The Type of Fire Extinguisher Every Home Should Have

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/05/01/the-type-of-fire-extinguisher-every-home-should-have/ 2016-05-01 22:33:59 2016-04-27 16:16:23

A fire is a fire, and a fire extinguisher is a fire extinguisher, right? Well, not quite. There are actually different types of fires and different types of extinguishers that respond best to each one. So, which is right for you?

We’ll get to that, but first let’s look at the five different fire types, as outlined by the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association:

Selecting a Fire Extinguisher

For each fire class, there’s a fire extinguisher to match, and it’s important to use the right one. For example, an extinguisher rated for Class B fires only might not be appropriate to use on another fire. In fact, it might even be dangerous.

So, how do you pick a fire extinguisher? Do you need several? A good bet is a multipurpose extinguisher, which typically is rated for Class A, B and C fires and available at home improvement stores. This type of extinguisher is typically good for general living areas and will work on small grease fires, as well. Specialized kitchen extinguishers are available, too. (Note: Class K extinguishers are typically for large commercial kitchens.)

No matter which type you choose, you want:

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Before you use a fire extinguisher – or try to fight a fire with any method – make sure you consider the following questions:

If you’ve answered “yes” to those questions, the National Fire Protection Association recommends remembering “P.A.S.S.” when it’s time to use your extinguisher:

Maintaining a Fire Extinguisher

It’s easy to just put an extinguisher in your kitchen cabinet and forget about it. But, by doing that, you run the risk of it not working when you need it most.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, some need to be shaken monthly, and others need to be pressure tested periodically. Follow the instructions on your specific extinguisher. Also, check regularly to make sure it’s not damaged, rusted or dirty.

Remember, a fire extinguisher won’t do you any good if it doesn’t work, and it won’t help if you can’t get to it, either. So, ensure it’s in an accessible place, not buried in the back of a closet.

Finally, don’t ever forget that sometimes your best bet is not using an extinguisher at all. It’s using your family escape plan to get you and your loved ones out of danger. If there’s any doubt, get out!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

A fire is a fire, and a fire extinguisher is a fire extinguisher, right? Well, not quite. There are actually different types of fires and different types of extinguishers that respond best to each one. So, which is right for you? Continue reading

What Should Go in Your Home Safe – or Safe-Deposit Box?

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/04/26/what-should-go-in-your-home-safe-or-safe-deposit-box/ 2016-04-26 22:23:55 2016-04-26 22:27:07

Spring has arrived, which means it’s time to clean the cobwebs out of the corners, organize the closets and so forth. While you’re at it, don’t forget to revisit the important documents and other items you have in your home safe and in that safe-deposit box at the bank.

What documents do you need to keep? What can your shred? Are your valuable items properly secured?

Wait, what’s that? You don’t have a home safe? Or a safe-deposit box? Well, let’s look at why you may want to get one – or both – and what to keep inside.

Home Safes

Oftentimes these are well suited for safeguarding important documents and valuable things you access somewhat regularly, such as jewelry or watches. Keep in mind that while residential safes help protect against fire and theft, they often aren’t as robust as commercial models. For the best protection in a home safe, select a model that is heavy enough that a burglar couldn’t make off with it, and consider bolting it to the floor. Here are some of the things you may want to keep inside:

Safe-Deposit Boxes
Speaking of safe-deposit boxes, are they an old-fashioned notion or something that’s worth your while? To answer that question, U.S. News & World Report recommends gathering everything you might want to store in a safe-deposit box and then determining whether you feel secure enough storing it all at home.

If not, a safe-deposit box may be a better, more secure option. A bank is more heavily guarded that your home, after all – against theft, fire and other disasters.

If you do decide on a safe-deposit box, here’s what you might want to keep in it:

If not, store these items in your home safe. And, here’s what NOT to put in a safe-deposit box:

Remember, putting something in your home safe or a safe-deposit box is more secure than stashing it in your sock drawer, but it doesn’t guarantee anything, either. So, think about having document backups, as well as insurance for your valuable items.

After all, if something is valuable enough to lock up, isn’t it valuable enough to insure, too? Talk to your independent agent about your personal property coverage and about scheduling any high-value items, especially expensive jewelry and collectibles, separately.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

What documents do you need to keep? What can your shred? Are your valuable items properly secured? Wait, what’s that? You don’t have a home safe? Or a safe-deposit box? Well, let’s look at why you may want to get one – or both – and what to keep inside. Continue reading

5 Tips to Help You Care for Your Trees

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/04/10/5-tips-to-help-you-care-for-your-trees/ 2016-04-10 20:17:29 2016-04-01 20:18:26

They’re beautiful. They’re essential. And, left unchecked, they can damage your home, your property and that of others.

They’re trees. And, as with so many things in life, proper maintenance is critical. Keeping your trees healthy will allow you to continue to enjoy them and their benefits – one large tree can supply the daily oxygen needs of four people, according to the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Plus, properly maintained trees are less likely to fall on your home and your car or someone else’s. So, exactly how should you care for your trees? Here are some tips from the National Arbor Day Foundation to help keep trees healthy, identify warning signs and address problems.

  1. Plant the right species in the right place. Proper tree care starts with selecting and planting the right trees for your property. Avoid brittle ones, such as Silver Maples, Lombardy Poplars, Box Elders and Willows. They can produce weak limbs that fall and injure people or property. With a little research and a look around your grounds, you can determine what type and size of trees will do well in your area. Be sure to avoid planting too close to your home, near sewer lines or under power lines.
  2. Inspect often. The sooner you spot a problem, the sooner you can take corrective action – and potentially save your tree. Check them regularly, especially following a storm, and have a qualified arborist inspect them annually. What should you look for? The amount of leaf cover, as well as the color, size and condition of leaves are all signs of a tree’s health. If you notice a substantial change, start keeping a close eye on the tree. It may need to come down soon. Also consider the trunk’s health. A forked trunk or one with cavities, disfiguration or fungi is a weak, and potentially dangerous, trunk. However, if there’s a large amount of sound wood surrounding internal rot, for example, the tree may still be safe. Just monitor it closely.
  3. Prune the right way, at the right time. The first pruning should occur when trees are young, and then at regular intervals as they age. Make the cut outside the branch collar, and never allow trees to be topped. An arborist or your local nursery can provide more guidance.
  4. Remove dead or dying limbs and trees. Don’t sit on this, especially if the branch or tree is threatening nearby structures or people. And, don’t do it yourself, either. Taking down a large branch or tree, maybe even a small one, is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted by an expert. Also address branches that cross or rub, as both can lead to weak spots.
  5. Respect your neighbors. Are your trees a nuisance for or even a threat to your neighbors? Try to address the issue in a way that benefits you both. And, don’t forget to be mindful of being a good neighbor when you’re planting, trimming or otherwise caring for your trees.

Of course, even when you care for your trees to the best of your ability, they may still fall, especially during a storm. What happens then? If the tree was known to be damaged or defective, you may be held responsible for any resulting damages or injuries. So, if you have questions about fallen trees and insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to ask.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Properly maintained trees are less likely to fall on your home and your car or someone else’s. So, exactly how should you care for your trees? Here are some tips. Continue reading

After the Storm, Is Your Food Still Safe?

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/04/03/after-the-storm-is-your-food-still-safe/ 2016-04-03 20:08:28 2016-04-01 20:11:28

The wind is howling. The rain is coming down in sheets. The power goes out for a few hours. And, then everything’s fine – except, maybe, all that food in your fridge and freezer.

The question is: Should you eat it or toss it? The answer: It depends – on a lot of factors, actually. To help you determine the best course of action, here are some insights and guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While the Power’s Out

Don’t open your refrigerator or freezer, if possible. Keeping the doors closed helps keep the cold in, potentially preserving your food for longer. How long? Typically food is safe for up to four hours in an unopened refrigerator and 48 hours in a full, unopened freezer (less if the freezer isn’t full). You can add block or dry ice to either if you think the power might be out for an extended period.

Once the Power Returns

When the lights blink back on, don’t just assume everything is OK. A few checks are in order first, especially if the power has been out for more than four hours. What’s not in order? Taste testing. You should never taste food to determine if it’s safe. Instead, follow these tips.

Prepare for the Next Outage

Not knowing whether or not your food is safe to eat is frustrating, to say the least. These tips will help to further unravel the mystery.

Throwing out food is frustrating, too, so check your homeowners policy. Many provide coverage for food spoilage in such situations. However, because your deductible might be higher than the value of your food, a claim often doesn’t make sense unless you have other damage to your home.

Power outages and other emergencies are already stressful enough. Don’t compound that stress by eating food that could make you sick. If there’s any doubt, just go ahead and throw it out.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

The question is: Should you eat it or toss it? The answer: It depends – on a lot of factors, actually. To help you determine the best course of action, here are some insights and guidelines. Continue reading

Navigate Rainy Roadways With Care

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/03/14/navigate-rainy-roadways-with-care/ 2016-03-14 20:00:47 2016-03-11 20:01:56

It’s just rain – how much impact can it really have on your driving?

The answer: a lot. You’re likely to experience lower visibility, reduced traction and increased difficulty in handling your car both during and after a rainstorm. Add flooding to the mix and suddenly things get much more challenging – and dangerous.

In fact, more than half of flood-related drownings are due to people driving into floodwaters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, never, ever do it. As little as 12 inches of rushing water can carry away a small car, and 24 inches can carry away most any vehicle, according to the National Weather Service, which emphasizes “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” when it comes to both walking and driving into floodwaters.

So, what about when the roads are wet but passable? From the rainy northwest, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) offers these tips for a safer approach to wet weather driving:

  1. Turn on your lights. Rain (and the spray from other vehicles) can significantly lower visibility. Make it easier for other drivers to see you.
  2. Slow down. It’s easy to lose control and hydroplane on wet roads, especially at speeds of about 35 mph or higher. Hydroplaning occurs when your front tires ride on a film of water instead of actually being in contact with the road. If it happens, ODOT recommends taking the following measures: “Ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.” You’re also at risk of splashing water into the engine and stalling it when you drive at high speeds.
  3. Give people more room, and don’t use cruise control. You won’t be able to stop as quickly when the roads are wet – cars need two to three times more stopping distance.
  4. Expect things to be slick, especially if it hasn’t rained for a while. When a fresh rain mixes with engine oil and grease on the road, the combination can produce exceptionally slippery surfaces.
  5. Make sure tires have proper inflation and adequate tread. Both over- and under-inflated tires are dangerous even in normal conditions. As for checking the tread, use the penny test: Insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you see his entire head, it’s time for new tires.
  6. Keep up with general car maintenance. Make sure your wipers are functioning and that you replace the blades regularly. Also check your defroster, especially if you don’t use it often.

Remember, driving safely in inclement weather requires caution and patience. Give yourself more time to get where you’re going. If conditions are truly unsafe, pull over to a safe place (or stay home if you can). And, finally, don’t be caught with inadequate insurance coverage, either. Wet conditions make accidents more likely, so before you head out into the storm, make sure you have the coverage you need.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

It’s just rain – how much impact can it really have on your driving? The answer: a lot. Continue reading

Going Solar? Here’s What to Think About First

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/03/11/going-solar-heres-what-to-think-about-first/ 2016-03-11 19:19:07 2016-03-11 19:21:46

For decades, solar panels have been going up on roofs across America, meaning that nowadays a roof can help protect you from the elements and help insulate you from rising electric costs. For some, the environmental benefit of renewable energy is an added draw, as is the potential to sell excess power back to the utility company.

Clearly, there are a number of reasons to consider going solar, but it isn’t right for everyone. So, before you start dreaming of $0 power bills, ask yourself these eight questions to help determine if solar power is a good fit for you.

  1. Does my home even get enough sun?
    You may be surprised – you don’t necessarily need a south-facing roof, as is commonly believed. Professional installers can estimate how much power you can expect from solar panels. They’ll measure shade and determine the optimal arrangement, giving you figures on total available energy.
  2. Can I get tax breaks or assistance to help pay for my system?
    In many instances, yes. From federal tax credits to state and local incentives, including rebates on systems, it’s very common for homeowners to realize savings on the solar installations themselves in addition to their energy bills. Your installer should know about current programs.
  3. Will it be worth my investment?
    Take a look at what you spend on electricity now, as well as your future needs. For example, if you live in an area with inexpensive power, such as from a hydroelectric dam, you might not benefit as much from solar as someone in a remote area with higher electric costs. But, don’t limit yourself to the here and now – think ahead, too. If you have a growing family, your energy costs are likely to grow as well. Conversely, if your kids are almost ready to leave the nest, your costs could be headed down already.
  4. Do solar panels require a lot of maintenance?
    A yearly inspection and regular cleaning will help keep your panels operating efficiently. Be sure to discuss the recommended cleaning schedule with your installer if you plan to own your own system. It will vary depending on the specifics of your locale. If you lease the panels, you likely won’t be responsible for maintenance. Likewise if a third party, such as a utility company, installs, owns and maintains the panels on your behalf – this is often in exchange for discounted electricity rates.
  5. When will I start saving?
    That depends on the option you select. Buying a system yourself means that you’re making a large investment that should pay off over time, while leasing one or entering into a different agreement may provide you with more immediate, but smaller, savings.
  6. How long does a system typically last?
    Depending on the panels you select, you may receive a 25-year or so warranty. Inverters often are guaranteed for 5-10 but may last much longer.
  7. How do I choose an installer?
    Look for positive online reviews, get recommendations from friends and neighbors and check with the Better Business Bureau.
  8. Will solar panels increase my insurance costs?
    Solar panels increase the value of your home, so you may need to increase your home insurance coverage, too. Talk through your needs with us before you install any system so that if your policy doesn’t already cover solar panels you can amend it to include your new system. And, don’t forget to add your system to your home inventory, too.

There are a number of great reasons to go solar, and perfectly valid reasons to stay on the grid, too. Whatever you decide, make a commitment to using energy efficiently and responsibly – that will benefit everyone, as well as the planet!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need – solar, or otherwise – while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Clearly, there are a number of reasons to consider going solar, but it isn’t right for everyone. So, before you start dreaming of $0 power bills, ask yourself these eight questions to help determine if solar power is a good fit for you. Continue reading

Identity Protection Tips for Tax Season

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/03/03/identity-protection-tips-for-tax-season/ 2016-03-03 22:43:11 2016-03-01 22:45:17

What’s the most important number for you this tax season? The amount of your refund? The amount you owe? The number of hours spent poring over all the other numbers?

All of those are pretty important. But, none of them are as important as your Social Security number, at least not in the larger scheme of things.

That’s the number that puts you at greatest risk for identity theft, and, at this time of year, there are plenty of opportunities for potential thieves to nab it. It’s on the W-2 forms you get in the mail. The return you mail (or send electronically) to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Perhaps even in an email between you and your accountant.

If someone does steal your Social Security number (SSN), they can use it for more than just opening new credit accounts. They could file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund, too. You might not even realize it until you go to file your real return.

So, how do you keep your identity safe this tax season? These tips will help:

Safeguard Your Tax Documents

Use Secure Delivery Methods

Protect Your Data When e-Filing

Don’t Take the Bait

Know the Signs of Tax-Related Identity Theft

These precautions may make it harder for someone to steal your identity – but not impossible. So, what should you do if you become a victim of tax-related identity theft? First things first, contact the IRS at once. You can reach the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. You’ll likely need to fill out and submit the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.

These additional steps will also help:

Tax time is probably never going to be fun, even if you never experience identity theft. But, being cautious can certainly help to minimize your risk and your stress – that is, until it’s time to write that check to the IRS.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

What’s the most important number for you this tax season? The amount of your refund? The amount you owe? The number of hours spent poring over all the other numbers? All of those are pretty important. But, none of them are as important as your Social Security number, at least not in the larger scheme of things. Here are some steps you can take to protect your identity this tax season. Continue reading

Have Guns in Your House? 5 Things to Keep in Mind

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/03/01/have-guns-in-your-house-5-things-to-keep-in-mind/ 2016-03-01 22:21:04 2016-03-01 22:25:06

The topic of guns can be very sensitive, but there’s one thing virtually everyone can agree on: Storing them safely is incredibly important, particularly in homes with children or even those where children occasionally visit.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure firearm safety at home – whether you have kids around or not. These five tips are a great start:

  1. Keep ’em locked… Not only should you store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe or vault, you should also limit who has access to the key or combination – even if everyone in your family is a skilled shooter. In addition, use a gun-locking device so your firearms are inoperable when not in use. (This is not a substitute for appropriate storage, however.)
  2. … and unloaded. Before putting away a gun, first unload the ammunition. Then, the next time you go to take it out of storage, point it in a safe direction and reconfirm that it is not loaded.
  3. Separate guns and ammo. Keep your ammunition under lock and key, too – away from your guns. That way, if an unauthorized person does gain access to your firearms, he/she won’t be able to load them.
  4. Educate your family and others who visit your home. Everyone in your home – family members and short-term visitors alike – should know that there are firearms present. Remind children regularly that if they find a firearm – either in your home or someone else’s – they should alert a responsible adult and never touch or play with it.
  5. Remember “S.A.F.E.” Project ChildSafe educates firearm owners to: Secure your firearms when not in use; be Aware of those around you who should not have access to guns; Focus on your responsibility as a gun owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe handling and storage.
  6. Having firearms in your home can present unique insurance issues as well – both in terms of the value of the guns themselves and your liability coverage. Check with your independent insurance agent to see what your policy limits are regarding personal property coverage for firearms, as well as whether an umbrella policy might be the right option for additional liability protection.

    Whether you have one gun or an entire collection, always aim for safety. Your entire family, as well as your houseguests and neighbors, will thank you for it.

    Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

    Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

    Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

    The topic of guns can be very sensitive, but there’s one thing virtually everyone can agree on: Storing them safely is incredibly important, particularly in homes where children live or visit. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure firearm safety at home – whether you have kids around or not. These five tips are a great start… Continue reading

What to Do After a Car Accident in Winter

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/01/25/what-to-do-after-a-car-accident-in-winter/ 2016-01-25 19:47:20 2016-01-25 19:49:22

Freezing temperatures, gusts of wind, patches of ice – winter can be a horrible time to be on the road. And, an even worse time to get into a car accident.

But, with reduced visibility, slick roads and maybe even a reckless driver or two, accidents are bound to happen. So, what should you do if you experience one? Follow these five guidelines to help you stay safe while you wait for help to arrive after a car accident in winter:

  1. Respond calmly. Your first instinct following any car accident may be to jump out of the car and give the other driver(s) a piece of your mind. But, given traffic and road conditions, it may not be safe for you to get out of your vehicle at all (and, it’s never safe to act aggressively toward others). So, stay in your car, take a deep breath, turn on your hazard lights and check yourself and others for injuries. Keep in mind that, if you’re in shock, you may not notice your own injuries at first. If needed, call 911 to request medical and traffic assistance.
  2. Get off the road. If a minor accident leaves your car operable and no one involved requires emergency first aid, make clearing the roadway your next priority. Have all vehicles pull well off the road to reduce the chances of causing another accident. Just proceed with caution, especially if visibility is low. Other drivers on the road need extra time to react to slow-moving vehicles.
  3. If you can’t get off the road, stay in your car. Walking around the roadway is extremely dangerous if other cars are around, particularly with stormy weather and slick roads making it difficult for drivers to respond to unexpected hazards. So, stay in your car and fasten your seatbelt, in case another collision occurs. Wait there for assistance and instructions from emergency personnel. Or, if your car isn’t safe to be in, seek other protection.
  4. Stay visible, stay warm, stay put. Put up warning triangles and road flares, if you have them. Otherwise, tie a bright piece of cloth on your antenna or door handle so your vehicle is visible to others. If you’re running the engine to stay warm (make sure your tailpipe isn’t clogged with mud or snow or you risk being exposed to carbon monoxide), also turn on your running lights. Your vehicle emergency kit, stocked with blankets, extra clothing and more, will come in handy until emergency responders arrive. Because staying put is typically safer than heading out to seek help – you risk getting lost. And, leaving the scene of a serious accident can result in monetary fines.
  5. Collect pertinent details and report the accident. After any accident, it’s important to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s), jot down notes about what happened and even snap a few photos – just be sure not to put yourself in harm’s way in order to do so. Then contact your insurance carrier to file a claim and your roadside assistance service to request help.

And, what if you come across an accident involving others? So long as they aren’t in immediate danger, your best bet is likely calling 911 and letting the appropriate local authorities respond. Pulling over to help could cause additional problems, such as distracting other drivers and causing an accident yourself.

Remember, winter driving can be as unpredictable as the weather. So, keep your phone charged and your gas tank full, and slow down so you have extra time to respond – you need it when the roads are slick!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

With reduced visibility, slick roads and maybe even a reckless driver or two, accidents are bound to happen. So, what should you do if you experience one? Follow these five guidelines to help you stay safe. Continue reading

Keep Your Drone In the Sky – and Out of Trouble

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2016/01/25/keep-your-drone-in-the-sky-and-out-of-trouble/ 2016-01-25 19:38:05 2016-02-08 18:49:12

The holidays are over, and Santa’s sleigh is back at the North Pole. That doesn’t mean the skies over {states_primary} are empty, however.

Hundreds of thousands, if not a million, drones were likely given as holiday gifts in 2015, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates. That’s a lot of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (the official term) flying around. And, with very real concerns about privacy, liability and legality, there’s the potential for a lot of problems, too.

Whether you or a loved one got a drone over the holidays, or your {cities_primary} neighbor got one and you’re curious about regulations, here are five things to keep in mind for responsible flying:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t start off with a complicated “mission” right out of the gate. Learn how to maneuver your drone in an open field or empty parking lot. And, never use it in crowded areas, such as near stadiums, no matter how skilled a flyer you become.
  2. Obey the FAA. The agency, which regulates aircraft, says drones must be under 55 pounds and remain under 400 feet of altitude. Furthermore, operators must be U.S. citizens of at least 13 years of age. You shouldn’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you have permission from the airport and control tower. You’ll also need to register your drone, whether it’s brand new or you’ve been flying it for a while.
  3. Keep it personal. You typically don’t need approval to operate your drone as long as you’re using it recreationally – and following the FAA’s general guidelines. But, if you’re flying your drone for a commercial purpose, such as creating a professional video or taking business photos, you need authorization from the FAA.
  4. Limit your risk. Damage caused by your drone could lead to liability costs and fines, so check your homeowners insurance policy or ask us here at {agency_name_short} to see if you’re covered (not all policies cover hobby and model aircraft). And, if you use your drone commercially, remember that your homeowners policy won’t cover that at all.
  5. Be smart. All it takes to operate a drone safely and responsibly is a little skill and a lot of common sense. So, follow regulations and guidelines, and don’t endanger people or invade their privacy. The same goes for wildlife. Finally, if someone else’s drone is impacting you, try talking to them (or the authorities) before taking drastic measures.

Flying your drone responsibly takes a little more effort, and thought, than simply turning it on and taking off. But, you can still have a lot of fun – and get some cool pictures, most likely – while keeping yourself and those around you safe.

So, have fun up there, but always keep in mind what – and who – is down here.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Whether you or a loved one got a drone over the holidays, or your neighbor got one and you’re curious about regulations, here are five things to keep in mind for responsible flying… Continue reading

Tips for Traveling With Your Smartphone

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/12/22/tips-for-traveling-with-your-smartphone/ 2015-12-22 21:20:55 2015-12-22 21:22:05

You probably carry your smartphone even as you move about your home, so of course you’re going to take it with you when you travel. And, you should. The ever-expanding capabilities of these devices make them invaluable resources on the go.

That said, smartphones have their limitations (and risks). Just ask anyone who has run out of juice while using their phone as a map. Or, someone who lost their phone while on a trip.

If you’re traveling this holiday season (or any time), you’ll want to avoid these and other troublesome scenarios. Here are a few sensible smartphone tips to help you do just that.

Stay Powered

Sometimes, this is harder than it sounds, so try to charge every night as you sleep. If you find yourself running low on juice in the middle of the day, many public places now have charging stations (and almost all of them have an outlet you can find). Plus, here are some other tips to help you fight battery drain:

Secure Your Devices and Data

In years past, travelers were warned against carrying valuables. Now it seems everyone carries hundreds of dollars’ worth of electronics with them constantly. So, how can you keep your devices safe and your personal data secure?

Steps for Handling a Lost or Stolen Phone

Countless smartphones are stolen every year. Here’s what to do if, despite your best efforts, your device disappears:

Finally, Don’t be That Person

Everyone has a horror story about the guy who wouldn’t get off the phone in the restaurant, on the plane, even in church. Make sure you’re not the subject of such a story – here’s how:

Just in case you and your smartphone do part ways (though we hope it doesn’t happen), you’ll still need to know your flight and other trip details. It doesn’t hurt to put a few particulars down on paper, or print them off, before you leave home.

Enjoy your travels this holiday season, and be sure to look up once in a while. After all, if you’re only connecting with your phone, you probably aren’t connecting with family and friends.

Create a Home Inventory to Track Your Belongings

Having a home inventory helps you take advantage of the personal property coverage on your homeowners insurance or renters insurance when something valuable is lost, stolen or damaged. That includes when your belongings are at home, in your car or with you on the go. Be sure to include your smartphone and other electronic devices in your inventory. Start yours today using Safeco’s Home Inventory app for iPhone and iPad.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

If you’re traveling this holiday season (or any time), you’ll want to avoid some troublesome scenarios. Here are a few sensible smartphone tips to help you do just that. Continue reading

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/12/22/preventing-christmas-tree-fires/ 2015-12-22 21:13:39 2015-12-22 21:14:44

For generations of children, it’s been the most obvious sign that the Christmas season is really, truly, finally, here: a tree, beautifully decorated, smack in the middle of the house. And, for generations of adults, getting and decorating the tree is one of the season’s most familiar traditions.

That familiarity, though, can be a problem. When a tradition becomes too familiar, it’s easy to overlook something important, such as safety.

As enchanting as they are, Christmas trees can actually be dangerous. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association says that, on average, fire departments respond to more than 200 fires related to Christmas trees each year.

To help ensure your local fire department doesn’t need to pay you a visit this holiday season, here are some common-sense tips on Christmas tree safety:

Selecting and Setting Up Your Christmas Tree

  1. Choosing artificial? Check for a flame retardant label or certification.
  2. Getting a real tree? Make sure it’s fresh, with green needles that don’t fall out when you give the tree a good shake. Brownish needles signal a dry tree prone to catching fire.
  3. No matter the tree type, keep it at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, candles or lights. And, make sure it’s not blocking an exit.
  4. Before placing a real tree in its stand, trim the base about a half-inch, cutting perpendicular to the stem axis. Cutting at an angle or into a V-shape makes it harder for the tree to get water.
  5. Speaking of water, place your tree in water as soon as possible, in a stand with adequate capacity. One rule of thumb: a quart of water for each inch of stem diameter.

Decorating and Maintaining Your Holiday Tree

  1. Don’t connect more than three strands of lights together, and check them for frayed wires or excessive wear. All lights, and other decorations, should be flame retardant.
  2. Water your real tree a little each day to keep it from drying out. Never let the water level fall below the base.
  3. Turn off the lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
  4. Take your real tree down after about two to four weeks, even if it’s been watered regularly. Check for recycling options for disposal.

We know a Christmas tree can be a special part of the holidays, and we want you to enjoy the tradition. These safety tips will help.

Happy decorating everyone!

Did You Know? The lyrics sung in the United States to the German tune “O Tannenbaum” begin “O Christmas tree,” leading many to think the German word tannenbaum (fir tree) means Christmas tree, the German word for which is instead weihnachtsbaum.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

 Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

As enchanting as they are, Christmas trees can actually be dangerous. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association says that, on average, fire departments respond to more than 200 fires related to Christmas trees each year. Continue reading

Making Tracks in the Snow, Safely

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/12/14/making-tracks-in-the-snow-safely/ 2015-12-14 18:57:26 2015-12-22 21:25:26

Winter is for hunkering down, bundling up, hanging out near the fire – or not. If you’re a snowmobile rider, winter is for getting out into the crisp, clear air and exploring new countryside.

But, before you go where there’s snow, it’s worthwhile to give safety a thought. After all, snowmobiling is like other off-road activities in that it involves heavy machinery at high speeds, with the added complication of a challenging environment (snow and cold).

So, give these 10 tips a look and make sure you’re well prepared to ride this season.

  1. Keep it legal: The minimum age to operate a snowmobile can vary by state, from 12 to 18. Be sure to check your local laws, or the area in which you plan to ride. Some states may also require you to pass a safety certification course. Again, check the requirements in the area where you’ll be riding.
  2. Have a plan: Emulate aviators and boaters by filing a “snow plan” with your friends and family that describes your machine and your planned route. Be sure to let them know when you return safely, too.
  3. Dress the part: It’s all about layers – ones made of polyester, silk or synthetic blends that dry quickly and wick away moisture. Avoid cotton. You’ll also want a snowmobile suit or some other windproof outer layer. A helmet is essential, just as for motorcycles or ATVs. Wear a facemask if your helmet isn’t full face, and don’t forget goggles, sunglasses or a visor.
  4. Play it safe: Always carry a first aid kit and safety equipment, including a compass and map, waterproof matches with a candle or fire starter, a flashlight with spare batteries and an extra ignition key. Other useful items include a GPS unit, a small shovel, a probe and avalanche beacon if riding in avalanche-prone areas, a strobe light or flares and ice picks fastened to a cord if crossing frozen lakes and rivers.
  5. Don’t drink and drive: This stands no matter what type of machine or vehicle you’re operating, but it’s especially important for snowmobilers. Alcohol causes body temperature to drop more quickly, which increases your susceptibility to cold and hypothermia. And, snowmobilers often find themselves in remote locations miles away from help, where being alert and sober can be essential.
  6. Slow down at night: A snowmobile’s headlights illuminate only about 200 feet in front of you. If you’re driving faster than about 45 mph, you’re likely overriding your headlights – going so fast that you pass through the illuminated area before you can stop safely.
  7. Don’t go it alone: Whenever possible, use the buddy system. If you do choose to ride alone, be doubly certain to follow safety procedures, and let someone know when you are riding, where you are going and when you will return.
  8. Avoid surprises: Watch out for unexpected obstacles under the snow, such as tree branches.
  9. Stay off the ice: Wherever possible, avoid riding on frozen lakes and rivers. If you must cross ice, stay on the trail and don’t stop until you reach shore. If you hit slush, don’t let off the throttle. If you are following someone who hits slush, veer off to make your own path.
  10. Cross carefully: Come to a complete stop before crossing roads of any kind and make sure no traffic is approaching from any direction. Then cross at a right angle to traffic.Finally, be sure you have the insurance coverage you want for your snowmobile. It’s not unlike insuring a motorcycle or an ATV, so think about such coverages as liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist, as well as comprehensive, collision and medical payments. And, look for ways to personalize your insurance with options such as accessories coverage and roadside assistance.

Finally, be sure you have the insurance coverage you want for your snowmobile. It’s not unlike insuring a motorcycle or an ATV, so think about such coverages as liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist, as well as comprehensive, collision and medical payments. And, look for ways to personalize your insurance with options such as accessories coverage and roadside assistance.

When you know you’re protected and you take the appropriate measures to be safe, you can really enjoy dashing through the snow. Happy trails!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Before you go where there’s snow, it’s worthwhile to give safety a thought. After all, snowmobiling is like other off-road activities in that it involves heavy machinery at high speeds, with the added complication of a challenging environment (snow and cold). Continue reading

Thrifty Security: Burglar-Proof Your Home for the Holidays

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/12/04/thrifty-security-burglar-proof-your-home-for-the-holidays/ 2015-12-04 18:51:40 2015-12-04 18:52:43

It’s not unusual, when you set out on that holiday trip, to look back at the house a little nervously. Sure, you remembered to lock the doors, but just how secure are things? What might happen while you’re away?

One way to get some peace of mind is to invest in one of the numerous high-tech security systems currently available. Not in the budget this year? Not to worry.

There are plenty of less costly steps you can take to help prevent burglaries. Here are a few that law enforcement officers and other experts recommend. They’ll help keep your home safe while you’re traveling for the holidays and come in handy all year round.

Be Smart About Getting Ready

Make It Look Like You’re Still Home

Don’t Be an Easy Target for Burglars

Finally, just because you don’t have an expensive alarm system or security service doesn’t mean you can’t fake it. Invest in some inexpensive decals and signage (readily available on the Internet), or even some fake security cameras, and display them prominently. Another option is some kind of “Beware of Dog” sign, even if you don’t have a dog.

With a little thought, a little effort and not a lot of money, you can have better security back home even as you’re off enjoying the holidays. Have fun, and be safe!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

One way to get some peace of mind about the safety of your home when you’re away is to invest in one of the numerous high-tech security systems currently available. If that’s not in your budget, there are plenty of less costly steps you can take to help prevent burglaries. Continue reading

Computer Security for Small Businesses in {states_primary}

8861, 8862, 8863, 8864, 8867, 8865, 8868, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/12/04/computer-security-for-small-businesses-in-states_primary/ 2015-12-04 18:36:06 2015-12-04 18:37:04

As a small-business owner in {states_primary}, you might think network security and data breaches are things only the big guys need to worry about.

Think again.

Data security risks might be even higher for small businesses, as they typically don’t have the resources a large corporation does to protect against and recover from an attack.

So, what can you do to protect your {cities_primary}{cities_secondary:cond}, {cities_secondary_or}{/cond} business, your customers and your reputation? There are many solutions available for small businesses, whether you enlist a professional or do it yourself.

These tips should help get you started:

Wall off your network

Every company needs a firewall, which serves as a shield between your network and the outside world. It monitors all traffic and applies guidelines, letting in what’s safe and keeping out what isn’t. And, because nearly all employees are connected these days, security solutions for Internet browsing and email are recommended, too. These can prevent employees from visiting harmful sites (including those with offensive or illegal content) and help protect your network against viruses, malware and other threats.

Take care with your data

A breach of customer information can lead to ruin, of both your reputation and your business. Leaks of confidential company materials can be damaging as well. Create clear guidelines for your employees about the use of customer and company data, and consider data-protection software for another layer of security.

Keep your software up to date

One of the easiest things you can do to protect your business is to install updates to your software. Companies regularly issue patches to improve security and fix known vulnerabilities. Be sure you install them, or set them to auto-install.

Above all, have a plan

Ask yourself what you need to protect the most, and what security issues could cause significant harm to your business. This helps you know what measures to include in your data breach protection and recovery plan. Then use the FCC’s Small Biz Cyber Planner for help. It’s designed for companies that don’t have the resources to hire dedicated IT security staff.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals and the damage they cause are a real threat for companies of all sizes. And, that means network and data security measures aren’t just nice for your business to have, they’re mandatory.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

What can you do to protect your business, your customers and your reputation? There are many solutions available for small businesses, whether you enlist a professional or do it yourself. Continue reading

How to Avoid Animal-Vehicle Collisions

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/11/17/how-to-avoid-animal-vehicle-collisions/ 2015-11-17 00:10:05 2015-11-17 00:10:52

About 2 million times every year, animals and cars collide on U.S. roadways – often causing serious and even fatal injuries to drivers and passengers, along with about $1 billion in damage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

And, these collisions spike in the fall and winter, thanks to migration and mating patterns, as well as reduced visibility caused by shorter days and weather conditions.

As random as these collisions might seem, there are things you can do to improve your chances of avoiding one.

Tips to Help You Avoid Wildlife on the Road

Keep these tips in mind when you’re behind the wheel:

What to Do After an Animal-Vehicle Collision

Even if you drive with the utmost caution and follow the tips above, an animal-vehicle collision may still happen. Follow these guidelines if you ever do hit an animal:

Remember, stay alert, avoid distractions, wear your seatbelt and watch your speed. If you’re already a safe driver, you’re probably already doing these things. And, if you’re not, well, there’s no better time to start! Your fellow drivers (and your local animals) will thank you.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

About 2 million times every year, animals and cars collide on U.S. roadways – often causing serious and even fatal injuries to drivers and passengers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As random as these collisions might seem, there are things you can do to improve your chances of avoiding one. Continue reading

Safe, Secure Shopping: Tips for Black Friday

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/11/17/safe-secure-shopping-tips-for-black-friday/ 2015-11-17 00:02:13 2015-11-17 00:03:12

It’s become almost as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and football: Black Friday, the morning-after (or in some cases evening-after) shopping spree. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, an event in its own right. Unfortunately, the massive crowds it draws can lead to parking lot accidents, exposure to thieves and those well-publicized stampedes and brawls.

It’s not hard to avoid such mishaps, though. Following are a few common-sense tips from the National Crime Prevention Council, blackfriday.com and the Trusted Choice network of independent insurance agents to help ensure you have a fun and fruitful day.

Before You Go

In the Parking Lot

In the Store(s)

Above all, remember that there will always be another sale. So, be courteous to employees and other shoppers on Black Friday – and always. After all, the whole point of a fun event is to have fun.

Did you know? Black Friday wasn’t always a shop-til-you-drop event. One of the earlier known usages of the term dates to the early 1960s when Philadelphia police used it to refer to the heavy traffic on the day after Thanksgiving caused by Christmas shoppers and by football fans arriving for the annual Army-Navy Game the next day.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.
Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!
Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Following are a few common-sense tips from the National Crime Prevention Council, blackfriday.com and the Trusted Choice network of independent insurance agents to help ensure you have a fun and fruitful shopping day. Continue reading

Your Home Maintenance Checklist for Fall

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/10/30/your-home-maintenance-checklist-for-fall/ 2015-10-30 23:31:21 2015-10-26 23:32:30

Fall brings more than just changing leaves and shorter days. In many areas, it also comes with a shift in weather conditions that can have a serious impact on your home. And, don’t forget, winter is right around the corner, too.

Before the rain and cold take over, it’s time to do some routine maintenance to get things in shape for the months ahead. Besides, preventative maintenance can help you save money and keep you and your family healthy. That’s well worth your time.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Fall Maintenance Outside Your House

Fall Maintenance Inside Your House

One final tip: Since these lists largely are about keeping your family safe and comfortable, this also is a fine time to revisit (or create) your family emergency escape plan and emergency kit. Make sure everyone knows how to get out of their room, and where to meet once they’re out of the house. Your home is replaceable, of course – your family isn’t.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Before the rain and cold take over, it’s time to do some routine maintenance to get things in shape for the months ahead. Besides, preventative maintenance can help you save money and keep you and your family healthy. That’s well worth your time. Continue reading

Is Your Yard a Fire Risk?

