Holiday Safety Tips

As the holiday’s approach, keep your family and home safe by following these tips.

Decorations christmas-tree-3-480x463

  • Keep your Christmas tree watered and away from heat sources.
  • Be sure you are using indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.
  • Never connect more than 3 strands of lights together.
  • Use the proper ladder when hanging decorations.
  • Keep candles away from the Christmas tree, curtains, and other flammable items.
  • Decorating the fireplace mantle is festive, but be sure to avoid fire hazard if the fireplace is in use.
  • Keep glass ornaments and plants like holly, poinsettia, and mistletoe out of reach of children and pets.

Food 

  • Use food thermometers, defrost food safely in the fridge, and refrigerate leftovers promptly.
  • Turn pot handles so they do not hang over the edge of the stove or use the back burner.
  • Be in the kitchen if food is cooking. Do not leave it unattended.

Presents 

  • Keep batteries away from small children.
  • Check the recommended age on toys and games and be sure there aren’t any choking hazards or other small pieces.
  • Watching pets play with wrapping paper is fun but be sure they do not eat any paper or ribbon.

Have a safe and happy holiday season! 

National Safety Council – Electrical Safety Foundation – SafeKids.org

 

Halloween Safety

halloween-safety-tips

Trick or Treaters

  • Always cross at crosswalks and use sidewalks
  • Carry a flashlight
  • Make sure your costume doesn’t block vision or cause you to trip
  • Trick or treat in a group or with an adult
  • Wait until parents check the candy to eat any treats

Halloween Drivers

  • Drive slowly in residential areas
  • Exit driveways and parking spots slowly and carefully be-safe
  • Be sure to use your headlights
  • Be aware of children around you, they may not pay attention when crossing the street.

Pumpkins

  • Don’t let small children carve pumpkins, consider painting or letting them draw a face for an adult to carve
  • Glowsticks make great alternatives to light pumpkins rather than candles.
  • If you use a candle be sure the pumpkin is left on a sturdy surface, away from flammable objects.

Pets

  • Keep candy away from pets – especially chocolate
  • Make sure pets are wearing ID tags in case they get out
  • Consider creating a calm room for pets away from the door and trick or treaters

Most Importantly…Have fun! 

ASPCA Halloween Safety  – Safe Kids Worldwide Halloween Safety – AAA Halloween Safety  – American Academy of Pediatrics Halloween Safety Tips 2016

 

Why Should I Schedule Jewelry?

engagementring

So you got a new piece of jewelry…do you know what kind of coverage your insurance provides? A basic policy will provide you with some coverage but the best way to protect your jewelry is to schedule it on your policy. 

Why should I schedule my jewelry?

  • Your house or tenant’s insurance has basic coverage for jewelry, however there is usually a limit of $1,000 on a basic policy
  • In addition to having a lower limit, a basic policy only covers you for theft of jewelry. If you lose a stone or lose the piece in general, you don’t have coverage.
  • Another benefit to scheduling your jewelry is that there is no deductible in the case of a loss. If it is not scheduled any claims would be subject to the deductible. 

I want to schedule my jewelry, what do I do now?

Get appraisals for the pieces you want to add to your policy and contact our office!

 

What Do I Do…

If my car is involved in a hit & run?

Hit & run accidents are becoming more common. Whether your car is hit while parked or another vehicle leaves the scene of an accident, follow these steps to stay safe and get your claim filed properly.

parkedcarshitrun

If you are involved in a hit and run while driving:

  • Pull over to a safe area. DO NOT try to chase the car that hit you. Chasing can lead to reckless driving, putting you and other drivers at risk.
  • Call the police to make a report.
  • If you were able to see the plate number of the car that hit you, write it down. Write down any information such as make and model of the car that hit you that you recall. Take down the time and place where the accident occurred.
  • Check for witnesses to the accident, if the police are not coming to the scene, see if they are willing to give you their contact information to put on the police report.
  • File a report with the local police and file a claim with your insurance company.

If you are involved in a hit and run while parked:

  • Call the police to make a report.
  • If the police are not coming to the scene, take pictures of the scene, take note of the time, location, and damage to your car.
  • See if there are any witnesses willing to give their contact information.
  • File a claim with your insurance company.

To report a claim with LSB click here or call the office at 598-8304.

whatdoido

Sources: DMV.org Hit & RunSafety Insurance – If You’re In An Accident

Renter’s Insurance

Many renter’s assume that their landlord’s insurance is enough to protect them. Unfortunately, it is not. Your landlord’s insurance does not protect your belongings and doesn’t protect you from liability suits. That’s where renter’s insurance comes in.

