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Rutt Insurance Agency Blog

View the latest blog posts from Rutt Insurance Agency.

Posted 2:07 PM

From Everyone at Rutt Insurance: We want to wish you and your family a safe and Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!


Late fall and winter are the most prevalent seasons for house fires, and knowing the facts and implementing safety tips can make this time of year and the holidays more enjoyable and safer for friends and family. Additionally, Thanksgiving can signal the start of a peak time for home fires due to cooking accidents, electrical failures, dry trees, space heaters, fireplaces, candles, fireworks, and holiday lights, plus residents and visitors who choose to smoke in the home, to name a few.


  • Trees: Water holiday trees often, ensure there are no faulty lights, and keep the trees away from heat sources like fireplaces and space heaters. Consider a fire-resistant artificial tree instead.
  • Holiday Lights: Check for melted or damaged wires/plugs on holiday light strands and turn all lights off while away from home.
  • Cooking: Turn pot handles inwards to prevent accidents in the kitchen. Avoid wearing loose clothing which can ignite easily. Don’t store items on the stove. The leading cause of home structure fires is from cooking and accounts for two out of every five house fires.
  • Fireplace: Hanging stockings in front of the fireplace is a common practice. Be sure stockings are hung elsewhere while the fireplace is in use. Fireplace screens or glass doors are good investments, especially when children are in the house.
  • Candles: Keep candles out of the reach of children and blow each candle out before exiting home. Electrical candles are great alternatives and give a similar effect.
  • Fire Escape Plan: Know escape routes and practice with family members. Purchase fire extinguishers for every floor of the home and test smoke detectors.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: Keep contact numbers handy for first responders, doctors, and insurance carriers. In case of destruction to home or office, contact a licensed, emergency services and property damage restoration company at

For more information and a fire safety tip sheet, among others, visit the NFPA safety website.

Originally published by Paul Davis Restoration, Inc.


Posted 1:53 PM

When Andrew Singer brought home his newest collectible car in the spring of 2017, it failed the sniff test. Sugar the Singer family’s terrier, threw her forepaws over the left front fender of the 2006 Lotus Elise, and the yellow roadster advanced no further into the garage. Sugar smelled the spice of mice.

During the winter, as the result of the previous owner’s careless winter storage, the little rodents built a nest in the dashboard behind the speedometer. “They hadn’t damaged anything—just were hanging out,” Singer said.

Over a long winter, rodents can wreak more automotive misery per ounce than any car deserves, chewing up wiring, upholstery, and fabric. A popular mouse-fighting measure is to put dryer sheets in the passenger compartment. But some experts dispute the effectiveness, saying the smell may only offer an initial defense before mice get used to it. Mousetraps and mothballs on the garage floor may prove little more effective.

Singer has found an altogether foolproof defense for his collection. “The cat patrols the garage after dinner,” he said.
Rodent protection is just one consideration for those who decommission their vintage and collectible cars during the winter. Here are a few other tips for protecting that special car: 
Wash & Wax
Wash and wax the body and give the interior a once-over to remove specks, globs, and splats that might have a corrosive effect.

Fuel Tank
To prevent varnish from forming, fill the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer. Doing this will thwart contaminants. One source recommends running the engine a few minutes to circulate stabilized gas through the fuel system.

Oil Change

Change the oil and filter, which are likely to have corrosion-causing agents. Top off the levels of other fluids. Changing engine coolant, transmission fluid, and differential oil is optional and proves just how meticulous one can be.


A nice, dry garage is ideal for winter storage. Even if the car is garaged, a vapor barrier on the floor prevents condensation buildup on the underbody and suspension. Sheet plastic or a tarp will do the job.


 “If your car will be in storage for more than 30 days, consider taking the wheels off and placing the car on jack stands at all four corners,” says Where winter isn't too long, adding extra air to the tires will serve to prevent flat spots.


Parking Brake
Leave a car with automatic transmission in “Park.” Leave a car with a manual transmission in neutral and chock the wheels. Either way, do not set the parking brake, which would result in brake pads “freezing” against the drums or rotors because of corrosion.
Remove the battery and put it on a tender until spring.
Car Cover
Car covers are worth the expense. Our favorite purveyor of upmarket car-care items describes their triple-layer cover in technical terms that made us think we’d found NASA’s website by mistake. The cover should be breathable and have a soft inner layer to protect the paint.

There are more elaborate schemes for preserving a special car in the winter. Some owners are so fastidious, they might advocate having it shrink-wrapped and sent to the International Space Station. But the list we present here is just right for the average person’s Saturday afternoon and will keep 99.5 percent of the problems at bay—especially if, as our friend Andrew Singer attests, the dog and cat are living up to their end of the bargain.

originally published by Hagarty Insurance



Posted 9:00 AM

Carve in a Clean, Dry, Well-lit Area

Wash and thoroughly dry all of the tools that you will use, including: carving tools, knife, cutting surface, and your hands. Any moisture on your tools, hands, or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.

Always Have Adult Supervision

"All too often, we see adolescent patients with injuries because adults feel the kids are responsible enough to be left on their own," says Wint. "Even though the carving may be going great, it only takes a second for an injury to occur."

Leave the Carving to Adults

Never let children do the carving. Wint suggests letting kids draw a pattern on the pumpkin and having them be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds. When the adults do start cutting, they should always cut away from themselves and cut in small, controlled strokes.