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/10/29/is-your-yard-a-fire-risk/ 2015-10-29 22:34:55 2015-10-26 22:40:12

With much of the country suffering through drought conditions, the threat for wildfires is incredibly high. Even if you don’t live in a rural area, the landscaping you have around your home could increase your own fire risk.

There are things you can do, however, to improve safety while still maintaining the beauty of the natural spaces around your home or vacation property.

Think Defensively

“Defensible space” is the amount of vegetation-free clearance you have around your home. According to Colorado State University (CSU), it creates “room for firefighters to do their job.”

Keeping common fuels, such as grasses, brush and trees, away from your home will increase the chances it can survive a wildfire. Here are some tips from CSU on landscaping within defensible space:

Plant Thoughtfully

What you plant isn’t as important as how and where you plant – there are no fire-proof plants, after all – but you do have choices that can improve safety. The California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection recommends that you choose plants with high moisture levels that don’t have a lot of sap or resin. Here are some things to consider:

Ideal planting times can vary geographically, and even though many species can be planted at any time of year, it’s generally best to avoid planting when weather is very cold or very hot. Check with a local nursery, landscape company or county extension service for information specific to your area.

What Else to Keep in Mind

Even though we’ve already talked about defensible space, it bears repeating. For the first 30 feet surrounding your home, keep things lean, clean and green. Doing so doesn’t have to detract from the beauty of your property.

Choose a diverse range of plants to provide visual appeal, as well as protection against pests or disease that could cause widespread problems. And, not everything needs to be natural; consider installing garden art or colorful containers for added personality.

Remember, you can plan and create attractive spaces that enhance your home’s appearance, while reducing fire risk at the same time.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

With much of the country suffering through drought conditions, the threat for wildfires is incredibly high. Even if you don’t live in a rural area, the landscaping you have around your home could increase your own fire risk. There are things you can do, however, to improve safety while still maintaining the beauty of your natural spaces. Continue reading

Help Keep Your Kids Safe, Even When You’re Not Around

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/10/26/help-keep-your-kids-safe-even-when-youre-not-around/ 2015-10-26 22:22:43 2015-10-26 22:24:31

As your children grow to school age, they inevitably spend a lot more time going places and doing things on their own in and around {cities_primary}.

And, inevitably you’re going to worry a little about that.

How can you keep them safe when you’re not with them? Following are a few ideas to help set your mind at ease, courtesy of the National Crime Prevention Council (the folks that brought you McGruff the Crime Dog) and the Seattle Police Department.

Going to School (and Elsewhere)

Around the Neighborhood

Dealing With Strangers and Other Adults

Back Home

We know your children’s safety is your biggest concern, and we hope you find these tips useful. There’s just no substitute for staying involved in your kids’ lives when it comes to keeping them safe and sound!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

How can you keep your kids safe when you’re not with them? Following are a few ideas to help set your mind at ease, courtesy of the National Crime Prevention Council (the folks that brought you McGruff the Crime Dog) and the Seattle Police Department. Continue reading

4 Ways to Help All Children Have a Great School Year

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/09/03/4-ways-to-help-all-children-have-a-great-school-year/ 2015-09-03 17:10:41 2015-09-03 17:11:52

It’s back-to-school time, and, if you have school-age children, your household is likely bustling with activity and filling up with books and backpacks. There are other households and school districts in our {cities_primary} community, however, that have limited resources and could use some help gearing up for the school year.

Are you able to provide that help? Besides the satisfaction you’ll derive, the example you set for your children could be among the most important lessons they learn this school year.

Here are a few ideas and resources to help you give back to your community as school gets under way:

  1. Donate Backpacks and Supplies
    Remember the thrill of stepping off the bus with a pristine new backpack – filled with supplies – at the start of a new school year? You can help other children experience that same feeling by participating in or organizing a backpack donation drive. Check with area school districts, charities or TV and radio stations to locate one, or with your local Volunteers of America or Salvation Army outpost. To conduct your own, enlist members of your HOA, knitting circle, golf club or church group and follow this handy start-to-finish guide from the Hands On Network.
  2. Donate Books
    Passionate about reading? Then why not help stimulate young minds by donating books to area families, schools, libraries or community groups in need? You may find an organization near you  in {states_primary} that collects and distributes book donations. Or, donate to a similar organization, such as First Book in Washington, D.C. or Page Ahead in Washington state, online. To organize your own book drive, contact a school district, library or community group near you and ask what types and levels of reading materials would be most beneficial.
  3. Volunteer
    It’s not all about donating things, of course. Volunteering your time to reading and tutoring programs puts you front and center for making a difference in your community. Start by calling local school districts and libraries or contacting community groups that run after-school programs. They’ll likely have an existing program you can participate in, or would be thrilled to find a new project for you. Or, look for volunteer opportunities online. Reading Partners recruits volunteers in 10 states to provide one-on-one reading instruction to elementary school students who read below grade level. And, VolunteerMatch brings together volunteers and nonprofits nationwide.
  4. Help in Other Ways
    Finally, these programs and websites may help ignite your giving spirit:

Of course, back-to-school isn’t the only time that less-fortunate children could benefit from a little support. So, consider donating supplies or volunteering any time during the school year. Just think of the wonderful impact you could make on the promising young minds in your area!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

It’s back-to-school time, and, if you have school-age children, your household is likely bustling with activity and filling up with books and backpacks. There are other households and school districts in our community, however, that have limited resources and could use some help gearing up for the school year. Continue reading

5 Tips for a More Secure Workplace

8861, 8862, 3971, 8863, 8864, 8867, 8865, 8868, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/08/25/5-tips-for-a-more-secure-workplace/ 2015-08-25 15:41:30 2015-08-25 15:43:59

Protecting your {states_primary} business used to mean locking the doors at the end of the day. That’s still important, of course, but now a security breach can extend beyond your physical assets to include software, systems and sensitive data. And, if customer information is compromised, you may lose the most important asset you have – their trust.

How can you protect your business? Here are five tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration and others to help you stay secure, both physically and digitally.

  1. Manage and assess your risk. What valuables do you need to protect? What about data? What losses would impact you most? The answers to these questions can help you form a plan.
  2. Control physical access to your workplace. Establish procedures for distributing keys and how you keep track of them. Secure valuable information or equipment in a locked area with access only to those who use it. Customers should be able to access your office only in one monitored entrance.
  3. Don’t forget about controlling digital access. You wouldn’t give every employee a key to your safe, so take similar precautions when it comes to access to computers, networks and sensitive data.
  4. Be proactive. Set up automatic software updates for your most important systems. Require your employees to change passwords at regular intervals for additional security. If you provide a wireless network, make sure it is secured, and preferably encrypted.
  5. Consider other measures. It’s easier than ever to install cameras and monitoring systems that allow you to check on your facility at any time. Of course, there also are companies that will monitor your office and alert you to any issues. Cybersecurity insurance is relatively new and can provide some protection if your systems are compromised, but find out exactly what is included in the policy. Remember, even if you purchase coverage, you’ll still need to keep your data as secure as possible.

We hope you find these tips helpful, but keep in mind that we’ve only scratched the surface! We encourage you to dig deeper and thoroughly investigate potential solutions to help ensure your office and data have the right level of security for your particular needs.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need when you’re on your road trip, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

How can you protect your customer data and your business? Here are five tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration and others to help you stay secure, both physically and digitally. Continue reading

5 Ways to Make Road Trips More Affordable in {states_primary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/08/14/5-ways-to-make-road-trips-more-affordable-in-states_primary/ 2015-08-14 22:52:07 2015-07-31 22:54:49

These days air fares are no bargain, and air travel is no fun. Gas prices have their ups and downs, but they’re trending down. Maybe it’s time for a good old-fashioned road trip across – or out of – {states_primary}. It’s a great way to get to know the country at your own pace, a chance to focus more on the journey and your traveling companions, and less on your destination. And, hey, it’s a cheap vacation option, right?

Well, maybe. Road trips can be an economical way to travel, but they can also turn into budget busters if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to help you minimize the hit to your wallet when you hit the road.

Done right, a road trip can be the perfect vacation: fun, enlightening and inexpensive. Follow these tips, and you might be able to afford two of them this season.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need when you’re on your road trip, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Road trips can be an economical way to travel, but they can also turn into budget busters if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to help you minimize the hit to your wallet when you hit the road. Continue reading

Play Hard, Not Hurt: Safety Tips for School Sports

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/08/12/play-hard-not-hurt-safety-tips-for-school-sports/ 2015-08-12 18:33:43 2015-06-30 18:45:26

As summer turns to fall, more than 7 million young people take to their school playing fields, dreaming of athletic glory. Without some advance planning and common-sense precautions, though, those dreams can quickly sour.

More than a million injuries related to high school sports occur each year, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). Here are some tips for students, parents and school staff here in {cities_primary}, {states_primary} and rest of the country from the NATA and other experts to help ensure that your young athlete stays on the path to glory.

Prepping for the Season

Staying Safe on the Field

Four Special Concerns

  1. Heat: Athletes should adapt to warm-weather activities over a week or two, slowly building up their stamina rather than training full force (and with full equipment) from the get-go.
  2. Concussion: Athletes and athletic staff must be well educated on concussion prevention and management. Athletes should speak up if they experience such symptoms as dizziness, loss of memory, light-headedness, fatigue or imbalance after a hit in the head. After suffering a concussion, no athlete should return to play or practice on that same day.
  3. Cardiac arrest: If a school has automated external defibrillators available, athletic staff should know where they are located and how to use them, and see to it that they are placed on sidelines during both practice and games.
  4. Sickle cell trait: Newborns are tested at birth for this inherited condition; those results should be shared during the preseason exam. Red blood cells can sickle during intense exertion, blocking blood vessels. Warning signs include fatigue or shortness of breath. Screening and simple precautions can help athletes with the trait continue in their chosen sport.

Here’s wishing your young athlete a great school year – both on and off the field. Go team!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

More than a million injuries related to high school sports occur each year, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). Here are some tips for students, parents and school staff from the NATA and other experts to help ensure that your young athlete stays on the path to glory. Continue reading

RV Trip Planning: How to Find a Route You’ll Remember

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/08/11/rv-trip-planning-how-to-find-a-route-youll-remember/ 2015-08-11 22:51:21 2015-07-31 22:55:49

The sky is clear, the summer sun is bright and you’re itching to hit the road. You’ve got the RV prepared, you’re almost packed and you even have a pretty good idea of where you want to go. There’s just one thing left to figure out:

How do you get there?

Sure, you can take the interstates and major highways; they’re the fastest and most direct way to get to many destinations. But, if you’re like many RV owners, you don’t want to be on the beaten path – you want to explore the country, not the country’s freeways.

Today, you have more options than ever for planning your RV trip. Gone are the days of pulling out a road atlas or unfolding a map (never to get it folded perfectly again) to try to figure out the best route to your next stop.

Now you can just hop online, enter your starting point and destination, and receive all kinds of useful information: Alerts for low overpasses and bridges, the best campgrounds and RV parks along the way, data on steep road grades and more.

Online RV Route Planners

Two great sites for this are FreeTrip.com and the Good Sam Club (the latter requires a membership). On the former site, you can enter parameters to avoid (or favor) highways and interstates, bridges and tunnels or specific roads. You also can use the tool to steer clear of low clearances and tolls. They’re great resources to use, and many RVers swear by them.

RV Guidebooks and Atlases

Of course, keeping a road atlas or guidebook on hand is smart, too. After all, you never know when you’re going to need to change your plan on the fly (and whether you’ll have Internet access at the time). A particularly good one to have is The Mountain Book (East or West version), which details all of the steep grades and mountain passes you may encounter. It’s available at FreeTrip.com, or from other major online retailers. Motor carrier atlases, designed for commercial truck drivers, can be very useful as well, as they often highlight low clearances and other issues for large vehicles.

General Tips for Choosing Your RV Route

Even if you have a plan in place, it’s best to be prepared for unplanned events. You never know when construction, accidents or other issues will force you to change your route. Here are some things to keep in mind before you leave on your trip:

Whether you’re on the highway or a designated scenic byway, RV travel can be rewarding and relaxing – as long as you’re on the right road for you. Stay safe out there this summer and fall!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need when you’re on your RV trip, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Sure, you can take the interstates and major highways; they’re the fastest and most direct way to get to many destinations. But, if you’re like many RV owners, you don’t want to be on the beaten path – you want to explore the country, not the country’s freeways. Today, you have more options than ever for planning your RV trip. Continue reading

Don’t Give Up the Ship! Protect Your Boat From Theft

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/07/30/dont-give-up-the-ship-protect-your-boat-from-theft/ 2015-07-30 18:20:34 2015-07-31 22:48:56

Thousands of boats and personal watercraft are stolen each year in the U.S., according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. But, even if your boat remains exactly where you left it, expensive items on board can present an inviting target for thieves as well.

Luckily, protecting your valuables – along with your watercraft – isn’t difficult at all.

In addition to common-sense solutions, new technology has given boat owners useful tools to easily keep an eye on things whether they’re on board or at home. So, dive in to the tips below and start securing your vessel today.

Preventing Watercraft Theft

For starters, when you’re away from a vessel that’s in the water, never leave the key in the ignition or on board. However, most boats are stolen while still on their trailers, according to the Boat Owners Association of the United States.

So, it’s important to keep your trailer secure, too. Park your boat away from the street. If you can’t, at least make sure the hitch isn’t facing the street, and chain the trailer to something sturdy, like a tree. You could even remove one of the tires to make it impossible for a thief to pull the trailer.

If you have a personal watercraft, use heavy cable or log chains and shielded locks to secure them, and remove the kill switch when left unattended.

Once your watercraft and trailer are secure on land, be sure not to leave important papers, such as registration and title, on board. Just be sure they’re on board before you hit the water again.

Securing Your Equipment and Valuables

Law enforcement agencies say that marine theft usually is a crime of opportunity, so start your security efforts by thinking like a thief. What makes your boat an easy target? Here are some tips from police and the Boat Owners Association to make things tough on criminals:

Taking Advantage of Technology

There are many different types of boat security systems on the market today, from simple door sensors that sound a siren to camera setups that allow you to monitor your boat remotely. According to Boating Magazine, many products offer GPS tracking, so authorities can track your boat if it is stolen.

Much like today’s home-security offerings, boat owners can customize and combine products to create a system that meets their specific needs. And, if a system or product comes with warning stickers to put on your boat, be sure to use them.

Other Tips

One of the best ways to prevent crime – at home or on the water – is to build relationships with your neighbors on the dock or at the marina. That way, everyone can keep an eye out for things that look unusual and keep each other informed. Once you build trust among your group of neighbors, you can start letting each other know when you’ll be gone for an extended period, exchange contact information, etc.

Finally, don’t unwittingly become part of the problem. If you’re buying a boat, help make sure it’s not stolen by following these steps:

You bought a boat to enjoy time on the water, not to spend time worrying about thieves (or worse, tracking down your stolen gear). So, take a few precautions now to maximize your enjoyment later!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Luckily, protecting your valuables – along with your watercraft – isn’t difficult at all. In addition to common-sense solutions, new technology has given boat owners useful tools to easily keep an eye on things whether they’re on board or at home. So, dive in to these tips and start securing your vessel today. Continue reading

Keep Your {states_primary} Campsite - and Your Gear - Secure

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/07/23/keep-your-campsite-and-your-gear-secure/ 2015-07-23 16:56:12 2015-08-07 21:48:13

Camping today is just a little different than it was, say, 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, you brought some gear, some food and some clothing – just enough to sustain you for a weekend or so in the outdoors. And, you left your electronics at home. (To be fair, it was much harder to fit a computer into a duffel bag in 1985 or even 1995.)

Now, however, our electronics are smaller and more mobile than ever, allowing us to take everything from phones to GPS devices to laptops with us when we venture into the wild. Many people do just that, and, depending on your point of view, it typically isn’t a problem.

Until you leave the campsite unattended, that is.

Securing your site wasn’t quite as big a deal when all you had to worry about was a pile of camping gear. But, leaving thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics behind? That’s a different story.

And, since nobody wants to carry their laptop bag on a hike, here are some tips from the pacsafe.com travel site, along with the U.S. Forest Service and others, to keep things safe while you’re out there enjoying nature:

Lock things up in your car. A car offers more security than your tent, which can be slashed open in an instant. Pick a well-concealed spot where you can keep items out of plain sight, and then let everyone stash a few things there as needed.

Raise the alarm. There are devices available now that allow you to set a campsite perimeter that will sound an alarm if an intruder (human or otherwise) enters your space. Keep in mind, however, that this won’t do much good if you are miles away on a hike.

Make friends. Talk to the people at neighboring campsites. If they feel trustworthy, you can make a deal to keep an eye on things while the other group is gone and vice versa. Besides, camping is more fun when you meet new people – so, go introduce yourself. Who knows, you might make a connection that lasts longer than just one trip.

Do your research. Talk to staff at the campground to get the lay of the land. Have they had any unusual problems lately? Have unfamiliar people been coming around? Campers who have been at the site longer than you can be a good source of information as well. And, be sure to alert people to any problems you experience, because keeping the campground informed can help everyone stay safe.

Watch for animals. The animals couldn’t care less about your laptop, of course. But, they do care about your food, and they might just damage things at your campsite while they’re looking for something to eat. Keep your site clean, and don’t leave food, garbage, utensils or even coolers out. And, certainly don’t feed the animals intentionally.

Know what you’ve got. Forgetting that you brought something means that you’ll probably forget to lock it up, so keep a list of all your equipment. That way you can check it off when you leave and make sure you haven’t lost anything.

Better yet, leave the gadgets at home. You could be looking at the stars; do you really need to watch a movie on your tablet? The whole point of getting outdoors is to experience the outdoors – not to experience your email by the campfire. Try to use your trip as a chance to disconnect. You’ll probably end up more refreshed and more productive once you get back to the real world. And, remember, a thief can’t steal something that isn’t there.

Happy trails!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected, whether you’re home or enjoying the great outdoors!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Since nobody wants to carry their laptop bag on a hike, here are some tips to keep things safe while you’re out there enjoying nature. Continue reading

How to Organize a Neighborhood Watch

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/07/16/how-to-organize-a-neighborhood-watch/ 2015-07-16 16:42:16 2015-06-30 18:43:29

For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Watch has enabled private citizens to join with law enforcement to help keep their communities safe. Watch groups keep track of neighborhood goings-on and maintain a responsible, around-the-clock presence. And, it works. Their work is credited with being among the nation’s most effective programs to prevent crime, according to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

If you’re interested in starting a watch group for your own neighborhood, block or apartment building, you have a great organizing opportunity coming up: National Night Out (NNO). Held on the first Tuesday of August, NNO is an annual community-building event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.

The NCPC (aka the “Take a Bite Out of Crime” folks) have mapped out a process for launching a group:

Phase One – Getting Started

Phase Two – Adoption

Tips for Success

For more on Neighborhood Watch and NNO, check with the National Crime Prevention Council and the National Association of Town Watch.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

If you’re interested in starting a watch group for your own neighborhood, block or apartment building, you have a great organizing opportunity coming up: National Night Out (NNO). Held on the first Tuesday of August, NNO is an annual community-building event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
Continue reading

Tips for a Safe Fourth of July: From Food to Fireworks

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/06/30/tips-for-a-safe-fourth-of-july-from-food-to-fireworks/ 2015-06-30 18:23:28 2015-07-06 15:01:55

Memorial Day might be the unofficial start of summer, but Independence Day is when the season truly kicks into high gear. July 4 is a holiday that has something for everyone, whether you like to host (or attend) backyard barbecues, get out on the water or just hang out at home and watch the “bombs” bursting in air once the sun sets.

As you celebrate America this year, however, keep safety in mind – those fireworks aren’t the only holiday staple that can be dangerous. So, along with using plenty of sunblock and staying hydrated, follow these tips to help ensure that you, your loved ones and your friends all have a great Fourth.

Food Safety
Whether you’re hosting a gathering or attending one, you’ll want to make sure the food you’re serving – and eating – is safe. The following U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines can help:

On the Road
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the July 4 holiday period ranks as the nation’s deadliest in terms of people killed by drunk drivers. So, if you’re heading somewhere to enjoy the fireworks or just driving to a friend’s get-together, plan ahead: Have a designated driver or don’t drink at all.

On the Water
Spending the holiday on a boat? Lucky you. Just make sure all equipment is operating properly and that you have the right supplies on board. Here are two more recommendations from the Coast Guard:

Fireworks
Thousands of people are hurt each year by fireworks. In the month around the July 4 holiday, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 240 people go to the emergency room daily with a fireworks-related injury. Don’t be one of them. Check out these quick tips for some general guidelines:

While these tips are great, perhaps the best thing about them is this: You can follow them and still have a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Here’s to America – and to you!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

As you celebrate America this year, keep safety in mind – fireworks aren’t the only holiday staple that can be dangerous. So, along with using plenty of sunblock and staying hydrated, follow these tips to help ensure that you, your loved ones and your friends all have a great Fourth. Continue reading

5 Tips For Keeping Cool While Keeping Your Energy Costs Down in {states_primary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/06/26/5-tips-for-keeping-cool-while-keeping-your-energy-costs-down-in-states_primary/ 2015-06-26 18:25:04 2015-06-26 18:27:50

Two-thirds of households in America have air conditioners, according to the U.S. Department of Energy – and they spend a total of $11 billion each year running them.

Our guess is that most of those households (which may include yours) wouldn’t mind spending a little less to keep their homes cool. Because, as great as it feels to escape the heat of summer, having some extra money in your pocket might feel even better.

Here are five tips to help you beat the heat without having the AC on – and the meter running – all day long:

  1. Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. The Department of Energy says that ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool your home. One of the best ways to do this is to open windows to create a cross-wise breeze indoors. It’s best to do this in the mornings or evenings when the air is coolest. After all, flooding your home with hot afternoon air isn’t going to appease anyone.
  2. Get those fans going. Ceiling fans can provide enough cooling power for you to raise the thermostat a few degrees without noticing the difference. Smaller ones can help as well, but make sure you turn fans off when you’re not around – they cool people, not rooms. Finally, whole-house fans, which bring in air and exhaust it through the attic, can help cool things down even on the hottest days. They should be installed by a professional, though.
  3. Don’t unwittingly turn the ‘heat’ on. Are you making something in your oven? Cooking something on the stove? You’re also adding heat to your house. Even clothes dryers and dishwashers can create unwanted warmth, so use those appliances in the morning or evening. When it’s time to cook, try grilling outside – or eating more cold foods. They can help lower your internal body temperature.
  4. Remember the little things – they add up. Keep your curtains closed on the sunny side of your home. Turn off lights whenever you can, because they produce heat. And, if it’s warmer outside than inside, keep your windows closed.
  5. Bigger projects can have big benefits, too. Make sure your attic and walls are insulated well, with cracks and openings sealed so warm air doesn’t leak into your home. Check your ducts, too. Air loss through ducts can account for as much as 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption, according to the Department of Energy. And, if you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, installing and setting one can help you save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs, says the Department of Energy.

If you’re already following all of these tips and you’re still too hot, here are a couple more options: Put on a cool, damp shirt or apply a cold pack (a sandwich bag of ice cubes or a bag of frozen vegetables inside a towel work well) to your forehead and wrists.

Of course, you could just bite the bullet and turn the AC back on. We won’t judge – we promise. Just be sure you’ve replaced the air filter and serviced your unit so it’s running efficiently.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible insurance credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Here are five tips to help you beat the heat without having the AC on – and the meter running – all day long. Continue reading

4 Ways for {states_primary} Businesses to Celebrate July 4 (and Summer)

43 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/06/26/4-ways-for-states_primary-businesses-to-celebrate-july-4-and-summer/ 2015-06-26 18:22:35 2015-06-26 18:33:55

Your business does more than serve people in and around our {cities_primary} community – it helps to strengthen the community. But are you maximizing your impact and the recognition you get for it?

An event, sponsorship or marketing push centered around a holiday, such as Independence Day, can help you do both. And, these efforts can even increase your business, particularly if the summer months are slower for you.

The options are almost limitless, whether you want to celebrate July 4 or just summer in general. Here are four great ideas to help you make an impact this July:

  1. Host a holiday gathering. If your space permits, you could host a barbecue for the public sometime around (but not on) July 4. This is a great way to build community and allow neighbors – and your employees – to get to know each other. You also can promote your business with signs, brochures and special offers just for the event. Sending a press release can even bring media coverage, especially if your event is unique.
  2. Sponsor larger celebrations. Your community might have a fireworks display or other event. Be a part of it! There likely are sponsorship opportunities that include logo placement in event advertising, on programs and more. You can promote your involvement on your Facebook page and other social media, too.
  3. Have a contest, holiday-related or not. People love contests, so you might offer a prize for the most patriotic photo posted on your Facebook page, or have a random drawing among customers who visit your location during July. The more interactive, the better – a contest can generate some serious buzz. For example, newspapers and TV often cover or host photo contests around Easter featuring Peeps candy.
  4. Communicate! Sending a holiday-themed email or blog post is always a great idea, even if you don’t have anything business-specific to promote. Customers appreciate helpful information, such as tips about fireworks safety or food preparation.

Remember, your holiday promotion doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply making an effort can make a difference for the community and your business. Enjoy the Fourth!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

Your business does more than serve people in and around our {cities_primary} community – it helps to strengthen the community. But are you maximizing your impact and the recognition you get for it? An event, sponsorship or marketing push centered around a holiday, such as Independence Day, can help you do both. And, these efforts can even increase your business, particularly if the summer months are slower for you. Continue reading

Keep Your {states_primary} Garden Green, Your Water Bill Low

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/05/25/keep-your-states_primary-garden-green-your-water-bill-low/ 2015-05-25 16:52:52 2015-05-14 16:53:53

Abnormally dry conditions – and, in some cases, severe droughts – are affecting a large part of the country, making smart water usage critical for everyone from farmers to homeowners. But, even if your region isn’t parched, try to conserve water where you can. You never know, water usage restrictions could go into effect for your community, too.

Your garden is a good place to start. Everything from how you plant your garden to how you care for it can impact how much water you use. So, use these tips and guidelines from various university extensions to help get the most out of your garden – and the water you use for it.

Be Choosy About Where You Plant

Don’t just think about what you’re planting but where you’re planting it, too. Become familiar with your garden’s “microclimates.” Even the same backyard can have areas that receive vastly different amounts of sun, shade, rain, etc. Choose plants and vegetables that thrive in the conditions of each microclimate. And, plant in a flat area – slopes encourage wasteful water run-off.

Consider Your Soil’s Attributes

Do you have any idea what your soil is like? It’s important to know, because clay soils retain moisture much longer than sandy soils. If your soil doesn’t retain water very well, you might need to add more organic matter to the garden at the beginning of the season or after harvest.

Plant Strategically

Plants that have similar water needs should be in the same section of your garden so each will receive just the right amount of moisture – no more, no less. And, plant in blocks, rather than rows. This will create shade for roots and reduce evaporation.

Mulch With Abandon

A thick layer of mulch will insulate your soil and significantly reduce evaporation, meaning you can use less water. Mulch also can curb weed growth, which is another way to conserve water (weeds steal it from your other plants). You can use organic mulches, such as bark products and manure, or even inorganic mulches like plastic sheeting. Be sure to water before laying down your mulch, and, if you’re using plastic, put a soaker hose or other irrigation item underneath.

Water Judiciously

The average garden needs about 1 inch of water a week. If you’re lucky, yours will receive all the water it needs from rainfall – so use a rain gauge (or even a tuna can!) to measure just how much it is getting. If your garden needs additional moisture, you can still keep your plants healthy without wasting water. Here’s how:

Growing a garden (and reaping its bounty) can give you great enjoyment, along with a sense of pride. Doing it while conserving one of our most vital natural resources is an even greater accomplishment.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Abnormally dry conditions – and, in some cases, severe droughts – are affecting a large part of the country, making smart water usage critical for everyone from farmers to homeowners. But, even if it isn’t currently parched here, try to conserve water where you can. You never know, water usage restrictions could go into effect for your community, too. Continue reading

Summer’s Coming: What to Do With the Kids?

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/05/15/summers-coming-what-to-do-with-the-kids/ 2015-05-15 20:57:51 2015-07-06 15:02:42

It’s the age-old question that parents in {states_primary} face every year: How do we keep the kids occupied this summer?

Well, there are always the biggies, such as theme parks or camping. But, with work and other obligations getting in the way, not to mention your budget, you can’t always get away from home. So, we here at {agency_name_long} have compiled a list of some activities that are both educational and fun – and that your kids are sure to enjoy!

Art Projects

There are a number of ways you can encourage the young artist in your family, from programs and offerings at local museums to do-it-yourself art projects. Try these ideas from The Artful Parent, a website focused on encouraging art and creativity in children:

Science Activities

Have a budding scientist around the house? Try these basic projects from PBS:

Reading – It’s Not Just for School

Encouraging your kids to read over the summer can help them when school gets back in session, so don’t miss an opportunity. You can share the newspaper in the morning, or simply read the cereal box at breakfast. Even a few minutes a day can have a big impact.

You might also consider the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free online program for children from May 4 to September 4. Last year more than a million kids from 29 countries took part, and this year’s program features free book lists, a sweepstakes and the chance to set a world record.

Of course, there are thousands of things you can do with your kids in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond} over the course of the summer. If these ideas aren’t up your alley, consider summer camp, local music and sports programs or volunteering in the community.

Summer will be over before you know it, so make the most of it!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

It’s the age-old question that parents face every year: How do we keep the kids occupied this summer? We here at {agency_name_long} have compiled a list of some activities that are both educational and fun – and that your kids are sure to enjoy! Continue reading

5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Car for Your Graduate

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/05/14/5-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-car-for-your-graduate/ 2015-05-14 16:23:12 2015-05-14 16:28:11

It’s hard to believe your child is already graduating, much less getting ready to head off to college or join the workforce – first grade seems like just yesterday, after all.

You’ve worked hard to put your kids in a position to succeed, and they’ve worked hard to reach their goals. To reward that success, many parents decide to purchase a car (or help buy one, anyway) for their young students as they look toward whatever the future holds. It’s often a practical consideration as well, depending on college plans, work responsibilities and living arrangements.

So, when you’re looking at cars for your grad, here are a few questions to ask to help ensure you make a smart choice. (And, frankly, they’re good things to ask anytime you’re shopping for a vehicle.)

  1. How safe is it?

Whether you’re buying a new or used car, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have useful online tools to help you find safety data on various models. IIHS has awarded Top Safety Picks since the 2006 model year, while the NHTSA site has crash-safety tests going back to 1990. Finally, the National Insurance Crime Bureau has a free service that will tell you if the car you’re considering has been reported stolen or as a salvage vehicle.

  1. How reliable is it?

You don’t want your young student to end up stranded on the side of the road somewhere, or, worse yet, facing costly repair bills. Doing a little research on reliability ratings from sources such as Consumer Reports will give you insight into what other owners of the same model have experienced. There’s no guarantee that your experience will be the same, but you’ll get a good idea of what to expect. If you’re truly concerned, consider vehicles that come with a warranty, whether new or certified pre-owned.

  1. How will it be driven?

Is your grad headed to college or a job a few hundred miles away? You might consider a car that gets good gas mileage (at least if you want him/her to come home to visit every once in a while), as well as one that has low maintenance costs. What about weather? If driving conditions are frequently a little hairy, all-wheel-drive might be important.

  1. How much will it cost to insure?

Different cars can vary widely when it comes to insurance costs, so, when you’ve narrowed down your choices, be sure to call your independent agent to get a few insurance quotes. You might also consider putting the car on your policy as an additional vehicle, if that’s an option. If your child is still in school, ask about good student discounts. Also educate your grad about how his/her own driving behavior impacts insurance costs – not just for this car, but well into the future. Driving history follows you from car to car, after all.

  1. Are there special considerations for used cars?

If you are buying a used car, there are certainly some additional things you need to consider, according to AAA. First of all, you definitely need an inspection by a repair shop you know and trust. (This should cost about one to two hours of labor.) You should ask the owner for past records if they’re available, and, if the car has between 60,000-90,000 miles, find out if the timing belt has been replaced. Finally, use Carfax or a similar service to get as much history on the vehicle as possible. Remember, if the seller is hesitant or won’t allow an inspection, proceed with caution.

A car can make life easier for both your grad and you – as long as it’s the right car. (And we don’t need to tell you this, but, no matter what your child says, a sports car is probably not the right car.) With a little bit of research and common sense, you can be confident when it’s time for your grad to hit the road.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

So, when you’re looking at cars for your grad, here are a few questions to ask to help ensure you make a smart choice. (And, frankly, they’re good things to ask anytime you’re shopping for a vehicle.) Continue reading

Commuting by Bike: How to Get to the Office on 2 Wheels

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/05/13/commuting-by-bike-how-to-get-to-the-office-on-2-wheels/ 2015-05-13 14:23:03 2015-05-13 14:24:14

There are plenty of great reasons to bike to work: Commuters who ride save money on gas and car insurance, stay fit and help the environment (they don’t get stuck in traffic, either). And they even have fun – as long as they keep safety in mind at all times, that is.

Bike to Work Week, which runs from May 11-15 this year, is a great time to give it a try.

If you’re just getting started on two wheels – or even if you’re a seasoned rider – it pays to be prepared. So, don’t just hop on your bike and hit the streets. Follow these tips to make your commute a smooth one.

(And drivers: We didn’t forget about you. Below are some tips to help you share the road.)

Plan Your Route

The best way to get to work on your bike may be different from the route you take in your car. So take a few test rides to determine on which streets you feel most comfortable. This will also help you gauge your timing. If you need some help, stop in at a local bicycle shop to ask for tips and possibly purchase a map of bicycle-friendly streets and trails. In general, when planning your bicycle commute, try to stick to streets with bike lanes and try to stay off sidewalks – you may be fined for riding your bike on a pedestrian-only walkway.

Ride With Care

Riding in the same lanes as traffic can be intimidating – and dangerous. But, you can make it less so by following the law (yes, traffic laws apply to bicyclists, too) and the best practices promoted by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Here are some of the organization’s tips on being a safe and responsible cyclist:

Protect Your Bicycle A proper lock – and proper usage of that lock – can help keep your bike secure when you’re not on the road. But, the fact is bicycles are easy to steal – no key required. So take these extra steps to help protect your mode of transport:

Share the Road With Bicycle Commuters

As harrowing as it sometimes is to ride in traffic, driving around cyclists isn’t always a picnic, either. The fact that your car is so much heavier and more powerful than a bicycle means that mistakes can be deadly.

Here are a few tips from Yield to Life, a cycling safety organization started by professional cyclist David Zabriskie (who has been hit three times while on his bike):

  1. Expect to see cyclists on the road. Treat them as you would any other slow-moving vehicle.
  2. Be patient. Wait to pass until it’s safe, and don’t tailgate.
  3. Watch the turns. Whether you’re going right or left, it can create a dangerous situation when a cyclist is behind you.
  4. Mind your doors. After you parallel park, check your mirrors and look behind you before opening your door.
  5. Finally, be respectful. Remember that cyclists have as much of a right to the road as you do.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll always arrive on time, whether you drive or bike to work. But making an effort to share the road will help ensure that everyone arrives in one piece.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®

If you’re just getting started on two wheels – or even if you’re a seasoned rider – it pays to be prepared. So, don’t just hop on your bike and hit the streets. Follow these tips to make your commute a smooth one. And drivers: We have some tips for you too. Continue reading

Getting Your Boat Out of Storage and Into the Water

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/05/02/getting-your-boat-out-of-storage-and-into-the-water/ 2015-05-02 21:14:21 2015-04-23 21:20:06

Spring is here, and you’re ready to get out on the water. But, is your boat ready?

Even if you’ve kept it properly stored for the winter and protected from the elements, there are still a number of things you need to do before hitting your local lakes and rivers in {states_primary} and beyond.

While much of your focus will be on the boat itself, don’t forget other important things, such as your trailer, your vessel registration and, of course, your insurance coverage. Your local independent agent can help you with that. As far as the boat and trailer, check out these tips from Discover Boating, which provides boating information and public outreach on behalf of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Engine and Electric

Your boat’s been sitting for a few months, so it’s not ready to zip across the water just yet. Here are a few things to check before firing up the ignition:

Propellers and Hulls

Damage to your propeller or hull can make for an unpleasant day on the water. Here are some things to look for:

Trailer

You should treat your trailer with as much care as your boat. After all, you can’t go boating if you can’t get your boat to the water.

Safety Equipment

No matter how well your boat runs, you should never run it without the proper safety equipment. So take inventory of what’s onboard to be sure you have:

Proper preparation can mean the difference between a great day on the boat and a disastrous one. So take a little time to make this boating season a happy and safe one. Hope to see you out on the water!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Spring is here, and you’re ready to get out on the water. But, is your boat ready? Even if you’ve kept it properly stored for the winter and protected from the elements, here are a number of things you need to do before hitting your local lakes and rivers in {states_primary} and beyond. Continue reading

Staying Safe When the Ground Shakes in {states_primary}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/04/20/staying-safe-when-the-ground-shakes-in-states_primary/ 2015-04-20 21:01:47 2015-04-10 22:09:47

The scary thing about earthquakes (one of them anyway)? They’re so unexpected.

Earthquakes aren’t limited to any one time of the year, and you certainly don’t see them coming. They simply hit (and can hit in every state, even ours), and sometimes they turn our world upside down.

The best way to minimize the anxiety? Be prepared.

In remembrance of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, California recognizes April as Earthquake Preparedness Month. So here’s a little help to get your family ready for when the ground’s unsteady.

Preparing for an Earthquake

Whether you live in an area where earthquakes are a rare occurrence or a common one, these household precautions can help you and your family stay safe during a quake here in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} and {states_secondary}{/cond}.