Isn’t Renter’s Insurance Expensive?

Depending on your coverage, renter’s insurance can cost as little as $10-12 a month! Nationally, the average cost of renter’s insurance is $187 according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Bonus – having renter’s insurance will give you a discount on your car insurance too!

renterinsflyer

I Don’t Own Enough to Need Insurance

While you may not own many things you think of as valuables, possessions add up quickly. Things like cell phones, TV’s, computers and even clothing are all common possessions that would be covered by your renter’s insurance. Additionally, many renter’s own furniture and kitchen appliances, adding up to thousands of dollars in personal property that they may not even think of.

Doesn’t My Landlord’s Insurance Cover Liability Claims?

Not necessarily. If someone trips and falls in your apartment, you need liability coverage. If you have a pet and someone is injured by your pet, you need  liability coverage.

According to Trusted Choice:

  • In 2011, the average cost of dog-bite claims was $29,396
  • On average, the cost of slip-and-fall accidents exceeds $12,000
  • The cost of legal defense in a slip-and-fall lawsuit is $50,000

I want Renter’s Insurance. What do I do now?

First, estimate the amount of personal property you own. You will not get paid over this amount so be sure to consider everything. You want enough coverage so that if you had a fire and lost everything you would have enough to replace your belongings and start over!

Next, call us! We will ask you a little about your apartment, such as type and age of the building and number of units. Then we will go over how much coverage you want for both property and liability and have you sign an application.

To learn more please see:

Trusted Choice – Renter’s Liability Insurance – Renting An Apartment? This Mistake Could Cost You $5,000 Or More – Trusted Choice – How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost? – 6 Myths about Renter’s Insurance – and How to Save – 6 Good Reasons To Get Renter’s Insurance

Bundle & Save

Whenever we quote an auto insurance policy we always ask the customer about their home insurance.

Why do we do this? To save you money! 

save

Our carriers offer account credits to customers who insure both their auto and home with the same company (and sometimes even a different company within the same agency). These credits are often significant and can save you up to 20% off your insurance. 

When you bundle your policies, insurance companies will give you a discount on both your auto insurance and your house insurance. Our companies offer approximately 10% off auto insurance and 20% off house insurance when insured with the same company.

Not a homeowner? Not a problem! Some companies offer a family discount for those who live with family. Have an apartment or condo? You can still get an account credit with renters or condo insurance!

Benefits Beyond Savings

  • You always talk to the same person. When you call us, you deal with your agent. When you call an 800 number, you deal with whoever answers the phone.
  • We know your account. Because you always deal with the same person, we get to know you and your insurance. We know what coverage you need and know when to recommend changing coverage.
  • We represent multiple companies. Buy a new home? Have a change in your family? A new, young driver? We can quote your policies with our other carriers to see if they may be a better fit.

Bundle

Teen Driver Safety

driverulesProm, graduation, and summer are all just around the corner. Keep your teen driver safe by knowing the law and enforcing household rules.

Junior Operator License

Teenage drivers who are under 18 are subject to Junior Operator restrictions when they first get their license. These restrictions prevent teens from driving with other passengers under 18, driving between 12:30am and 5:00am, and using their cell phone while driving.

The Massachusetts RMV has great resources for parents and teens to help explain the laws and penalties associated with Junior Operator licenses. It is important for drivers to understand how easy it is to lose their license when violating these laws. First Offense violations can lead to a 60 day to year long suspension and fees ranging from $100 to $500.

JOL License and Permit Violations and Penalties

FAQs about Learner’s Permits & Junior Operator Licenses

Parent’s Guide on Junior Operator License Laws: Help Your Teen Driver Be Safe. Not Sorry.

Teen Driver Safety

most-important-you_600

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both have great tips for encouraging safe driving habits in teens.

NHTSA reminds parents to set the rules before teens hit the road with “5 to Drive“:

  • No cell phones while driving
  • No extra passengers
  • No speeding
  • No alcohol
  • No driving or riding without a seat belt

The CDC publishes the 8 Danger Zones associated with teenage drivers. The Danger Zones are:

  • Driver Inexperience
  • Driving with Teen Passengers
  • Nighttime Driving
  • Not Using Seat Belts
  • Distracted Driving
  • Drowsy Driving
  • Reckless Driving
  • Impaired Driving

By teaching young drivers to identify and prevent these dangerous habits we can create safer roads.

