FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2017
Holiday Fire Safety at Home
Four fire hazards and tips to avoid them.
Picture your perfect holiday. Perhaps you hear family members laugh while the fireplace crackles in the background. Or you enjoy your favorite holiday meal surrounded by friends and the glow of candlelight in your carefully decorated dining room. With all the holiday buildup, you might not be thinking about fire safety. But you can help preserve these peaceful memories by doing a little preparation.
Nearly 156,000 fires occur during the winter holiday season, causing 630 deaths, 2,600 injuries, and approximately $936 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. “These are tragic losses at this time of year,” says James King, field technical manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. Every January, he reviews several cases of fires that could have been prevented.
Here are four main fire hazards that every homeowner should know.
Always Properly Dispose of Fireplace Ashes - Ashes should be placed in a metal container, wet down and moved outside, far away from your deck, garage, woodpile or anything that could catch fire. After about a week, check again for hot spots. If none are found, dispose of ashes in your outdoor trash bin and take the trash to the curb.
Always get your chimney inspected and cleaned before the holidays.
Always regularly check your Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors, and Fire Extinguishers. If they don't work, replace them immediately.
Never leave candles unattended.
Never place candles in a high-traffic area where children or pets might knock them over.
Always leave a two-foot circle of safety around candles.
Never place near anything flammable.
Extension Cords and Holiday Lights
Never overload extension cords or use indoor cords outdoors. Turn off lights when sleeping or away from home.
Always check manufacturer labels to avoid a fire hazard. Do not connect more strings of lights together than recommended by the manufacturer.
Always keep extension cords out of reach of children and pets.
Never run cords under carpets. The wire can fray or be pinched by heavy furniture and start a fire.
Never nail or staple through the cord or holiday light wiring.
Always plug outdoor lights into circuits protected by GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) to prevent electric shock. Older home may not have GFCIs, but it is a fairly inexpensive fix.
Always inspect all extension cords and holiday lights for frayed wire, cracked insulation or excessive kinking before using them.
Always store cords and lights in a dry attic or closet out of season, and consider replacing inexpensive lights every few years.
Never use extension cords with space heaters. These should always be plugged directly into the wall.
Always check the circuit to make sure it can handle the added demand.
Never leave a space heater unattended, and if not in use turn them off and unplug them.
Never remove the third-prong grounding feature, and plug heaters into GFCI's for added safety.
Originally published by CHUBB Personal Insurance
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
Two keys to weather safety are to Prepare for the risks and to Act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials.
Please refer to FEMA's website (ready.gov/hurricanes) for comprehensive information on hurricane preparedness at home and in your community.
Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
Understand the difference between National Weather Service watches and warnings. Understanding the difference is critical to being prepared for any dangerous weather hazard, including hurricanes.
A watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur. It literally means "be on guard!" During a weather watch, gather awareness of the specific threat and prepare for action. Monitor the weather to find out if severe weather conditions have deteriorated and discuss your protective action plans with your family.
A warning requires immediate action. This means a weather hazard is imminent - it is either occurring (a tornado has been spotted, for example) - or it is about to occur at any moment. During a weather warning, it is important to take action: grab the emergency kit you have prepared in advance and head to safety immediately. Both watches and warnings are important, but warnings are more urgent.
Contact Information: keep a list of contact information for reference including Emergency Management Offices; State, County & Local Law Enforcement; Hospitals; Fire & Rescue; Local TV & Radio Stations; Your Property Insurance Agent.
Plan and Take Action
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?
Supplies Kit: Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Help community members do the same.
Emergency Plans: Develop and document plans for your specific risks.
Evacuation: Review FEMA's Evacuation Guidelines to allow enough time to pack and inform family and friends if you need to leave your home. Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered.
Information contained herein was used with permission from NOAA.
THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 2017
You've Got the Car of Your Dreams, Now How Do You Protect It?