Taking Cover During an Earthquake

When a quake hits, put what you’ve practiced into action. Whether you’re at your home, in a crowd or in a high-rise building, stay there. Move away from windows and objects that are likely to fall and take cover. Do not use elevators, and do not be surprised if sprinklers or fire alarms go off. If you’re outside, move to an open area, avoiding trees, power lines, signs and buildings. If you’re driving, pull to the side of the road and stop in an open area away from overpasses, power lines and falling objects.

Keeping Calm After an Earthquake

In addition to moving about carefully and staying on alert for aftershocks, be mindful of the following once the shaking has stopped.

Additional Earthquake Tips

In addition to the above, doing the following can also help you prepare for surviving a quake:

Earthquakes, even when they’re minor, give us all an unwelcome jolt. By reviewing the above and other preparedness and safety measures in advance of a quake, you’ll be better equipped to handle the next one that occurs.

For even more tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit Ready.gov/earthquakes. And please reach out to us with your earthquake coverage questions.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

The scary thing about earthquakes (one of them anyway)? They’re so unexpected. Earthquakes aren’t limited to any one time of the year, and you certainly don’t see them coming. They simply hit (and can hit in every state, even ours), and sometimes they turn our world upside down. Continue reading

Relax! April is Stress Awareness Month

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/04/12/relax-april-is-stress-awareness-month/ 2015-04-12 22:53:41 2015-04-10 22:56:41

Believe it or not, the average stress level of Americans has dropped since 2007, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

But, we here at {agency_name_long} understand if you don’t exactly feel that way.

Even though things have improved, the APA’s most recent Stress in America™ survey indicates that Americans are still living with stress levels higher than what’s considered healthy. And nearly one-quarter of respondents say they aren’t doing enough to manage it.

It’s a good thing, then, that Stress Awareness Month is here. Held every April since 1992 and sponsored by the nonprofit Health Resource Network, Stress Awareness Month is a “national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.”

Stress management doesn’t just help you feel calmer and more focused. It’s important to your overall health. Constant exposure to stress can trigger your brain’s alarm system to remain in alert mode, flooding your system with the hormones you need to take flight or fight when facing danger, according to the Mayo Clinic. This causes more stress in and of itself. And, all that stress can cause problems with your health, your relationships and your overall quality of life.

So, reducing your stress is well worth your while, and, if you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. These tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD will get you headed in the right direction:

  1. Make stress management a goal – and make a commitment to that goal. Simply saying, “I want to reduce stress” isn’t enough. You’ve got to learn to identify problems and implement solutions, which takes work.
  2. Identify your triggers. What situations cause you to experience stress? Work? Relationships? Thinking about money? Don’t overlook everyday tasks, such as commuting, or even positive events, such as starting a new job.
  3. Consider strategies to deal with those specific triggers. For example, creating a budget plan or talking to a financial adviser could help ease your worries about finances. Changing your hours at work could potentially improve your commute.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques and live a healthy lifestyle. Here are just a few tools that people use to help alleviate stress:
    • Deep breathing, yoga or tai chi
    • Meditation and guided imagery – imagining yourself in a place of relaxation
    • Writing or talking to someone about your feelings
    • Exercise (even simple stretching or housework) and outdoor recreation
    • Art and other creative projects
  5. Ask for help. Many people you know have probably experienced similar stresses to your own. Find out how they have solved problems and relieved stress. And, if they are still having trouble, you can work on managing issues together.

April in {cities_primary}{cities_secondary:cond}, {cities_secondary}{/cond} is a great time to try to reduce stress and live a healthier life. So, what are you waiting for? At the end of the month, see how you feel. Keep doing the things that worked for you; stop doing the things that didn’t. Remember, when you make stress management a bigger part of your life, you leave less room for the stress itself.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can take some stress out of your life by working with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

Even though things have improved, the APA’s most recent Stress in America™ survey indicates that Americans are still living with stress levels higher than what’s considered healthy. And nearly one-quarter of respondents say they aren’t doing enough to manage it. It’s a good thing, then, that Stress Awareness Month is here. Continue reading

How to Make Earth Day Your Everyday

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/04/10/how-to-make-earth-day-your-everyday/ 2015-04-10 22:21:19 2015-04-10 22:28:51

Earth Day may officially come around only once a year on April 22, but our world would be a better place if we all took steps to take care of the planet year round.

So, we here at {agency_name_short} put together several ways to both commemorate Earth Day and to live a little greener in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} and {states_secondary}{/cond} all year long.

Earth Day Activities

Start a Recycling Drive at Your Kids’ School
Get some parents and teachers together to look at how your children’s school does or doesn’t recycle. Look for improvements and possibly ways to raise money, such as redeeming recycling credits on certain bottles or cans collected during a special drive.

Organize an Eco-Fair in Your Neighborhood
Invite local businesses and environmental organizations to educate you and your neighbors on the benefits of green living. Think businesses that install solar panels and groups that restore hiking trails.

Plant a Tree
It’s easy to make an impact locally by planting trees, either in your own yard or by organizing a community event to beautify neglected parks or other areas of your city. Be sure to get the proper permissions or permits first, if needed.

Invite an Expert to Speak in Your Community
If you’d like to raise awareness about particular environmental issues, host a community forum and invite a local teacher, professor or simply someone who’s passionate about the environment to speak.

Arrange a Trash Pickup Event
Work with your local parks or other department to clean up a park, beach or other waterfront, school or senior center. Recruit volunteers from your work, your child’s school, your church and other community groups.

Green Living Tips

Buy Products in Easily Recyclable Containers
Learn which types of plastics, metals and glass that recyclers most desire and do your best to buy products that come in those materials. Also look for products that use minimal packaging to begin with.

Start a Neighborhood Compost Pile
Get a group together to create a compost pile the entire neighborhood can contribute to and draw from. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your neighbors.

Ditch Your Car
If you can walk, bike or take public transportation to work or school, give it a try. If not, why not organize a carpool? You may just shorten your commute time by using the carpool lane.

Switch Your Light Bulbs
High-efficiency light bulbs will make a big impact in the light fixtures you use the most. Look for the Energy Star label when choosing an LED or compact fluorescent bulb.

Reduce Your Water Usage
With more states experiencing water bans, especially during the summer, it’s a good time to look at your own water usage. Shorten showers, set your washing machine to the appropriate water level and only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Also consider water-wise landscaping.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Earth Day and to live green in {cities_primary}{cities_secondary:cond}, {cities_secondary}{/cond}. Find the ones that are easy and meaningful for your family, and be sure to get the kids and even the community involved. Because, the more you reduce, reuse and recycle, the more you’re making the right kind of impact!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

Earth Day may officially come around only once a year on April 22, but our world would be a better place if we all took steps to take care of the planet year round. So, we here at {agency_name_short} put … Continue reading

After the Storm: How to Check Your Property for Damage

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/04/03/after-the-storm-how-to-check-your-property-for-damage/ 2015-04-03 20:53:18 2015-04-03 20:56:04

The beauty of spring is often tempered by powerful storms, with heavy rains, strong winds and destructive hail. Through it all, your home protects you from the elements, so be sure to check it for damage afterward.

Even if you have no reason to suspect that damage occurred, check your home and its surroundings (once it’s safe to do so, of course). It’s important to identify problems, make emergency repairs and determine if an insurance claim is necessary.

Here’s a handy list of things to check after a storm from the National Storm Damage Center:

Roof

Your roof might be the area of your home most vulnerable to damage in a storm, because so many things can impact it. Whether you’ve had high winds and downed tree branches or just a simple hailstorm, look for these indicators of damage:

Building Exteriors

While siding, stucco and brick all are durable, they also are susceptible to storm damage. In some instances, homeowners don’t notice until it’s too late to file a claim, so check carefully for:

Driveways and Walkways

Concrete can chip, crack and split, not only reducing the lifespan of your driveway or walkway, but potentially creating a safety issue.

Trees

Fallen trees and limbs cause more than $1 billion in damage each year, according to the National Storm Damage Center. Keep in mind that property owners generally are responsible for removing trees and limbs that have fallen on their property, even if it is a tree from a neighbor’s yard. Your insurance policy may help to cover the cost of removal and repairs, depending on the coverage you have and the circumstances of the incident. (There are exceptions to this, depending on the maintenance of the tree, so check with your insurance agent.)

General Tips

Finally, knowing the details of your homeowners coverage, your limits and your deductibles can help you during the insurance claims process. It’s a great idea to examine your policy and know what your homeowners insurance covers now, before the storm.

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

The beauty of spring is often tempered by powerful storms, with heavy rains, strong winds and destructive hail. Through it all, your home protects you from the elements, so to make sure it stays in good shape too, here’s a handy list of things to check after a storm. Continue reading

How to Create Your First Garden This Spring

6668, 6671, 3971, 6684, 6688, 6698 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/03/26/how-to-create-your-first-garden-this-spring/ 2015-03-26 00:05:50 2015-03-03 00:11:47

From genetically modified crops to the environmental and health effects of pesticides, more and more {cities_primary}-area residents are questioning whether they should grow what they eat.

Wherever you stand on the issues surrounding today’s food supply, however, there are several good reasons to start your own garden:

Clearly there are plenty of benefits to gardening. But, how do you get started?

Here are some important tips from the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, which, like similar services around the country, provides helpful community resources on agriculture and other topics.

Pick the Right Site

“Choosing a garden site is as important as selecting the vegetables to grow in it,” according to the OSU Extension website. “All vegetables need sunlight and fertile, well-drained soil, and they will contract fewer diseases if the site has good ventilation.”

Here’s what to consider before marking your garden plot:

Choose What to Plant

Check with a local gardening organization or search the Web for what vegetables are best for your specific situation and climate. Here are three factors to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to plant, according to the OSU extension:

Water Wisely

The best way to water is by monitoring your garden, rather than simply adhering to a set schedule. Follow guidelines for your specific plants, and avoid these common problems, as noted by the OSU Extension website:

For more specific advice on gardening in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} and {states_secondary}{/cond}, check with your local university extension program. And, don’t worry; you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy homegrown food. You just need to be willing to put in a little time and effort – and get your hands dirty!

Contact Us! At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

Wherever you stand on the issues surrounding today’s food supply, there are several good reasons to start your own garden… Continue reading

{cities_primary} Homeowners: Is It Time to Replace Your Appliance Hoses?

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/03/16/is-it-time-to-replace-your-appliance-hoses/ 2015-03-16 16:27:23 2015-03-05 00:14:43

You probably know someone who has come home from vacation to find water all over the laundry room – and the rest of the house.

The cause? Most likely, the hose connecting the washing machine to the water supply. That’s the reason for more than half of all washing-machine failures, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). The average cost of these failures? More than $5,000.

But that’s just one of several appliance hoses in your home that that you need to monitor regularly. Here are some quick tips to help keep your appliance hoses – and your overall home – in good shape:

Whenever Possible, Use Steel

Most washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers come with rubber hoses that connect to your water supply, and they don’t always hold up over time. You should check them for blisters, cracks and loose connections, the IBHS says, and replace them every five years, even if they show no signs of damage. When you do replace them, use steel-braided hoses. They’re less likely to fail.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until an appliance hose shows wear and tear to replace it. You may want to replace the rubber hose that comes with a new washing machine with a steel-braided hose right away, for example.

Don’t Run Appliances When You’re Not Home

If a hose bursts, you want to be around to take immediate action. So don’t run the washer or dishwasher if you’re leaving the house soon. And, when you go on vacation, consider turning off your water, or at least the connection in the laundry room. Also lock the water and ice dispenser on the front of your fridge.

It’s Not All About Water

You should think about replacing the flexible ducting that most likely came with your dryer. Lint can easily build up in the creases and increase your risk of fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A rigid or semi-rigid metal duct is better. Either way, though, clean out the ducting every year.

Don’t Forget the Grill

If you use a gas grill, it’s also important to check the hose and fittings between your fuel source and the burners. Brush everything with some soapy water and turn on the gas (without lighting the grill). Do you see any bubbles? It’s time to replace your hose and fittings.

Consider a Monitoring System

Although you’d still need to check and maintain your hoses, there are systems available that can automatically shut off your water when a leak is detected. Just remember, there’s no substitute for good maintenance.

Proper appliance maintenance can help you avoid home damage and maybe even home insurance claims. If a hose failure does occur, your homeowners insurance may help take care of the damage, depending on the circumstances, the specifics of your policy and other factors.

If you need help understanding what your homeowners insurance covers, call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email} for help.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Here are some quick tips to help keep your appliance hoses – and your overall home – dry and in good shape. Continue reading

Spring Into Home Maintenance Mode in {states_primary}

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/03/06/spring-into-home-maintenance-mode-in-states_primary/ 2015-03-06 10:41:23 2015-02-03 17:44:00

Spring is a time for rejuvenation, and, as the weather gets warmer here in {cities_primary}, {states_primary}, and the days grow longer, there’s a positive energy in the air. Many people decide it’s the perfect time for reorganizing and refreshing their home, while others eagerly get to work in the yard and garden.

While it’s easy to get caught up in spring cleaning and planting, this is also one of the most important times of the year for home maintenance. Of course, you already know to set your clocks forward for daylight-saving time, which begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8 this year, and to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a good idea to do a basic checkup in some other key areas, too. After all, winter can be rough on your home.

These tips, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and others, can help. Call it “spring training” for homeowners.

Yard and Exterior

Roof, Siding, Windows

Interior and Appliances

These tasks will help keep you and your family safe, and they also can save you from costly repairs or homeowners insurance claims. So remember, when spring rolls around, there’s a lot more to do than cleaning and changing your clocks.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

While it’s easy to get caught up in spring cleaning and planting, this is also one of the most important times of the year for home maintenance. Continue reading

Read Across America Day: Encourage Reading and Honor Dr. Seuss

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/03/02/read-across-america-day-encourage-reading-and-honor-dr-seuss/ 2015-03-02 22:20:05 2015-03-02 22:12:12

{cities_primary} parents, Monday, March 2, 2015 is Read Across America Day! We here at {agency_name_long} believe there are so many reasons to encourage children to read.

First of all, it’s fun! It’s also an activity that promotes learning and independent thought. But, perhaps most important, becoming a reader can mean the difference between success and difficulty later in life.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t. They also are more likely to be economically successful as adults.

The National Education Association (NEA) is well aware of the impact that literacy can have on a young person’s life. That’s why the organization started Read Across America in 1998. Held on the school day closest to the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss (March 2), the event goes beyond promoting reading for just one day. It also provides tools for educators and parents to create lifelong readers.

We here at {agency_name_short} want you to have a few tricks up your sleeve to promote reading at home. After all, one of the most crucial factors for the success of young readers is parental involvement. According to the U.S. Department of Education, when involvement is low, reading scores are 46 points below the national average.

So how can you encourage your child to read? Here are some tips from the NEA and the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Between the Lions” show:

Too often, our hectic schedules mean we take less time to do the things we enjoy. So, remember, reading with children isn’t just fun for them – it should be fun for you, too! After all, as Dr. Seuss himself wrote, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance®.

We here at {agency_name_long} believe there are so many reasons to encourage children to read. Continue reading

Know and Avoid the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/02/23/know-and-avoid-the-most-common-causes-of-car-accidents/ 2015-02-23 17:33:19 2015-02-25 20:20:48

Taking a road trip is a grand American tradition, particularly once we escape the winter doldrums here in {states_primary} and the days start getting a little sunnier.

Too many drivers, however, also take part in some other “traditions” that are far more dangerous – and very often deadly. They drive while they’re distracted. They drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And they drive too fast for conditions.

Those are three of the most common causes of car crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And they have another thing in common: Each of these factors is completely controlled by the driver.

You can’t completely eliminate risks when you’re on the road in {states_primary} and beyond, but staying aware of these common causes of car accidents may just help you avoid them:

1. Distracted driving
According to the NHTSA, at any given daylight moment in America, about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other handheld electronic devices while driving. That alone increases the risk of a crash. The picture gets even worse when you add in drivers who are playing around with the stereo, eating breakfast on the way to work, trying to pick something up off the floor, having an animated conversation with a passenger, putting on makeup and on and on and on.

What you can do: You can’t control what other drivers are doing, so make sure you are in complete control. You won’t just improve your driving. You’ll be ready to react more quickly when you encounter a driver who isn’t as responsible as you are.

2. Impaired driving
We hear all the time about how dangerous it is to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the numbers really drive it home. In 2012, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 15,000 people were killed in accidents involving impaired drivers.

What you can do: It’s simple – don’t drive after you’ve been drinking or using other drugs. This includes prescription drugs, too. If you take medications that impair your ability to drive safely, don’t get behind the wheel. And if you are unsure how a new medication will affect you, don’t drive until you know.

3. Speeding
Accidents caused by excessive speed kill more than 10,000 people a year on average, the NSC reports. And though you might think that the majority of these crashes happen at very high speeds on the interstate, the NHTSA has some surprising data – the highest number of fatal speed-related crashes occurred on roads with a speed limit lower than 55 mph.

What you can do: Always drive at a safe speed – and keep in mind that is not necessarily at the speed limit. Sometimes conditions such as severe weather warrant driving slower than the posted limit. And remember, it’s not your job to prevent others from speeding. No matter how tempting it might be to stay in front of maniacs in the left lane who want to go 90 in a 65 zone, just move over and let them go. Trying to block them could create a dangerous situation and increase your risk of a crash.

Other common factors in crashes include driver fatigue and vehicle equipment failures (such as tire blowouts or brake issues), so make sure you get plenty of sleep before that road trip and keep your car maintained with regular checks and service visits. Also, many insurance companies now offer roadside assistance coverage. Check your auto policy or ask your agent so, if something does happen, you know help is on the way.

Above all, remember these three things: Pay attention. Stay sober. Don’t speed. Together, we can make the roads safer for everyone.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need for your home, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Too many drivers drive while they’re distracted. They drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And they drive too fast for conditions. Those are three of the most common causes of car crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And they have another thing in common: Each of these factors is completely controlled by the driver. Continue reading

Stop Wasting Energy, Start Lowering Your Winter Bills

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/02/16/stop-wasting-energy-start-lowering-your-winter-bills/ 2015-02-16 16:43:45 2015-02-25 20:32:28

Cold weather and short days mean high energy bills for most of us. But, even as you turn up the heat and turn on more lights, you can still find ways to lower your bills while keeping your {cities_primary} area home cozy.

To lower your winter energy bills, it helps to know where you use energy the most. According to EnergyStar.gov, the typical home spends 29 percent of its yearly energy costs on heating, 14 percent on heating water, 13 percent on appliance usage, 12 percent on lighting and the remainder on such things as cooling and electronics.

With the following tips, you can help to lower your energy use – and costs – in each of these four key areas this winter:

Heating

Nearly a third of the average energy bill goes to heating. So make sure your warm air is circulating from room to room and isn’t escaping the house.

Water Heater

We know you need hot showers. And you also need to do laundry and wash the dishes. But heating all that water takes a lot of energy.

Appliances

First things first, appliances with the Energy Star label can help you save on your utility bills. But using any appliance efficiently may help cut down on your energy spending.

Lighting

When the days are short, you’re naturally going to spend more on lighting. The trick to saving on your energy bills is using the right bulbs.

There are plenty of things you can do to lower your energy bills so you’re not sending a big check to the power company every month. Find the ways that work for you and watch the savings add up.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need for your home, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Cold weather and short days mean high energy bills for most of us. But, even as you turn up the heat and turn on more lights, you can still find ways to lower your bills while keeping your {cities_primary} home cozy. Continue reading

Home Security Technology: Keeping You Ahead of Burglars

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/02/10/home-security-technology-keeping-you-ahead-of-burglars/ 2015-02-10 17:02:17 2015-03-03 19:38:14

Around the end of World War I, homeowners hired “door shakers” to walk around and check doors to make sure they were locked.

Home security is just a little bit different now. Thanks to a perfect storm of expanding technology and decreasing costs, homeowners now have access to the types of tools and systems that previously only celebrities and the wealthy could obtain.

Here’s a rundown of some of the options you have to protect your home, from all-in-one systems to separate components for do-it-yourselfers:

Full Home Security Systems

There are a number of companies that offer full-service security systems with central monitoring. These systems often include video surveillance, remote access, smoke and carbon monoxide detection and even medical alerts in case you have an emergency. Some include home automation tools so you can control lighting, heating, cooling and other appliances when you’re away from home.

Many systems can also send you alerts via text message so you know when the kids have gotten home from school safely, for example.

Smart Cameras

Installing cameras used to mean dealing with bulky equipment and yards of wiring. Today, however, newer cameras are unobtrusive, wireless and capable of much more than ever before. Some even use motion activation, so they only record when there’s a reason to in order to save data storage space and battery power.

Keyless Entry Systems

Even items as basic as the locks on your doors are starting to be impacted – and improved – by technology. You might not think you need an entry system that relies on a code or a smartphone, but it can come in handy at times. Say, for example, you need to let a trusted repairman into your home while you’re away, but you don’t want to risk hiding a key outside. With a keyless system (or a hybrid version that uses both keys and codes), you simply provide a temporary code for the repairman to use.

Home Automation

Have you ever forgotten to leave a light on while you’re away? Burglars thrive in the dark, and having lights on both inside and outside your home, along with noise from televisions, radios, etc., can be powerful deterrents. Thankfully, you can now turn these things on and off from anywhere in the world. It doesn’t take much to get started. At least one home automation product plugs into the power outlets you already have. You can then control that outlet’s power remotely through a smartphone app.

Of course, there are still some low-tech tools and techniques you can use to deter crime, including motion-activated lighting outside. Don’t leave valuables out in plain sight, and make sure your windows and doors are locked each night. Plus, there’s always the security system that will love you back: a watchdog.

However, if high-tech is more your style and you’re into gadgets, you might find that getting set up with the latest in home security is fun. And, if you’re into saving money, many insurance carriers offer home insurance discounts for having specific home monitoring systems. Check your policy or ask an agent for details.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need for your home, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts – including whether you have a home monitoring system – to make that coverage affordable. Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Thanks to a perfect storm of expanding technology and decreasing costs, homeowners now have access to the types of tools and systems that previously only celebrities and the wealthy could obtain. Continue reading

Helping Seniors Have a Wonderful Winter

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/01/19/helping-seniors-have-a-wonderful-winter/ 2015-01-19 22:44:26 2015-01-05 22:46:21

Slippery sidewalks. Freezing temperatures. Power outages. Winter isn’t always a wonderland. That’s why, if you regularly lend a hand to a senior friend or family member here in {cities_primary}, it may be a good time of the year to provide some extra support. Read on to learn some ways you may be able to help.

Preventing Falls

Falls are a serious concern for everyone when conditions are slick, but especially for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls once a year, and 20-30 percent of those falls result in decreased mobility.

That means keeping walkways – both inside and out – as clear as possible. Indoors, keep clutter and electrical cords tucked away, and provide loved ones with non-slip socks, slippers and mats.

Outdoors, keep sidewalks and driveways shoveled and de-iced. If you aren’t able to do it yourself, hire someone, and check to be sure it’s done in a timely manner.

If you’re still worried about falls, consider having loved ones wear an electronic emergency call device.

Staying Safe at Home

Drops in body temperature or being overly hungry or thirsty can impose risk.

You can help by regularly monitoring the heat settings in seniors’ homes to ensure they are warm and comfortable. Keep all furniture, decorations, blankets, newspapers and other items away from heat vents, radiators and other heat sources. And, remember that improper use of a space heater can be dangerous. Also test that fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, have fresh batteries and are loud enough to hear.

When it comes to the pantry, make sure it’s stocked with food and water that’s within easy reach. Keep an eye on these supplies to ensure meals aren’t being skipped.

In case of emergencies, also make sure non-perishable food, water, extra medications, blankets, flashlights and batteries are on hand.

Riding Out the Storm

If a storm is coming and a loved one is either physically disabled or has an impaired memory, stay overnight or arrange for someone else to do so. When it’s not possible to be there physically, check in often by phone.

Staying inside during and after a winter storm is the ideal scenario for seniors, who – like most of us – shouldn’t drive when it’s snowy and icy. If they do require transportation, arrange it for them.

If the power goes out, be sure loved ones have a safe way to stay warm or a safe place to go.

Above all, keep in mind that the type of support your loved ones need this winter may be different from the past winter. If their health, memory, mobility or eyesight has changed dramatically in recent months, you’ll want to be there for them more often. And, if they spend a lot of time alone or are less active than usual, watch for signs of seasonal affective disorder.

Remember, you know your loved ones and what they need best, so be sure to cater to their individual needs, as well as their overall health and well-being. They’ll be thankful you’re there for them this winter.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Slippery sidewalks. Freezing temperatures. Power outages. Winter isn’t always a wonderland. That’s why, if you regularly lend a hand to a senior friend or family member here in {cities_primary}, it may be a good time of the year to provide some extra support. Read on to learn some ways you may be able to help. Continue reading

Safety Items to Keep In Your Car: The Winter Edition

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/01/12/safety-items-to-keep-in-your-car-the-winter-edition/ 2015-01-12 22:51:32 2015-02-25 20:47:41

You keep your home stocked with emergency supplies. (Right?)

What about your car?

During winter, extreme weather and road conditions can lead to all kinds of trouble when you’re commuting or traveling – crashes, being stranded, getting lost or stuck. And cold temperatures make those situations more dangerous than usual.

So keep a stockpile of emergency items in your car, just like you do in your house. In the best-case scenarios, you’ll never have to use them or they’ll help keep you comfortable for an hour or so while you wait for a tow truck to arrive. But, if you’re ever caught in a truly sticky situation, they just might be key to your survival.

The folks at the Wisconsin Emergency Management agency, as you can imagine, are quite familiar with the perils of winter travel. So don’t just take our word for it. Here are some of their recommendations for what to keep in your car to help keep you safe in the snow and ice:

Your kit doesn’t have to be limited to the above, of course. Feel free to add items that suit your individual needs. But, most importantly, keep the kit in your car at all times – and then keep these additional safety tips in mind:

Remember, it doesn’t take much time or money to prepare an emergency kit. It’s the potential cost of not having one that is enormous.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Keep a stockpile of emergency items in your car, just like you do in your house. In the best-case scenarios, you’ll never have to use them or they’ll help keep you comfortable for an hour or so while you wait for a tow truck to arrive. But, if you’re ever caught in a truly sticky situation, they just might be key to your survival. Continue reading

Cozy Up to These Five Fireplace Safety Tips

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/01/05/cozy-up-to-these-five-fireplace-safety-tips/ 2015-01-05 22:22:59 2015-02-25 20:23:27

The wood is stacked, the flue is open and the match is in hand. You’re about to enjoy a wonderful winter evening by the fire. Just know this first: Heat sources ignite more than 50,000 home fires in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

We’re not trying to put a damper on the mood. We just want your fire to be as safe as it is warm, so here are five fireplace safety tips to remember at your home or your winter vacation getaway:

1. Maintain your fireplace, chimney and the surrounding area.
Each year, ideally before your first fire of the season, bring in a certified professional to have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned. Make sure you don’t have any flammable decorations or other debris around the hearth – an errant spark might ignite them. And check the venting systems for all heating equipment. Vent pipes should extend at least three feet from your roof.

2. Have the right safety equipment.
Whether you regularly build fires or not, your home needs to have at least one fire extinguisher, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level, inside and outside of sleeping areas. Remember to change the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. According to the National Fire Protection Association, working smoke alarms reduce the risk of home fire deaths by half. As for your fireplace, it should have glass doors or a metal mesh screen (both is ideal) to block wayward sparks.

3. Build a safe fire.
Use seasoned hardwood stacked – not too high – on a sturdy grate at the rear of the fireplace. In addition to being easier to control, smaller fires produce less smoke and are more likely to burn out completely. Always ensure the flue is fully open before starting a fire, and never use flammable liquids or other debris, such as cardboard or trash, to get it going. While the fire’s burning, leave the glass doors open enough for the fire to get adequate airflow but close the metal mesh screen.

4. Make sure it’s out before leaving – or sleeping.
It’s dangerous to leave any fire unattended, so only start one when you know you’ll be home (and awake) for an extended period. Whenever possible, let the fire die out on its own – slowly spreading out the logs will help. Trying to extinguish a fire in your fireplace with water can result in a lot of smoke and ash coming into your home.

5. Think ahead and be prepared for the worst.
No matter how diligent you are about fireplace safety, you still want adequate protection for your home should something happen. You need enough homeowners insurance coverage to completely rebuild your home, replace its contents and live somewhere else in the meantime, should it come to that. If you’re unsure whether you have all of that, your independent insurance agent can help with a yearly review of your homeowners policy and other coverages.

Cold winter nights and warm fires will always go hand in hand. With just a little bit of preparation and precaution – and the right insurance – you can make sure safety is part of that equation, too.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

We’re not trying to put a damper on the mood. We just want your fire to be as safe as it is warm, so here are five fireplace safety tips to remember at your home or your winter vacation getaway… Continue reading

The Right Tires for Winter Driving

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2015/01/01/the-right-tires-for-winter-driving/ 2015-01-01 01:51:00 2014-11-21 01:52:29

It’s easy to forget about your tires when it comes to vehicle safety. But, with winter weather in the forecast, your tires can be the difference between a safe trip and a disastrous one.

Whether you regularly head to the mountains for some fun on the slopes or you just need to get around on occasionally icy streets, this winter tire guide will help you choose the best style of tires for your needs – and help you maintain them properly.

Are winter tires for you?
Winter tires are specially designed to provide the best traction and handling in ice, snow and cold-weather conditions. If you live in an area where temperatures regularly drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a good idea to get a set. And note that we said “a set” – using only two winter tires instead of four can create handling issues caused by mismatched traction between the front and rear.

How are they different from all-season tires?
Winter tires have greater tread depth and use siping (slits in the tread) to increase the number of edges that are in contact with the road. They are also made using rubber compounds that stay soft when the weather gets cold, which helps to provide better traction.

What kind of winter tires is best?
There are two main categories: performance winter tires, for light snow and ice, and studless snow and ice tires, which are for severe weather conditions. The latter is the best tire for deep snow and heavy ice, says auto site Edmunds.com, unless studded tires are allowed in your area. But, while studded tires provide excellent traction on ice, you can likely get the same benefits by using chains, when necessary. And, your chains won’t cause damage to the roadway like studs do, either.

How do I maintain them?
At any time of the year, tires require regular monitoring and maintenance for the best performance. But, when you’re counting on them to get you through snow and ice, tire maintenance is even more important. Here are two important things to check regularly:

As the old Michelin advertising slogan goes, “So much is riding on your tires.” Take that to heart this winter, and you won’t be left out in the cold.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

It’s easy to forget about your tires when it comes to vehicle safety. But, with winter weather in the forecast, your tires can be the difference between a safe trip and a disastrous one. Whether you regularly head to the … Continue reading

Ringing in the New Year with a Plunge - a Polar Bear Plunge, That Is

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/12/26/ringing-in-the-new-year-with-a-plunge-a-polar-bear-plunge-that-is/ 2014-12-26 01:33:11 2015-07-08 16:57:06

To plunge or not to plunge. That is the question for some as New Year’s Day approaches – and one best posed to a physician. Because, before taking the polar bear plunge into freezing cold water, you should first make sure your heart can handle it.

For others, the question is moot. They wouldn’t take the plunge, period.

Whether the polar bear plunge is a New Year’s Day tradition or just plain crazy depends on how you look at it. But, one thing’s for certain, it’s a worldwide phenomenon – and not just for New Year’s.

Wikipedia estimates that 30,000 people take part in the Netherland’s New Year’s dive, known as “Nieuwjaarsduik.” And it happens in Canada and Russia, and, in 2014, Australian researchers in Antarctica marked the June 22 solstice (winter for them) with a dip in an ice-filled pool.

Why? Some say there are health benefits to the plunge, such as stress relief, increased energy and rejuvenation. But there can be dangers, too, doctors say – particularly for people with a family history of stroke, aneurysm, blood pressure problems or hypertension. The cold water causes blood vessels to constrict.

But, they also do it for a good cause. In the U.S., polar bear plunges across the country raise money or collect goods to help others.

In Boston, one club, the L Street Brownies, has been jumping into Boston Harbor on New Year’s Day since the early 1900s. Through the sale of T-shirts and hot chocolate, they raise money for scholarships and youth hockey.

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club in New York has been around about as long, and members swim in the Atlantic Ocean every Sunday from November through April. Participants raise money to send sick children to camp and for the Special Olympics.

A New Year’s Day plunge with the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Club helps provide children and seniors with warm winter clothing. And, a plunge into Lake Michigan in Chicago with the Lakeview Polar Bear Club helps raise money for needy families.

However, the largest American plunge is the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, also known as “Plungefest” and “Plungapalooza” in Sandy Point State Park. The event, which draws more than 10,000 annually, takes place in January, February or even March, raises money for the Special Olympics.

Of course, if you’re not up for participating, all events happily welcome observers. And we wouldn’t blame you at all if you felt more comfortable on the sidelines.

If you do plan to plunge, be sure to seek your doctor’s advice first.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

To plunge or not to plunge. That is the question for some as New Year’s Day approaches – and one best posed to a physician. Because, before taking the polar bear plunge into freezing cold water, you should first make … Continue reading

Top 10 Ways to Make the Holidays Greener

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/12/15/top-10-ways-to-make-the-holidays-greener/ 2014-12-15 01:24:38 2015-02-25 20:35:37

Buying. Wrapping. Shipping. Decorating. The holiday season is in full swing, and that means all of the waste that goes along with the festivities is beginning to pile up.

We’re not trying to be a scrooge. We just want to share some tips for making the holidays a little less wasteful this year. Here are 10 of our favorite ones – though we’re in favor of anything that makes the season greener:

  1. Decline bags.
    When you’re shopping, decline bags as often as possible. Bring your own reusable bags or use the bag you received at the first store at the next several stores too.
  2. Choose gifts with minimal packaging.
    Make a conscious choice to buy products that are minimally packaged or packaged in recyclable materials.
  3. Buy recycled wrapping paper – and reuse it.
    Or repurpose paper, such as newspapers and magazines, you already have around the house to wrap presents.
  4. Make the giftwrap part of the gift.
    Use a dishtowel or T-shirt to wrap presents or place gifts inside a nice jar or vase.
  5. Rethink holiday cards.
    Send postcards instead of cards to eliminate the envelope. Even better, send e-cards or make a video call to eliminate paper – and stamps – all together.
  6. Give experiences.
    Consider gift cards or tickets to movies, restaurants, classes, concerts or sporting events so the recipient experiences something meaningful rather than getting something tangible.
  7. Make the donation the gift.
    By making charitable donations in friends and family members’ names, you can make them feel good while helping others.
  8. Skip single-use dinnerware and cookware.
    Just say no to paper and plastic cups, plates and utensils. Use cloth napkins. And serve or transport food in reusable containers. If you’re worried about leaving your favorite dish behind at a party, buy a new one and plan to leave it with the host as a gift.
  9. Decorate naturally.
    Trim your tree with pinecones, dried flowers, popcorn garland, berries or shells – things that, if they end up in a landfill, they won’t be there forever.
  10. Recycle your tree.
    Check with your city on curbside tree pickup days or find a drop-off center in your area. Or buy a potted tree you can plant in your yard later.

And, when the holidays are said and done? Donate clothing, toys and even appliances you no longer need so someone else can get some use out of them. Now that’s smart recycling.

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Buying. Wrapping. Shipping. Decorating. The holiday season is in full swing, and that means all of the waste that goes along with the festivities is beginning to pile up. We’re not trying to be a scrooge. We just want to … Continue reading

Be Charitable This Holiday Season, but Sensible and Safe Too

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/12/07/be-charitable-this-holiday-season-but-sensible-and-safe-too/ 2014-12-07 01:13:34 2014-11-21 01:15:24

It’s a wonderful time of the year to be charitable. And that makes it a great time to go over some tips on how to donate to those less fortunate while keeping your identities and bank accounts safe.

Unfortunately, depending on how you donate, those in need may never see the effects of your goodwill. That’s because criminal organizations pose as charities in order to steal credit card numbers and other personal information, especially during times when they know people are feeling generous, such as around the holidays.

There are things you can do to help ensure your donation goes where it will do the most good. Here are three:

  1. Find out as much as you can about the charity.
    In its 2012 Holiday Giving Poll, the American Red Cross found that 46 percent of survey participants consider a friend’s endorsement to be the most trustworthy source of information about charities. However, you really want to investigate a charity yourself if you’re considering donating to it. Find out how much of your donation will go to those in need rather than to administrative costs and salaries. You can do some research through the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator. Also check the organization’s own website, as well as any news reports you can find.
  2. Be careful where you click when donating online.
    Only 11 percent of participants in the Holiday Giving Poll consider social media to be a trustworthy source of information about charities. It’s smart to be wary of donation requests from a Facebook page or Twitter post. Clicking on a social media link or a link from an email could lead you into a scam and down the road to identity theft. To donate online, type in the charity’s URL carefully. A typo in the URL could lead you to an imposter site run by criminals. Also ensure the URL on the donation page begins with “https,” indicating a secure site, rather than “http.”
  3. If someone asks for a piece of your life, think twice before giving it.
    In an ideal world, we could give our credit card numbers out over the phone or to someone who comes to the door collecting donations. It feels good be generous, after all. However, you can’t be sure these people really represent the organization they say they do. Plus, donating over the phone decreases the amount you give – that call center agent has to be paid. So instead of donating over the phone or at the door, ask the solicitor for information about the charity, such as its website, so you can research it and donate later, if you like. Don’t be pressured into giving now in order to be entered into a drawing or other giveaway.

With a little research and caution, donating this holiday season will benefit those in need and help keep you safe at the same time. Enjoy the holidays!

Contact Us!
At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

It’s a wonderful time of the year to be charitable. And that makes it a great time to go over some tips on how to donate to those less fortunate while keeping your identities and bank accounts safe. Unfortunately, depending … Continue reading

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Four-Legged Friends

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/11/17/holiday-safety-tips-for-your-four-legged-friends/ 2014-11-17 00:55:52 2015-02-25 20:36:59

As a nation, our pets are like family, so let’s make sure they enjoy the holidays with us while staying safe. As a general rule of thumb, always keep pets on a regular routine, even during the holiday season. Don’t let regular feeding, exercising and playing times fall by the wayside as you go about your merry way shopping, entertaining and enjoying the festivities.

