30 Years of Service
February 12, 2020 - Space Heater Safety
While spring may be just around the corner, we still have plenty of cold weather remaining. Yes, I dislike it as much as you do. You can save some money by relying on a space heater to warm one room rather than heat your entire house. It’s a great idea, but you should still remain vigilant while using space heaters as it’s estimated that they are responsible for more than 20,000 residential fires each year.
While electric heaters are normally considered safer than gas burning units, you should still keep your space heater at least 36 inches from flammable or combustible materials. You should also turn the heater off any time you’re not in the room.
Finally, don’t use a space heater in a wet area of bathroom.
Fireplace Safety Part II - February 5, 2020.
OK…you have everything ready for a relaxing, warming fire on a cold night. Perfect.
When you start your fire, only use a match or commercial firelighter. Don’t use flammable liquids to start a fire in your fireplace.
If your fireplace has glass doors they should be open while the fire is burns. This allows the fire to receive enough oxygen for complete combustion which can help reduce creosote build-up. Metal mesh screens should be kept in place while burning.
Only burn dry wood in your fireplace.
Never leave your fireplace unattended while burning. If you need to leave the house or go to bed, be sure to completely extinguish the fire.
Fireplace Safety Part I - January 29, 2020.
There’s no doubt that relaxing near the fireplace is a great way to spend a cold winter night. It might even help save on your heating bill, too
Before lighting up…it’s important that you have your chimney, fireplace, wood or pellet stove inspected and cleaned by a licensed specialist every year. Keep the area around the hearth clear of debris or any other combustible materials
Finally, take a moment to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. These should be checked monthly and after each time you change the batteries.
January 21, 2020 - Landlord Insurance for Rental Properties
You’ve certainly heard of “renter’s insurance”, but Landlord Insurance? While renters may have a Renters Insurance Policy to protect their property, Landlord Insurance can help protect you from potentially devastating costs of loses to your rental properties.
It usually covers things like damage to structures and can also be set to include systems, furnishings and appliances within those structures.As landlord, you may also think about adding coverage to your policy for loss of rent should something occur that makes your property unusable.
If you rent your property…even short-term…Landlord Insurance is something you should consider.
January 15, 2020. - Winter Driving Safety Tips
With snow and ice predicted for our area this weekend, perhaps it's a good time to review some winter driving safety tips.
When temperatures drop, it's is to make sure your car is stocked with an ice scraper, snow shovel, and road salt or sand. Now is also a good time to check your tires to determine if it's time to replace them, or perhaps you need snow tires.
Before you leave your driveway, make sure all the snow and ice is removed from your vehicle, especially the windows mirrors and lights. In many states, it's the law.
When driving one snow and ice, remember that the speed limits are meant for dry roads. You should reduce your speed and increase the distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead.
Of course, it makes sense to wait until the worst of the snow has fallen and the road crews have had the opportunity to clear the streets.
January 7, 2020 - How Does Radon Affect a Home Purchase?
There’s no doubt that buying a home is a huge investment and requires serious consideration before signing on the dotted line.
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally and it’s not caused by your house or the contents. Radon can seep into house that are in contact with the group or can be drawn in through foundation cracks or other openings
A radon test can be made on your home, and even if it turns out to be positive for radon a system can be installed to mitigate the gas.
So, how does radon gas affect my home purchase? Providing that the radon concern can be effectively mitigated…it may not be a concern at all. Depending on the lender, it may actually prove to an “improvement” in their eyes.
December 31, 2019 - Happy New Year!
There’s no doubt that most folks like to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. There’s also no doubt that the holidays can be some of the busiest times for hospital ERs. Here are some tips that may help you stay safe.
If you’re going out, it’s best to arrive and leave with a group. It’s also a good idea to let friends and family know where you are going.
Avoid too much “celebration”. Most folks take at least a sip of alcohol on New Year’s Eve, but avoiding too much…too soon can cause a trip to the ER. Pace yourself by alternating alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages. Never leave your drink unattended.