Sharper is Not Better

"A sharper knife is not necessarily better, because it often becomes wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it," says Wint. "An injury can occur if your hand is in the wrong place when the knife finally dislodges from the thick skin of the pumpkin. Injuries are also sustained when the knife slips and comes out the other side of the pumpkin where your hand may be holding it steady."

Use a Pumpkin Carving Kit

Special kits are available in stores and include small, serrated pumpkin saws that work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue. "If they do get jammed and then wedged free, they are not sharp enough to cause a deep, penetrating cut," says Wint.

Help for An Injury

Should you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop on its own by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be required.


Originally published by American Society for Surgery of the Hand

Posted 11:05 AM

In the new sharing economy, ridesharing allows vehicle owners to transport passengers in their own cars for a fee or a donation. Drivers sign up with a service that charges a fee to connect passengers with drivers via a website or smartphone app. Passengers arrange rides and pay with a credit card using the app.

Ridesharing is becoming more common around the state and the nation, particularly in large cities. Capitalizing on the new sharing economy and to a certain extent the coolness factor, this simple concept is thriving. Passengers and drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) alike are generally little informed of the fact that under a personal auto policy, they may not be covered under a number of circumstances.

What Drivers Need to Know

Why is ridesharing an issue for drivers?

Most standard personal auto policies exclude coverage for “public or livery conveyance;” in other words, the use of the vehicle to transport passengers for a fee. Some policies have even stronger exclusions that exclude any coverage when the driver is available for hire.

Other restrictions could apply, so even if you don’t see a specific exclusion, you should not assume that there is coverage under the personal auto policy. Regulators in many states have been issuing consumer alerts to warn the public about possible implications when signing up as a driver – or as a passenger – with the ridesharing apps.

What if my Transportation Network Company tells me I’m covered when I drive for them?

An increasing number of TNCs are indicating that they are going to cover the driver’s commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage. Some may also offer Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage, something that can protect you when you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who had insufficient coverage or no coverage at all (which happens all too frequently). You should ask your TNC:

  • What they would provide, and
  • Whether their coverage would be primary.

How do I know if I’m covered as a driver?

If you are considering becoming a driver for a TNC, you should:

  • Find out what the TNC will cover for your commercial exposure, including when coverage starts and when it ends, and
  • Talk to your agent about what your personal auto policy may cover if you are involved in an accident.

Although insurance issues are often downplayed by TNCs, the coordination between the commercial and the personal auto policies can pose challenges. The timing and circumstances of the accident will have a bearing on whether coverage is afforded or not. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in a number of circumstances.

Can you give an example?

Examples are a great way to get a better understanding between you and the TNC and/or the insurer and to identify potential gaps.  At the minimum, you should find out how the TNC will cover you when:

  • You are available for hire (logged into the app) but not transporting a passenger.
  • You are logged in and transporting a passenger.
  • You are logged out and not transporting a passenger.
  • You are logged out after dropping off your last passenger, and heading home.

Is this issue settled?

No. Between challenges from Public Utility Commissions, restrictions on licenses to operate, and the Legislature contemplating new laws to address proper insurance coverage, among other things, the issue is not settled. 

What Passengers Need to Know

Why is ridesharing an issue for passengers?

Ridesharing is not the same as riding in a taxi or limousine. Taxis are licensed by the state or a local authority and subject to strict standards, from vehicle inspection and driver licensing to insurance that protects passengers and others who could be hurt in an accident.

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber or Lyft are not subject to the same requirements. However, they have drawn increasing attention from state regulators and legislators concerned that the public may not be properly protected. In fact, various state regulators have issued consumer alerts to warn the public about possible risks of using a ridesharing app when riding as a passenger.

How is the ridesharing company insured?

Insurance is the crux of the issue. Drivers are using their personal vehicles. Personal auto insurance generally excludes coverage when transporting passengers for a fee.

An increasing number of TNCs are indicating that they are going to provide some protection by covering the driver’s commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage. The nature and scope of coverage provided by the TNC varies from company to company, and its coordination with the driver’s personal auto policy can leave uninsured gaps, in some cases significant.

How do I know if I’m covered as a passenger?

If  you are considering using a ridesharing service, you should:

  • Research the companies that operate in your city
  • Find out how these companies protect their drivers and passengers, including their liability limits

If you have a personal auto policy yourself, you may be able to claim some coverage under your policy if you are hurt in an accident as a passenger. If you do not own a car, you will not have that option, unless you purchased a “named non-owner” policy. Your agent can advise you about coverages.

Why should I worry? How likely is it that a bad claim will occur?

There is no way of knowing what kind of accident will occur. Hopefully, none. However, many of the insurance issues that have come to light have stemmed from catastrophic claims: one in California in which a six-year-old girl was killed in a collision with a rideshare car.

While often downplayed by those who have an interest in the ridesharing business, coordination between the commercial and personal auto policies can pose challenges. The timing and circumstances of any accident will have a bearing on whether coverage extends to the driver and the passenger. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in a number of circumstances.

Is this insurance issue settled?

No. Between challenges from Public Utility Commissions, restrictions on licenses to operate, and the Legislature contemplating new laws to address proper insurance coverage, among other things, the issue is not settled. 

- Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Insurance Agents and Brokers.

Posted 3:00 AM

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