That being said, the holidays bring about special circumstances, from houseguests to decorations, that can be unsafe for pets. With a little extra diligence, you can help keep pets safe from these seasonal dangers.
Here are some holiday safety tips for pets to keep in mind:

Trees

Decorations

Presents

Parties

Take your pets’ safety and well-being into account when you’re preparing for and celebrating the season so the entire family – furry or not – can enjoy the holidays together. If your pets do become ill despite your efforts, seek emergency help. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals operates a 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

As a nation, our pets are like family, so let’s make sure they enjoy the holidays with us while staying safe. As a general rule of thumb, always keep pets on a regular routine, even during the holiday season. Don’t … Continue reading

6 Common Holiday Travel Mistakes to Avoid

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/11/01/6-common-holiday-travel-mistakes-to-avoid/ 2014-11-01 00:28:56 2014-11-21 01:06:48

We all know how rough it can be to battle airport crowds on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, or fight through traffic on the drive to visit family across {states_primary}. But have you ever wondered why holiday travel is so stressful? In part, it’s due to the unintentional mistakes people make.

If you’d like your travels to be a little less bumpy this holiday season, here’s what you should avoid doing:

  1. Waiting too long to buy airfare
    Many people think if they wait, fares will drop just before the holidays. But a CheapAir.com analysis of more than 300 million airfares from 2013 showed that the “fire sale” you’re hoping for isn’t likely to happen. So look for your holiday airfares now. The analysis also found that prices start to rise significantly in early November.
  2. Traveling on peak days
    It makes sense to travel on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and come home the Sunday after. But that’s what everybody does. If you can adjust your schedule and find non-peak days to fly or drive, you’ll save a lot of stress, and maybe even some money.
  3. Flying with a ton of gifts
    It seems like everyone is loaded down over the holidays. Remember, the lighter you can travel, the easier it will be. Ship gifts ahead of time or wait until you arrive at your destination to buy them. If you must carry gifts on your flight, don’t wrap them. Security agents might open them during a search.
  4. Failing to reserve airport parking
    Airport parking lots fill up at busy times, and private lots do, too. People who just show up and hope to find a spot might be in for an unpleasant surprise – and a lot of circling around. Be smart and make a parking reservation ahead of time.
  5. Forgetting insurance
    Travel insurance, which can protect you against flight cancellations and trip interruptions, isn’t always necessary. Many people don’t even consider it. However, if you’ve spent a lot on airfare and hotel rooms, that coverage could make a big difference.
  6. Not Having a Plan B
    You’ve seen the people who aren’t prepared when things go sideways. They’re waiting in line at the airline counter or sitting on the side of the road because they didn’t bring snow chains. It doesn’t have to be that way. Always think ahead about what you need for bad weather, flight cancellations, road closures and more.

Everyone’s human, and we all make mistakes. Avoid the ones here, and you’ll be in much better shape than most of your fellow holiday travelers.

Enjoy the coming festivities and be safe!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

We all know how rough it can be to battle airport crowds on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, or fight through traffic on the drive to visit family across {states_primary}. But have you ever wondered why holiday travel is so stressful? … Continue reading

5 Wildfire Prevention Tips for Fall

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/10/01/5-wildfire-prevention-tips-for-fall/ 2014-10-01 00:22:54 2015-02-25 20:25:13

The end of summer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of wildfire season. Depending on the weather, fires can still happen in the fall. So you still need to take care when you’re spending time outdoors, living in a dry area or passing through someplace with lots of natural fuel.

Many, if not most, wildfires are caused by humans, according to the National Park Service, so the good news is that many fires can be prevented. Usually it just takes a little common sense to prevent a lot of damage.

Here are five tips from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and other agencies that anyone can follow to minimize the risk of starting a wildfire:

1. Be smart with campfires and barbecues. Check if summertime campfire bans have been lifted, and only start a fire in an approved area as determined by the local authorities. Keep a shovel or rake and a bucket of water nearby in case you need to put out your fire, and never leave a smoldering fire unattended. This goes for discarding charcoal briquettes and using backyard firepits too.

2. Take care with your vehicles. Don’t park any vehicle in a dry, grassy area. Heat from exhaust systems can ignite the grass. And make sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters.

3. Dispose of cigarettes properly. Improperly discarded cigarettes can quickly start a blaze. So make sure it’s out, and, better yet, don’t litter. (Even better? Stop smoking!) In many areas, throwing burning material from your vehicle can result in a hefty fine.

4. Follow the rules for outdoor waste burning. Don’t burn anything unless you are well aware of the regulations in your city or county. And make sure the surrounding area is safe. Clear flammable materials within 30 feet of your house, remove dead vegetation and keep your lawn and trees well maintained.

5. Keep a close eye on your surroundings. Just because you’re being smart about wildfire prevention doesn’t mean everyone else is. If you see an unattended campfire, take steps to put it out. And if you see an out-of-control fire, call 911 or the local fire department.

Fall is still a great time to go camping and spend time outdoors, and taking a few precautions with fires and flammables can help keep you safe. Not to mention being cautious can prevent thousands or even millions of dollars in damage.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

The end of summer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of wildfire season. Depending on the weather, fires can still happen in the fall. So you still need to take care when you’re spending time outdoors, living in a dry area … Continue reading

Essential Safety Tips for Nighttime Boating

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/08/27/essential-safety-tips-for-nighttime-boating/ 2014-08-27 16:43:06 2014-08-27 22:56:57

If you own a boat (or better yet, as the joke goes, you know someone who does), you’ve probably thought about spending some evenings on the water – especially in the summertime.

It’s a great thought, of course. But, when you’re boating after dark in {states_all_or}, you need to think about staying safe, even as you enjoy the stillness of the water and the starry sky.

Here are seven things to keep in mind, both before you hit the water and once you’re out cruising around:

1. Have a plan – and tools to help if it goes wrong.
Don’t go boating at night in an unfamiliar place. You can’t see as well, obviously, so stick to where you know the ropes, so to speak. And because things look different in the dark, make sure you have the correct navigational tools in case you get lost.

2. Share your plan.
Always give a friend or family member your “float plan.” Include where you’re going, your boat’s description and registration information, who’s with you and when you’ll be back.

3. Check – and dress for – the weather.
On top of the other difficulties of boating at night, you don’t want to get caught in a storm if you can help it. And you want to be comfortable, so be sure to bring clothing appropriate for the forecast. A sweatshirt, blanket and extra towels may come in handy, even in the summer.

4. Do a pre-trip inspection.
This is good advice for daytime boating as well, but at night it’s crucial that your navigation lights work, for starters. You also need a horn, plenty of fuel, a radio, a flashlight, flares, fire extinguishers and life jackets for all passengers.

5. Slow down.
Speed is a factor in many boating accidents, and the limited visibility at night makes the water even more dangerous. Remember, you aren’t going to be the only one on the water at night, so know the right-of-way rules.

6. Pay attention.
Know how to monitor the navigation lights of other vessels to recognize which direction they are going. Be particularly cautious about small vessels, such as canoes and kayaks, as well as anchored or drifting boats. Their lights can be easily confused with lights onshore.

7. Don’t get distracted – or drunk.
It’s never okay to drink and operate a boat, so be sure you have a designated driver. And, though you’re out there to have fun, make sure you can still hear the sounds from approaching vessels. Keep the stereo low and your ears open.

While these tips are important, there’s nothing like experience to help ensure a safe voyage. If you’re a new boater or just in an unfamiliar vessel, you may want to put in more hours during the day before tackling an area at night. Even then, start with short evening outings and work your way up to a moonlight ride. And don’t forget to turn on the lights at the dock before you go!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

When you’re planning on boating after dark, here are seven things to keep in mind, both before you hit the water and once you’re out cruising around. Continue reading

5 Tips for Organizing Your Home for the New School Year

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/08/27/5-tips-for-organizing-your-home-for-the-new-school-year/ 2014-08-27 16:27:41 2014-08-27 16:29:32

Yes, it’s already time to start thinking about school again. Getting a head start can pay big dividends for you and your kids as they head back to class. But, it’s not just what they need for school that matters. It’s what they need at home too.

Here are five things you can do to ensure your kids have a great learning environment at home, while you have a great living environment.

1. Designate a homework space.
Set up an inviting spot for your child to work and study. It should have plenty of light, be stocked with the needed supplies and be located in a quiet place without too many distractions, though keep in mind that kids may work better with a parent nearby. You’ll be able to assist when needed and ensure that they stay on task.

2. Set up a system for school stuff.
Have kids put their backpacks in the same place each day when they get home. When they need materials, they go to where their backpack “lives” and don’t have to hunt around. Before bedtime, everything goes back to the designated spot to minimize morning scrambling. Similarly, you should create a filing system for homework, forms and completed items. No more rooting around for 15 minutes trying to find that permission slip.

3. Eliminate clutter as much as possible.
Yes, this is easier said than done, but it’s important. “Most kids are able to focus better when there are fewer distractions in their home environment,” says professional organizer Stacy Erickson of Home Key Organization in Seattle. So this is a great time for you to let go of some things you haven’t used for a while, as well as things your kids have outgrown or no longer like. For the best results, Erickson says, clear out stuff before going on the annual back-to-school shopping spree.

4. Consider using a family calendar.
Limiting physical clutter is great, but what about those cluttered calendars? Families can easily get bogged down and confused by schedules that seem to have activities and events every night of the week. An easily accessible dry-erase calendar, or even a sheet you print weekly and post on the fridge, will keep everyone on the same page.

5. Once you’re in good shape, do a weekly sweep.
Taking that first step to getting organized is the daunting part. So once you’ve tackled the monster, don’t let the clutter build up again. Everyone – including kids – should sort through papers and other items each week to stay on top of things.

By getting organized, you’ll be setting your kids up for success and saving yourself a couple of things that historically are in short supply for parents: your time and sanity!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Here are five things you can do to ensure your kids have a great learning environment at home, while you have a great living environment. Continue reading

Hitting the Road on 2 Wheels? Plan Ahead for Maximum Fun

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/08/11/hitting-the-road-on-2-wheels-plan-ahead-for-maximum-fun/ 2014-08-11 16:45:29 2015-02-25 20:37:37

Whether you’re headed to the nearest {states_primary} state park or traversing multiple state lines, a little planning will help you make the most of your summer motorcycle getaway.

Not sure where to start? Our tips will help you figure out where to go, what to pack (spoiler alert: not too much) and how to get there safely.

Where to go
No, you don’t need an exact plan. But you do want to have a general idea of where you’re headed; you can always switch it up on the fly.

What to pack (and what not to pack)
Packing smart – not just light – is one of the best ways to prepare for an extended motorcycle ride. We’ve all been on a trip with someone who brought four bags for three days. Don’t be that person.

How to get there safely
Regular motorcycle maintenance is vital, but so is inspecting your bike prior to hitting the road.

Finally, know your limits when it comes to how much ground you can cover in one day. The more well rested you are, the safer you’ll be – and the more fun you’ll have. See you on the road!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Whether you’re headed to the nearest state park or traversing multiple state lines, a little planning will help you make the most of your summer motorcycle getaway. Not sure where to start? Our tips will help you figure out where to go, what to pack (spoiler alert: not too much) and how to get there safely. Continue reading

The Ins & Outs of Staying Cool in a Power Outage

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/07/29/the-ins-outs-of-staying-cool-in-a-power-outage/ 2014-07-29 16:32:44 2014-08-08 17:37:07

Ah, summer. It’s warm outside and comfortable inside, with air conditioners and fans blowing a cool breeze throughout the house. What a perfect time of year!

Until the power goes out, that is.

Now it feels just as warm inside as it is outside – possibly worse. Everyone’s frustrated, including the pets. And you can’t even turn on the television for a little distraction.

It doesn’t have to be totally miserable, though. Here are a few strategies to help you through when the power is down, the mercury is rising and you don’t know what to do:

First things first, stay safe.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty. Alcohol and caffeine can accelerate dehydration, so avoid them. If you get dizzy or weak, sit down in a cool place, drink water and wipe your face and body with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t have you on the road to recovery, get medical attention quickly. Also consider taking the family, especially seniors, to an emergency cooling center in your area.

Watch when you open the windows.
Don’t open the windows when it’s scorching outside. Instead, open your windows at night (if you can safely do so) and let your home fill with that cooler air. Then, as soon as it starts to heat up, close your windows and blinds so that air sticks around as long as possible.

Dress for success.
Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing and as little as possible (when you’re at home, at least). A water-soaked bandana or rag on your neck can work wonders, too. Now’s not the time to worry about fashion – it’s all about comfort.

Undress for success.
If you have a pool, well, what are you waiting for? Get suited up and jump in. Just don’t forget the sunscreen and be sure not to leave kids and pets unattended around pools no matter how shallow they are. If you don’t have a pool or even a sprinkler, a cool bath or shower is an excellent way to bring that body temperature down.

Don’t forget about Fido (or Fluffy).
Animals can get heatstroke too, particularly if they are very young, very old, overweight or have other medical issues. Make sure they are drinking plenty of water and that they have access to shade if they go outdoors. A cool bath or damp towel can be soothing, too, as well as a swim in the morning or evening.

We know there’s just no substitute for that feeling when the air conditioner kicks back on. But following these tips can help ensure that you’ll be safe – and sane – while you’re waiting for that to happen.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

When the power goes out when it’s hot, it doesn’t have to be totally miserable. Here are a few strategies to help you through when the power is down, the mercury is rising and you don’t know what to do. Continue reading

Celebrate National Night Out With Your Neighbors

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/07/24/celebrate-national-night-out-with-your-neighbors/ 2014-07-24 23:06:09 2014-07-25 16:26:39

In 1984, National Night Out – “America’s Night Out Against Crime” – began as a way to promote crime prevention through neighborhood camaraderie.

Since then, according to the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), the annual event has taken root in tens of thousands of communities across the country, with more than 37 million people taking part in block parties, barbecues, parades, marches and more. It’s all about sending a message to criminals: Our neighborhood is organized, and crime is not welcome here.

On the first Tuesday of August (or possibly October), you can join the millions who are committed to making their communities safer by taking part in an existing event or planning your own. Even if you only attend a gathering, you’re still playing a part.

Planning a National Night Out event

If your area has a neighborhood watch program, check to see if there’s an event already planned. If so, the organizers will be happy to have your support.

If there’s nothing in the works and you want to host your own, decide what’s appropriate for your neighborhood (and manageable for you). Maybe it’s a small ice-cream social or a big barbecue. The possibilities are endless. And be sure to visit your city’s website or Facebook page; many municipalities offer assistance in setting up an event. Some will even arrange to have law-enforcement representatives stop by.

NATW, the organization that started National Night Out, has great resources as well. When you register your event at natw.org, you’ll receive an official organizational kit with guidelines and suggestions.

Of course, you can have an event without registering or checking in with your city. Getting people together and focusing on making your community safer is what’s important.

Quick tips for all National Night Out parties

Finally, remember to have fun! Yes, the safety aspect of National Night Out is important, but it’s just as vital to get to know your neighbors better and enjoy their company. After all, that’s what building a stronger community is all about.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance.

On the first Tuesday of August (or possibly October), you can join the millions who are committed to making their communities safer by taking part in an existing event or planning your own. Even if you only attend a gathering, you’re still playing a part. Here are some tips for your Night Out gathering. Continue reading

Keep the Fire (Pit) Burning, but Keep It Safe

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/07/22/keep-the-fire-pit-burning-but-keep-it-safe/ 2014-07-22 22:39:38 2015-03-17 21:26:53

Sitting around a backyard fire pit here in {states_primary} is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a nice summer evening.

Without the proper precautions, however, it can also be quite dangerous.

So before you get out the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for National S’mores Day on August 10, check out these guidelines to make sure you won’t get burned by an unsafe fire.

Decide what style is best for your yard.
You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to fire pits – from ready-made metal bowls to the classic, do-it-yourself pit ringed with rocks. And they don’t even have to burn wood. Gas models can be more convenient and actually reduce the risk of a fire blazing out of control.

Make sure you follow the law.
As the popularity of fire pits has grown, some municipalities are creating new regulations around their use. And general burn bans are often in effect to protect air quality. Check with your city or county to determine whether you can use a fire pit, along with the rules you need to follow.

Take a look around.
Make sure there aren’t any flammable materials near your fire pit or flammable surfaces, such as a wooden deck, under it. Your pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure. Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby in case of emergency; you can also use a bucket of sand to put out your fire. Finally, check the wind direction before you start a fire, and make sure kids and pets remain at a safe distance.

Build a safe fire.
Only use seasoned hardwood if possible, as softer woods, such as cedar, can spark and pop. Never burn garbage, leaves or paper, and don’t use fluids – even lighter fluid – to start or restart your fire. If you have a metal fire pit, use the included screen, and don’t overload it.

Make sure it’s out.
Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. Spread the ashes out and let them cool. Pour some water (or your sand) over them – but don’t leave just yet. Always give it a little extra time to ensure the fire is totally out and won’t flare up. Besides, it’s still a nice night out, right?

Memories are often made while sitting around a fire. And with a little common-sense preparation, you’re sure to keep those memories great.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

Sitting around a backyard fire pit is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a nice summer evening. But before you get out the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for National S’mores Day on August 10, check out these guidelines to make sure you won’t get burned by an unsafe fire. Continue reading

Protect Your Most Cherished Possessions

6392, 6393, 3971, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/04/23/protect-your-most-cherished-possessions/ 2014-04-23 17:33:24 2014-07-22 22:53:33

If you’re like most people, there are certain items you own that you can’t imagine ever losing – possessions you deeply cherish or those that would be impossible to replace due to the cost of re-purchasing them or simply because they’re irreplaceable.

While your homeowners insurance is invaluable for covering the loss or destruction of many of your belongings (as well as damage to your home’s structure), your policy might provide only partial coverage for your most cherished items.

The good news is that you can still protect the things that matter to you most, even if they’re not fully covered under your homeowners insurance, with a scheduled personal property endorsement that is tailored to meet your specific needs.

Not an easy name, but it can help you sleep better at night

A scheduled personal property endorsement is not something that everyone talks about, but here at {agency_name_long}, we can help you determine if it would be a good fit for you. The first step begins with you. Look around your home and make a list of your cherished possessions. Be sure to consider the following:

Once you have taken an inventory, make the time to talk with us at {general_phone}. Or, start the conversation by emailing us at {email}. We are here to help you determine whether your prized possessions need more coverage than your current policy provides.

Keep in mind that it is wise to complete an inventory every year or so, because it’s easy to acquire new items over time that should be added to a scheduled personal property endorsement. It could be tragic to find yourself in a situation rendering you unable to replace what matters most to you.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance

While your homeowners insurance is invaluable for covering the loss or destruction of many of your belongings (as well as damage to your home’s structure), your policy might provide only partial coverage for your most cherished items. Continue reading

Keep Water from Going Where it Shoudn’t

6666, 6669, 3971, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/04/16/keep-water-from-going-where-it-shoudnt/ 2014-04-16 21:35:57 2014-04-08 21:38:21

One of the most disheartening experiences is to find flooding or extreme water damage to your treasured home.

At {agency_name_long}, we know you want to protect what’s important. That’s why we’re offering these tips to help you prevent many of the most common causes of water damage.

Just a little time and some effort can prevent a lot of heartache and hassle.

We here at {agency_name_short} hope these pointers will ensure your house stays nice and dry this year!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we know you want to protect what’s important. That’s why we’re offering these tips to help you prevent many of the most common causes of water damage. Continue reading

Stay Safe on the Road During a Hailstorm in {states_primary}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/04/08/stay-safe-on-the-road-during-a-hailstorm/ 2014-04-08 21:26:48 2015-02-25 20:26:11

It may sound surprising, but there are approximately 3,000 hailstorms in the United States each year. The size of hail can widely vary – from golf-ball size to softball size. And when it starts building up size, hail can cause not just severe property and vehicle damage, but also bodily harm and even death. On average, hailstorms annually cause over $1 billion in damage to property, approximately 1,500 injuries and 80 deaths annually.

One of the most frightening places to be during a hailstorm is on the road in your car. Obviously your vehicle is at great risk of damage, but even more importantly, you are in danger in the event you can’t see well enough to drive or your windows are broken in by the power of the storm.

Here are some pointers for navigating a hailstorm while on {states_all_and} roads:

At {agency_name_short}, we hope you stay hailstorm-free this season!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance

One of the most frightening places to be during a hailstorm is on the road in your car. Obviously your vehicle is at great risk of damage, but even more importantly, you are in danger in the event you can’t see well enough to drive or your windows are broken in by the power of the storm. Here are some pointers for navigating a hailstorm. Continue reading

Protect Yourself From These 6 Tornado Myths

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/04/08/protect-yourself-from-these-6-tornado-myths/ 2014-04-08 21:15:54 2015-02-25 20:27:14

Tornadoes have caused severe and irreparable damage to tens of thousands of Americans and their property in recent years. On top of the physical and emotional fallout, many have also lost their lives as a direct result of a tornado.

Although you can never control the weather or the outcome of a destructive storm, there are steps you can take to help you and your family remain protected in the event of a tornado. Those steps of action begin with knowing fact from myth.

Here are a few tornado truths that could help keep you and those you love safe:

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.

Call us at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance

Although you can never control the weather or the outcome of a destructive storm, there are steps you can take to help you and your family remain protected in the event of a tornado. That begins with knowing fact from myth. Continue reading

Make Recycling and Reducing Routine

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/03/03/make-recycling-and-reducing-routine/ 2014-03-03 21:13:23 2015-02-25 20:33:08

“Reduce, reuse, recycle.” Most likely, you’ve heard that catchy phrase connected with information about saving natural resources and even saving your family money. But how many of us really make reducing, reusing and recycling a part of our everyday life?

At {agency_name_long}, we try to do our part to protect our environment and use our resources wisely. And we’re hoping you’ll take the time – if you’re not already – to make reduce, reuse and recycle part of your daily routine. Depending on where you’re starting from, it may take a change in mindset, or maybe just a little more dedication. But these tips from the Environmental Protection Agency can help:

Reducing and reusing

Recycling

Recycling isn’t just about putting your cans, bottles and newspapers into a bin, although that plays a big part. Here are some other things to consider.

Though your actions may seem small, they do make a difference in the community – and the world. And when they’re combined with the efforts of millions of others, the impact is even bigger than you can imagine!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we try to do our part to protect our environment and use our resources wisely. And we’re hoping you’ll take the time – if you’re not already – to make reduce, reuse and recycle part of your daily routine. Depending on where you’re starting from, it may take a change in mindset, or maybe just a little more dedication. But these tips can help. Continue reading

Home Security Tips

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2014/02/28/home-security-tips/ 2014-02-28 00:05:51 2014-02-28 00:08:05

Everyone wants to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders, but not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. There are plenty of people who prefer the do-it-yourself route, whether it’s home improvement or home security.

And nowadays, there are more options than ever when it comes to home security, so we here at {agency_name_long} want to help you sort through those options with a few tips.

Do-it-yourself options

The widespread availability of electronic tools means that homeowners can set up their own monitoring systems if they choose, without the help of a home-security company.

Even if you aren’t interested in installing security equipment around your home, there are a number of things you can do to increase safety:

Burglars really do consider deterrents such as alarms, cameras, dogs, etc., when looking at targets, according to a study released by the University of North Carolina. So a small investment in security can make a big difference!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

This article provided courtesy of Safeco Insurance

Everyone wants to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders, but not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. There are plenty of people who prefer the do-it-yourself route, whether it’s home improvement or home security. Continue reading

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Get Your Car Stolen

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/12/16/five-sure-fire-ways-to-get-your-car-stolen/ 2013-12-16 21:18:57 2013-12-16 21:21:25

Most people would say their car is one of the most valuable assets they own – if not the most valuable. Despite that, however, some people make it downright easy for thieves to drive off in their pride and joy.

At {agency_name_long}, we don’t want you walking out your door to an empty driveway or leaving the local mall only to find some broken glass left behind in your parking space. So take care to avoid these five mistakes.

  1. Leave your car running … and unattended. We know it can be chilly in the mornings, and who wants to wait in a cold car while it warms up? Well, a thief certainly won’t mind the chill – as he’s driving away in your car while you’re finishing that cup of coffee in your kitchen. If your car is running, you should be in it. Period. Even if you’re just running over to the ATM to get some cash or dropping off some mail.
  2. Keep a spare set of keys inside the car. Law enforcement agencies say this is a great way to turn a car prowler into a car thief. They’re already breaking into your car to get a phone, or a laptop, etc. What do you think they’re going to do when they find a set of keys? They’re not going to drop them off on your porch with a nice note, that’s for sure.
  3. Put valuables in plain sight. Seems simple, but we’ve all made this mistake. You’ll just be in the store for a second, after all, so who cares if you leave your smartphone on the front seat? Or items from your other errands in the back seat? Be smart – if you have to leave items in your car, put them in the trunk, or at least hide them as best you can. And do it before you get to your next destination.
  4. Leave your car unsecured. The best thieves can work wonders with a window that’s left open even just a crack. And even the worst thieves can steal a car that’s been left unlocked, with no alarm set.
  5. Assume nobody would want to steal your car. Think your car is too old or too undesirable for a thief to bother? Scrap metal is worth money, so never assume that your car is safe – even if you think it’s just a “junker.”

Keeping thieves away helps to keep everyone’s insurance costs down, so avoiding these mistakes not only will save you hassle, it will save you money as well. So stay safe, not only on the roads, but in the parking lots as well!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we don’t want you walking out your door to an empty driveway or leaving the local mall only to find some broken glass left behind in your parking space. So take care to avoid these five mistakes. Continue reading

A Little Extra Caution Can Go a Long Way While Driving at Night

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/12/03/a-little-extra-caution-can-go-a-long-way-while-driving-at-night/ 2013-12-03 22:01:29 2015-02-25 20:28:12

While fall and winter have their own pleasures – longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.

You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).

Because we’re big advocates for safety at {agency_name_long}, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at why night driving is more dangerous, and what you can do to decrease that danger.

What’s dangerous about night driving?

  1. Decreased vision. We won’t go into all the biological details, but different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.
  2. Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.
  3. Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.

So what do you do?

Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip – whether you’re just running to the store, or driving a long distance.

  1. Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
  2. Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
  3. Be more aware of your surroundings. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway – and distractions are even more deadly at night.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!

We’re open all day!

When you’re driving around during the day, stop in to visit us at {agency_name_short} for a review of your coverage. We won’t keep you after dark, we promise. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We’re here to help!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC). Continue reading

Real or Fake? The Christmas Tree Conundrum

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/12/02/real-or-fake-the-christmas-tree-conundrum/ 2013-12-02 21:27:34 2015-02-25 20:38:30

The kind of tree that adorns a person’s home during the holidays can provoke debate as much as Coke vs. Pepsi or Chevy vs. Ford:

When it comes to Christmas trees, do you choose live or artificial? Do you cut your own at a local tree farm, or do you prefer the convenience of a tree bought at a local grocery or home improvement store that won’t shed its needles, doesn’t need water and maybe already has lights?

Both live and artificial trees have their advantages and disadvantages, and we here at {agency_name_long} certainly aren’t going to try to convince you that one is “right.” But in the spirit of giving, we thought we’d provide some information to help you make the best decision for you and your family if you display a tree during the holidays.

Artificial trees

According to the North Carolina Consumers Council, artificial trees pose fewer safety concerns than live trees, but that’s not to say they don’t have risks of their own. Even fake trees can catch fire when sockets are overloaded with Christmas lights, and it only takes seconds for any tree to become completely engulfed in flames. And yes, flame-resistant artificial trees will eventually succumb to a fire.

When using a pre-lit tree, always follow instructions, and place the tree in an open area where a fire won’t quickly spread to furniture or other things in close proximity.

The benefits of artificial trees, of course, are well-known. They’re convenient and often less messy than real trees. You can re-use them year after year, saving money and saving the environment. And there’s no need to spend time searching for the perfect tree, since it’s usually easy to adjust the “branches” to your liking.

Live trees

OK, so you want the real deal. That’s great! But you’re going to have to take a little more care than you would with an artificial tree. First of all, pick a tree that’s in good shape. If needles come off easily when you give it a shake or a quick pull on a branch, find another one.

When you get it home, cut off the bottom two inches of its trunk, and fill the tree stand with water regularly. This is the best way to prevent a fire. Remember not to overload it with lights and decorations. And the longer you keep your tree up, the drier – and the more dangerous – it will become.

Dispose of your tree properly as well. Don’t burn it or put it in your fireplace, as a burning Christmas tree can be harder to control than other types of fires.

If you’re a fan of real trees, you probably don’t need us to tell you the benefits. Just take in that smell and enjoy the season!

No matter what tree you choose, the important thing is to keep safety in mind as well. If you do that, your holiday enjoyment will be real, even if your tree isn’t!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_long}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

When it comes to Christmas trees, do you choose live or artificial? Do you cut your own at a local tree farm, or do you prefer the convenience of a tree bought at a local grocery or home improvement store that won’t shed its needles, doesn’t need water and maybe already has lights? Continue reading

Getting Ready for Winter Weather

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/11/19/getting-ready-for-winter-weather/ 2013-11-19 18:32:51 2013-11-19 18:33:41

Fall has arrived, but there’s still time to get ready for winter weather, including storms. Extreme cold is always a possibility here in {cities_all}, so we at {agency_name_long} have compiled some tips to help you stay safe and limit damage.

Preparing your home

Preparing your car

Preparing yourself

Winter is a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to the nicer winter days. So get your house, car and body ready, and have a great season!

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_short}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Fall has arrived, but there’s still time to get ready for winter weather, including storms. Extreme cold is always a possibility here in {cities_all}, so we at {agency_name_long} have compiled some tips to help you stay safe and limit damage. Continue reading

Top 10 Ways to Honor a Veteran on Veterans Day

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/11/09/top-10-ways-to-honor-a-veteran-on-veterans-day/ 2013-11-09 00:25:27 2013-11-09 00:28:37

Americans celebrate Memorial Day in the spring and Veterans Day in the fall. While it can be easy to confuse the two holidays, Memorial Day is set aside to honor American’s war dead; Veterans Day is intended to honor the service of all U.S. veterans, both living and dead.

In fact, celebrations surrounding Veterans Day often place a special emphasis on thanking all living U.S. military veterans who have or are currently serving in any U.S. armed service. And it’s the perfect time for all Americans to show appreciation for their service.

The best way to thank a military U.S. veteran for his or her service depends on the individual and his or her needs. But the most important thing is to do something to show your gratitude.

Here are 10 ideas to get you thinking about how to be grateful for veterans on November 11.

1. Raise. Display the American flag in your yard to demonstrate your support of veterans everywhere.
2. Listen. Strike up a conversation with a disabled or homeless veteran and be an active listener as you hear about their experience.
3. Speak. Simply say, “Thank you” to veterans you see.
4. Reach out. Contact a disabled or homeless veteran whom you know and spend some quality time together.
5. Support. Send a donation to organizations that support the special needs of veterans.
6. Find. Trace your ancestry and identify how many veterans are in your family.
7. Write. Send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
8. Visit. Visit a disabled veteran in his or her home or a homeless veteran on the street.
9. Learn. Educate yourself on the challenges veterans face when retiring from service to rejoin civilian life.
10. Share. Use your social media to help celebrate Veterans Day and acknowledge the service of all veterans.

To learn more ways to honor a veteran on November 11, visit http://www.wallawalla.va.gov/Misc/Honor_Veteran.asp.

To all our American heroes, we at {agency_name_long} thank you for your service to our country.

Did you know? Veterans Day is always celebrated on November 11, regardless of the day of the week. It’s also a federal holiday, so federal government employees take the day off on Monday if the 11th falls on a Sunday, and they take the day off on Friday if the 11th falls on a Saturday.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_long}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Americans celebrate Memorial Day in the spring and Veterans Day in the fall. While it can be easy to confuse the two holidays, Memorial Day is set aside to honor American’s war dead; Veterans Day is intended to honor the service of all U.S. veterans, both living and dead.

In fact, celebrations surrounding Veterans Day often place a special emphasis on thanking all living U.S. military veterans who have or are currently serving in any U.S. armed service. And it’s the perfect time for all Americans to show appreciation for their service. Continue reading

A Different Season Means Different Dangers For Motorcyclists

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/10/03/a-different-season-means-different-dangers-for-motorcyclists/ 2013-10-03 22:20:43 2013-10-03 22:45:49

Fall is a wonderful time to be outside on your bike, thanks to the crisp, cool weather and changing colors of the landscape. Staying safe on the road in autumn requires some special precautions, however. Because we at {agency_name_long} want you to be around to enjoy the beauty of the open road, even in the fall, we’ve put together some great tips for you.

Be vigilant about visibility

When fall rolls around, the days are getting shorter, which means your late-afternoon ride can turn into an evening ride very quickly. Make sure you carry proper reflective gear, along with replacement bulbs, and any other basic equipment that can help ensure your visibility. And keep in mind that the sun is lower in the sky, so the glare may make it harder for you to see the road – and for other drivers to see you. (Those drivers may well be distracted by the scenery, too, so look out!)

Keep cool, but not too cool

In {states_primary}, you know that conditions can change quickly. Even on a warm day, a cold night might be just an hour or two away. So pack your cold-weather gear when you head out, and beware of frost and ice on roadways if you’re in an area susceptible to freezing.

Consider the conditions

Roads in the fall can present a number of dangers. Rain can make roads slick, and standing water can cause you to hydroplane or lose control. Lower temperatures can bring frost, ice and even snow. In the latter two instances, it might be best to just leave the bike in the garage. But if you’re already on the road when it starts getting cold, remember that certain parts of roadways, such as bridges and overpasses, will frost over more quickly. And even those beautiful autumn leaves can be a hazard when they start to fall off the trees and onto the road.

Beware of deer

Fall also brings an increase in deer activity, so be extra vigilant, particularly in rural areas. Deer tend to be most active around dawn and dusk when visibility can be limited. Pay attention to deer crossing signs and always be alert to your surroundings.

Fall can be one of the best times to ride, but also one of the most dangerous. So take a little extra care and maybe a little extra time. Doing so will help you stay safe while you take in the scenery.

Other safety resources

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a great resource to learn more about safety gear and motorcycling in general, as is the American Motorcyclist Association. Remember, we’re here to help too! If you have questions about insurance coverage for your bike, or want more safety resources, give us a call at {general_phone}.

Contact Us!

At {agency_name_long}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Fall is a wonderful time to be outside on your bike, thanks to the crisp, cool weather and changing colors of the landscape. Staying safe on the road in autumn requires some special precautions, however. Because we at {agency_name_long} want you to be around to enjoy the beauty of the open road, even in the fall, we’ve put together some great tips for you. Continue reading

When the Kids Head for College, Put ‘Insurance 101’ on Your Class List

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/08/27/when-kids-head-to-college-insurance/ 2013-08-27 07:40:06 2013-10-03 22:39:20

It’s an exciting time when your child is heading off to ‘college’. Whether they’re headed to school here in {states_primary} or all the way across the country, there are a ton of things to get done – and a ton of things to pack!

But one of the most important things they’ll need at school is something that doesn’t have to be packed at all – the right insurance coverage.

Of course, that’s what we at {agency_name_long} are here for! We’re ready to answer your questions and make sure both you and your young student are well protected. Check out the general information below, and then give us a call at {general_phone} to discuss your specific situation and coverages.

Homeowners Policies

Auto Policies

Not having the right insurance can be a costly mistake – and college is expensive enough as it is. So give us a call today. Your child may be going away, but we’ll be right here when you need us! (And we won’t call you to ask for pizza money, either.)

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

 

It’s an exciting time when your child is heading off to college. Whether they’re headed to school in {states_primary} or all the way across the country, there are a ton of things to get done – and a ton of things to pack! But one of the most important things they’ll need at school is something that doesn’t have to be packed at all – the right insurance coverage. Continue reading

Kids Are Heading Back to School, Let’s Keep Them Safe

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/08/26/kids-are-heading-back-to-school-lets-keep-them-safe/ 2013-08-26 22:24:22 2015-02-25 20:29:27

The end of summer means many things, such as cooler weather, shorter days and … the start of football here in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} and {states_secondary}{/cond}!

But most important, it means kids are headed back to school. And that means we all should be extra careful on the roads, in school zones and around buses in our local cities, including {cities_all}. Don’t forget to watch for bikes, too! Here are some tips for both parents and kids to make sure everyone stays safe.

Use caution on the roads

Teach kids to be safe while walking …

Just a few minutes spent explaining some basic safety rules to your child can make a world of difference when they’re walking to or from school.

… and on their bikes

This is all basic stuff – but it’s always good to be reminded. Take it slow, and let’s have a happy and safe school year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact us at {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

The end of summer means many things, but most important, it means kids are headed back to school. And that means we all should be extra careful on the roads, in school zones and around buses in {cities_all}. Don’t forget to watch for bikes, too! Here are some tips for both parents and kids to make sure everyone stays safe. Continue reading

Protect Your College Grad With the Right Insurance

6392, 6393, 3971, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/05/21/protect-your-college-grad-with-the-right-insurance/ 2013-05-21 21:21:57 2013-05-21 21:23:25

College graduation is an exciting time in {states_primary} and elsewhere for students and their parents alike. And, while it’s easy to be immersed in graduation parties and focused on first-job jitters, it’s a time of major transitions and big decisions, and it’s essential to prepare graduates for what comes next.

One area new college graduates need to address is insurance. As insurance professionals at {agency_name_long}, we know insurance can be a confusing topic. We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses. We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world in {states_all} or beyond, so we have compiled the following pointers.

We at {agency_name_long} congratulate you on your child’s graduation! Please contact us with any questions, or to request a review of your family’s insurance portfolio.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

One area new college graduates need to address is insurance. As insurance professionals at {agency_name_long}, we know insurance can be a confusing topic. We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses. We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world in {states_all} or beyond, so we have compiled the following pointers. Continue reading

What You Should Know About Flood Insurance in {states_primary}

6392, 6393, 3971, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/05/21/what-you-should-know-about-flood-insurance-in-states_primary/ 2013-05-21 21:06:19 2015-03-05 00:35:14

You’ve probably heard this horror story before – someone loses a home due to a flood and learns after the fact that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.