Finally, avoid driving if possible. Perhaps you may plan to spend the night at the party location or get a room nearby.
December 18, 2019 - Christmas Tree Safety
Tis the season for Christmas trees…so it’s also time for a reminder on tree safety.
When you set-up your tree, make sure it isn’t blocking doorways or exits. Also ensure that it’s at least 36” from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators or heat vents.
When decorating, carefully look at the condition of your tree lights. Discard and replace and light set that have worn or broken cords. Make sure all bulbs are installed tightly. Be sure to turn off the lights before leaving your house or going to bed.
After the holidays…or if your tree gets dry…it’s time for it to go. A dried out tree is a fire hazard and should not be left inside your home or garage. For that matter, don’t leave it outside against the house, either.
December 11, 2019 - Leasing Your Next Car, Part II?
Okay, so you’ve decided that you are going to lease your next vehicle. When the lease is over…will you buy the leased vehicle?
Do you like it? Do you like driving it? Does it suit your needs? Have you taken care and maintained it? All important questions to consider.
You’ll want to check the residual value…what it will be worth at lease’s end. Often, you can negotiate the price of the car at the end of the lease. Sometimes, you can buy the car before the lease actually ends.
December 4, 2019 - Leasing Your Next Car?
When it comes to leasing your next car, there are really only two options…yes or no.
In short, leasing often allows you to drive a higher line car at a payment similar to a lesser model if you plan to finance. Some leases include free routine maintenance and shorter term leases allow you to frequently upgrade the vehicle you drive.
The biggest downside is that you don’t own the vehicle at the end of the lease. While you can often break a lease to get out early, there’s likely a sizable fee. Long term leases can net you a lower monthly payment, but that could cost more than a traditional purchase.
November 27, 2019 - Four Steps of Deciding On The Best Car Insurance Policy - Part 4
Ask about discounts. Who doesn’t like a discount? Many insurance companies offer discounts. Some may offer a discount for teens with good grades. Some drivers that meet low mileage thresholds or take driver’s eduction classes may qualify for a discount.
How is your car equipped. Believe it or not, some insurance companies offer discounts for vehicles with certain type of anti-theft devices or other safety equipment.
Using the same insurance company for both your home and auto policies may also qualify your policy for discounts.
When shopping for insurance…always ask for discounts.
November 19, 2019 - Four Steps of Deciding On The Best Car Insurance Policy - Part 3
Compare several car insurance quotes. Some insurers rely on insurance scores to determine how likely policy holders are to file claims. Some care more about the type of car you drive and how costly it is to repair. All insurers have their own way of setting rates, and they can vary greatly.
Where you live can also be a factory in determining your insurance rate. If your ZIP code has a higher than average rate of accidents…your rate could be higher.
This is just another reason we invite your call or email. The National Insurance Agency in Newtown and Philadelphia is an independent agency representing many insurers. We can cross-shop the insurance companies we represent to ensure that you get the best insurance value. Never any obligation, of course.
November 12, 2019 - Four Steps of Deciding On the Best Car Insurance Policy - Part 2
Everyone wants a great deal on their insurance, but that amazing, “too good to be true” policy is no good if the company isn’t around to pay a claim. .
We suggest you check on-line reports from independent ratings companies like A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s. These may help you determine if they financial health. Each ratings agency uses their own standards for evaluations, but may offer some info to help give you some peace of mind.
As always, we are here to answer any of your insurance questions.
November 6, 2019 - Four Steps of Deciding On The Best Car Insurance Policy - Part 1
It’s important that you first decide how much coverage you need. While a cheap policy may seem like a great idea…you may want to think twice.
An inexpensive plan may not provide collision coverage, which would pay to fix your car following an accident. These policies may also not offer comprehensive coverage that covers damage to your vehicle not caused by accidents, like natural disasters, theft or vandalism.