For more information see:

AAA Teen Driver Safety

CDC Teen Driver Safety

NHTSA Teen Driver Safety

Insurance Information Institute: Teen Drivers

Accident Forgiveness

When you have a car accident, the last thing you want to have to think about is your insurance premium increasing. Luckily, many companies are now offering Accident Forgiveness to drivers with good driving records. When added to your auto insurance, Accident Forgiveness can save you the headache of surcharges for the 6 years they would have been on your policy.

accidentWhat is Accident Forgiveness?

Accident Forgiveness is an additional coverage added to your car insurance policy. Depending on the company you are insured with, Accident Forgiveness either prevents the surcharge from being added to your policy or allows your driving credits to remain unchanged  after an accident.

Who qualifies for Accident Forgiveness?

To qualify for Accident Forgiveness you have to have a good driving record. For some companies, this means you must have no violations and no accidents in the past 6 years. For other companies, they will allow a violation or even up to one major accident on your record.

But I’m a good driver, I don’t have accidents, why should I buy Accident Forgiveness?

According to tbehindthewheelhe MA Office of Public Safety and Security there were over 100,000 car accidents in MA each year between 2010-2012 and that is just the number of reported accidents. With distracted drivers on the road, living with winter weather, and basic human error, do you really want to take the risk? Accident Forgiveness costs between $10 per car to 5% of your policy premium. Surcharges on your driving record can cost hundreds of dollars for 6 years at a time. Which would you rather pay?

Check out this flyer from the MA Division of Insurance to learn more!

 

April Showers – Umbrella Policies

What’s an umbrella policy and why should you have one?

squirrel-umbrella-rain-squirrelisimo-max-ellis-2

An umbrella policy is additional liability coverage. It protects your assets in the case of a large claim where the limits of your liability coverage on your home or auto policy would be exceeded.

Say you had a car accident. You have high limits on your auto policy, however you caused $1 million in damages and injuries. Even with great limits, your auto policy would have $500,000 in coverage…what happens with the other $500,000? If you don’t have an umbrella, you’re responsible for that amount. If you had an umbrella policy, it would come into play and cover that $500,000, saving your personal assets.

What does an umbrella cover?

  • Bodily injury to others
  • Property damage
  • Other kinds of legal damage (Libel, slander, etc)
  • Legal fees

Black umbrella covers home, car and money

Although umbrella insurance protects you against most types of lawsuits, there are certain kinds that many policies specifically exclude such as malpractice, workers compensation or business related claims, or intentional damage.

Why should you purchase an umbrella?

  • Do you own a home?
  • Have a retirement account?
  • Have more in assets than you have in liability coverage on your home or auto policy?

Then you should purchase an umbrella policy.  All it takes is one bad claim, get protected before that happens.

Sources:

 

More Than Just Changing the Clocks

Home Tasks for Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00am on Sunday. While we will change the clocks an hour ahead, there are several other tasks that should be completed every six months around your home.

spring forwardUse Daylight Saving Time as a reminder to complete these tasks and keep your home clean, safe, and free from claims.

Safety

  1. Check and change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. According to Good Housekeeping, Flames can consume a home in as little as five minutes, and the risk of dying in a fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
  2. Vacuum out dryer vents and ducts. Prevent dryer fires by making sure your vents and ducts are lint-free.
  3. Restock emergency and first aid kits. Make sure you have flashlights, batteries, and first aid supplies in stock.

Cleaning

  • Flip your mattress or rotate if you have a pillowtop.
  • Wash your pillows to remove dust, skin, and oil. Replace pillows after two years.
  • Clean fridge coils to keep your fridge running efficiently.
  • Replace or clean filters. Check filters in air conditioners, vacuums, and fridge to make sure they are still running well.
  • Clean the oven. Clean any major spills as they occur to prevent oven fires. Deep cleaning the oven twice a year should be often enough to keep any small spills from adding up.

Technology

  • Back up devices. Back up phones, computers, and tablets so you don’t lose your data in case of a device failure or crash.
  • Update Passwords. Passwords should be updated regularly, even more often than every 6 months. Use Daylight Saving Time as a reminder if you haven’t changed your passwords lately.
  • Check that Security Software is up to date. Make sure you are running the most current version of security software to protect your devices from viruses and hackers.

For more information and directions on how to complete these tasks see our Pinterest Board – Daylight Savings Tips.

Sources: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a25268/daylight-saving-things-to-do/ http://blog.bedbathandbeyond.com/2015/10/things-daylight-saving-time-ends/ http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-daylight-saving-time

 

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