At {agency_name_long}, we want you to be educated about all of the risks you may face in {states_all} – before a loss occurs – so you can determine what insurance coverage is appropriate. Spring is a prime season for flooding and hurricane season is about to start, so now is a good time to review your options.

Because very few companies offer flood insurance, the U.S. government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. Available to homeowners, renters and business owners, this insurance often is required to obtain a mortgage in areas at high risk of flooding.

But you might want to look into a policy just for peace of mind, even if you don’t live in a traditionally flood-prone area. According to the NFIP, nearly 25 percent of the program’s claims occur in moderate- to low-risk areas. Check out the questions and answers below to help determine if flood insurance is right for you.

Is flood insurance available in my area?

To participate in the NFIP, a community must adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance with rules regarding construction in certain flood-prone areas. In exchange, the government makes flood insurance available within that community. We’re happy to help you find out if you’re eligible for flood insurance. Just give us a call at {general_phone}. You can also visit fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.

What does it cover?

The NFIP provides coverage for both the structure and its contents. Coverage for contents is optional in some cases, so you may want to give us a call to discuss other coverage for your personal property.

Keep in mind that you typically can’t purchase flood insurance and have it take effect the next day. There is usually a 30-day waiting period. (Exceptions to this rule apply, however, particularly when the insurance is required by a lender and is purchased during the process of securing a mortgage.) If you think you need flood insurance, don’t wait to buy a policy!

What doesn’t it cover?

Generally, government-issued flood insurance will not cover the following: Buildings entirely over water or principally below ground, gas and liquid storage tanks, animals, aircraft, wharves, piers, bulkheads, growing crops, shrubbery, land, roads, machinery or equipment in the open and most motor vehicles.

How much does it cost?

As with all insurance policies, the cost of flood insurance varies depending on your situation. If your home or business is in a high-risk area, such as a “special flood hazard area,” your premium naturally will be higher than those in low- or moderate-risk zones. Premiums are based on how old the building is, how many floors it has, the location of its contents, your deductible and more. Renters insurance is typically less expensive, as renters generally insure their belongings and not the building.

Where can I find more information?

As always, we are happy to help you determine your insurance needs. Stop by our office, email us at {email}, or give us a call at {general_phone}. The NFIP website, at http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program, has plenty of answers as well.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we want you to be educated about all of the risks you may face in {states_all} – before a loss occurs – so you can determine what insurance coverage is appropriate. Spring is a prime season for flooding and hurricane season is about to start, so now is a good time to review your options. Continue reading

Top Tips for Boat Trailer Safety

6666, 6669, 3971, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/05/02/top-tips-for-boat-trailer-safety/ 2013-05-02 17:38:52 2013-05-02 18:36:26

There are many reasons to love the sport of boating – it can be relaxing, exciting, entertaining and even rejuvenating. But hauling a boat on a trailer and launching it at a busy {states_primary} launch ramp can have its challenges. In fact, it can be downright stressful and dangerous and is often wrought with mishaps.

It’s not too early to start getting your boat trailer in tip-top shape. To help make sure you can haul your boat to its destination and into the water smoothly, check out this basic trailering checklist from discoverboating.com.

Before you tow your boat trailer, be sure:

At {agency_name_long}, we want your boating adventures to be enjoyed on the water instead of experienced with frustration on the boat ramp or on the road.

Happy hauling! A few more pieces of advice…

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

It’s not too early to start getting your boat trailer in tip-top shape. To help make sure you can haul your boat to its destination and into the water smoothly, check out this basic trailering checklist. Continue reading

Make the Most of a Classic Car Show

6668, 6671, 3971, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/04/22/1431/ 2013-04-22 17:26:06 2013-05-21 21:30:57

As the weather warms, you’re likely to start seeing announcements for classic car shows in {states_primary}. These automotive events are a great way to kick start your weekend or vacation. Classic car shows are held all across the country, from small rural towns to large metropolitan areas in {states_all}, and they draw classic car enthusiasts from near and far.

Some people attend classic car shows as spectators to check out unique and rare vehicles. Others go to connect with fellow car buffs or to show off their prized possession. And some attend shows to shop or to sell.

Whether you’re planning to shop, sell, show, or just go, here are some tips for making the most of a classic car show.

Whatever your reason for attending the next classic car show, we at {agency_name_short} hope these pointers will ensure you make the very most of it.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Some people attend classic car shows as spectators to check out unique and rare vehicles. Others go to connect with fellow car buffs or to show off their prized possession. And some attend shows to shop or to sell.

Whether you’re planning to shop, sell, show, or just go, here are some tips for making the most of a classic car show. Continue reading

Finding the Perfect Boat Slip in {states_primary}

6668, 6671, 3971, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/04/19/finding-the-perfect-boat-slip-in-states_primary/ 2013-04-19 17:31:32 2013-04-19 19:23:10

If you’re an avid boating enthusiast and you’ve tired of the typically exhausting practice of hauling your boat to and from your favorite body of water{lakes:cond} like {lakes_or}{/cond}, waiting in lines at launch ramps and winching it in and out every time you boat, it may be time to consider renting a boat slip.

Marina boat slips vary from one another, but all of them offer many advantages to boaters who spend a lot of time on the water. Some of their many benefits include:

While the advantages are numerous, boat slips are also notorious for being costly. Here are a few pointers for finding the best deal possible on a boat slip rental:

If you think it’s time you start enjoying more time on the water and less hauling a boat to and from the water, we at {agency name} wish you good luck in your search for the perfect slip!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Marina boat slips vary from one another, but all of them offer many advantages to boaters who spend a lot of time on the water. Here are some of their many benefits. Continue reading

Get Started Early To Get Your Boat Ready For Summer

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/04/09/get-started-early-to-get-your-boat-ready-for-summer/ 2013-04-09 17:21:24 2013-04-09 17:22:26

If you love the water, few things are better than boating season. Summer just wouldn’t be summer without spending those long, hot days{lakes:cond} on {lakes_or}{/cond}, cooling off with a lazy dip in the water, dropping a line in hopes of catching a “big one,” or having an action-packed day of waterskiing and tubing.

Boating is not without its share of pre-summer preparation. If you’re not on the ball early, it’s easy to find yourself midway through July still on dry land.

At {agency_name_long}, we want to ensure you’re first in line at the boat launch at the first sign of the season change, so here are a few tips for being ahead of the game.

We at {agency_name_long} wish you a fun-filled and safe boating season!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Boating is not without its share of pre-summer preparation. If you’re not on the ball early, it’s easy to find yourself midway through July still on dry land.

At {agency_name_long}, we want to ensure you’re first in line at the boat launch at the first sign of the season change, so here are a few tips for being ahead of the game. Continue reading

Ride Safe With These Motorcycle Tips

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/03/29/ride-safe-with-these-motorcycle-tips/ 2013-03-29 11:33:48 2013-03-29 12:44:40

Motorcyclists know that riding gives them a freedom that driving a car just can’t match. But the best riders also know that motorcycles require more focus to operate and don’t provide the same protections cars do in the event of a crash. The best riders also take great care in all situations, whether they’re in heavy traffic in {cities_primary} and {cities_secondary}, stuck in the rain or just taking a quick ride on a perfect day.

If your habits aren’t as safe as they could be, or if you’re new to motorcycling, don’t worry! Instead, take time to improve. The quick safety tips below are a great place to start.

First things first

Riding at night

Bad weather?

We wish that all of your rides could be on sunny days with wide-open roads, but we know that’s not going to happen. So think about safety every time you start up your bike!

Want more? Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (msf-usa.org) or the American Motorcyclist Association (americanmotorcyclist.com).

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Motorcyclists know that riding gives them a freedom that driving a car just can’t match. But the best riders also know that motorcycles require more focus to operate and don’t provide the same protections cars do in the event of … Continue reading

Do You Own a Classic Car of the Future?

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/03/24/do-you-own-a-classic-car-of-the-future/ 2013-03-24 22:24:49 2013-03-25 02:47:44

There’s nothing quite like driving a speedy, shiny classic car that turns heads and starts conversations. In fact, the beauty and elegance of old collectibles – like the 1964 Aston Martin DB5, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and the 1969 Dodge Charger – can be downright captivating.

If you don’t happen to own one of these timeless beauties, it may not mean you will never own a classic. In fact, there are many automobile aficionados and industry experts that predict we can expect a whole new generation of cars that will one day be bestowed the same level of prestige as, say, the 1969 Chevy Camaro.

If your curiosity is getting the better of you, here is a peek at the 10 models predicted by CNET’s Car Tech editors as being the vintage cars of the future. Who knows, you just may own a classic after all.

  1. Toyota Prius (first generation): Built from 1997 to 2003, sold in the U.S. from 2001 to 2003
  2. Honda Insight (first generation): Sold in the U.S. from 1999 to 2006
  3. Toyota MR2 Spyder: Built from 1999 to 2007
  4. Honda S2000: Built from 2000 to 2009
  5. Scion xB: Offered from 2004 to 2006
  6. Infiniti G35: Built from 2003 to 2006
  7. BMW 335i/N54 3-series: Built from 2006 to 2010
  8. Pontiac G8: Built from early 2008 to mid-2009
  9. Dodge Magnum: Built 2004 to 2008
  10. Chrysler 300C: Built 2005 to 2011

If any of the above-named vehicles is sitting in your garage, congratulations may be in order. And if not, it’s not too late to start checking the classified and used car lots.

Regardless what you’re driving or what automobile you might have stored away, we at {agency_name_short} are here to make sure you have it covered! Contact us today.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

There are many automobile aficionados and industry experts that predict we can expect a whole new generation of cars that will one day be bestowed the same level of prestige as, say, the 1969 Chevy Camaro. Here is a peek at cars predicted by CNET’s Car Tech editors as being the vintage cars of the future. Continue reading

Useful Tools to Enhance Your RV Experience

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/03/22/useful-tools-to-enhance-your-rv-experience/ 2013-03-22 18:22:40 2013-03-22 18:25:02

You know that taking to the road in your RV is fun – that’s why you do it! But vacationing on the road can have its troubles, like dead batteries, flat tires and missed destinations because of wrong directions. Wouldn’t it be great if there were tools and gadgets to help avoid these situations?

We at {agency_name_long} want to help make your upcoming RV trips not only easier but also better, whether you’re headed to a far-flung national park or just a local campground in {states_primary}. So we’ve found some handy items to help do just that.

GPS

We know this isn’t exactly a “new” thing, so why not make the most of your RV trips by knowing exactly where you’re going? Your family will thank you. And some GPS models even show restaurants and other attractions.

Portable battery charger

A dead battery will bring your trip to a quick halt, so make sure you can charge up in an emergency. Some portable chargers are solar-powered and include air compressors to pump up a flat tire.

Tire monitors

A flat tire not only can ruin a day’s drive, it also can be dangerous. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your tires and make sure they’re properly inflated. RV tire pressure monitoring systems alert you when you have a tire running low so you can fix the situation before it gets worse.

Power inverter

These days, everyone has something to charge – from phones to laptops and even e-readers. There are tons of options for inverters that provide portable power, without using your generator, so your devices are ready to keep you connected and entertained.

Silicone cookware

A “must-have” for many RVers, silicone cookware is renowned for nonstick performance. Stacked pieces also don’t rattle while you’re on the road.

Satellite TV

Perhaps you’re RVing to escape “regular” life, including TV. But if you just can’t live without it, you have several choices from dishes that attach to the RV to portable models.

Games

Packing a few games is a great idea for when the weather doesn’t cooperate with your vacation or if you just want to make some new friends at the campground. Classic board games are a fun way to spend a rainy day, and it’s always a good idea to have a deck of cards or two around. Outdoor games like Cornhole (also known as “beanbag toss” or “bags”) are sure to get your competitive juices flowing.

Where to find gadgets for RVing

Of course, there are thousands of useful tools that we just don’t have room to list here – kitchen gizmos to barbecue grills, solar panels to RV tracking systems. Any of these gadgets could improve your experience, whether you’re headed across the country or just across the state! Your local RV dealer likely has more than a few accessories to help you, so they’re a great place to start. Sites like amazon.com and campingworld.com have a lot to offer as well.

Please give us a call at {general_phone} when you need coverage for your RV or anything else. We’re here to help!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

We at {agency_name_long} want to help make your RV trips not only easier but also better, whether you’re headed to a far-flung national park or just a local campground in {states_primary}. So we’ve found some handy items to help do just that. Continue reading

Is a Motorcycle Right for You?

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/02/13/is-a-motorcycle-right-for-you/ 2013-02-13 21:35:18 2013-05-21 21:28:14

As springtime approaches, you may be noticing something in addition to the warmer weather and awakening plants: More motorcycles on the roads in {cities_all}.

Riding looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? Just imagine heading down {states_primary} highways with the sun shining and the road stretching out to the horizon. There are other benefits motorcycle riders enjoy as well, such as lower fuel costs and easier parking; but riding a motorcycle safely requires different skills than driving a car.

If you’re thinking that this is the year you’re going to buy your very own bike, let us at {agency_name_long} help you determine if a motorcycle is right for you. We’ve provided some questions below that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends you honestly answer before becoming a bike owner.

Are you a risk-taker? Or are you safety-minded?

Think about how you drive your car. If you have aggressive tendencies or do things like talk on your phone while driving, a motorcycle probably isn’t for you. Motorcycles lack the protection that cars can provide in an accident, so driver focus and caution are extremely important.

How is your vision? What about your balance and coordination?

It’s extremely important that you see well – peripherally and in general – when riding a motorcycle. Motorcycles are not as visible as other vehicles on the road, so riders need to be alert and aware at all times. And, of course, riding requires balance and coordination, much like a bicycle. If you’re not great on non-motorized two-wheelers, you might want to think again about motorcycling.

Do you respect dangerous machinery?

When you use a chainsaw or other equipment that can cause harm, do you always follow the instructions and wear the proper safety gear? If not, a motorcycle probably isn’t right for you. Maintenance and protective equipment is vital to riding safely. What you might be able to get away with when driving a car or using power tools could lead to a tragic outcome on a motorcycle.

Are you willing to invest in riding safely?

The best way to stay safe on a motorcycle is to invest some time before you get on the bike. Take a safety course and learn how to ride the right way. Purchase the right gear, including approved helmets and padded clothing. And learn about properly maintaining your motorcycle.

If you’re prepared and commit to safe riding, motorcycling can be a great way to get around. The freedom you’ll feel on the road is different than driving any car, which is just one reason millions of people find riding to be incredibly rewarding.

And when you’re ready, we are too! Feel free to give us a call at {general_phone}, or email us at {email} to discuss motorcycle insurance options and safety tips!

Motorcycle safety resources

There’s a lot of great information out there about safe riding. We’ve just scratched the surface. To read more, check out:

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

If you’re thinking that this is the year you’re going to buy your very own bike, let us at {agency_name_long} help you determine if a motorcycle is right for you. Continue reading

Spring is Coming to {states_primary}!

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2013/02/12/spring-is-coming-to-states_primary/ 2013-02-12 00:15:29 2013-05-21 21:34:13

With the days getting longer and the weather starting to get warmer, we here at {agency_name_long} are starting to think about spring. (Or at least hoping that springtime is coming, anyway.) And whether spring arrives on time, we’ve got you covered with tips to get you ready for the season.

Beat the wintertime blues

You can take solace in the fact that spring will eventually be here. In the meantime, here are some quick tips from Johns Hopkins University to avoid the “winter blues” and get through those long weeks of waiting before spring.

Of course, if you have strong feelings of depression, please seek assistance from friends, family or a trusted health-care provider. There are people ready to help, whatever the season.

Get ready for spring

Once you’ve conquered those wintertime blues, there are a number of things you could do to make sure your home is ready when the weather in {states_all} changes. Below is a selection of maintenance tasks from the National Center for Healthy Housing (see the full list).

Contact Us!

If an annual insurance review wasn’t included in your New Year’s resolutions, why not get it done while you’re in the cleaning and organizing mood? Your life changes over the course of a year – sometimes in monumental ways. That means your insurance needs can change, too.

At {agency_name_long}, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time utilizing all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {general_phone}, or send us a note at {email}. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, we here at {agency_name_long} are starting to think about spring. (Or at least hoping that springtime is coming, anyway.) And whether spring arrives on time, we’ve got you covered with tips to get you ready for the season. Continue reading

Shovel Snow Safely This Winter

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/12/14/shovel-snow-safely-this-winter/ 2012-12-14 22:37:23 2013-05-21 21:29:21

Winter is here, and with it comes many traditions and activities: Holiday celebrations with loved ones in {cities_all}, skiing and snowboarding outings in the mountains, fireplace-lit living rooms, homemade batches of soup… and shoveling snow.

Should you live somewhere in {states_all_or} where snow storms could hit and cover your driveway and walkways with the cold white stuff, you might want to just stay inside. But if your work and personal commitments make that impossible, you’ll need to first dig out the snow shovel – or make sure it’s handy before the snow flies!

For many people across {states_all}, snow shoveling will be both a reality and a necessity this winter. At {agency_name_long}, we want to ensure your efforts will get you on your way while also keeping you safe, so here are some snow-shoveling tips offered by the Boston Herald.

If snow shoveling is on your winter task list, we at {agency_name_long} wish you both a clear sidewalk and a healthy body.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Should you live somewhere in {states_all_or} where snow storms could hit and cover your driveway and walkways with the cold white stuff, you’ll need to first dig out the snow shovel – or make sure it’s handy before the snow flies! Continue reading

Make Home Safety a Priority While You’re Away for the Holidays

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/12/13/make-home-safety-a-priority-while-youre-away-for-the-holidays/ 2012-12-13 22:41:33 2013-05-21 21:30:07

The holidays can be a great time to get out of {cities_primary}{cities_secondary:cond} or {cities_secondary}{/cond} to visit family you rarely get to see, hit the slopes or flee to the beach. Regardless of how you spend your time away, you need to ensure your house stays safe while you’re gone.

A house left empty can be an opportunity for burglars, so before you pack your bags, prepare to protect the stuff that’s staying at home in {states_all}.

At {agency_name_long}, we want to make it a little easier for you to get out of town with peace of mind and return to everything you left behind, so here are some pointers for prepping your {states_all_or} home before you travel.

From {agency_name_long}, we wish you, your family (and your home and belongings) a very safe and joyous holiday!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

A house left empty can be an opportunity for burglars, so before you pack your bags, prepare to protect the stuff that’s staying at home in {states_all}. Continue reading

Gift of Time Could be Best Gift of All This Holiday Season

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/12/06/gift-of-time-could-be-best-gift-of-all-this-holiday-season/ 2012-12-06 22:28:34 2012-12-04 22:29:49

For many, the holiday season is a time for celebration and fun with loved ones. But for others{neighborhoods:cond}in {neighborhoods}{/cond}{regional_designations:cond} and {regional_designations}{/cond}, the season can be one of the loneliest times of the year.

At {agency_name_long}, we know how precious the gift of time can mean to someone in {cities_primary} during the holidays. Here are a few ways you and your family can share the spirit of the holidays with others.

At {agency_name_long}, we know that giving the gift of time is sometimes the best gift of all. We hope you find time to share your time this holiday season – you’ll be glad you did!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we know how precious the gift of time can mean to someone in {cities_primary} during the holidays. Here are a few ways you and your family can share the spirit of the holidays with others. Continue reading

Make Sure Your Pets Travel Well for the Holidays

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/12/05/make-sure-your-pets-travel-well-for-the-holidays/ 2012-12-05 07:23:23 2012-11-27 21:24:21

The holiday season is here – time to eat good food and join together with loved ones. For many who have families far away, this is also is the time to pack up and get out of {states_all}.

If you are gearing up to travel and have pets at home, you’re probably considering their holiday options, perhaps a dog sitter, cat spa or kennel. If you just can’t bear leaving your furry friends behind, you’re in luck! With the following tips, you and your cuddly companions can be on your way – be it via car, plane or train – in safety and comfort.

At {agency_name_long}, we hope you and your pets have a comfortable, safe journey wherever you travel for the holidays.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

If you are gearing up to travel and have pets at home, you’re probably considering their holiday options, perhaps a dog sitter, cat spa or kennel. If you just can’t bear leaving your furry friends behind, you’re in luck! With the following tips, you and your cuddly companions can be on your way – be it via car, plane or train – in safety and comfort. Continue reading

Give Gift of ‘Green’ This Holiday Season

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/12/04/give-gift-of-green-this-holiday-season/ 2012-12-04 22:51:33 2012-12-04 22:52:47

As the holidays approach, regular habits tend to fall to the wayside. Folks who are consistently rested lose sleep, habitual fitness fanatics sink into recliners and, occasionally, even the most environmentally committed citizens loosen up on their personal rules.

With a little know-how, along with a promise to give to the {states_all} environment just as you do to your loved ones over the holidays, you can be just as “green” as you are the rest of the year, if not even greener.

At {agency_name_long}, we want you and the environment to breathe easy and experience joy this holiday season. Check out these pointers for reducing waste throughout and beyond the season.

From {agency_name_long} to you and yours, we wish you the greenest holiday season yet!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

With a little know-how, along with a promise to give to the {states_all} environment just as you do to your loved ones over the holidays, you can be just as “green” as you are the rest of the year, if not even greener. Continue reading

Be the Pinnacle of Health, Wellness This Holiday Season

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/12/04/be-the-pinnacle-of-health-wellness-this-holiday-season/ 2012-12-04 22:21:36 2013-05-21 21:36:14

It goes without saying that keeping yourself and your family healthy through the holiday season in {states_all} can be a challenge. When you combine chillier temps, housebound days, year-end deadlines and pre-holiday preparation – not to mention kids passing around colds at school like they’re playing “Hot Potato” – you can end up spending the holidays under the covers.

No matter how many inherent seasonal risk factors you face, there are ways to prepare for and get through the season virtually unscathed. At {agency_name_long}, we wish for you a happy and abundantly healthy holiday season, so here are a few tips to help you stay well and enjoy!

From {agency_name_long} to you, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

No matter how many inherent seasonal risk factors you face, there are ways to prepare for and get through the season virtually unscathed. At {agency_name_long}, we wish for you a happy and abundantly healthy holiday season, so here are a few tips to help you stay well and enjoy! Continue reading

Before the Wind Blows, Secure Your Trees and Shrubs

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/11/28/before-the-wind-blows-secure-your-trees-and-shrubs/ 2012-11-28 21:01:42 2012-11-27 21:03:41

The seasons are changing, and the colors of autumn abound.

Regrettably, fall’s stunning display is often accompanied by some unwelcome weather hazards in {states_all} – namely, wind – that can cause considerable damage to the very trees that produce those beautiful fall leaves.

At {agency_name_long}, we want your yard and home to stay great throughout the season. Take a look at the following tips to ensure you keep your trees and shrubs healthy and avoid destruction that can result when the wind blows.

To protect existing trees

When planting new trees

At {agency_name_long}, we hope these tips will ensure that you and your yard hang tough all season long… even when the wind starts howling.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we want your yard and home to stay great throughout the season. Take a look at the following tips to ensure you keep your trees and shrubs healthy and avoid destruction that can result when the wind blows. Continue reading

Protect Your Family From the ‘Silent Killer’

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/11/27/carbon-monoxide-protection/ 2012-11-27 20:46:50 2012-11-27 20:58:03

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas that results when certain fuels do not burn completely. And it can be deadly. That’s why it’s important to know how to prevent it, detect it, and protect yourself and your family from its effects.

In the home, carbon monoxide is most commonly formed by flames and heaters, as well as vehicles or generators that are running in an attached garage. As temperatures drop and more people are cranking the heat and hovering over the stove inside and warming up the car’s engine before hitting the road, it’s especially critical to ensure your family’s safety against this lethal gas.

Since carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a carbon monoxide detection device, it is essential to install and maintain one or more detectors in your home.

Detector Tips

At {agency_name_long}, we want you and your family to stay protected, so check out the following tips from CAL FIRE San Diego County Fire Authority for safeguarding your household.

In case of exposure

At {agency_name_short}, we hope you never have to use the following tips from the Mayo Clinic, but please read on for good information that could help save a life.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to carbon monoxide, check for the following symptoms:

If any of the symptoms exist, move the individual into fresh air and seek emergency medical care immediately.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Since carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a carbon monoxide detection device, it is essential to install and maintain one or more detectors in your home. At {agency_name_long}, we want you and your family to stay protected, so check out the following tips. Continue reading

Add Some Strategy to Your ‘Black Friday’ Shopping

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/11/19/add-some-strategy-to-your-black-friday-shopping/ 2012-11-19 23:40:26 2012-12-04 23:02:50

If there’s anything more satisfying than melting into the couch following a multi-course Thanksgiving dinner complete with all the fixings, it has to be shopping for the best deals of the season the day after in {cities_primary}.

Hitting the shops on Black Friday has become a ritual that is as all-American as watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. And why wouldn’t it be, considering what a win-win it is for {states_all} customers and retailers alike?

Over the years, however, Black Friday has evolved. Stores that used to open at 6 a.m. now open at midnight, and Cyber Monday has entered the picture, offering bargain prices online the Monday following Black Friday. All of this means that getting the best deals now requires a bit of strategy.

At {agency_name_long}, we want you to get the best deals for your holiday shopping, so here are a few pointers for maximizing your experience.

From the {agency_name_short} to you, we wish you a very productive and enjoyable Black Friday!

Fun fact:

Considered as the kick-off to the Christmas holiday season, Black Friday is often described as the busiest shopping day of the year. This has been true since 2005. The millions of Americans who shop on Black Friday have been keeping the streak alive for nearly seven years.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Hitting the shops on Black Friday has become a ritual that is as all-American as watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. And why wouldn’t it be, considering what a win-win it is for {states_all} customers and retailers alike? Continue reading

Make Football Season Not Just Fun, But Also Safe

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/10/27/make-football-season-not-just-fun-but-also-safe/ 2012-10-27 21:11:54 2013-05-21 21:39:21

Finally, we’re welcoming fall, that eagerly anticipated season when we get to enjoy cooler temps, colorful leaves, the start of school and, of course, football season in {states_primary}!

Football season in {cities_all} brings with it a whole host of seasonal activities for football fans, from game-day tailgates and sports bar outings, to friendly bets and bowl parties. At {agency_name_long}, we want your football season to be both exciting and safe, so as you cheer your team to victory, consider the following tips.

Wherever and however you’re watching the game this weekend, we hope you enjoy every last minute. Go team!

Game day insurance tips

Here are a few pointers for making sure your insurance provides an additional safety net on game day:

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Football season in {cities_all} brings with it a whole host of seasonal activities for football fans, from game-day tailgates and sports bar outings, to friendly bets and bowl parties. At {agency_name_long}, we want your football season to be both exciting and safe, so as you cheer your team to victory, consider the following tips. Continue reading

Halloween Safety: Be Ready When the Little Goblins Come Out in {cities_primary}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/10/22/halloween-safety-be-ready-when-the-little-goblins-come-out/ 2012-10-22 21:58:26 2012-12-04 22:59:54

It’s a night full of treats for both kids and adults in {cities_all}. But a number of factors – including lots of people walking in the dark, the threat of wet and stormy weather, strangers coming to your door – mean that Halloween in {states_all} can have some tricks up its sleeve.

Here at {agency_name_long}, we want your Halloween to be a happy one. So whether you’re taking your kids out trick-or-treating, hosting a party or just staying home to greet costumed visitors, we can help you make your evening safe while you take care of making it spooky. Just check out the tips below – and, as always, don’t hesitate to call us at {general_phone} if you have questions about your costume … er, coverage.

Make your kids’ costumes scary – and safe

Safe trick-or-treating in {states_all}

Having a party? Expecting trick-or-treaters at your house?

Carving those pumpkins
Creating a jack o’lantern is a time-honored tradition, whether you buy your pumpkins at the grocery store or at a local pumpkin farm in {states_all_or}. But don’t forget, kids and knives are a dangerous combination. It’s best to have the kids draw designs on the pumpkin with a marker and then let an adult handle the carving. And here’s a great idea for kids who want to remove the seeds – rather than using a knife, hand them an ice-cream scoop. It’s a lot safer, and it just might be more effective!

Help keep Halloween safe for everyone – and remember, your kids WILL know if you swipe some treats from their stash!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

It’s a night full of treats for both kids and adults in {cities_all}. But a number of factors – including lots of people walking in the dark, the threat of wet and stormy weather, strangers coming to your door – mean that Halloween in {states_all} can have some tricks up its sleeve. Continue reading

When the Weather Turns in {states_primary}, Make Sure Your Home is Ready

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/10/22/when-the-weather-turns-in-states_all-make-sure-your-home-is-ready/ 2012-10-22 20:09:32 2013-05-21 21:42:44

Summer has ended, but there’s no need to fret here in {cities_all}: Fall brings with it crisp, cool days, wonderful colors – and football season!

It also brings some maintenance tasks. We here at {agency_name_long} recommend you ensure your home is ready for fall and winter weather in {states_all}. Check out the following information for some general tips from the National Association of Home Builders, and don’t hesitate to call us at {general_phone} if you have questions related to your insurance coverage.

Exterior maintenance – what you need to know in {states_all}

Interior maintenance – what you need to know in {states_all}

For more information on home maintenance, visit the National Association of Home Builders website at www.nahb.com. A little action on your part now can make fall and winter a lot more enjoyable for you and your family in {states_all}.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Summer has ended, but there’s no need to fret here in {cities_all}. {agency_name_long} recommends some maintenance tasks to help ensure your home is ready for fall and winter weather in {states_all}.
Continue reading

Protect Your Boat With Insurance and Winterization

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/09/10/protect-your-boat-with-insurance-and-winterization/ 2012-09-10 17:39:21 2012-12-04 22:57:56

Now that summer’s over and the weather is cooling down, it’s time to think about pulling your boat out{lakes:cond} of {lakes_or}{/cond} and putting it away until next year.

But before you do, it’s also time to make sure your boat is ready for the winter – and still has the right insurance protection. After all, we here at {agency_name_long} want to make sure you’re ready for the next boating season! (And maybe, just maybe, you’ll also be ready to invite your favorite insurance agent out for a day on the lake. Just a thought.)

First things first: Insurance

If you have a small boat with limited power, you may have some coverage under your {states_all_or} homeowners or renters insurance policy – but if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to check with us. Of course, larger and faster boats, along with personal watercraft, require their own policies. And we can help with those, too!

But do you even need boat insurance during the offseason? When your boat won’t even be in the water? Well, that depends. Keep in mind that your boat can still be damaged no matter where it is. Often, damage from fire, theft, etc., isn’t covered unless you have a watercraft policy. And what if we get a great streak of weather in November and you decide to take the boat out{lakes:cond} on {lakes_or}{/cond} for a day or two? There are plenty of reasons to keep year-round coverage, but if you have questions about seasonal policies, give us a call: {general_phone}.

And while you’re thinking about insurance, consider your current watercraft coverage. Is your boat older? It might be time to move to cash-value coverage instead of agreed value. Do you have a lot of expensive fishing equipment? Make sure you have enough optional coverage so your gear isn’t at risk. You might also want to consider uninsured boater coverage and a personal umbrella policy, which provides more liability protection than a standard watercraft policy.

Don’t forget, you might be able to save money on your insurance by taking a boating-safety course, increasing your deductible or by bundling your policies with one company.

Now, on to the exciting part!

Well, not really. But now that you’ve squared away your insurance options, it’s time to think about protecting your boat in a more literal sense – by properly preparing it for winter. Below are some general tips to follow, but, of course, you should check your owner’s manuals for manufacturer recommendations.

Your engine

Follow manufacturer instructions when winterizing your engine, but you’ll want to flush the engine with fresh water and make sure to drain fuel from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate cylinder walls and pistons.

Stern drive

Do a thorough inspection and remove plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and clean the lower unit with soap and water.

Fuel tanks

Fill your fuel tanks to avoid a buildup of condensation, and add fuel stabilizer, following the product instructions.

Fresh water system

Drain the fresh water tank and water heater, and pump a nontoxic antifreeze into the system. Then, turn on all faucets until you see the antifreeze coming out.

Interior

Remove all valuables from the boat. Clean drawers thoroughly, and turn cushions on their edges to allow air to circulate. Clean the refrigerator and freezer.

Cover it up!

A cover will keep your boat clean, and also protect it from water and UV rays, which can break down hoses and fade upholstery.

Now, with your boat safely stowed, you can focus on your other toys this winter. Snowmobiles, anyone?

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

If you’re thinking about putting your boat away for the season, now time to make sure your boat is ready for the winter – and still has the right insurance protection. After all, we here at {agency_name_long} want to make sure you’re ready for the next boating season! Continue reading

Do I Need Rental Car Insurance?

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/08/07/do-you-need-rental-car-insurance/ 2012-08-07 18:00:04 2012-08-07 18:02:30

You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Do I really need this? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?”

At {agency_name_long}, we are here to help. And while not every situation is the same, we’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you take a trip to or from {states_all_or} and are standing at that counter. Please check with us at {general_phone} to verify whether you’re adequately covered.

1. Know your personal auto policy.

Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call – before you rent a car – to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car – but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.

And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees.

2. Also know your homeowners or renters policy.

If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy and/or credit card coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario.

3. Check your credit card protection.

Most credit cards will also provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their policies. And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.

4. Consider any unique circumstances.

Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for more than a week? You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply. Also, no matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard agreements. And if you’re using a car for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverages will apply to them.

5. Learn about the insurance offered by the rental car company.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage.

When you go on vacation, you don’t want to stress out about insurance. So give us a call before you leave at {general_phone}, or send us an email at {email}. Then, when you head over to the rental-car counter, you can stop worrying about your coverage – and start enjoying your trip!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Do I really need this? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?” Continue reading

Get the Most Out of Your RV This Summer

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/07/03/get-the-most-out-of-your-rv-this-summer/ 2012-07-03 23:05:26 2013-08-05 20:46:16

There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip in an RV. Whether you’re headed to somewhere nearby in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} or {states_secondary}{/cond}, or somewhere farther away this summer, we at {agency_name_long} want you to get the most out of your travels.

General travel tips

Want to bring your car?

Taking a car along with your RV can give you a lot more flexibility on your vacation. But it can also make the driving more stressful, so keep that in mind. According to towingworld.com, there are three main options to bring your car with you:

Where to stay

If you’re looking for a campground or RV park in {states_all} and beyond, you’re in luck – there are seemingly endless options across the country. But how do you know which ones are good? Or safe? Plenty of online resources have information on various parks, including the ones below:

Wherever you stay, you’ll want to take some steps to prevent crime. RVs can be inviting targets for thieves, because they usually contain more valuables than cars. Always lock your doors when you’re away from the RV, and keep valuables out of sight or locked away.

If you’re parked for the night in a non-camping area, such as a parking lot, try to stay in a well-lit area – and keep the door facing the light. Finally, try to make fuel or convenience store stops during the day, if possible.

You’ve got a summer full of fun ahead in your RV. We wish we were coming with you! Here’s hoping for smooth and safe travels.

And don’t forget, we can help you get the right insurance coverage for your RV (and everything else). Give us a call today!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip in an RV. Whether you’re headed to somewhere nearby in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} or {states_secondary}{/cond}, or somewhere farther away this summer, we at {agency_name_long} want you to get the most out of your travels. Check out these travel tips. Continue reading

Stay Safe on Your Jet Skis and WaveRunners

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/07/02/stay-safe-on-your-jet-skis-and-waverunners/ 2012-07-02 22:13:46 2012-07-02 22:15:09

For a lot of people in {cities_all}, summer means getting out on the water{lakes:cond} on {lakes}{/cond}{rivers:cond} and {rivers}{/cond}. And you don’t even need a boat to do it – personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis and WaveRunners, provide a fun and accessible way to enjoy the water.

However, these small, fast and maneuverable watercraft present their own set of safety issues. So if you’re planning to make waves, let us at {agency_name_long} help you out with some safety tips. We want you to be able to hit the water next summer, too!

Make sure you’re following the law

Be prepared with safety gear

Other things to have handy on board include:

When you’re on board

First, make sure your kill-switch safety lanyard is attached to your life jacket or wrist, so if you fall off, the engine will stop. And remember, you are required to know and obey the Rules of the Water – it’s a good idea to take a boating-safety course to learn these rules, as well as other essential knowledge. Other helpful tips:

We hope to see you out on the water this summer in {states_all}. And remember, we can help you get the insurance coverage you need for your personal watercraft. Give us a call today!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

These small, fast and maneuverable watercraft present their own set of safety issues. So if you’re planning to make waves, let us at {agency_name_long} help you out with some safety tips. We want you to be able to hit the water next summer, too! Continue reading

Put the Top Down and Hit the Road in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/07/02/put-the-top-down-and-hit-the-road-in-states_primarystates_secondarycond-states_secondarycond/ 2012-07-02 21:38:22 2012-07-02 22:15:38

The call of the open road is at its strongest during the summer – and so is the call of the convertible. If you’re one of those drivers who has long dreamed of dropping the top and heading across {states_primary} and beyond, we here at {agency_name_long} have some buying tips for you.

And before we forget, make sure you’ve got plenty of sunscreen!

Safety considerations

Of course, you want to be safe when driving your new car{regional_designations:cond} in {regional_designations}{/cond}, so here are a few things to look for in a convertible, according to Edmunds.com.

Hard or soft top?

You’ve basically got two choices when it comes to tops: Soft, which can result in more road noise and may be more susceptible to damage, and hard, which often look better but add weight and take up more trunk space when down. (A third option is a completely removable hard top, such as those found on some Jeeps.) This choice is largely a matter of personal preference, though cost can be a factor.

You’ll also want to test the top for leaks – regardless of whether it’s a soft or hard top. Spray water where the roof connects with the windshield and where the glass meets the roof along the sides. You’re looking to make sure no moisture gets inside.
Everyday issues

If you’re planning to drive your convertible frequently (and why wouldn’t you?), there are some practical things you should take into consideration:

Special features

According to Edmunds.com, there are certain features that truly make a difference in convertibles, such as wind deflectors, heated/cooled seats and sun-reflective upholstery. Certain features, such as heated seats, can make your convertible much more comfortable to drive on cooler days in {cities_all}.

