tree away from heat vents and the fireplace. Heated air just dries out a tree, and one shooting spark can cause a disaster.

Inspect the lights. Check for exposed or worn wires, as well as broken sockets.

Turn off the lights at night; use a timer if needed.

Do not burn the tree in your fireplace.

Do not overload the electrical circuits.

Take your tree down the first of January.

 

 

pfree vgggHomeowner’s Insurance 

We always ask about smoke detectors and security systems in your home. Many insurance companies offer discounts for those homeowners who have security systems. Here are few of the different kinds of security systems that can help reduce your home insurance costs.

Outside lights- Set these up on timers so they come on even when you are gone. Also, motion detecting lights are an excellent deterrent and can be installed at a low cost.Cameras are also a good deterrent.  Place cameras around outside doors and your yard. Many home improvement stores offer cost-effective products.

Alarms are always a good idea. Alarm systems that are connected to a central station will yield the best discount.

Other Home Insurance Credits

Most insurance companies offer many types of discounts for homeowners. We are committed to keeping up on all these discounts to make sure you are getting the best coverage and price. Some of these discounts can include:

Gated communities

Community security

Updates in wiring and/or plumbing

New roof

No claims

Non smokers – The No. 1 cause of home fire fatalities in the United States is smoking.   Smoking caused 16,000 residential fires in 2012, killing over 500 people and causing $376 million in residential property loss. Source- U.S. Fire Administration

Sprinklers- Many new home building codes require sprinklers. These can be expensive but will provide home insurance discounts.