A police y that only covers the minimum amount of liability required by law may save you some money, but it probably won’t cover the legal claims that could come from serious accidents involved property damage or injuries.
Finally, if you’re leasing a car, gap insurance covers the difference between the actual cash value of the vehicles and the outstanding balance of your lease.
We welcome you call about car insurance, never any obligation of course.
October 29, 2019 - Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is almost here! Here are some ideas to help keep the little ones safe.
First, make sure that a responsible adult goes with the younger kids on their halloween route.
Ensure that masks still allow good visibility.
Agree on a well lit, familiar route for the older kids…and remind them to travel in groups.
Don’t let them eat any of their candy until you can review and make sure it’s safe.
Finally, while a mobile phone can be a great safety device…it also can distract kids when walking. Make sure they use their mobile devices carefully.
October 22, 2019 - Wedding Insurance?
Yep…that’s a thing. Venues close, photographers don’t show up…and bands break up. Your great uncle does a dance on a table and falls onto the gift table. The weather doesn’t cooperate. These are just a few of the reasons that weddings don’t work out as planned.
We can help with an Event Insurance Policy. These plans can reimburse you for non-recoverable deposits and purchases if covered expenses beyond your control cause your wedding to be postponed or cancelled. It also helps provide protection against no-show or bankrupt vendors, damage to wedding attire, gifts and much more.
October 17, 2019 - Home Solar Panel Tips, 4.
It’s important to know that solar systems are not maintenance-free. You’ll need to hire a qualified solar company to perform routine inspection and maintenance.
Plus, these systems are exposed to weather conditions like wind and debris that could put additional strain on the wiring, fasteners and panels.
Another good idea is to inspect from the attic to ensure that the installation is remaining leak-free and not stressing the roof.
Finally, you should have a conversation with your insurance agent to ensure that the solar system is included in your coverage.
October 9, 2019 - Home Solar Panel Tips, Part 3.
Get the right equipment. It’s important to know that solar panels are always producing electricity when exposed to light. You’ll need to make sure that there is a way to rapidly shut down the system in order to minimize an electrical hazard. Ensure that high-quality mounting systems are used, with appropriate flashing and sealants to prevent water from entering your home.
If aesthetics are important to you, you may want to consider solar panels that mimic the look of your roof shingles, windows or other details so they best integrate with the appearance of your home. These types of panels are usually more costly, but may be a considering for you.
October 2, 2019 - Home Solar Panel Tips, Part 2.
Is your home ready for the installation of solar panels?
It’s important to consider other home improvements that may be needed to accommodate the solar panels and the power system you select.
First, have your roof inspected by a professional to check it’s condition and ability to handle the additional weight when solar panels are added. The condition of your shingles should also be noted as it’s preferred to have at least 10 years’ life remaining before installation. If your shingles are nearing the end of their lifespan, you may consider a new roof first. It’s difficult to move solar panels once installed.
September 25, 2019 - Home Solar Panel Tips, Part 1. Seems like every day another one of your neighbors has solar panels installed on their roofs. For good reasons, too. Clean renewal energy is very attractive to homeowners seeking environmental and sustainable power.
Should you go solar? You’ll need to determine that your home is a good candidate for solar power. Does your home have clear, southern exposure? If it’s shaded by trees, for example, you’ll need to remove or trim trees to provide adequate sun exposure.
How do I pay for solar?
Switching to solar is a long-term investment. If you pay for your panels and their installation, you may be able to benefit from any subsidies benefits of your system. There are also federal and state funded programs that can help reduce your installation costs.
Some homeowners may enter agreements with a company that will install your panels at no cost or a reduced cost, but they retain all ownership rights for subsidies and tax incentives. You’ll see a lower electric bill with little to no upfront costs.
September 18, 2019 - How To Drive More Safely In Strong Rain and Wind, PT II, Rain.
Besides hindering your vision….rain adds some other hazards that you should always have in mind when deriving in the rain.