Above all, you’ll want to choose the convertible that best fits how you’ll use it. If you’re lugging golf clubs (and golf buddies) around in the summer, you probably don’t want a roadster. Conversely, if your idea of a great weekend is to toss a duffle bag in the passenger seat and hit the road, smaller may be better.

One of the great – and annoying – things about buying a car is the sheer number of options out there. But if you get frustrated, remember one thing: You’re buying a convertible. Your friends are probably envious!

And when you buy that convertible, give us a call. We’ll make sure you’ve got the right coverage – and we’ll probably be envious, too!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

The call of the open road is at its strongest during the summer – and so is the call of the convertible. If you’re one of those drivers who has long dreamed of dropping the top and heading across {states_primary} and beyond, we here at {agency_name_long} have some buying tips for you. Continue reading

When Things go BOOM in the Night: Fireworks Safety

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/06/22/when-things-go-boom-in-the-night-fireworks-safety/ 2012-06-22 16:42:25 2015-07-06 15:04:02

For most of us, the Fourth of July is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, having fun and creating memories – whether at home or away in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond} or {states_secondary}{/cond}.

But for some families, the holiday is a nightmare. Homes each year in {states_all} are damaged by wayward fireworks. Thousands of people are injured in accidents.

At {agency_name_long}, we want your holiday to be happy, but also safe. So here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your property on the Fourth.

Protecting yourself (and others)

Protecting your home

With some common sense and planning, the Fourth of July can be both safe and enjoyable for everyone. Whether you’re staying at home or heading to {cities_all_or}, we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating our independence!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

But for some families, the holiday is a nightmare. Homes each year in {states_all} are damaged by wayward fireworks. Thousands of people are injured in accidents.

At {agency_name_long}, we want your holiday to be happy, but also safe. So here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your property on July 4th. Continue reading

Keep Your Pets Safe During the Fourth of July Fireworks

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/06/22/keep-your-pets-safe-during-the-fourth-of-july-fireworks/ 2012-06-22 16:27:34 2013-08-05 20:37:28

For most of us, July 4th is a day to enjoy the pyrotechnics that traditionally mark the holiday. But for our pets, fireworks are another story – they can be traumatized by the noisy rockets and firecrackers so many of us enjoy.

At {agency_name_long}, we hope your holiday is happy and safe for you and your pets. So along with our other story about fireworks safety, here are some tips to help you protect your pets on the Fourth in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond}, or elsewhere.

Protecting your pets

Many pets are very frightened by the loud noises caused by fireworks. If you can’t take them away from the noise, here are some pointers from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that will help them have a more peaceful holiday.

With some common sense and planning, the Fourth of July can be both safe and enjoyable for everyone – and not as scary for your pets. Whether you’re staying at home or heading to {cities_primary}{cities_secondary:cond}, {cities_secondary}{/cond}, or elsewhere, we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating our independence!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we hope your holiday is happy and safe for you and your pets. So along with our other story about fireworks safety, here are some tips to help you protect your pets on the Fourth in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond}, or elsewhere. Continue reading

Time to Honor Dear Old Dad This Father’s Day

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/06/07/time-to-honor-dear-old-dad-this-fathers-day/ 2012-06-07 08:45:25 2013-08-05 20:47:45

With summer drawing near and the weather warming up, {states_all} neighborhoods come alive with the sights and sounds of the season: Lawnmowers, power tools and backyard barbecues, to name a few.

For many people, those things all bring to mind one specific person: Dad. And since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we at {agency_name_long} thought we’d give you some gift ideas – and a bit of a history lesson, too!

The history of Father’s Day

Marked on the third Sunday of June in the U.S. (and in many other countries), Father’s Day was first celebrated in 1910 to complement Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia, the day was created by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., who wanted to honor her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart.

Although Dodd originally suggested her father’s birthday in early June, she had not provided organizers with enough time to arrange the event – and the celebration was delayed until the third Sunday of the month.

Although Mother’s Day has been an official national holiday since 1914, Father’s Day had a tougher road. Congress refused to make the celebration official in the years immediately following Dodd’s first observance, fearing that the day would become commercialized. (Some would say those fears were well-founded; the creator of Mother’s Day later came to regret the commercialization of that holiday.)

It wasn’t until 1966 that Father’s Day received an official proclamation, thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And six years later, President Richard Nixon signed a law making the day a national holiday.

Facts and figures (from government website USA.gov)

What to get Dad?

Once youre past the age of, say, 10, the “Old Spice and a tie” routine probably won’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting a gift for your father. Here are some better ideas from AskMen.com:

Aside from ties and cheap cologne, you’ll probably want to avoid the most cliched gifts, especially “World’s Best Dad” items (even if it’s true!), socks, etc.

As with all gifts, though, it’s the thought that counts. And we’re sure your dad will appreciate simply being appreciated. And if you’re a dad yourself, well, enjoy your day!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

With summer drawing near and the weather warming up, {states_all} neighborhoods come alive with the sights and sounds of the season: Lawnmowers, power tools and backyard barbecues, to name a few.

For many people, those things all bring to mind one specific person: Dad. And since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we at {agency_name_long} thought we’d give you some gift ideas – and a bit of a history lesson, too! Continue reading

Make Your Vacation a Great One {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond}

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/06/06/make-your-vacation-a-great-one-states_primarystates_secondarycond-states_secondarycond/ 2012-06-06 15:58:11 2012-06-22 17:39:07

Whether you’re planning a trip to a local attraction in {states_primary} {states_secondary:cond}or {states_secondary} {/cond}this summer, or headed all the way across the country, you want your vacation to be relaxing. It’s a getaway from work, not to mention your day-to-day life. So we’ve got some tips – from packing smart to protecting yourself from pickpockets – to make your trip the best it can be.

Before you go

Even if you’re only headed across the state{regional_designations:cond}, or simply to {regional_designations_or}{/cond}, a packing list is a must. How many times have you left {cities_all_or} and arrived at your destination, only to find that you forgot your most comfortable walking shoes? Or your swimsuit? Put everything on this list, even if you think you would never forget it. A toothbrush is easy to replace when you get there – your prescription medication isn’t.

Be sure that you have printed itineraries for everyone in your party, and make color copies of important ID documents as well. Keep the copies in your bag, separate from your passport and other IDs. It’s also a great idea for each person to have a list of emergency numbers, either for them to call or for someone else providing assistance.

Of course, packing light can make travel a lot more enjoyable. Who wants to lug 100 pounds of luggage through the airport? Not us. Here are some ideas to help you lighten the load:

When you’re there

Once you arrive at your destination, it’s time to relax! But don’t let your guard down completely. After all, tourists often are targets for those looking to separate you from your money. We’re talking mainly about thieves, but don’t forget, you also lose money when you spend more than needed. Here are some ways to protect your wallet from criminals and other money traps:

Finally, remember that you’re on vacation to relax and escape everyday life. So when you get there, get out there! Meet some locals, do some things off the beaten path – in fact, the locals usually have the best recommendations. And you just might make some new friends, too!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Whether you’re planning a trip to a local attraction in {states_primary} {states_secondary:cond}or {states_secondary} {/cond}this summer, or headed all the way across the country, you want your vacation to be relaxing. It’s a getaway from work, not to mention your day-to-day life. So we’ve got some tips – from packing smart to protecting yourself from pickpockets – to make your trip the best it can be. Continue reading

Have a Great (and Safe) Memorial Day!

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/05/22/have-a-great-and-safe-memorial-day/ 2012-05-22 21:59:27 2012-06-22 17:41:53

Ah, Memorial Day – the long weekend that serves as the unofficial kickoff to summer – is almost here. It’s a time for road trips, barbecues and all kinds of outdoor activities in and around {states_all}.

Of course, we at {agency_name_long} want your long weekend to be a safe one, too. So here are some things to keep in mind as you celebrate the holiday.

Having a barbecue?

A gathering of family and friends for a backyard barbecue is perhaps one of the most common Memorial Day celebrations. But playing with fire, even on your grill, can be dangerous. Stay safe with these tips, {cities_all}:

Taking a road trip?

If you’re planning to hit the road in {states_all_or} for the long weekend, keep in mind that you won’t be alone. Driving safely (and patiently) will make your holiday safer and more enjoyable. These tips from the American Red Cross can help.

Heading out on a boat?

Boating {lakes:cond}in {lakes} {/cond} {rivers:cond}or {rivers} {/cond} is another classic Memorial Day weekend activity – and can be one of the most dangerous if basic safety precautions aren’t taken. Before you hit the water, check out these tips:

Don’t forget the sun!

With any luck, it will be sunny on Memorial Day weekend – after all, it’s a lot more fun to be outside when it’s nice. But that means you need to take care of your skin, too, protecting against sunburn and heat stroke. Wear sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 30) and reapply throughout the day. Drink plenty of water, especially if you are consuming alcohol. And make sure children are protected from the sun.

Whether you’re hitting the highway, the water or just your own {cities_all_or} back yard for Memorial Day, taking a little time to think about safety can make a world of difference. Enjoy the holiday!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Ah, Memorial Day – the long weekend that serves as the unofficial kickoff to summer – is almost here. It’s a time for road trips, barbecues and all kinds of outdoor activities in and around {states_all}.

Of course, we at {agency_name_long} want your long weekend to be a safe one, too. So here are some things to keep in mind as you celebrate the holiday. Continue reading

It’s Time for Spring (and Summer) Cleaning {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary} {/cond}!

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/05/21/its-time-for-spring-and-summer-cleaning-states_primarystates_secondarycond-states_secondary-cond/ 2012-05-21 06:13:09 2012-06-22 17:45:46

Spring is a time of new beginnings in {states_all} – and now is a great time to take on some cleaning and organization tasks around your home. If you’re anything like many of us here at {agency_name_long}, some of these tasks are long overdue!

Here are some tips to get you started in {cities_all} – and keep you focused. At {agency_name_long}, we’re looking forward to using these tips ourselves!

First, get some help

If you’re doing a deep spring clean, try not to put all of the pressure on yourself. Make the event a family affair and assign your spouse or your kids some chores. Or throw a cleaning party and offer pizza to everyone who comes to help.

Second, make a list

It’s extremely helpful to have a plan before you get started. Is the kitchen your biggest trouble spot? The master bedroom? Create a detailed plan of attack and you’ll increase your chance of success. Many people find it best to go room by room so there’s a sense of accomplishment when they finish in a particular area.

Third, remember safety!

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have protective gear like rubber gloves if you’re dealing with chemical cleaners, and even a particle mask if you’ve got some serious dust. Or try using some of the many green cleaning products that are now available. Spring cleaning is also the perfect time to check your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment. And it’s a good idea to refresh (or start) your family emergency kit.

Room-by-room quick tips

The tips below will help get you going. If you need more, just do a web search for “spring cleaning” and you’ll find tons of sites with useful information and detailed checklists.

Kitchen

Living room and dining room

Bedrooms and closets

Bathrooms

Garage

Hey, you’ve done enough for one spring-cleaning cycle, haven’t you? Let’s leave the garage for another time!

One final tip: It’s best to leave sweeping and vacuuming for last in each room.

<strong>Contact Us!</strong>

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at <strong>{general_phone}</strong> or <strong><a href=”mailto:{email}”>{email}</a>. </strong>

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

<em>Content provided by: <a href=”http://www.safeco.com/about-us” target=”_blank”>Safeco Insurance</a></em>

Spring is a time of new beginnings in {states_all} – and now is a great time to take on some cleaning and organization tasks around your home. If you’re anything like many of us here at {agency_name_long}, some of these tasks are long overdue!

Here are some tips to get you started – and keep you focused. Continue reading

Teen Driving Tips to Keep Prom and Graduation Safe

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/05/14/%ef%bb%bfteen-driving-tips-to-keep-prom-and-graduation-safe/ 2012-05-14 22:32:07 2012-05-15 22:33:24

High school is full of defining moments for {cities_all} teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation.

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.

At {agency_name_long}, we want to help make this season one to celebrate for you and your teen. So, with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some tips that can keep your teen safe.

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

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:

Prom and graduation in {states_all} are special times in a teen’s life. And just a little common sense will go a long way toward making sure your young adult is around to enjoy the other milestones that are sure to come.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we want to help make this season one to celebrate for you and your teen. So, with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some tips that can keep your teen safe. Continue reading

Flood Prevention and Safety in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/05/14/flood-prevention-and-safety-in-states_primarystates_secondarycond-states_secondarycond/ 2012-05-14 04:54:02 2012-05-15 22:33:49

Almost anywhere it rains, it can flood. Even if you live in an area of that you think isn’t at risk, preparation is just as critical as with other types of emergencies.

Before we get into how you can prevent, limit or react to flooding, it’s important to note that flood damage is typically not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. There are specialized flood insurance programs that we at {agency_name_long} can discuss with you. Just contact us at {general_phone} or {email} for more information if you live in {states_all_or}.

Preparing for a flood

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends a number of steps to stay safe during emergencies and limit damage from flooding. You should:

Acting during a flood

If a flood is likely in your area, quick action may be necessary to protect your family and property. You should:

Coping after a flood

Flooding can cause emotional stress along with physical hazards, so be mindful of the well-being of you and your family during the aftermath.

Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the U.S. Being prepared for any emergency is crucial for the safety of you and your family. Don’t be caught off guard!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Almost anywhere it rains, it can flood. Even if you live in an area of that you think isn’t at risk, preparation is just as critical as with other types of emergencies. Continue reading

A Time to Celebrate Mothers

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/05/09/a-time-to-celebrate-mothers/ 2012-05-09 15:44:10 2012-05-15 22:16:41

As the second Sunday of May nears, it’s time to think of ways to celebrate mothers – although, of course, that’s a worthy pursuit at any time of year!

At {agency_name_long}, we thought it would be fun to give you a little of the history behind Mother’s Day, as well as a few ideas to honor the special women in all our lives.

Ancient beginnings

According to MothersDayCentral.com, the ancient Egyptians held an annual festival to honor “the mother of the pharaohs” – the goddess Isis. This is one of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a mother.

How Mother’s Day came to be in the U.S.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, a social activist and poet (and author of the lyrics for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) had became distraught by the toll of the Civil War. She issued a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” that year, calling on mothers to protest the killing and create a day celebrating peace and motherhood.

Howe’s proclamation did not result in a national Mother’s Day, but in 1908, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia took up the cause. She wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration of all mothers. By 1909, more than 40 states were holding Mother’s Day services, even though it was not a national holiday.

In 1912, according to Wikipedia, West Virginia was the first state to officially observe Mother’s Day. Jarvis continued to promote the day until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.

She later regretted creating the holiday, believing that it had become too commercialized.

Enough with the history – where are the gift ideas?

Like us at {agency_name_short}, we know you might have more urgent concerns on your mind, like last-minute shopping, so here are the most popular Mother’s Day gifts, according to MothersDayCentral.com.

Of course, perhaps the best gift of all is getting in touch and letting the moms in your life know just how much they mean to you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long}, we thought it would be fun to give you a little of the history behind Mother’s Day, as well as a few ideas to honor the special women in all our lives. Continue reading

A Home Inventory Will Help You Know What You Own

6392, 6393, 5, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/04/23/a-home-inventory-will-help-you-know-what-you-own/ 2012-04-23 23:09:42 2012-07-03 18:04:31

Why should I have a home inventory?

Your furniture and appliances, clothing, sports or hobby equipment, and electronic goods are all regarded as personal property. Like many people in {states_primary}, you may own much more than you realize.

Comparing the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your policy helps you make sure you have enough insurance to replace them if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss.

If that’s not enough to make you consider doing an inventory, having one also makes filing a claim easier.

What’s the best way to create my inventory?

The easiest way is to create a video inventory. Using a video camera, record and describe items as you walk through your house. Or, you can use a regular camera to take pictures and create a home inventory checklist.

Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory:

There are a number of online services and software options you can use as well to help you organize and store your inventory remotely.

How much insurance do I need?

Talk to us at {agency_name_long} to assist you in analyzing your insurance needs and help you decide how to most effectively protect your personal property.

Ask us about full value coverage, which will pay for the replacement value of your personal belongings. A standard policy typically covers personal property only up to its actual cash value, determined by taking the replacement cost and deducting depreciation, which can be substantial.

Remember, your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, art and antiques, only up to set dollar amounts. If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Your furniture and appliances, clothing, sports or hobby equipment, and electronic goods are all regarded as personal property. Like many people in {states_primary}, you may own much more than you realize. Knowing what you own will help you determine whether you have enough coverage to replace your property in the event of a loss. Continue reading

Keep Your Boat in Top Shape Year-Round

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/04/23/boat-maintenance/ 2012-04-23 08:08:13 2012-04-23 18:44:27

Boat Maintenance Tips for {states_all}
Proper maintenance can extend the life of your boat, reduce the need for costly repairs, and help ensure the safety of your passengers in {states_primary}.

Clean and Care for Your Boat{regional_designations:cond}, whether it’s in {regional_designations_or}{/cond}
Wash your boat regularly to prevent the long-term effects of environmental wear and tear. Routine waxing and the use of an anti-fouling paint can also help protect your boat from the elements. Consider using environmentally-safe products whenever possible! Paint with extra chemicals may end up affecting local waterways{lakes:cond}, including: {lakes},{/cond} and rivers{rivers:cond}, like the {rivers}{/cond}!

{cities_all}, Consider a Watercraft Cover
Invest in a cover to keep your boat clean and free from dirt, water, falling leaves and bird droppings, all of which cause damage if left unchecked, {states_primary}. A cover can also prevent UV rays from breaking down hoses and fading carpets and upholstery. Sun is definitely a consideration no matter where you live{regional_designations:cond}, whether it’s {regional_designations}{/cond}!

Routine Boat Inspections
Proper boat maintenance means being actively involved in, and attuned to, all aspects of your vessel. Keep an eye out for everything from loose fittings to fraying ropes to any other areas of your watercraft that may need special attention or replacement. Many times, damages incurred to a watercraft could easily have been prevented by following a preventative watercraft maintenance routine. You can also have a professional vessel inspection. Some locations require it – check online to see if your boat may be subject to one before you put into the water{lakes:cond} on area lakes, including {lakes},{/cond} {rivers:cond} and local rivers, including {rivers}{/cond}.

Watercraft Battery Care Tips
Depending on the type of battery your boat uses, check to ensure that it is properly charged and that it has the correct fluid levels. Always keep your battery clean, as dampness and dirt can drain your battery.{lakes:cond} You wouldn’t want to get stuck out on {lakes}.{/cond}

Motor Maintenance
Flush your engine after every outing, and check everything from your fuel tanks to the clamps on your fuel line for rust, damage or corrosion. Also check your oil for correct levels, proper filtration, and cleanliness. Last, but not least, keep an eye on your engine’s cooling system to make sure it’s functioning correctly.

Bilge Pumps
A crucial aspect of boat maintenance is ensuring that your bilge pump is functioning properly. There’s not much that can cause more irreparable damage to a boat than having it sink{lakes:cond} somewhere like {lakes}{/cond}! In the event that you need to use your pump, you’ll want to make sure that your battery system contains enough power to run the pump for a prolonged period of time.

Electrical Components
Many boating failures occur as a result of corroded electrical systems, so keeping electrical components dry should be a regular part of your watercraft maintenance routine. Electrical fittings can be protected with a water-repellant, non-conductive grease or corrosion inhibitor.

Winterization
Boat maintenance doesn’t only mean paying attention to your boat when you’re actively using it during the warm weather months, {cities_primary} – you also need to be sure to protect your watercraft through an effective winterization routine. Whether you’re able to store your watercraft in a climate controlled environment, or if you have to go with an in-water storage option, please visit Safeco’s boat winterization page for more in-depth guidelines.

Trailer
See Safeco Insurance’s Trailer Safety for tips on maintaining your trailer wherever you live{regional_designations:cond}, whether it’s {regional_designations}{/cond}.

Stay in the Know Courses
Last but not least, responsible boat maintenance means taking the time to familiarize yourself with all aspects of watercraft care. Consult your owner’s manual for in-depth guidelines.

If you’re new to boating, your boat dealer may know of helpful watercraft safety and training courses that deal specifically with your type of watercraft. Get comfortable with boating terms and definitions. And while it’s always important to take the time to learn how to do things yourself, don’t be afraid to seek the help of professionals when needed.

For more information, call {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Proper maintenance can extend the life of your boat, reduce the need for costly repairs, and help ensure the safety of your passengers. Wash your boat regularly to prevent the long-term effects of environmental wear and tear. Routine waxing and the use of an anti-fouling paint can also help protect your boat from the elements. Consider using environmentally-safe products whenever possible! Continue reading

Purchasing, Safety Tips for Your Boat Trailer

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/04/21/boat-trailer-safety/ 2012-04-21 23:47:15 2012-05-15 22:18:02

When purchasing a trailer in {states_all} or elsewhere, stay within recommended capacity guidelines. When determining capacity, remember to include the weight of fuel and accessories in addition to the weight of the craft.

Trailers come with closed or open frames. Closed frames help protect the wiring, but problems can be more difficult to locate and repair. Open frames leave the wiring exposed, but make it easier to spot and repair potential problems. Open frames also drain water more easily and efficiently{lakes:cond}, so keep in mind that when you dip that trailer into {lakes}, or elsewhere{/cond}.

Consider the method of personal watercraft (PWC) support, the frame strength and construction, whether lights and wiring are approved for marine use, whether rollers and bunks are properly positioned and attached to the main frame for proper suspension, and the durability of the finish. (Powder-coated or galvanized finishes are more durable than baked-on enamel.)

Purchase good quality tie-downs with the right hooks to attach to your trailer. Before each use of your trailer, check:

Drive carefully. Give other drivers plenty of warning for any maneuvers. Allow for the extra length of the car and trailer when turning and passing, and allow extra time for stopping.

Pull off the road periodically to check the rig. Examine the tires and wheel bearings for signs of overheating, check the lights and test the tie-downs.

Before Leaving Shore

At the Launch Ramp:

Contact Us!

For more information on boating safety, boat insurance coverage or to get a boating insurance quote, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

When purchasing a trailer in {states_all} or elsewhere, stay within recommended capacity guidelines. When determining capacity, remember to include the weight of fuel and accessories in addition to the weight of the craft. Continue reading

Register Your Boat Before You Hit the Water in {states_primary}

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 25, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/04/16/760/ 2012-04-16 05:58:44 2013-08-05 21:10:36

Although they are often skippered by teens and young adults, boats are not toys. Both the craft and its operator must comply with all Federal and state requirements, no matter whether you live in {states_all_or} or elsewhere.

If you’re heading out on the water, {lakes:cond}whether it’s {lakes_or} or{/cond}{rivers:cond} {rivers_or}, or elsewhere,{/cond} be prepared.

Federal regulations require that most watercraft be registered and have an identification number. A validation sticker and registration number must be displayed on the craft. The U.S. Coast Guard enforces the federal laws, rules and operating procedures.

State regulations vary, but may require the operator to be of a minimum age (usually 14 to 16 years old), complete a safe boating course and/or obtain an operator’s certificate. {states_all} and local jurisdictions may also regulate speed limits, hours and areas of operation. Click on a state below for more details.

State Boating Registration websites

Alabama Hawaii Michigan North Carolina Utah
Alaska Idaho Minnesota North Dakota Vermont
Arizona Illinois Mississippi Ohio Virginia
Arkansas Indiana Missouri Oklahoma Washington
California Iowa Montana Oregon West Virginia
Colorado Kansas Nebraska Pennsylvania Wisconsin
Connecticut Kentucky Nevada Rhode Island Wyoming
Delaware Louisiana New Hampshire South Carolina
District of Columbia Maine New Jersey South Dakota
Florida Maryland New Mexico Tennessee
Georgia Massachusetts New York Texas

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}{/cond}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Although they are often skippered by teens and young adults, boats are not toys. Both the craft and its operator must comply with all Federal and state requirements, no matter whether you live in {states_all_or} or elsewhere. Continue reading

Get Ready to Safely ‘Spring Forward’

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/03/06/get-ready-to-safely-spring-forward/ 2012-03-06 16:26:06 2012-05-15 22:18:12

In most places in the United States, Sunday, March 11, 2012, is Daylight Saving, when clocks are moved forward one hour. We here at {agency_name_long} want to remind you it’s also a great time to improve your family’s safety.

Be safe in your {cities_all} home

Health and safety agencies often use the approach of Daylight Saving Time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The American Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms and talk with your family about your fire escape plan. Whether you live in {states_all}, or elsewhere, practice the plan too – at least twice a year.

Daylight Saving is a great time to check your emergency preparedness kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies.

Carbon Monoxide a concern too

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die annually in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing the batteries in your CO detectors when moving your clocks forward this Sunday.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain
and confusion.

See the CDC’s site for more ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.

We here at {agency_name_long} hope these tips help and that you’ll consider sharing them with the people you care about so they can live safer lives too.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

In most places in the United States, Sunday, March 13, 2011,
is Daylight Saving, when clocks are moved forward one hour. We here at {agency_name_long} want to remind you it’s also a great time to improve your family’s safety. Continue reading

More Spring Cleaning Tips From {agency_name_short}

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/02/22/more-spring-cleaing-tips/ 2012-02-22 00:22:03 2012-05-15 22:18:56

Of course, because spring is a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house are very popular this time of year. If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, read on for some helpful information. (And if you’re so tidy and organized throughout the year that spring cleaning isn’t a big chore for you, well, keep that to yourself! Unless you want your friends and neighbors to be jealous, that is.)

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Of course, because spring is a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house are very popular this time of year. If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, read on for some helpful information. Continue reading

Have New Jewelry in the House? Protect it!

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/02/10/have-some-new-jewelry-in-the-house-protect-it/ 2012-02-10 23:13:38 2012-05-15 22:19:27

Ah, Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things, such as chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “Be Mine” – and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one – or to give it as a gift. Not to mention romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your {states_all_or} home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

Don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. At {agency_name_long}, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them – so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one – or to give it as a gift. Not to mention romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your {states_all_or} home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance. Continue reading

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Car in {states_primary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2012/01/02/things-to-keep-in-mind-when-buying-a-car-in-states_primary/ 2012-01-02 07:26:39 2012-05-15 22:19:56

Buying a new car in {cities_all_or} is an exciting time – but it can also be stressful. After all, you’re trying to get the best deal on price, while also deciding on the make, model and features you need.

Here at {agency_name_long}, we can’t really help you become a master negotiator when it comes to buying a car. But we can give you some things to consider when you’re looking around the lot – and when you’re trying to answer the age-old question of “new, or used?”
Now, the new vs. used argument is pretty well documented – with people usually staunchly in one camp or the other – and you probably already know what side you’re on. But read on with an open mind, and you might just come to a different decision the next time you’re on the car lot in {states_all}.

New cars

Ah, that new-car smell. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s one of the things that people love about climbing into a brand-new car. And while they make air fresheners that supposedly give you that same smell for your used car, it just doesn’t seem the same, does it? Still, there are other benefits to buying new – and, of course, there are drawbacks as well.

It’s also worth noting that if you purchase a new car in its first model year (meaning it’s a new model for the automaker), there won’t be many user reviews available, and data on reliability and repairs will be limited. In addition, sometimes newly introduced cars have some kinks that generally are ironed out by the second and third model years. These aren’t necessarily serious issues, and the warranty should cover them, but in some instances, you and your car could be headed to the shop more than you’d like.

Used cars

Don’t care about the new-car smell? Looking to save some money on your purchase? Well, a used car might be right for you. There are many advantages to buying used, but you’ll want to be a little more careful. After all, it’s hard to know exactly how well the previous owner treated the car. But you can limit your risk with a little bit of work.

Of course, whichever car you purchase, the important thing is that it’s a good fit for you. Bear in mind that certain makes and models can result in higher insurance costs for you, so feel free to check in with us at {general_phone} before you buy.

Have fun shopping – and we’ll see you on the road!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Here at {agency_name_long}, we can’t really help you become a master negotiator when it comes to buying a car. But we can give you some things to consider when you’re looking around the lot – and when you’re trying to answer the age-old question of “new, or used?” Continue reading

Tips to Stay Safe During Your Snowmobile Vacation

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/12/19/tips-to-stay-safe-during-snowmobile-season/ 2011-12-19 23:38:41 2012-05-15 22:20:14

If you live or vacation where the weather gets cold and the snow starts falling, some people are content to cozy up next to the fire with a good book and concentrate on staying warm.

For others, though, it’s time to get excited – because it’s time to break out the snowmobiles and head to the nearest winter recreation spot. It’s a popular activity, and for good reason: Snowmobiling allows you to explore natural areas that may be hard to access by foot (or snowshoe), and provides a different kind of excitement than skiing or hiking.

Of course, snowmobiling presents some dangers as well. And here at {agency_name_long}, we want you to make it home safely to {cities_all} after your day in the snow. Read on for safety tips from the American Council of Snowmobile Associations – and keep in mind that following these will not only help you stay safe, but also influence equitable treatment of snowmobile access by government, agencies and landowners.

While it’s extremely important to follow these tips for your personal safety, it’s also vital to encourage others to snowmobile safely as well. Helping to educate others will not only promote safety for all snowmobilers, but also protect the sport’s image as well.

Whether you’re a new rider or have been on the trails for years, ask yourself if you could be riding more safely. There are many more winters to come, and we want you to be able to enjoy as many of them as possible!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

If you live or vacation where the weather gets cold and the snow starts falling, some people are content to cozy up next to the fire with a good book and concentrate on staying warm.

For others, though, it’s time to get excited – because it’s time to break out the snowmobiles and head to the nearest winter recreation spot. Of course, snowmobiling presents some dangers as well. And here at {agency_name_long}, we want you to make it home safely to {cities_all} after your day in the snow. Continue reading

Tips for Preparing for Your Holiday Driving Trip

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 25, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/12/05/tips-for-preparing-for-your-holiday-driving-trip/ 2011-12-05 21:09:46 2012-05-15 22:20:24

Millions of Americans will do some traveling this holiday season – the majority of it by car. Of course, winter weather creates a unique set of challenges on the roadways, whether you’re simply driving around in {cities_primary} or headed to {cities_secondary}.

At {agency_name_long}, we’d like to help you not only enjoy your holiday season, but help ensure you’ll be around for future holidays, too! So please take these winter-travel safety tips to heart.

Prepare your car for winter

Before leaving on your trip in {states_all}, give your car a thorough check-up. Do wipers need to be replaced? Are your fluid levels where they should be? Your tires need to be in good shape for driving on wet or snowy roads, and be sure your radiator and cooling systems are up to snuff. And – we know you’ve heard this before, but bear with us – your car should have an emergency kit. Pack it with jumper cables, blankets, a first-aid kit, flares, food and water, a flashlight and other safety gear. A shovel and cat litter or sand (to provide traction should you get stuck in snow or ice) are good ideas as well.

Before you leave

Know exactly where you’re going, with printed maps, and check weather conditions along your planned route. Let someone know your itinerary, so if you don’t arrive on time in {cities_all_or}, officials know where to look for you. If your car has snow or ice on it, make sure it is completely cleared off before you depart. Don’t forget to clear your headlights and other lights, along with the roof – ice and snow blowing from your car could create a hazard for other drivers.

When you’re on the road

Are roads snowy or icy? Take it slow. Take it slow. Take it slow. Sorry for repeating ourselves, but it’s absolutely vital to, yes, take it slow. Give yourself extra time to get to your {regional_designations:cond}{regional_designations}{/cond} destination, and make sure you leave extra room between your vehicle and others on the road. Watch for ice patches on bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Remember, having four-wheel or all-wheel drive does not mean your car will stop or steer better on ice.

If you’re caught in a storm that seems like it’s too much for you to handle, seek refuge as soon as you can. Of course, sometimes it’s best not to drive in snow and ice at all – stay home if you can.

If your vehicle becomes disabled

Nobody wants to think about being stranded on the side of the road in a storm, but it happens to thousands of people every year. If your vehicle is disabled, be sure to stay with it. Run your engine and heater for short intervals, and open one of your windows slightly to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. Light two flares (remember that vehicle emergency kit? Now’s the time to use it) and place one a safe distance from both the front and rear of your vehicle. Note your location with mileposts, exit numbers or cross-streets and call the authorities or a tow truck.

We hope you enjoy your holidays with friends and family, and we look forward to serving you in the new year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Millions of Americans will do some traveling this holiday season – the majority of it by car. Of course, winter weather creates a unique set of challenges on the roadways, whether you’re simply driving around in {cities_primary} or headed to {cities_secondary}. At {agency_name_long}, we’d like to help you enjoy your holiday season, so please take these winter-travel safety tips to heart. Continue reading

Make Sure Your Holidays Stay Happy - Safe

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/12/01/make-sure-your-holidays-stay-happy-and-safe/ 2011-12-01 23:56:12 2015-07-08 16:58:26

You’ll no doubt hear the phrase “Happy Holidays!” about a thousand times over the next month or two. Here at {agency_name_long}, we’d like to change that a little bit: “Happy – and Safe – Holidays!”

While the holidays certainly bring cheer here in {cities_all}, they also present some danger unless you take care when putting up your tree, lighting candles and keeping that fire going on a cold winter night.

During November and December, according to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 12,000 people are treated in emergency rooms nationwide due to holiday-related decorating accidents. Add to that the number of fires involving Christmas trees, candles and fireplaces, and you can see the importance of making safety a part of your holiday preparations.

Read on for some helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your season jolly for kids and adults alike. And make sure to give us a call at {general_phone} if you have any questions about your coverage – or if you just need to know when you can drop off your gift to your favorite agency! (We kid, we kid.)

Trees

Lights and decorations

Fireplaces and candles

Remember, you can’t have happy holidays without holiday safety. Here’s to you and yours, and a wonderful season for all.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

You’ll no doubt hear the phrase “Happy Holidays!” about a thousand times over the next month or two. Here at {agency_name_long}, we’d like to change that a little bit: “Happy – and Safe – Holidays!” Continue reading

Staying For the Snow in {states_all} This Winter? Protect Your Motorhome and RV From the Cold

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/11/11/staying-for-the-snow-in-states_all-this-winter-protect-your-motorhome-and-rv-from-the-cold/ 2011-11-11 17:43:57 2012-05-15 22:20:51

First things first: If you’re a snowbird, and headed away from {cities_all} this winter to a sunnier and warmer spot, you can move on to the next article. Just know that we here at {agency_name_long} wish you a safe journey – and that we’re all a little jealous. But no hard feelings; we’ll still be here, standing ready should you need us.

But for those RV owners who aren’t able to escape the winter weather in {states_all}, or who are simply storing their RV in a warmer locale for an extended period, it’s important to prepare for it. Just as with your home, a little maintenance now will go a long way toward preventing frustration – and expensive repairs – later.

The basic tips below should help you get started. For more detailed information, including step-by-step instructions on replacing the water in your motorhome with antifreeze, simply do a web search for “RV winterization” and you’ll find several great resources. Of course, you should consult your owner’s manual for guidelines specific to your unit.

Winterizing your RV’s exterior

This is the “easy” part of winterizing your RV. You’ll want to clean it thoroughly, and make sure any awnings are fully dry before rolling them in for the winter. Also, keep your tires covered to protect them from sunlight and the elements. Make sure all doors and windows are closed.

Protecting your motorhome’s interior

After cleaning the interior, leave the cabinets open and make sure to remove any food or food residue. If you aren’t going to be in your RV over the winter, you sure don’t want to attract any animals or insects looking for a cozy spot. Close your curtains or blinds to keep the sun out. And never store a propane tank inside your RV, even over the winter.

Engine, tanks and plumbing

If you live somewhere prone to freezing weather, make sure you have enough antifreeze in the engine, and change the oil and filter if needed. If possible, you’ll want to charge the battery a few times during the winter if you can (you may even want to remove it from the RV). Then, empty the holding tanks and replace the water in the plumbing lines with non-toxic antifreeze.

Just a little preparation will help ensure your RV is ready to roll when summer comes back around in {states_all}. You’ll be back on the road before you know it. (And then we’ll be jealous of you, too!)

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

For those RV owners who aren’t able to escape the winter weather in {states_all}, or who are simply storing their RV for an extended period, it’s important to prepare for it. Just as with your home, a little maintenance now will go a long way toward preventing frustration – and expensive repairs – later. Continue reading

Is Your {states_primary} Home as Energy Efficient as it Could Be?

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/11/11/is-your-states_primary-home-as-energy-efficient-as-it-could-be/ 2011-11-11 17:27:23 2012-05-15 22:20:40

Drafty windows. Leaky faucets. Dirty air filters.

All are common issues here in {states_all}, and they’re not only annoying – they also cost you money in decreased energy efficiency and higher utility bills.

Would you like to save $200 to $400 a year on your energy costs in {cities_all}? That’s how much the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program estimates that homeowners can save by incorporating technologies to make their homes operate more efficiently.

Of course, helping to protect you and your family is our goal at {agency_name_long}, and keeping your home well-maintained usually means your home will be safer as well. Those are goals we all should share. Several of the tips below from the National Association of Home Builders will help you accomplish both.

Do a home-energy audit

Making your home more efficient can seem like an overwhelming task. But “auditing” your energy efficiency is something you can do yourself, and it’s relatively simple. This will show you where your home loses energy, how efficient your heating and cooling systems are, and ways you can decrease your electricity use. Just inspect the areas listed here and note the problems you find.

The only thing left to do after you complete your audit (and make any necessary changes)? Figuring out how to spend the money you’ll save each year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Would you like to save $200 to $400 a year on your energy costs? That’s how much the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program estimates that homeowners can save by incorporating technologies to make their homes operate more efficiently. Continue reading

Winterizing Your Boat in {states_primary}

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/10/06/winterizing-your-boat-in-states_primary/ 2011-10-06 21:55:21 2012-05-15 22:21:10

Whether you’ve got a rowboat or a big cabin cruiser, we here at {agency_name_long} want to make sure you have the tips you need to keep your boat protected when it’s not in use.

The first step in winterizing your boat {lakes:cond}after pulling it out of {lakes_or} for the season,{/cond} should be to make a list of all your winterization tasks. Check your boat and motor owner’s manuals for manufacturer recommendations on winterization and review the topics below. If you are a new watercraft owner, consider employing the help of a friend with experience in winterization, or hire a professional to do the job.

