Holiday Shopping Safety

Personal Insurance and Safety Update

Halloween is over and that means we are in the middle of the holiday season.  During the next 60 days, we will all be busy shopping, eating out, and traveling.  Thieves know that the police are overloaded during the holiday season, and they take full advantage it.  Burglars know that there are many expensive items in homes and cars during the holidays.

Your home or renter’s insurance will provide coverage for theft or loss if you have the coverage. Now would be a good time to call us for a free personal insurance review. Whether you are holiday shopping at the mall, online, or a little of both, keeping yourself and your personal information safe is important.  Here are a few holiday shopping safety tips:

Holiday Shopping Safety

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Lock your shopping bags in your trunk.

Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.

Never leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

Always park in lighted areas. DO NOT park in remote areas.

Shop with a friend.

Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.

Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

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.

 

Civil Disobedience Is Newer Civil

A Risk Management Update

There seems to be a growing number of protects and civil disobedience these days. For whatever the reason for the protests, it does create a risk for your business. Your business insurance is designed to protect your business from unknown claims or accidents. Our job is to be your business insurance resource and to provide you with the best combination of coverage, price, and service.  A commercial liability policy can protect your company from actions by yourself and employees if a third party is damaged or injured.

Are Riots A Covered Loss?

Generally speaking, damage to your building and other property due a riot is a covered peril. This would include fire, theft, and vandalism. If you were forced to close your business by civil authority but had no building damage you may be able to collect for lost revenue, depending on how your policy is written. Remember, each policy is unique, so call our office for a review.

What If The Fire Department Refuses To Put Out The Fire?

Insurance companies generally will not deny a claim because the fire department pulled back for safety reasons. If civil authorities limit or restrict access to a burning building, your insurance will not be jeopardized.

Final Thoughts

Business insurance is designed to protect your business from accidents and other unforeseen events. Many of the damaged businesses had insurance, and those that did not will most likely have to close their doors.

Don’t Buy A Used Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is one of those essentials that will help save your life should you have an accident while riding your bike. This will protect your head from a damaging and even potentially fatal head injury. Motorcycle helmets are so important that state lawmakers have even included a directive in the state laws that orders all people riding the motorcycle to wear helmets.

Some people though do not understand the importance of this accessory. In fact, some people do not even like wearing it because it is too heavy and too suffocating. Others find it a killjoy not to be able to feel the wind on their faces when riding a motorbike.

Motorcycle helmets are not really that expensive, but they are also not cheap. Some who are not that well-informed will probably save all their money for the motorcycle leaving a really small budget for safety gears like the helmet. Some even buy used helmets instead of new ones. This, however, is one practice that should not be encouraged.

Using used helmets is extremely dangerous and impractical. Used helmets are actually worthless, and what is more, you cannot really tell whether they are damaged or not. You won’t even be able to tell if they are relatively new ones or not. This is because the helmet is made from a hard outer shell that envelops a layer of expanded polystyrene. You will never be able to tell if the expanded polystyrene is already compressed or not unless you cut the outer shell. An already compressed polystyrene layer will not protect you from an accident.

Another thing that you should consider is the fact that polystyrene becomes brittle as it ages. This is the reason why old helmets should be exchanged for new ones in a couple of years as it may not be able to absorb much of the impact when an accident does happen. The polystyrene layer is also easily damaged by the sun and by chemicals such as gas vapors.

Motor bikers who always place their helmet near the gas tank will also unknowingly damage the lining of the helmet. It is also not a good idea to always let the helmet sit under the heat of the sun. If you can, try to park your motorbike in areas that are shaded. Pointed objects may also compromise the lifespan of the helmet by piercing through the polystyrene layer inside.

Prom and Graduation Safety

This is the time of year when graduation parties and proms are in full swing. We congratulate all graduates on a job well done. High school is full of defining moments for Bay Area teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation. We want your celebration to be a happy and safe one, so here are a few tips.

However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments – serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:

Absolutely no alcohol

Always use seat belts

No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances 

Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.

Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.

Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.

Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.

Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

 

 

 

How to Minimize Holiday Risks

A Personal Insurance Update

November is here and that means the holiday season has started.  Over the next number of weeks, holiday activities will consume much of our time.  This is also the season when homeowners have insurance claims for fire, burglary, theft from vehicles, and even auto accidents.

Now may be the best time to have us review your personal insurance in order to make sure you have the individual coverage you need.

Shopping Safety Tips

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Put your shopping bags in your trunk.

NEVER leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

ALWAYS park in lighted areas. Do NOT park in remote 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.

Christmas Tree Safety (provided by the NFPA)

Make sure the tree is at least four feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Make sure the tree is not blocking any exit or door.

Add water to the tree stand daily.

Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

Only used approved lights.

Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs

Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

Home Safety Tips

If you are planning a vacation during the holiday, here are few ideas to consider:

Get a security system.

Trim landscaping that is too close to your house.

Don’t advertise your vacation on social media.

Cancel mail and other deliveries.

Leave lights on when gone.

Have a neighbor check on your home.

Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.

Lock all doors and windows.

While you are gone, arrange for your lawn to be mowed.

Have adequate exterior lighting.

 

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.