First, slow down. Driving at a slower pace can help avoid hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when your tires travel on the water instead of gripping the road. These can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. It’s also important to know that at the very beginning of a storm, the road is at it slickest. Oil on the road mixes with the rain creating a slippery surface.
Wipers on-lights on. Some newer cars do this automatically and in many states…it’s the law. Help others see you by turning your lights on.
Finally, allow more room between your car and the car you are following. Slippery roads mean longer stopping distances.
September 11, 2019 - How To Drive More Safely In Strong Rain and Wind, PT I, Wind.
While it may no occur to you that wind is a major concern, it still deserves special consideration from drivers. Strong wind can occur anywhere and often without notice.
Anticipate Wind Gusts. Take extra care when driving in areas prone to high wind or when weather forecasts expect same.
Larger Vehicles. Large motor homes and 18 wheelers are susceptible to wind gusts and may have trouble remaining in their lane.
Get a Grip! Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel in case the wind starts to move your vehicle. This is even more important when driving an RV or towing a trailer.
September 5 2019 - Work Zone Driving
At least here in SE Pennsylvania, there seems to be no shortage of road “work zones” these days.
There’s no doubt that it’s frustrating, but here are a few tips that may help make it more bearable and safer.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Traffic can slow or stop without notice, lanes can merge and workers can enter the roadway at any minute. Slow down. More than 1/3rd of fatal accidents in work zones are cause by speeding.
Pay attention to flaggers and signs.
Keep a safe distance. Rear end collisions account for 30% of work zone accidents.
August 28, 2019 - Fire Pit Safety
Days are getting shorter…temperatures are dropping…it’s almost time for fire pits. Here are a few tips to make sure that your fire pits is used safely.
• Place the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home, backyard deck or low-hanging tree branches.
• Always require adult supervision around the fire pit while it is in use and until it has cooled off.
• Never leave the fire unattended.
• Use sand to fully extinguish the fire.
• Let the coals cool completely and dispose of them in a metal container.
August 21, 2019 - Lightning Safety Outdoors
’Tis the season for lightning! The last few weeks here in SE PA have allowed Mother Nature to show her force. Heavy rain…loud thunder…and lots of lightning. Here are some tips that can help you keep safe if you’re caught outside during one of these storms.
If you can, find indoor shelter. A building or vehicle with a hardtop is great, just keep the windows closed. It’s further suggested to wait 30 minutes after the storm passes before venturing out. Avoid tents, pavilions or other outdoor structures.
Since lightning tends to strike high points, so if you cannot get to indoor shelter…a low, unexposed point can help protect from lightning strikes.
Finally, start away from tall objects. Flagpoles, telephone poles, fences, antennas and the like can act as lightning rods. It’s also a good idea to set up local weather alerts on your smartphone so that you can avoid being outside when a storm like this is nearby.
August 14, 2019 - Stow It!!
We continue the distracted driving theme this time, with a simple idea that could help you avoid being distracted while driving.
As a waitress on a certain TV show used to say.."Stow It"!
First, place your cellphone in your purse or briefcase. If you don’t use either of these, perhaps placing your phone in the console or glove compartment is a good idea.
Or…simply turn it off.
There’s no doubt that everyone is connected these days via their cell phone, but your safety…and everyone else’s safety is more important than a missed call or text.
Any of these ideas can help you from being distracted while driving.
August 7, 2019 - Every Second Matters!
Distracted driving is a common and dangerous occurrence on today’s roads. Traveler’s Institute Every Second Matters initiative recognizes that every driver, passenger and pedestrian has a role to play in making a positive change when it comes to distracted driving.
For example, in the state of Georgia, 74% of fatal crashes were directly attributed to one of three things: speed, impaired driving and distracted driving. Some believe that distracted driving contributes more than the other two combined.
We’ve said it before, but it bears saying again. When you’re behind the wheel….driving IS the activity..