Depending on whether you live in {states_all} or elsewhere, your tasks may vary.

Outboard Engine(s)
Flush your engine with fresh water using flush muffs or a similar device attached to the raw water pickup. Let all water drain from the engine. Wash the engine down with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Disconnect the fuel hose and run the engine until it stops. It is important to follow a step-by-step process to make sure that all fuel is drained from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons. Apply water resistant grease to the propeller shaft and threads. Change the gear oil in the lower unit. Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax.

Inboard Engine(s)
Run the engine to warm it up and change the oil while it is warm. This allows impurities to be drained away with the oil. Change the oil filter(s). Flush the engine with fresh water. Circulate antifreeze through the manifold by using a pickup hose from the waterpump to a bucket of antifreeze. Start the engine and allow the antifreeze to circulate until water starts to exit the exhaust. This process will vary slightly depending on whether you have a “Raw Water” cooling system or an “Enclosed Fresh Water” cooling system. While you’re in the engine room, change the fluid in your transmission. Remove spark plugs and use “fogging oil” to spray into each cylinder. Wipe down the engine with a shop towel sprayed with a little fogging oil or WD-40.

Stern Drive(s)
Thoroughly inspect the stern drive and remove any plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture in the oil, which could indicate leaking seals and the need for repairs. Clean the lower unit with soap and water. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, check it for cracks or pinholes. Grease all fittings and check fluid levels in the hydraulic steering or lift pumps. Check your owner’s manual for additional recommendations by the manufacturer.

Fuel
Fill your fuel tank(s) to avoid a build up of condensation over the winter months. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the product. Change the fuel filter(s) and water separator(s).

Bilges
Make sure the bilges are clean and dry. Use soap, hot water and a stiff brush to clean up any oil spills. Once the bilges are clean, spray with a moisture displacing lubricant and add a little antifreeze to prevent any water from freezing.

Fresh Water System
Completely drain the fresh water tank and hot water heater. Isolate the hot water heater by disconnecting the in and out lines and connecting them together. Pump a non-toxic antifreeze into the system and turn on all the faucets, including the shower and any wash-down areas until you see the antifreeze coming out. Put non-toxic antifreeze in the water heater.

Head
Pump out the holding tank at an approved facility. While pumping, add fresh water to the bowl and flush several times. Use Vanish crystals or whatever your owner’s manual recommends that will not harm your system and let it sit for a few minutes. Add fresh water and pump out again. Add antifreeze and pump through hoses, holding tank, y-valve, macerator and discharge hose. Check your owner’s manual to make sure that an alcohol-based antifreeze won’t damage your system.

Interior
Once you have taken care of the systems, you should remove any valuables, electronics, lines, PFD, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, etc. Over the winter, clean, check and replace these items as necessary. Open all drawers and lockers and clean thoroughly. Turn cushions up on edge so that air is able to circulate around them or, better yet, bring them home to a climate controlled area. Open and clean the refrigerator and freezer. To keep your boat dry and mildew-free you might want to install a dehumidifier or use a commercially available odor and moisture absorber product.

Out-of-Water Storage
Pressure wash the hull, clean barnacles off props and shafts, rudders, struts and trim tabs. Clean all thru-hulls and strainers. Open the seacocks to allow any water to drain. Check the hull for blisters; if you find any that require attention, consider opening them to drain over the winter.

In-Water Storage
Close all seacocks and check rudder shafts and stuffing boxes for leaks, then tighten or repack as necessary. Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged, clean the terminals, add water if necessary and make sure your charging system is working. Check the bilge pumps to ensure they are working, that the float switches properly activate the pumps, and that they are not hindered by debris. Make sure to check your boat periodically or have the marina check it and report to you. If the water in which you are docked or moored tends to freeze, you should install a de-icing device or bubbling system around your boat.

Trailers
Like boats, trailers need some attention in the fall so they’ll still be rolling in the spring. Hubs that have been immersed in water during the season must be cleaned thoroughly. Rusted areas on the frame should be sanded, primed, and repainted. Tires should be inspected, especially the sidewalls, which tend to crack and wear out before the treads. Finally, removing the wheels and adding support at the blocks under the frame rails will prolong the life of the tires, minimize sagging on the springs, and discourage theft.

Batteries
You may want to leave a battery aboard your boat to operate a burglar alarm or an automatic bilge pump. These are both useful in the winter, but don’t expect an automatic pump to overcome bad deck, cabin, or hull leaks – not in the summer or winter. The pump, battery, or float switch can fail, leaving the boat unprotected. A boat with chronic leaking problems should be dry-stored and repaired as soon as possible. If you do leave a battery aboard, make sure the cells are filled with distilled water and fully charged so they don’t freeze. Frozen cells will ruin a battery. Clean the terminals with baking soda, and rinse with cold water. Coat the terminals and cables with petroleum jelly to help prevent rust.

If you don’t need a battery aboard, take it home and do all of the above anyway. Store batteries in a cool dry room and put them on a trickle charger or charge them every 30 to 60 days.

Covers
Invest in a cover to keep your boat clean and free from dirt, water, falling leaves and bird droppings, all of which can cause damage if left unchecked. A cover can also prevent UV rays from breaking down hoses and fading carpets and upholstery. During the winter a frame should be used under the cover to distribute the weight of water or snow that may collect on the boat.

Marina/Watercraft Yard Contracts
If you store your boat at a marina or yard, be sure to review your contract so you know what services you’ll receive and what you are responsible for providing through the winter. Most marinas and yards only store your boat, and any maintenance or winter preparation services typically cost extra. Be aware that many marinas and yards have clauses that waive liability in the event of damage or destruction to a watercraft in storage, and most require that owners have full insurance coverage.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Whether you’ve got a rowboat or a big cabin cruiser, we here at {agency_name_long} want to make sure you have the tips you need to keep your boat protected when it’s not in use. Continue reading

Figure Out Your Auto Insurance Needs

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/10/06/determining-your-auto-insurance-needs/ 2011-10-06 08:22:02 2011-11-18 18:08:55

When choosing auto insurance, you want complete coverage for the best price.

There’s a lot to think about when choosing auto insurance. In some states, to license your car you must carry liability coverage for damages incurred by others if you cause an accident, or no-fault coverage to pay for medical and related expenses for you and your passengers caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of fault; or carry both. Check with {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} to see what’s required in {states_all}.

If you live in {states_all_or} and don’t have car insurance, you risk paying the full cost of:

So, how can you tell what amount of coverage is best for you? Consider your driving profile.

For more details, give {agency_name_short} a call at {general_phone}.

Ask {agency_name_long}

{agency_name_short} can help you find insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to discuss when you call {general_phone}:

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_short}: {tagline}{/cond}. Call for a quote today{quoting_phone:cond} at {quoting_phone}{/cond}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

When choosing auto insurance, you want thorough coverage for the best price. There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing auto insurance. In some states, to license your car you must carry liability coverage for damages incurred by others if you cause an accident, or no-fault coverage to pay for medical and related expenses for you and your passengers caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of fault; or carry both. Continue reading

High Wind Protection For Commercial Property

43, 9764, 7134 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/10/05/high-wind-protection-for-commercial-property/ 2011-10-05 20:13:29 2011-10-07 16:15:14

High winds happen everywhere, even in {cities_primary}

As many building owners across {states_primary} know, the threat of high winds can be very damaging to windows, roofs, signs and other fixtures on the outside of a commercial building. Whether you rent or own your building you need to protect it from high wind events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or straight-line gusts. We at {agency_name_long} want your building to be protected, so we recommend you follow this checklist which outlines the latest building science guidelines from the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

High Winds Checklist for {cities_primary}:

Check your roof condition no matter where you live in {states_primary}
Have your roof inspected by a reputable roofing contractor to determine if repairs are needed or replacement is recommended. {agency_name_short} can make sure your coverage is up-to-date but it is up to you, or your landlord, to make sure your building’s cover is up-to-date!

In {cities_primary}, you need to assess exterior fixtures and landscaping for potential hazards
Trim tress and shrubbery, cut weak branches. Secure signs and vent stacks, mechanical equipment or other items on your building or roof. Remove bricks or pallets or other debris from around your building that could become projectiles in high winds. Secure outbuildings, fences, outdoor furniture and awnings. {agency_name_short} encourages you to have a written emergency plan for when a high wind event is predicted. You can learn more and get templates for creating an Emergency Plan when you contact {agency_name_long}.

Establish a plan, {cities_primary}, for window and door protection
The highest level of protection for doors and windows are professionally produced shutters or screens. The standard for these products is to withstand a 9-pound 2×4 hurtling at 34 mph! If you do not have shutters or screens, {agency_name_short} encourages you to at the minimum, check seals around windows and repair any damage and install head or foot bolts on double doors. Also, check with your door and window manufacturer to know the pressure rating of your openings. All of these will give you greater knowledge of your building and greater peace of mind should a high wind event happen in the {cities_primary} area.

Schedule an evaluation of potential structural weakness
At {agency_name_long}, we want your building to be safe for the protection of you, your employees and neighboring businesses or homes. So we encourage you to inspect the gable ends of your commercial building to determine they are adequately attached to roof and ceiling. Also have anchoring of porches, canopies, overhangs, or facades evaluated for proper and sturdy attachment. Knowing your commercial building’s weaknesses and strengthening them now can save you money and possibly lives tomorrow!

For more advice and complete help in protecting your business and your employees, contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

As many building owners across {states_primary} know, the threat of high winds can be very damaging to windows, roofs, signs and other fixtures on the outside of a commercial building. Whether you rent or own your building you need to protect it from high wind events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or straight-line gusts. Continue reading

Let’s Keep Our Lawns - and Ourselves - Safe in {states_primary}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/08/18/lets-keep-our-lawns-%e2%80%93-and-ourselves-%e2%80%93-safe-in-states_primary/ 2011-08-18 05:13:20 2013-05-02 15:37:56

For many of our neighbors in {cities_all}, summer means more than sunshine and vacations. It also means working in the yard – often with tools that can be dangerous if not used properly.

Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don’t let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital! Follow these handy safety tips.

Tool Safety Tips From the U.S. CPSC

{states_all} Lawn Chemical Safety Tips from Texas A&M University

From all of us at {agency_name_long}, here’s to keeping both you and your lawn healthy this summer!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don’t let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital! Follow these handy safety tips. Continue reading

Summer Vacation Safety: A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/08/17/summer-vacation-safety-planning-goes-long-way/ 2011-08-17 23:30:15 2012-05-15 22:22:42

We love it here {regional_designations:cond}in {regional_designations}{/cond}, but summertime is the time for getting away! And whether your escape is by air, land or sea, {agency_name_long} can help ensure you are covered.

Just because you’re on vacation, though, doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about safety. These tips will help you and your family get the most out of your trip – and help you get back to {cities_all} safe and sound.

Does my insurance come on vacation with me?

This is a common question here at {agency_name_long}. Here are some brief answers. Call us at {general_phone} if you have more specific questions.

AUTO: In most instances, your personal auto policy coverages will extend to your rental car. However, give us a call at {general_phone} so we can discuss your specific situation. Be sure to mention if you’re traveling out of state or internationally, as that could impact your coverage.

HOME: If you rent a vacation property, your homeowners coverage may apply in certain situations. Personal items you take on vacation generally are covered, but again, give us a call at {general_phone} so we can discuss your specific policy and coverage.

Before You Leave Home

What To – Or Not To – Pack

Staying Safe On Your Trip

Remember, just a little extra emphasis on safety can make a big difference in how memorable your vacation will be.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about safety. These tips will help you and your family get the most out of your trip – and help you get back to {cities_all} safe and sound. Continue reading

{cities_primary}, Summers Mean Backyard Grilling - Safely!

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/08/12/cities_primary-summers-mean-backyard-grilling-%e2%80%93-safely/ 2011-08-12 23:07:24 2013-05-02 15:42:33

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer in {cities_all}. And grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of {states_all} residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers – and not your house – the next time you fire up the grill.

{agency_name_long} Tips For All Grills

Charcol Grill Tips From Kingsford.com

Gas Grill Tips From the National Fire Protection Association

From all of us at {agency_name_long}, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Keep in mind that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of {states_all} residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. Continue reading

You Know How Bad Hurricanes, Severe Storms Can Be: Be Prepared

6671, 6684, 6698, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/07/26/you-know-how-bad-hurricanes-severe-storms-can-be-be-prepared/ 2011-07-26 23:17:35 2012-05-15 22:24:47

We’ve all seen the dramatic effect hurricanes, tropical depressions and other severe storms can have on the coast and even far inland – both the initial wind and rain and the floods that follow.

According to NOAA, 19 states from Texas to Maine have been directly hit by hurricanes. any more have been affected by torrential rains and tornadoes as those weakening storms moved inland.

But there are steps you can take to stay safe and reduce damage to your property in the event of any severe storm, whether you live in {states_all_or}.

Know What Your Insurance in {states_primary} Covers and How Much You Need

Flood Damage from Hurricanes Isn’t Covered by Property Insurance

Neither home nor business insurance covers flood damage from a hurricane. If you’re in an area susceptible flooding – even if it’s not in a place hit by hurricanes – we here at {agency_name_short} can help you purchase a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Act Now to Reduce Damage Later in {cities_primary}, Elsewhere

In the Path of a Hurricane or Severe Storm?

Driving

Avoid washed out and wet roads that can hide downed electrical lines or underlying currents that can carry your vehicle away.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

We’ve all seen the dramatic effect hurricanes, tropical depressions and other severe storms can have on the coast and even far inland – both the initial wind and rain and the floods that follow. But there are steps you can take to stay safe and reduce damage to your property in the event of any severe storm, whether you live in {states_all_or}. Continue reading

You Live in Hail Country {states_primary}. Are You Prepared?

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/07/12/you-live-in-hail-country-states_primary-are-you-prepared/ 2011-07-12 17:41:33 2012-05-15 22:22:54

Whether you live in {states_all_or}, or elsewhere, hail storms don’t last long, but they pack a real punch. Every year, hail causes nearly $1 billion in damages, mostly to repair roofs and cars. A single series of evening storms in North Texas in May of 2011 caused an estimated $200 million to $300 million in damages, according to one estimate.*

You can save hundreds of dollars and hours of clean-up by making sure you understand your coverage, and taking some precautions, including checking your roof before the next hail storm.

Know What Your Insurance Covers and How Much You Need

{cities_all}, You Can Take Action to Reduce Damage

If you haven’t taken a look at your roof in a while, now’s the time. Roof repairs today can help you avoid extensive, time-consuming clean-up later.

When Storms Hit in {states_primary}, Protect Yourself-and Your Car

In severe storms, a hail stone can be as big as a softball and fall at 50-100 miles an hour.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

*Southwestern Insurance Information Service

Whether you live in {states_all_or}, or elsewhere, hail storms don’t last long, but they pack a real punch. Every year, hail causes nearly $1 billion in damages, mostly to repair roofs and cars. A single series of evening storms in North Texas in May of 2011 caused an estimated $200 million to $300 million in damages, according to one estimate. Continue reading

Managing the Cold Chain

43, 8860, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/07/12/managing-the-cold-chain/ 2011-07-12 08:40:07 2012-05-01 21:33:03

Controlling the Growth of Foodborne Pathogens in Retail Operations

Protect your restaurant, your customers, and your reputation, {cities_all}

Restaurant and foodservice owners across {states_all} know the importance of managing “the cold chain” and how seriously it needs to be followed to prevent food borne illnesses to keep from hurting your reputation and your bottom line. That is why we at {agency_name_long} team up with Loss Prevention professionals who are technical experts in cold chain systems. They can help you implement a process which reduces your exposure to those pesky microbes that can “ruin your lunch” – and your lunch crowd.

Refrigeration is the key, {cities_all}

Restaurants and food stores across {states_all} need to maintain the integrity of perishable goods throughout the entire shipping, storing, cooking and retailing process. From “farm to fork,” the temperature of perishable food must be maintained, and refrigeration is the key. {agency_name_short} has resources that can help you make sure you are following the proper temperature controls to keep your food fresh. They can also make sure your coverage is up-to-date for the type of food retail operation you own.

Receiving perishable goods in {states_all}

Trust your distributor, but it’s always best to verify the temperature of the food before accepting delivery. Many refrigerated trucks have a data log for temperature during the trip. Ask to see it – most perishables should be maintained at 41 F or below. {agency_name_short} encourages you to know the science behind the food. We can help you obtain the proper training for you and your staff on safe temperature controls for food.

When storing perishables at your restaurant or store in {cities_all}

From your walk-in to your reach-in, you need to be sure you have adequate space, temperature controls, and properly working doors and seals on all your food storage equipment. Keep temperature logs or alarms on your equipment as mechanical refrigerators can malfunction and you may not even know it! Whether you lease or own your refrigeration equipment in {states_all}, contact us to be sure you have the right policy that covers you and your business should that equipment fail.

“Managing the Cold Chain” reference sheet – a tool for restaurant and food services in {states_all}

{agency_name_short} has many resources for you and your business. We work with some of the most knowledgeable loss prevention specialists in {states_all}. They will work with you and train your staff on how to maintain a healthy and safe food service operation. This reference sheet, “Managing the Cold Chain”, covers everything from your outside walkways, to kitchen floors, to storage, to kitchen equipment and food handling. You and your staff will find this information helpful and you could prevent injuries and save lives!

For more advice and complete help in protecting your business and your employees, contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

Restaurant and foodservice owners across {states_primary} know the importance of managing “the cold chain” and how seriously it needs to be followed to prevent food borne illnesses – something that can hurt your reputation and your bottom line. Continue reading

{states_primary} Riders - Be Safe on Your Motorcycle!

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/07/11/motorcycle-safety/ 2011-07-11 16:22:57 2013-05-02 15:41:30

To stay safe on {cities_all} streets, you need the right skills to control your ride, and the best safety equipment for just-in-case. {agency_name_long} cares about your safety – so keep these helpful tips in mind when you ride:

When You Ride{regional_designations:cond}, whether it’s in {regional_designations_or}{/cond} – Be Prepared and Protected

* Source: NHTSA’s 2008 Traffic Safety report on Motorcycles.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

To stay safe on {cities_all} streets, you need the right skills to control your ride, and the best safety equipment for just-in-case. {agency_name_long} wants you to be safe out there – so keep these helpful tips in mind when you ride: Continue reading

What to do if Something Happens on, to Your Boat

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/07/05/what-to-do-if-something-happens-to-your-boat/ 2011-07-05 22:50:02 2012-05-15 22:23:10

Being on the water in your boat can be a real joy{lakes:cond} on places like {lakes}{/cond}, but it pays to know what to do if you’re involved in an accident in {states_all}, or if something happens to your personal watercraft (PWC) when it’s on shore.

A capsized PWC may take on water, but it is designed not to sink.

Reporting an accident

The following accidents must be reported by the owner or operator of the craft to the proper marine law enforcement authority in the state or location in which the accident occurred.

Be prepared to provide the date, time and location of the accident; the name of the person who was injured, died or disappeared; the craft name and/or number; the name(s) and address(es) of the craft owner and operator.

Security

A few simple precautions can help protect your PWC from theft.

If on a trailer:

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Being on the water in your boat can be a real joy{lakes:cond} on places like {lakes}{/cond}, but it pays to know what to do if you’re involved in an accident in {states_all}, or if something happens to your personal watercraft (PWC) when it’s on shore. Continue reading

Be Safe Up on That Ladder, {cities_primary}!

6665, 43, 6447, 6675, 6451, 6680, 6690, 6704, 6480, 3972 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/07/01/be-smart-up-on-that-ladder-cities_primary/ 2011-07-01 00:00:13 2012-05-15 22:24:59

When autumn comes in {states_primary}, it means leaves will drop and clog gutters, and old branches and hedges will need trimming. Whatever your crew may be doing, it likely involves using a ladder. They need the right information on how to safely use and work while up on the ladder. {agency_name_long} wants you and your employees to be safe up there – so keep these helpful tips in mind when you set up for fall clean up or any other job that requires a ladder:

Before You ClimbBe Prepared and Protected

To get training from professionals on how to avoid these accidents in {regional_designations:cond} {cities_primary}, you can contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} and ask for loss prevention training tools{/cond}.

For more advice and complete help in protecting your business and your employees, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

Autumn in {states_primary} means leaves are dropping and clogging gutters, and old branches and hedges need trimming. Whatever your crew maybe doing, it likely involves using a ladder. They need the right knowledge on how to safely use and work while up on the ladder. Continue reading

You Need More Than a Tarp to Keep Your Boat Covered

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/06/23/you-need-more-than-a-tarp-to-keep-your-boat-covered/ 2011-06-23 19:09:06 2012-05-15 22:23:22

Whether you own a Jet Ski, a small ski boat, fishing boat, or a 26-foot cruiser, knowing that you’re covered by the right insurance should give you the peace of mind to relax and enjoy every minute{lakes:cond} on places like {lakes}{/cond}.

What We Insure

We represent insurance companies that insure a full range of recreational boats including:

Why Insure Your Boat or Personal Watercraft?

In tough economic times some boaters are tempted to let their insurance coverages lapse. Should you ever need to use your watercraft insurance, however, it is one of the best investments you could make. Here are some things to consider:

Your Watercraft Insurance Coverage Options

Your watercraft needs protection on the water, and on land, with coverage for you, your guests, and your boat. Thinking of buying a boat in {states_all}? Check with us at {agency_name_long} to see what it will cost to insure it.

Get Started

Contact us at {general_phone} or {email}. We’ll help identify the best combination of coverage, value, and price for you. And we here at {agency_name_short} can help make sure your insurance continually meets your changing needs.

Ask Us

Here are a few things to discuss when we talk:

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Whether you own a Jet Ski, a small ski boat, fishing boat, or a 26-foot cruiser, knowing that you’re covered by the right insurance should give you the peace of mind to relax and enjoy every minute{lakes:cond} on places like {lakes}{/cond}. Continue reading

Suggestions from {agency_name_short} For Dealing With a Water Emergency

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 25, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/05/17/suggestions-from-agency_name_short-for-dealing-with-a-water-emergency/ 2011-05-17 12:22:36 2011-07-27 14:44:41

It’s happened. There’s water everywhere – in your walls, under your carpets and soaking into your belongings. Whether caused by a burst pipe, a broken water heater or {rivers_or} flooding, there are things you can do immediately to salvage belongings and limit damage or loss.

Here are some suggestions from {agency_name_long} that will help you, wherever you live, including {states_all}.

1. Stop the water. If the water is coming from inside your home, such as a burst pipe or water heater malfunction, shut off the main water valve immediately. (Make sure everyone in your home knows where the shutoff valve is located.)

2. Turn off the utilities* – if the situation calls for it. In a serious water event, turning off the power or natural gas might be necessary to ensure your and others personal safety.

3. Prevent electrocution. Do not use any electrical appliances if the carpet or flooring surfaces are wet. Use a wet vacuum to remove water, but check the manufacturer’s instructions before starting.

4. Use fans to circulate air and encourage drying. This is especially important in the first 24-48 hours after an indoor flood.

5. Get water out quickly (and safely). Fast action on your part can prevent further damage, help you save more of your belongings and minimize the time and expense of repairs. Clean up as much water as possible by mopping or blotting with towels.

6. Get property to a dry location. As much as possible, move belongings to a dry area. Put furniture on blocks or slide a square of aluminum foil under furniture legs to prevent the wood stain from bleeding into carpeting.

7. Remove area rugs from the floor. The dyes in carpets can stain flooring, carpeting or wood floors.

8. Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. It could cause carpet to shrink.

9. Launder any clothes or other washables that have been soaked as soon as possible.

10. Wipe excess water from furniture. Open drawers and cabinet doors for faster drying. Spread out books to speed drying and prevent further damage.

11. Watch for debris and pests. If water is flowing in your house there may be dislodged materials such as nails, or pests such as snakes or vermin.

12. Report claims as soon as possible. The sooner you report damage, the sooner your insurance company can help you get your home and life back to normal. Call {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or contact your insurance carrier directly.

13. Keep track of the time spent cleaning and save receipts for the costs of any rental equipment or payments to professional services. As soon as you can, make a thorough list of items that water damaged-this will help us process your claim faster. Document the damage with photos, video, bills, and receipts. In the meantime, don’t throw out damaged items – especially expensive items.

*In the case of a minor water situation there may not be a need to shut off the utilities, and doing so may leave your home without power until the utilities can be turned back on again.

Contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} for more information about preventing water damage in your home.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

It’s happened. There’s water everywhere – in your walls, under your carpets and soaking into your belongings. Whether caused by a burst pipe, a broken water heater or {rivers_or} flooding, there are things you can do immediately to salvage belongings and limit damage or loss. Continue reading

Tornadoes Happen Every Year; Are You Prepared?

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/05/13/tornadoes-happen-every-year-are-you-prepared/ 2011-05-13 00:17:11 2012-02-08 23:29:21

You don’t have to be directly hit by a tornado in {states_all_or} to experience damage. Taking some time to prepare could save you thousands of dollars and hours of clean-up.

Know What Your Insurance Covers and How Much You Need

In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, but in April of 2011 alone, 875 tornadoes were reported. Oftentimes, homes and businesses close to a tornado are damaged or destroyed by wind, rain and flying debris. Check with us at {agency_name_long} to see if your insurance policy covers repair or rebuilding costs.

If you can’t live in your home, see if your policy will pay additional living expenses. {agency_name_short} can review your policy for detailed coverage explanations.

Review your insurance policy once a year to make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild based on current construction costs. {agency_name_long} recommends you work with an independent building contractor to get a precise estimate, and make sure you chat with us about your business or home’s unique features.

You Can Take Action to Reduce Damage

You can’t make your home or business tornado-proof, but you can take steps that improve the odds of surviving the high winds. Ideally, you may want to call on professionals for the more technical jobs.

If a Tornado is Headed Your Way in {states_all_or}

Additional Resources for {states_all}

Check out some of these additional resources or let {agency_name_long} find the right insurance protection for you:

To view PDF files, you’ll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader, free for download from Adobe.

It’s necessary to get the right insurance protection for you. For more information on your policy or if you’d like to ask about additional coverage, please contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

You don’t have to be hit by a tornado to experience damage. Taking a little time to prepare could save you thousands of dollars and hours of clean-up. Continue reading

Your Guide to {states_primary} Personal Watercraft Safety

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/05/06/your-guide-to-states_primary-personal-watercraft-safety/ 2011-05-06 21:04:18 2012-05-15 22:23:39

At {agency_name_long} we recognize one of the fastest growing American pastimes is recreational boating. While many boaters cruise in sailboats and powerboats, personal watercraft (PWC) have become a popular way to enjoy the water too. Recreational boaters use them as tenders on larger boats, to water ski, commute and just for spring and summer fun.

The following items will acquaint you with some information you should know before hitting the water{lakes:cond} on {lakes}{/cond}{rivers:cond}, {rivers}, or elsewhere{/cond}. For your own safety and the safety of others, we here at {agency_name_short} encourage you to learn more.

Federal and State Regulations

While personal watercraft are often driven by teens and young adults, they are not toys. They are classified by the U.S. Coast Guard as Class A inboard boats (boats less than 16′ in length.) Both the boat and its operator must comply with all Federal and {states_all} requirements.

Federal regulations require that personal watercraft be registered and have an identification number. The validation sticker and registration number must be displayed on the craft.

State regulations vary, but may require the operator to be of a minimum age (usually 14 to 16 years old), complete a safe boating course and/or obtain an operator’s certificate. {states_all} and local jurisdictions may also regulate speed limits, hours and areas of operation – please check these specific regulations.

Safety Equipment

All Class A inboard craft must carry the following items:

In addition, the following items are strongly recommended to carry or wear aboard the boat:

Before Leaving Home

Check

Check that all safety equipment is aboard and in proper working order.

File a float plan with a close neighbor or friend. Instruct them to alert the Coast Guard or local Search and Rescue if you don’t arrive home when expected.

At the Launch Ramp:

In the Water

Rules of the Water

You are required to know and obey the boating Rules of the Water. The rules can be quite complex, and a boating safety course is highly recommended, if not required in {states_all}. Here are some simple guidelines for common encounters with other boats.

Non-powered boats, like sailboats under sail, commercial and fishing vessels all have the right of way.

When crossing paths with another boat (with the exception of those mentioned above), the boat on the right has the right of way. If necessary, slow down to let the boat on your right continue its course, then pass behind it.

When meeting another craft head on, stay to the right so that the other boat passes to your left.

When passing another craft, the boat being overtaken has the right of way. You may pass on either side, but stay well clear of the other boat.

Safe Boating Courses

Take a safe boating course through the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. The classes are free or involve a nominal fee to cover the cost of materials. Call the “Boating Courseline” at 1-800-336-2628 for information about a class in or near {cities_primary}.

For more information on boating safety, boat insurance coverage or to get a boating insurance quote, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

At {agency_name_long} we recognize one of the fastest growing American pastimes is recreational boating. While many boaters cruise in sailboats and powerboats, personal watercraft (PWC) have become a popular way to enjoy the water too. Recreational boaters use them as tenders on larger boats, to water ski, commute and just for spring and summer fun. Continue reading

Summer Means More Teens in the Workplace

43, 6480, 3972 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/05/01/summer-means-more-teens-in-the-workplace/ 2011-05-01 12:00:22 2011-06-23 19:24:15

Business news often reports that it’s difficult for teenagers to find work here in {states_primary} but nonetheless, as summer approaches thousands of teenagers will enter the workforce, many for the first time. This is an important first-step for teenagers who enter into these jobs each with their own set of expectations. Oftentimes those expectations are related solely to the money they’ll earn and what it can buy, not as their first life-lesson in developing a work ethic they will carry with them into adulthood. They are also inexperienced, most likely lacking in emotional or physical maturity, and don’t always recognize the differences between “right and wrong” in the workplace. When working with teenagers, business owners, or their managers, find themselves filling the role of teacher, mentor and boss.

It’s very important that business owners have a clear understanding of state labor laws and safety issues that apply to underage workers. Managers or other staff that may be in a position to supervise teens must also understand all applicable rules or regulations that apply to their role. Lastly, underage workers need to understand their level of responsibility for their job, their own safety, and the safety of their co-workers. {agency_name_long} believes that by developing strong, clear policies for employment at your business, you can reduce your risk for potential losses due to employer/employee misunderstandings, accidents on the job and failure to report infractions.

One way to educate your managers and supervisors, as well as provide important worker information to your teenaged employees, is by taking advantage of resources available to you by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration and our own labor department in {states_primary}.

Here are links to a few of the free resources available to you.

Whatever your insurance needs, be they personal or business, {agency_name_long} wants to be your #1 choice. Contact us at {general_phone} or {email}.

As summer approaches thousands of teenagers will enter the workforce, many for the first time. It’s very important that business owners have a clear understanding of state labor laws and safety issues that apply to underage workers. Continue reading

Green Boating Tips for Earth Day in {states_primary}, {states_secondary}

6668, 6671, 6684, 6688, 6694, 6698, 6702, 25, 6927 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/04/13/green-boating-tips-in-states_primary-states_secondary/ 2011-04-13 23:54:59 2011-07-27 14:46:01

With Earth Day fast approaching, we here at {agency_name_long} thought it would be a good time to talk about preventative measures you can take to avoid harming the environment, in addition to carrying an insurance policy that provides coverage for fuel spills and pollution liability.

Boat Maintenance

Proper maintenance can extend the life of your boat, reduce the need for costly repairs, and help ensure the safety of your passengers in {states_all}, or elsewhere.

Cleaning & Care

Wash your boat regularly to prevent the long-term effects of environmental wear and tear. Routine waxing and the use of an anti-fouling paint can also help protect your boat from the elements. Consider using environmentally-safe products whenever possible!

Consider a Watercraft Cover

Invest in a cover to keep your boat clean and free from dirt, water, falling leaves and bird droppings, all of which cause damage if left unchecked. A cover can also prevent UV rays from breaking down hoses, and fading carpets and upholstery.

Routine Inspection

Proper boat maintenance means being actively involved in, and attuned to, all aspects of your watercraft. Keep an eye on everything from loose fittings, to fraying ropes, to any other areas of your watercraft that may need special attention or replacement. Many times, damages incurred to a boat could easily have been prevented by following a preventative boat maintenance routine. You can also have a professional boat inspection.

Battery Care

Depending on the type of battery your boat uses, check to ensure that it is properly charged and has the correct fluid levels. Always keep your battery clean, as dampness and dirt can drain your battery.

Motor Maintenance

Flush your engine after every outing, and check everything from your fuel tanks to the clamps on your fuel line for rust, damage or corrosion. Also, check your oil for correct levels, proper filtration, and cleanliness. Finally, remember to keep an eye on your engine’s cooling system to make sure it’s functioning correctly.

Bilge Pumps

A crucial aspect of boat maintenance is ensuring that your bilge pump is functioning properly. There’s not much that can cause more irreparable damage to a boat than having it sink. In the event that you need to use your pump, you’ll want to make sure that your battery system contains enough power to run the pump for a prolonged period of time.

Electrical Components

Many boating failures occur as a result of corroded electrical systems, so keeping electrical components dry should be a regular part of your watercraft maintenance routine. Electrical fittings can be protected with a water-repellent, non-conductive grease or corrosion inhibitor.

For more information on boat insurance coverage or to get a boating insurance quote, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

With Earth Day fast approaching, we here at {agency_name_long} thought it would be a good time to talk about preventative measures you can take to avoid harming the environment, in addition to carrying an insurance policy that provides coverage for fuel spills and pollution liability. Continue reading

Estimating Your Boat’s Value in {states_primary}{states_secondary:cond}, {states_secondary}{/cond}

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/04/08/estimating-your-boats-value-in-states_primary-states_secondary/ 2011-04-08 20:55:32 2012-02-08 23:22:33

Buying, selling or insuring a boat in {cities_all_or}? First you’ll need to know how much your boat and/or motor is worth. Here are a few popular pricing guides as references.

Also, you can check out the prices on boats similar to yours using these sites:

Boat Valuation and Insurance Coverage Tips {states_primary}, {states_secondary} Residents

Any permanently attached equipment is included in the boat’s value, so make sure your insurance coverage amount takes that into account. Contact {agency_name_long} for a quote: {quoting_phone}. Examples of permanently attached equipment include:

For more information on boat insurance coverage or for a quote, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_short}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Buying, selling or insuring a boat in {cities_all_or}? First you’ll need to know how much your boat and/or motor is worth. Here are a few popular pricing guides as references. Continue reading

Lowering the Cost of Motorcycle Insurance in {states_primary}, {states_secondary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/04/04/lowering-the-cost-of-motorcycle-insurance-in-states_primary-states_secondary/ 2011-04-04 20:24:29 2013-08-05 21:29:00

Simple steps can lead to savings in your pocket. Spending less money is much easier than perfecting your tight turns at high speeds on a gravel road. Take a look at some simple ways to lower your motorcycle insurance costs for {states_primary}, {states_secondary} riders like you.

Ride More. Worry Less.

For more information on lowering the cost of your motorcycle insurance, please contact us at {agency_name_long}, at {general_phone} or {email}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Simple steps can lead to savings in your pocket. Spending less money is much easier than perfecting your tight turns at high speeds on a gravel road. Take a look at some simple ways to lower your motorcycle insurance costs for {states_primary}, {states_secondary} riders like you. Continue reading

OSHA Offers Free Consultations to Small Business

43, 8860, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/04/01/osha-offers-free-consultations-to-small-business/ 2011-04-01 12:00:47 2012-02-11 00:24:43

{states_primary}, did you know the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers small businesses free, workplace safety consultations? During the OSHA 2010 fiscal year they provided consultations to 26,000 small and medium-sized businesses employing 1.5 million workers. OSHA’s workplace safety consultations are separate from inspections and do not result in citations or penalties. Establishing and following workplace safety standards at your business can significantly reduce risk of injuries, prevent losses from production down-time and potentially save you money.

Many business owners have very full schedules and tight budgets. By taking advantage of this free service, businesses are able to conduct a thorough review of safety practices and hazards, without having to hire additional staff. Identification of workplace hazards, compliance advice, plus assistance in creating safety and health practices at work can lead to higher productivity and better morale among your workers.

So how can your business take advantage of this service? Start by visiting OSHA’s On-site Consultation web page where they instruct you to call or write a letter asking to participate, and get on their schedule. While visiting the OSHA website be sure to check into all of the other resources available to small business, particularly the Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) which recognizes small businesses for their “exemplary safety and health management system.” Participants in this program have been known to reduce their Workers Compensation premiums.

If your workplace safety consultation raises any questions or concerns about your business insurance, please give us a call. {agency_name_long} wants you and your business to be properly protected from loss. Give us a call at {general_phone}, or email {email}.

Additional OSHA Resources

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Did you know the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers small businesses free, workplace safety consultations? Continue reading

Condo Unit Owner’s Insurance in {states_primary}

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/03/14/condo-unit-owners-insurance-in-states_primary/ 2011-03-14 23:35:53 2011-07-27 14:57:45

Insuring a condominium in {states_all_or} is different than insuring a home. And the biggest difference is knowing where your responsibilities begin and end. That’s why it really pays to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent like {agency_name_long}. Read on, or call us at {general_phone}.

Your Condo Insurance Coverage Options

Your condo association buys insurance for the building and common areas. In choosing your condo policy, you should consider the areas of the building that you own, your personal belongings, and any safety systems you have in place. {agency_name_long} can assist in finding a policy that is right for you if your condominium is in {states_all_or}.

Ask Your Agent at {agency_name_short}

Your independent agent at {agency_name_long} can help you find insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to discuss when you speak with {agency_name_short}:

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}{/cond}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Insuring a condominium in {states_all_or} is different than insuring a home. And the biggest difference is knowing where your responsibilities begin and end. That’s why it really pays to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent like {agency_name_long}. Continue reading

Daylight Saving a Reminder to be Safe {states_primary}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 71, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/03/10/daylight-saving-a-reminder-to-be-safe-states_primary/ 2011-03-10 20:37:15 2011-07-27 14:48:01

In most places in the United States, Sunday, March 13, 2011, is Daylight Saving, when clocks are moved forward one hour. Regardless of whether Daylight Saving Time is recognized where you live, we here at {agency_name_long} want to suggest it’s still a great time to improve your family’s safety.