As anybody who’s dealt with an insurance claim on a classic will tell you, it’s an important question. The fact is, the everyday insurance policy that’s perfect for your daily-use cars just doesn’t cut it when it comes to classics. Even if your classic stays in your garage, undriven, it probably won’t be covered by your homeowner’s policy for a fire, theft or accident. So what’s the difference between specialty and everyday insurance? Specialty and everyday insurance policies differ greatly when it comes to vehicle value and how you are compensated in the event of a loss. There are three ways auto insurance pays out claims: Actual Cash Value Most everyday insurers offer Actual Cash Value policies. This is what an insurance adjuster says your car is worth, usually based on used car values – not the classic car market. So if your classic’s stolen or declared a total loss after an accident, it’s unlikely you’ll be compensated for its true value. Stated Value Many everyday insurers offer Stated Value policies for classic cars, allowing clients to set their own value. But here’s the problem: the insurer only has to pay up to the Stated Value, and in fact is allowed to pay the lesser of the Stated Value or the Actual Cash Value, less any deductible. Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value Most specialty insurers offer Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value, which means you and the insurance company agree on a value for your car. If there’s a covered total loss, you’ll receive that full value, less any deductibles. Some companies require appraisals at your expense, while others will only insure cars for book value – no negotiations. The best companies don’t require appraisals, and rely on their expertise and your opinion to determine an accurate value for your classic.
Is Classic Car Insurance Right for You and Your Car?
Different companies have different vehicle and age requirements, but vehicles are generally considered classics if they maintain or appreciate in value and are of limited production or special interest. Drivers must have a good driving record. Some companies require drivers to be 25 or older. Vehicles typically need to be securely garaged. Vehicles typically can not be used for back-up or daily transportation. Some companies have strict mileage limitations; others are more flexible. How do you choose a classic car insurance expert? As you shop around, here are some things to look for: Agreed or Guaranteed Value coverage - It’s the only way to make sure you get the full value of your classic. • Good Reputation - Ask around and read online reviews. Find out how companies treat their clients and deal with claims. • Financial stability - Choose a company with an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or better. This means that the company is financially strong and benefits from good management. Lets you choose the repair shop - In event of a claim, you should choose who repairs your classic.
- Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Hagerty.
SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 2017
Easter is coming up very quickly.
Are you planning an Easter egg hunt for your family, church, school, or neighborhood?
Whether your Easter egg hunt is inside or outside, keep the fun going and the kids safe with these safety tips.
Inspect the area for potential hazards.
Pick up any objects that may present a tripping hazard.
For inside egg hunts, be aware of electrical outlets, sharp corners, open windows and stairs.
For outside egg hunts, look for holes and uneven ground that could lead to injury.
Set boundaries to keep the kids in sight at all times and away from unsafe areas. This includes places that are too high or near streets and driveways.
Plan to have adult supervision at all times.
Hide the eggs in safe areas.
For inside hunts, keep eggs away from electrical outlets, plugs, and light sockets.
For outside hunts, keep eggs away from thick or thorned bushes, areas where pesticides have been sprayed and potential areas for bees and snakes.
Be cautious of food allergies and choking hazards if filling plastic eggs with candy or toys.
Be cautious of using real eggs. Make sure to take steps to cook them properly, store them properly, and keep them clean.
---Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Goodville Mutual Casualty Company.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2017
Nobody wants to be involved in an accident, but everyone should have a plan and be prepared.
After an accident, it is important to gather information as quickly as possible.
Stop immediately and as close to the accident site as is safely possible.
Do not move your vehicle unless directed by a police officer or if it is in a position to cause another accident. Check everybody involved for injuries. If the accident was more serious than a fender-bender, call 911 immediately. To protect victims from further injury, don’t move them. Cover them with a blanket or jacket and wait for the paramedics to arrive.
Only discuss the accident with the investigating officer. Do not blame anyone, including yourself. The police will tell you what to do next—such as whether you should move the vehicles out of traffic. While you are waiting for the police, exchange insurance information with the other driver if possible.
Information you will need to obtain:
- Name of driver
- Their driver's license number
- Name of their insurance company
- Phone number of company or agent
- Effective dates of their insurance policy
- The driver’s phone number
Other important information to collect at the scene includes:
- Names of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident
- Make, model, color, and license plate number of each vehicle involved
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses
- Photos or drawings of the accident scene and damage to each vehicle
- Names and badge numbers of police officers and responding medical teams
- Information on how you can receive a copy of the police report
- If you hit an unattended vehicle, try to find the owner. If you are unable to locate the owner, leave a note with your name and phone number on the car’s windshield.
After the investigating officer has completed a report and you’ve received any necessary medical care, phone your insurance agent, or company claim hotline as soon as possible, even if you weren’t at fault or are far away from home. The sooner your agent receives the information, the sooner your claim will be processed and reviewed.
Throughout the claims process, you must tell the truth about all aspects of the situation, even if the circumstances surrounding the accident are embarrassing or detrimental to you. Insurance fraud is a crime with very serious consequences.
--Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Penn National Insurance.
Posted 3:00 AM