Be safe in your {cities_all_or} home

Health and safety agencies often use the approach of Daylight Saving Time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The American Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms and talk with your family about your fire escape plan. Wherever you live, whether it’s {states_all_or}, or elsewhere, practice the plan too – at least twice a year.

Daylight Saving is a great time to check your emergency preparedness kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies.

Carbon Monoxide a concern too

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die annually in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing the batteries in your CO detectors when moving your clocks forward this Sunday.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include “headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.”

See the CDC’s site for more ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.

We here at {agency_name_long} hope these tips help and that you’ll consider sharing them with the people you care about so they can live safer lives too.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

In most places in the United States, Sunday, March 13, 2011, is Daylight Saving, when clocks are moved forward one hour. Regardless of whether Daylight Saving Time is recognized where you live, we here at {agency_name_long} want to suggest it’s still a great time to improve your family’s safety. Continue reading

Recreational Vehicle and Motorhome Safety Tips

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/03/07/recreational-vehicle-and-motorhome-safety-tips/ 2011-03-07 22:24:44 2011-07-27 14:48:20

Avoid any delays and unexpected problems when you take your recreational vehicle or motorhome out for what should be a relaxing trip from {cities_all_or}. Follow some of our suggestions below, and consider investing in some maintenance and safety classes to help ensure happy travels across {states_all_or} and beyond.

Take Care of Your Tires

Weigh Your RV and Tow Vehicle

To know if weight is properly distributed and that you are within legal weight, find a certified platform scale in {states_all_or} and get weighed. Have the vehicle fully loaded with passengers, cargo, fuel, personal belongings, fresh water and propane tanks to get an accurate weight.

Understand Propane and Gas Systems

Have the propane and gas systems inspected every spring for leaks and proper appliance operating pressure before you head out on vacation. Be sure you know how your RV alerts you to leaks, and know what to do if one occurs. Here are some easy things to do if you smell gas/propane:

  1. Extinguish any open flames and pilot lights.
  2. Do not touch electrical switches.
  3. Shut off gas supply at the tank valve(s) or gas supply connection.
  4. Open the doors and windows and leave until the smell clears.
  5. Have the gas system checked and repaired by a qualified technician before using again.

Use the Onboard Generator Sparingly

The onboard generator gives you extra power when there’s no shore power available, but be wary of carbon monoxide.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

{tagline:cond}{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Avoid any delays and unexpected problems when you take your recreational vehicle or motorhome out for what should be a relaxing trip from {cities_all_or}. Follow some of our suggestions below, and consider investing in some maintenance and safety classes to help ensure happy travels across {states_all_or} and beyond. Continue reading

Do Transportation Issues Impact Your Business, {states_primary}?

43, 9764, 7134 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/02/28/do-transportation-issues-impact-your-business-states_primary/ 2011-02-28 12:00:16 2012-01-31 23:37:17

In the United States there are a number of governmental agencies who have responsibility for our transportation systems on the ground, in our waterways and up in the skies. Each one has their own set of transportation projects or travel safety initiatives. And in many cases, a short drive from point “A” to point “B” can mean using systems regulated and policed by multiple municipalities.

Is transportation an important part of your business? Whether you are a professional cleaner making service calls, a farmer who needs to transport fertilizer or a long-haul trucker, it’s important to know where to find transportation news and information that applies to you. A good place to start is the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Yes, it’s a large organization, consisting of 13 different agencies, but the USDOT provides a wealth of resources. Here are just a few highights from the USDOT website.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

With safety as its #1 priority, the NHTSA provides driving, vehicle and equipment safety guidelines and educational programs that are of benefit to everyone, regardless of the reasons for being on the road.

Be sure to check out the Distracted Driving Program, www.distraction.gov, which offers educational tools for employers, schools, parents, law enforcement, and communities.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

FMCSA’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. This is where you’ll learn about new carrier safety rules being proposed by the USDOT and current Rules and Regulations. If you transport hazardous material or cargo, need to track hours of service, or want to learn more about safety compliance, visit this website.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

The FHWA’s job is to ensure that America’s roads and highways continue to be safe and technologically up-to-date by providing support to States, local and tribal governments for constructing, improving, and preserving our highway systems. Here you’ll find information about federally funded projects and initiatives as well as directories to other resources:

Whether your business travel is limited to {cities_primary} or extends through the state of {states_primary}, {agency_name_long} wants you to be prepared. Gives us a call or email us at {email} with your questions about managing risk, loss prevention or workplace safety.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, www.usdot.gov.

Whether you are a professional cleaner making service calls, a farmer who needs to transport fertilizer or a long-haul trucker, it’s important to know where to find transportation news and information that applies to you. Continue reading

Bad Weather? Know These Safe Driving Tactics {states_primary}

43, 9764, 7134 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/02/25/bad-weather-know-these-safe-driving-tactics-states_primary/ 2011-02-25 17:42:32 2011-03-11 23:47:17

Is driving a necessary part of your company’s operation? During the winter months driving safely can be more challenging than usual when weather conditions bring ice, snow, or rain. {agency_name_long} wants you and your employees to be safe when on the road. Whether driving to meet customers or sending a fleet of vehicles out for deliveries, make sure your employees understand these safe driving tactics before they get started.

On The Road

Accelerating and Braking

Carbon Monoxide Alert
Be on guard against carbon monoxide, a byproduct of your vehicle’s exhaust. This is especially important in bad weather, when we are more likely to park indoors and keep the car windows sealed tightly. Never warm up your vehicle in a garage, and keep one window slightly open when driving. If you feel sleepy or groggy, stop your vehicle, get out and walk around.

Never leave the engine running while sleeping or resting inside a standing vehicle and keep exhaust systems maintained.

Increase Your Following Distance
In poor weather conditions, it is essential to leave more distance between your vehicle and the one ahead than you normally would. The Timed Interval Rule is to allow a minimum of 4 seconds of space between your vehicle and the one you are following, under ideal conditions. For vehicles over 40 feet, add 1 additional second for each 10 feet (or portion of 10 feet) of vehicle length. In bad weather, the rule is to double or triple that amount.

Safe driving skills can help keep you forewarned and forearmed, ready to meet the challenge of driving safely in inclement weather. {agency_name_long} wishes you safe travels!

Contact {agency_name_long} for all of your business insurance needs at {general_phone} or {email}.

Whether driving to meet customers or sending a fleet of vehicles out for deliveries, make sure your employees understand these safe driving tactics before they get started. Continue reading

Emergency Management Programs

43, 8860, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/02/25/emergency-management-programs/ 2011-02-25 17:14:35 2011-03-11 23:37:47

An Integral Part of Your Overall Business Plan

A comprehensive emergency management program is a necessary part of any business, and {agency_name_long} wants all business in {states_primary} to be prepared. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), having a plan can help to limit employee or customer injuries, damages to property and help your business return more quickly to normal operations. FEMA makes a strong argument for emergency management planning by defining what constitutes an emergency and identifying the benefits to business.

FEMA’s description of their “Emergency Management Guide for Business & Industry” characterizes it as ideal for any business or “…organization where a sizable number of people work or gather.” But, they are quick to point out that even small businesses can benefit from the ideas in this guide. The guide is extensive, so we’re going to give you an overview and we encourage you to access the full guide on the FEMA website for complete details.

The Planning Process

The success of your plan hinges on having leadership, or upper management support in order to get full participation. There are four primary steps involved: establishing a team, identifying capabilities and hazards, developing a plan then implementing.

While you’re going through this process, be sure to conduct an insurance review. {agency_name_long} will be happy to clear up any doubts or questions you have about your coverage.

Emergency Management Considerations

This is the phase where different the functions of emergency management and response are defined. Who’s going to be in charge of direction and control, communications, property protection, or safety? How will you work together or with outside agencies?

Identifying Potential Hazards

Hazards come in many forms – fire, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods. Do you have any hazardous materials at your business? If so, proper containment and safety measures are needed before an emergency and you need to know who to call should those materials pose a danger during an emergency.

Gather Important Information

FEMA offers additional resources focusing disaster mitigation, flood-proofing, and building performance – all available for free. They also offer brochures for work or home, and directories of regional and state emergency management offices.

Start your emergency planning now by utilizing FEMA’s “Emergency Management Guide for Business & Industry.” And, by all means, don’t hesitate to give {agency_name_long} a call at {general_phone} or email us at, {email} if you have questions about your insurance coverage.

Source: Federal Emergency Management Association, Department of Homeland Security, www.fema.gov/business/guide/.

A comprehensive emergency management program is a necessary part of any business, and can help to limit employee or customer injuries, damages to property and help your business return more quickly to normal operations. Continue reading

Estimate Your Home Value to Match Coverage Limits in {cities_primary}, {states_primary}

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/02/17/estimate-your-home-value-to-match-coverage-limits-in-cities_primary-states_primary/ 2011-02-17 05:36:08 2011-08-05 20:07:55

Your home may be worth as much or more than your retirement account. As a result, it makes sense to track your home insurance as carefully as you do your 401k.

Getting Started with {agency_name_short}

If you haven’t checked in recently, you might consider contacting {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} to schedule an annual review of your home’s value and contents.

We want you to be relieved, knowing you’ve made informed decisions about the amount of home insurance needed to help you recover in the event of a loss. Check out the tips provided below, to make sure you are prepared for the worst case scenario.

Know Your Limits

With home improvement being a national pastime and construction costs rising, it’s a good idea to check your policy limits once a year with {agency_name_short}. Planning to remodel your home? Just finished adding a new deck, fence or garage in your front yard? It is time to review your limits with {agency_name_long} if you live in {states_all_or}.

Rebuilding Is Different Than Buying

When you review your policy with {agency_name_short}, remember that the cost to buy and the cost to rebuild are different. Consequently, you can’t rely on your home’s market value to set your insurance limits. An appropriate amount of insurance coverage will permit you to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. That replacement value depends on the physical characteristics of your home, as well as the price of labor and materials in your area. In most areas, these costs increase with time.

{agency_name_short} Can Ballpark Your Coverage Needs

{agency_name_long} can estimate the typical cost of rebuilding your home based on the average costs of materials and labor in {states_all}. However, this number won’t reflect major upgrades made to your home or the cost of replacing your home’s unique features, unless you specifically inform {agency_name_short} or a customer care professional about major upgrades.

Be Proactive in Selecting Your Coverage Limits with {agency_name_long}

If your home is truly unique or custom built, or if you’d simply like additional peace of mind, knowing that you’ve selected the right amount of insurance, consider asking an expert like {agency_name_short}. For a modest fee, you can hire a building contractor to give you a more precise estimate of the cost of rebuilding your home.

Don’t Forget to Do a Home Inventory

{agency_name_long} recommends doing a thorough inventory of your home’s contents. Compare the value of your belongings to the “contents,” or personal property limit listed in your policy, and make sure these match up.

Using a video camera is the easiest way to do inventory of your home. That way, you can record and describe items as you walk through your house. A regular camera and a home inventory checklist works well, too. Share the completed list with {agency_name_long} to review and make sure your belongings are fully covered. Store your video or photo inventory off-site, so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.

Contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} for more information about lowering the cost of your homeowners insurance in {states_all}.

{agency_name_short}: {tagline:cond}{tagline}.{/cond} Call for a quote today at {quoting_phone}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Your home may be worth as much or more than your retirement account. As a result, it makes sense to track your home insurance as carefully as you do your 401k. Continue reading

{states_primary} vacationers: Lower the Cost of your Motorhome Insurance

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 34, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/02/12/states_primary-vacationers-lower-the-cost-of-your-rv-insurance/ 2011-02-12 00:23:06 2011-11-18 18:17:30

Insurance might be a necessity, but spending lots of money on it isn’t. We here at {agency_name_short} know that you’d rather be mapping out your next destination instead of worrying about your bank balance, so read our recommendations below and start saving. If you live in {states_all_or}, we can help!

Splurge on {states_primary} Souvenirs Instead of Insurance

Safety saves: Not only is it smart, but a clean, safe driving record can also lower your rates. The safety equipment you choose for a vehicle may mean discounts. Ask us about other ways to be rewarded for safe driving and vehicle protection (such as off-street parking, anti-theft devices and more). In addition, taking a driver-training or accident-prevention course may qualify you for additional discounts.

One company + combined policies = lower cost: The more policies you have with a single insurance company (car, home, etc.), the more substantial the savings. Give us a call at {quoting_phone} to talk to us about combining your insurance policies.

More expensive recreational vehicle = more expensive insurance: Before you buy a recreational vehicle, motorhome, fifth-wheel or pop-up camper, check with us to see what it will cost to insure it. Expensive vehicles cost more to repair, maintain and insure.

Increase your deductible: By raising the amount you pay out-of-pocket for losses, you can save more on your policy. Ask us to explain the trade-offs.

Contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} for more information about lowering the cost of your RV insurance in {states_all}.

{agency_name_short}: {tagline:cond}{tagline}.{/cond} Call for a quote today at {quoting_phone}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Insurance might be a necessity, but spending lots of money on it isn’t. We here at {agency_name_short} know that you’d rather be mapping out your next destination instead of worrying about your bank balance, so read our recommendations below and start saving. If you live in {states_all_or}, we can help! Continue reading

Understanding Identity Theft in {cities_primary}, {states_primary}

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 71, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/02/03/understanding-identity-theft-in-your-state/ 2011-02-03 19:54:45 2011-11-18 18:16:21

Your Identity Belongs to You. Some Suggestions From {agency_name_long} to Help Protect It.

One smart and effective way to protect yourself against identity theft {regional_designations:cond}in places like {regional_designations}{/cond} is to prevent it. If your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by acting quickly, whether you live in {states_all}, or elsewhere.

Start with Good Habits in {neighborhoods}

Watch Your Accounts Closely

Fill Out the FTC Affidavit Quickly

Keep This Information Handy
Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Line and websites:
1-877-438-4338
www.consumer.gov/idtheft
www.ftc.gov

Social Security Administration Fraud Line: 1-800-269-0271

Credit Reporting Agencies
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
www.equifax.com

Experian: 1-888-397-3742
www.experian.com

Transunion: 1-800-680-7289
www.transunion.com

Identity Theft Plan of Action

  1. Call your credit card companies immediately. Explain what happened, and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
  2. Call and report to the police. Make several copies of the police report.
  3. Complete a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Theft Affidavit and FTC report (see contact information above to request these forms).
  4. Call your bank. They can place an alert on your Driver’s License number and Social Security Number, and freeze your account.
  5. Call fraud units of credit report agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Take the time to educate yourself on identity theft, and please don’t hesitate to seek the help of professionals when needed. For more information, contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

One smart and effective way to protect yourself against identity theft in places like {regional_designations} is to prevent it. If your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by acting quickly, whether you live in {states_all_or}, or elsewhere. Continue reading

Preventing Outdoor Same Level Slips, Trips and Falls

43, 8862, 8860, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/01/24/preventing-outdoor-same-level-slips-trips-and-fall/ 2011-01-24 18:46:27 2011-03-11 23:26:16

Slips, trips, and falls in outdoor environments can be caused by rain, sleet, ice and snow, and particulate soil that cause surfaces to become slippery or produce poor traction. While we cannot control environmental conditions that increase slipperiness of outdoor walkway surfaces, we can certainly reduce the likelihood of falls through improved design of exterior sidewalks, curbs, parking areas, improved lighting, and improved maintenance to increase awareness and eliminate hazards. Here is some information from {agency_name_long} that will help you wherever your business is located, including {cities_primary}, {states_primary}.

Trip Hazards

A trip occurs when the foot strikes a near-ground obstacle that abruptly arrests the movement of the foot when the body’s center of gravity is in motion. This causes the center of gravity to rapidly move out of the area of the body’s support base (the planted foot), resulting in a fall. A trip most often results in the person falling forward, while a slip most often results in the person falling backward.

Most state, local, and federal codes and standards describe changes in level of 1/4 inch or higher in the course of travel as a trip hazard. These obstacles should be eliminated through facility design or maintenance, if at all possible. However, if elimination is not possible, other options include:

Sidewalks, Curbs, and Parking Lots

A business owner may not be responsible for injuries resulting from a fall on a public sidewalk located outside his or her property. However, some courts may impose liability for injuries on a sidewalk used exclusively by customers coming to and from the business. Consult with your legal counsel if you have questions on liability.

A parking lot owner, however, can be responsible for maintaining the parking lot in a manner such that it is reasonably safe for people using it. This includes:

Curb Ramps and Handicap Ramps

State, local, and national codes specify guidelines/requirements for curb ramps and handicap ramp design. For example, ramp slopes 1:15 minimum to 1:12 maximum with “slip-resistant” surfaces is often cited. There are no specific guidelines as to what “slip-resistant” means, but some codes specify grooving or other alterations of the curb ramp to improve slip-resistance. Check with your state and local codes for requirements on ramp slip-resistance guidelines. Handicap ramps and curbs are colored “Safety Yellow” (see sections on Color, Contrast, and Visible Warnings).

Entrances

Entrances represent unique slip and fall issues, so selecting the right matting system is very important. For outdoor walkways at entrances exposed to the elements, consider installing a canopy to reduce snow, ice, and water from being tracked into the building.

Color, Contrast, and Visible Warnings

Recent U.S. Access Board Research recommends Safety Yellow as the preferred color for persons having very low vision. Yellow or Yellow-orange warning surfaces are preferred over black warning surfaces. Safety Yellow, therefore, is a color standardized for use as a warning in the pedestrian/highway environment.

Ice, Snow, Water

Slips and falls from snow, rain, and ice are common in areas of {states_primary}. Falls can be caused by inadvertent accumulation of ice and snow due to misapplication. Misapplication can be caused by selecting less efficient deicing chemical(s) and friction additives (sand), and inadequately managing application schedules. Effective ice removal often occurs during the day with full sun. But, full sun will melt adjacent snow or ice, placing water on the de-iced walking surface. This will dilute the solution and tend to refreeze at night. With dropping temperatures, ice can re-form with falls occurring first thing in the morning.

The following are guidelines for managing slips and falls from snow, ice, and water:

Outdoor Lighting

Inadequate lighting may also lead to accidents involving falls in parking lots, trips over curbing, falls on a step or stairs from a parking lot to a store, and trips and falls due to holes, cracks, and uneven surfaces.

{agency_name_long} can provide you with safety training tools, literature or posters for your business. Give us a call at {general_phone} or send us an email at {email} and let us know what you need.

While we cannot control environmental conditions that cause slip hazards, we can certainly reduce the likelihood of falls through improved design, lighting and maintenance to increase awareness of and eliminate hazards. Here is some helpful information and additional resources all businesses can use. Continue reading

Controlling Product Liability Loss in {states_primary}

43, 8862, 8860 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/01/24/controlling-product-liability-loss-in-states_primary/ 2011-01-24 17:10:58 2011-03-11 23:29:36

When a company adopts certain management and operating principles, it can minimize or even eliminate products liability losses. Working these principles into your organization requires a systematic, coordinated loss control plan. At {agency_name_long}, we recommend that you consider these three components when developing your plan.

  1. A corporate policy on product safety
  2. A product safety coordinator or committee with clearly fixed responsibilities
  3. Specific loss control measures

Corporate Policy

An official corporate policy regarding product safety is essential to demonstrate top management’s commitment. The written policy should explain the company’s objectives (e.g., to design, manufacture, and sell products that are reliable and meet applicable regulations and standards). It should also indicate who in the organization is responsible for product safety, and how the program will be implemented and monitored.

Product Safety Coordinator or Committee

In the complex field of products liability, every department plays a vital role. Fixing responsibility is the only way to achieve the desired result. The size of the company will determine whether one individual can be designated as the product safety coordinator or a product safety committee should be formed. For smaller companies, it may be possible to have one person responsible for product safety along with his or her regular job duties. Larger organizations may need a fulltime coordinator or a formal committee to ensure products liability control.

Regardless of which structure you adopt, you should:

If you appoint a committee to handle product safety, some of the departments that should be represented on the committee are engineering, quality control, manufacturing, legal, safety, service, marketing/advertising and purchasing (including buyers if you are a retailer). Committee responsibilities may include:

Loss Control Measures

Products liability loss control involves four important measures:

  1. Identifying the exposures
  2. Guarding against the accident
  3. Warning against the hazard
  4. Defending against claims

Identify the Exposures

Take a good look at each of your products to identify possible ways that they could cause or contribute to accidents or injuries. This evaluation should consider the entire life cycle of the product, from design through disposal. It should also include the environment in which the product will be used and foreseeably misused. Consider intended product users and unintended users, who may also be exposed to potential hazards.

Guard Against the Accident

Understand and apply safety principles concerning product design and manufacturing. Once the hazards are determined, install adequate protective devices. We strongly recommend that the complete physical protection package, such as guards, protective accessories or devices, etc., be included in the product price rather than being listed as options. If they are offered as options, the customers should sign off on their decision not to purchase them. Keep those records for defense. The purchase of quality components and the establishment of high quality manufacturing standards are essential to meeting performance requirements.

As technological safety advances are made, offer consumers retrofit packages to upgrade older product models. Again document these offers and the customer’s decisions.

Identify critical pats of the product and indicate their rated capacities clearly, prominently and permanently. Professionalism in all product sales, engineering and field services becomes increasingly important. Sometimes, even the most thoroughly designed controls can fail and a product with serious hazards can be distributed. This situation may require a recall, and your program should include procedures for identifying and tracing specific parts or products. Without actually recalling a specific product, test the recall program to verify its effectiveness.

When dealing with a retail or wholesale situation, develop a system to ensure that recalled products taken off the shelves are not inadvertently put back out for sale by uninformed sales staff or merchandisers. Instruct the lead salespeople and department managers to ask customers if the products being returned for exchange or refund have been involved in accidents or near accidents.

Warn Against the Hazard

The controls in this area are based on clear, accurate and complete product literature and proper packaging and labeling. Advertising and public relations releases should reflect sound accident prevention measures. “Warning” and “Caution” labels and pictorial symbols will help, along with a complete instruction manual for each product.

When packaging and shipping hazardous products, it is essential that the carrier, warehouser, distributor and consumer know what they are handling and how to use it in a safe manner.

Defend Against Claims

Even the best laid plans for prevention may not eliminate all accidents and claims. The key to successful defense is advance planning. You should work closely with your legal counsel and insurance company. Consider the following:

By following these important steps, you can take your company a long way toward preventing and solving products liability problems.

For more advice and complete help in protecting your business, your employees and customers, contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

Adopting certain management and operating principles can minimize or even eliminate products liability losses. Working these principles into your organization requires a systematic, coordinated loss control plan. Continue reading

Prepare for Driving In Bad Weather Before You Hit the Road

43, 8862, 8860, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/01/24/be-prepared-for-driving-in-bad-weather-cities_primary/ 2011-01-24 16:59:00 2012-01-31 23:35:14

Rain, fog, sleet, snow, ice and wind… bad weather is the enemy of every driver in {states_primary}. {agency_name_long} wants you and your employees to be safe. Even if you are satisfied that your vehicle and all of its components are in good operating condition, bad weather demands that you take a few more precautions before hitting the road. At regular intervals, especially as the winter months approach, check the following items.

Abrasive Material: A bag of kitty litter or similar material will help you get moving under snowy or icy conditions

Battery: Does it need to be charged or replaced? Cold weather puts extra strain on a battery. Always keep jumper cables in your vehicle.

Brakes: Are they properly adjusted? Should they be replaced? Good brakes are more important than ever during the winter months. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), make sure it is working.

Chains: Do you carry them? They can be a real help on ice or snow.

Cooling system: Be sure the cooling system is free from leaks. Does it need more anti-freeze? Should it be flushed and refilled?

Defroster: Are the defroster and heater working properly? Make sure they can keep the interior from fogging and the windshield free from ice.

Engine: Have you had a recent tune-up? This is a must in cold weather to prevent slow starts and stalling.

Exhaust System: Check to make sure the muffler and exhaust pipe are free from leaks. Carbon monoxide from a faulty exhaust system can threaten your life.

Lights: Keep all lights clean and working properly (high and low-beam headlights, taillights, brake lights, directional signals).

Restraints: Keep lap and shoulder belts clean and accessible, and be sure to use them. Restraints can keep you behind the wheel and in control if the vehicle suddenly skids.

Tires: Are they properly inflated? Are treads in good condition and wheels aligned and balanced? Consider changing to snow tires.

Windshield Wipers and Washer: Keep wiper blades in good condition and be sure they are set at the proper pressure to sweep snow off the windshield. Keep plenty of windshield washer anti-freeze handy.

{agency_name_long} can provide you with tools for fleet driving training and additional information to help reduce crashes in everyday driving. Just give us a call at {general_phone} or contact us at {email} today!

Rain, fog, sleet, snow, ice and wind…bad weather is the enemy of every driver in {states_primary}. {agency_name_long} wants you and your employees to be safe. Even if you are satisfied that your vehicle and all of its components are in good operating condition, bad weather demands that you take a few more precautions before hitting the road. Continue reading

Lowering the Cost of Classic Car Insurance in {cities_primary}, {states_primary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 34, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/01/20/lowering-the-cost-of-classic-car-insurance/ 2011-01-20 06:37:41 2012-02-23 00:20:58

How much you pay for insurance depends on many factors. Following the suggestions below may help you lower the cost of your classic car or collector vehicle insurance at {agency_name_long} in {states_all}.

Check with {agency_name_long} to find out more about your classic car insurance options.

And ask us at {agency_name_long} about additional coverage options for vehicles (auto, RV and classic car) on your auto policy – including rental, roadside assistance, new vehicle replacement and more. Have greater protection and peace of mind knowing that {agency_name_short} better prepares you for the unexpected.

To find out more, contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or {email}. {agency_name_short} will help you with your specific classic car insurance needs in {states_all}.

{agency_name_short}: {tagline}. Call for a quote today at {quoting_phone}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

How much you pay for insurance depends on many factors. Following the suggestions below may help you lower the cost of your classic car or collector vehicle insurance at {agency_name_long} in {states_all}. Continue reading

Avoid Slips and Falls at Your Workplace in {cities_primary}

43, 6447 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/01/11/avoid-slips-and-falls-at-your-workplace-in-cities_primary-2/ 2011-01-11 17:07:32 2011-03-11 23:52:11

Slips and falls are the second leading causes of loss for business in {states_primary}. And they can be prevented with a few maintenance and cleaning procedures. Most slips and falls are caused by the floor surface being too slippery from either moisture or from lack of friction due to built up debris in the surface. {agency_name_long} wants you, your employees and customers to be safe at your business – so keep these helpful tips in mind:

Check Your Floor Friction

To learn more about floor surface types and levels of slip resistance, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} and ask for loss prevention training tools.

Slips and falls are the second leading causes of loss for business in {states_primary}. And they can be prevented with a few maintenance and cleaning procedures. Continue reading

You Live on Shaky Ground. Are You Prepared in {cities_primary} {states_primary}?

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 6338, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2011/01/05/you-live-on-shaky-ground-are-you-prepared-in-cities_primary-states_primary/ 2011-01-05 22:11:38 2011-07-27 14:51:31

Believe it or not, every state in the U.S. has some degree of risk from earthquakes, including {states_all}. If you live in an area susceptible to earthquakes, make sure you speak with {agency_name_long} in order to determine whether you are covered, or if you should purchase separate earthquake coverage.

Know If You Have Earthquake Coverage from {agency_name_short}

{agency_name_long} will talk you through your options and discuss home improvements that can make it eligible for an earthquake endorsement or policy. Note that those who are California, Oregon or Washington residents, must purchase a separate earthquake policy.

{agency_name_short} Will Help You Know What Your Insurance Covers and How Much You Need

Take Action to Reduce Damage
To reduce damage inside, think “heads up.” Look at your ceiling and walls to see what might fall.

Protect Yourself If the Ground Starts to Shake in {states_primary}

Indoors

Outdoors

Driving

Home Inventory

Part of your home’s value is inside.

What’s the best way to create my inventory?

How much insurance do I need in {regional_designations}?

How do I make a claim?

Please contact your insurance company directly. If you don’t have that information handy, contact us at {general_phone} or {email}.

{agency_name_long}: {tagline}.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Believe it or not, every state in the U.S. has some degree of risk from earthquakes, including {states_all}. If you live in an area susceptible to earthquakes, make sure you speak with {agency_name_long} in order to determine whether you are covered, or if you should purchase separate earthquake coverage. Continue reading

Hiring a Subcontractor in {cities_primary}?

43, 8860, 8866 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/11/23/hiring-a-subcontractor/ 2010-11-23 21:28:50 2012-02-23 00:23:31

As many commercial building owners and contractors across {states_primary} begin remodeling or construction projects, they realize the value in subbing out some of the work to skilled and technical professionals. But there are risks involved in hiring subcontractors. We at {agency_name_long} do not want you or your business to be held responsible for accidents that are out of your control. We can help you by teaching you about Insurance Requirement Agreements.

Insurance Requirement Agreements:

For more advice and complete help in protecting your business and your employees, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

As many commercial building owners and contractors across {states_primary} begin remodeling or construction projects, they realize the value in subbing out some of the work to skilled and technical professionals. But there are risks involved in hiring subcontractors. Continue reading

Lowering the Cost of Homeowners Insurance in {states_primary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 34, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/11/18/lowering-the-cost-of-homeowners-insurance/ 2010-11-18 00:32:37 2011-11-18 18:18:28

Who doesn’t want to save money on homeowners insurance? For homeowners and renters in {cities_all} – and elsewhere – you have options when it comes to lowering your home insurance costs.

{regional_designations:cond} {regional_designations} – {/cond}How You Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Cost

Save Time Too!

Many insurance companies now let you manage your account online. Not only will managing your payments online save you time and hassle, but your payment will be made automatically. Paying online makes managing your insurance worry free{lakes:cond} – and lets you spend more time relaxing out on {lakes}{/cond}!

For more advice and complete help in protecting the things that matter most to you, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Who doesn’t want to save money on homeowners insurance? For homeowners and renters in {cities_all}, you have options when it comes to lowering your home insurance costs. Continue reading

Lower the Cost of Your Auto Insurance in {states_primary}

6667, 6670, 6683, 6687, 6693, 6697, 6701, 6661 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/11/17/lower-the-cost-of-your-auto-insurance/ 2010-11-17 00:51:59 2012-02-08 23:42:24

Drivers ask the team at {agency_name_long} this more than just about anything else – how do you save money on auto insurance policies? There are a number of factors that go into determining the cost of your car insurance premiums, and {agency_name_short} has some helpful suggestions to help you lower your costs.

In {states_all}, What Things Can You Do to Keep Your Policy Costs Low?

What Other Auto Insurance Cost Factors in {states_all}?
What you pay for auto insurance could be determined by many factors. A few other things that may affect how much you pay:

Use our site, or contact us to learn more about {link_auto}auto insurance{/link_auto}, how to determine your {link_auto}auto insurance needs{/link_auto}, and how to {link_auto_coverage}understand your auto coverage{/link_auto_coverage}.

For more advice and complete help in protecting the things that matter most to you, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

Drivers ask the team at {agency_name_long} this more than just about anything else – how do you save money on auto insurance policies? There are a number of factors that go into determining the cost of your car insurance premiums, and {agency_name_short} has some helpful suggestions to help you lower your costs. Continue reading

Avoid Slips and Falls at Your Workplace in {cities_primary}

43, 6480, 3972 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/11/10/avoid-slips-and-falls-at-your-workplace-in-cities_primary/ 2010-11-10 16:58:20 2011-03-11 23:53:22

Slips and falls are the second leading causes of loss for business in {states_primary}. And they can be prevented with a few maintenance and cleaning procedures. Most slips and falls are caused by the floor surface being too slippery from either moisture or from lack of friction due to built up debris on the surface. {agency_name_long} wants you, your employees and customers to be safe at your business – so keep these helpful tips in mind:

Check Your Floor Friction

To learn more about floor surface types and levels of slip resistance, watch this short training presentation on slips and falls {regional_designations:cond} {cities_primary}.{/cond} You can also contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} and ask for loss prevention training tools. For more advice and complete help in protecting your business and your employees, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

Slips and falls are the second leading causes of loss for business in {states_primary}. And they can be prevented with a few maintenance and cleaning procedures. Most slips and falls are caused by the floor surface being too slippery from either moisture or from lack of friction due to built up debris in the surface. Continue reading

Prevent Your Pipes or HVAC System From Freezing!

9322, 9764 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/11/10/prevent-your-sprinkler-hot-water-or-hvac-system-from-freezing-up-city/ 2010-11-10 16:51:57 2012-01-31 23:39:03

As cold weather approaches in {states_primary}, it’s vital that you protect your building’s fire suppression system so it not only does its job should there be a fire, but that it doesn’t do more damage by freezing up, bursting, and creating massive water damage. {agency_name_long} wants you and your building to be protected from preventable losses – so keep these helpful tips in mind when you when you set up for fall clean up:

Before the cold weather comes, {states_primary}

To get training from professionals on how to avoid this type of loss {regional_designations:cond} {states_primary} you can contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} and ask for loss prevention training and tools{/cond}.

For more advice and complete help in protecting your business and your employees, contact {agency_name_short} at {general_phone} or {email} today!

{agency_name_short} can make sure your building coverage is up-to-date before the cold weather comes.

As cold weather approaches in {states_primary}, it’s vital that you protect your building’s fire suppression system so it not only does its job should there be a fire, but that it doesn’t do more damage by freezing up, bursting, and creating massive water damage. Continue reading

Who to Contact in an Emergency Situation

6666, 6669, 6682, 6686, 6692, 6696, 6700, 71, 6660 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/10/21/emergency-resources/ 2010-10-21 10:33:55 2011-07-27 14:53:06

If the unthinkable happens, we here at {agency_name_long} understand that your most valuable assets are more than just items on a balance sheet. That information is critical during a time of catastrophe.

Sites to Check Out
The following sites are additional resources to assist with preparing for and recovering from disaster.

Frequently Asked Questions about FEMA

What if I don’t have enough (or any) insurance?
You may qualify for grants from FEMA, low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration, or the Farm Service Agency, or you may qualify for tax refunds for items that were not covered by insurance.

How do I get assistance?
Information on tax assistance, grants and loans can be obtained at a Disaster Recovery Center, or by calling FEMA at 1-800-462-9029. After your application is reviewed, the damaged property is inspected to verify the loss, and that will determine the type and extent of assistance that will be provided. Audits are done later to ensure that the aid goes only to those who are eligible and that the funds are used for their intended purposes.

What services are available?
FEMA may be able to provide Disaster Housing for up to 18 months, Low Interest Disaster Loans (from the SBA) to cover uninsured property losses, Disaster Grants to earthquake victims who would be unable to repay a loan, and other services such as crises counseling, unemployment assistance, legal aid, and assistance with income tax implications.

When should I apply?
FEMA encourages earthquake victims to apply for aid as soon as possible. The deadline for most individual assistance programs is 60 days following the Presidents major disaster declaration.

What assistance is available from the SBA?
The SBA has a Disaster Loan program that helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and nonprofit organizations fund rebuilding after a disaster. The loans generally have low interest rates and long repayment terms to make SBA recovery more affordable.

What if I need more information?
More information is available by visiting FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov, and by visiting the SBA website at www.sba.gov. Additionally, you can also contact the IRS about tax relief by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting www.irs.gov.

For more advice and full service protection on the things that matter to you most, contact {agency_name_long} at {general_phone} or email {email}.

{tagline:cond}{tagline}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

If the unthinkable happens, we here at {agency_name_long} understand that your most valuable assets are more than just items on a balance sheet. That information is critical during a time of catastrophe. The following sites are additional resources to assist with preparing for and recovering from disaster. Continue reading

Determine Your Homeowners Insurance Needs

6392, 6393, 6394, 6395, 6396, 6397, 6398, 6399 http://scp.agent-sites.net/2010/10/07/determining-your-homeowners-insurance-needsbncsynd/ 2010-10-07 20:27:31 2014-02-26 17:12:38

What’s the secret to selecting the right amount of insurance coverage? Simple – the more information you provide, the easier {agency_name_short} can create a homeowner’s policy that’s right for you.

Homeowners Insurance From {agency_name_short} Is Here to Protect You

Consider these scenarios:

If your {states_all_or} state home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you’d need money to repair or replace it.

If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.

If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, insurance can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.

If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.
The amount you pay for your homeowners insurance depends on many factors. Think of your personal housing situation, and the assets you want to protect.

Are you a home or condo owner, a renter, or a landlord? As a home or condo owner, whether you live in {cities_all_or} or elsewhere, you want to make sure you’re protecting your home, your possessions, and yourself, family and guests in the event of damage or injury. Renters will want to protect their possessions, which will not be covered by a landlord’s insurance. And landlords want to protect their properties, while protecting themselves from liability. Note: Liability coverage is not included in our standard landlord policy, but is available as an add-on coverage.

Do you have collections of art or other valuables? Your homeowners insurance generally covers the contents of your house. However, there are often limits on items like jewelry, paintings, or other collectibles. Adding a scheduled personal property endorsement can provide coverage for your special belongings, with no deductible. Creating an inventory of your home or property’s contents is a good idea.

Are you concerned about out-of-pocket expenses if your home or property becomes unlivable? You may find yourself with extra, unforeseen expenses, for repairs, replacements, or living costs. Your policy can help cover those.

For more details, give {agency_name_short} a call at {general_phone} or email us at {email}.

Ask {agency_name_long}

{agency_name_short} can help you find homeowners, renters, condo, or landlord insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to discuss when you call us at {general_phone}:

How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed?

Can you talk me through my home’s features and the things I own, so I can make an informed decision about coverage?

Are discounts available to me if I carry multiple policies, or have a security system and fire resistance?

{quoting_phone:cond}To get a quote, call {agency_name_long} today at {quoting_phone}.{/cond}

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance

The secret to selecting the right amount of insurance coverage? Simple – the more information you provide, the more easily {agency_name_long} can create a homeowner’s policy that’s right for you. Continue reading