Drive Safe : Where Should Kids and Pets Sit

After mobile phones the leading cause of accidents is other passengers.

This video from our partner company Travelers Insurance explains where kids should sit while in a vehicle.

 

Home Based Business

What is a home based business?  Trade, profession, or occupation – full, part-time or occasional.  Any other activity engaged in for money or other compensation.  There are a few exceptions.

Home based businesses are one of the fastest growing segments in the small business segment.  Depending on the size and type of business you may have limited to no coverage.

Most homeowners have limits for business personal property at your home, with a reduced limit for business personal property away from your home.  These limits may be increased with a home based business endorsement.  You will need to check with your agent for eligibility.

If you operate your home based business out of a detached garage or shed, you may have eliminated that detached building from all coverage.  Again you will need to discuss this with your agent to determine if you have any coverage for the use of your detached building for a home based business.

Goods sold, but not delivered may also be excluded as that now becomes property of others.  If you are working on property of others, such as a gunsmith or a refinisher that will refinish woodwork, your client’s property may also be excluded.

Do you have a home based business?

Renting a vehicle – Should I purchase their insurance?

We frequently get calls from clients while they are at the rental shop asking if they have coverage for the vehicle they are renting.  There isn’t a simple answer to this question.  And actually we will have a few questions of our own.

  1. What type of vehicle are you renting?
  2. Is the vehicle being used for pleasure or business?
  3. Will you be leaving the covered territory of your policy? 
  4. Whose name will the vehicle be rented under?
  5. Who will be the driver(s) of the vehicle?

 

There are some situations where your personal auto policy will not extend to a rental car.  The size of the vehicle and the use of the vehicle are considered in this determination.  A personal auto policy will not usually extend coverage to a vehicle over 10,000 pounds gvw, so a 15 passenger van or that u-haul truck would not be a covered vehicle.

A child is listed as a driver on a parent’s policy, but they do not usually have the same coverage afforded to the first named insured, so a vehicle rented in their name would not be covered by the parent’s personal auto policy.

There are advantages of purchasing the rental shop’s coverage.  Here are just a few.

  1. If the vehicle is damage from a covered loss, you simply hand them the keys and walk away. There are some exclusions like racing & unauthorized drivers.
  2. No need to report the loss to your personal auto company, as the rental shop’s coverage will be primary, so your policy won’t get dinged with a claim and rates won’t increase.
  3. You will not have your credit card frozen until the claim is resolved.
  4. The rental company won’t charge you for down time / loss of use, which is the money they could have earned renting the vehicle.
  5. They will not charge you for diminished value from the vehicle being worth less after the accident.

Looking at these advantages, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing the rental companies’ insurance, but understand it is an option in most cases.  The cost of purchasing their coverage can make it seem unaffordable, but we are sure at the time of loss that you will be glad you did.

VIDEO: Washing Machine Safety Tips

Do you have questions about Washing Machine Safety?  Please contact us! 

Video provided by our partner company Travelers Insurance

Just What is Auto Insurance- watch this video

Video by our partner company Travelers Insurance

Graduating from college? Here are 4 ways to get health coverage

graduate-health-coverage

College students and recent graduates have several options for finding coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

1. Special Enrollment Periods for College Grads

2. Medicaid and CHIP coverage

3. Coverage on a parent’s plan

4. Catastrophic coverage

We are certified kynect agents here at Vaughn Insurance and can help you with your questions relating to kynect, Affordable Care Act or Obama Care.

Contact us today! 

Start of Summer Safety Tips

Burning Down the House’ Should Be Party Soundtrack, Not Your ResultQuick question: What national event will be celebrated by millions of Americans on Memorial Day weekend?

Hint: It involves major partying, extreme danger, risk of major injuries, and bone-crushing crashes.

Another hint: “Gentlemen, start your…”  GRILLS!

Yes, friends, this year May 28 is the official kickoff to outdoor BBQ season. Maybe you were thinking the Indianapolis 500? Hah! When it comes to thrills and danger, nothing trumps a fired up, hard-partying bunch of folks gathered round the grill. Add in a pool or a crowded deck or balcony, and keep those ambulances and your homeowners insurance on call.What can go wrong?According to the National Fire Protection Association, here is the cookout track record from the last five years:
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires. These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
  • More than one-quarter (29%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen.
  • In 50% of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, 55% of the outside gas grills, and 36% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.
The good news? That homeowners policy recommended by your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent will cover accidental damages such as the above whether you burn down your house or the whole neighborhood. It also will respond for liability arising from that party near the pool or the deck or balcony that collapses under the strain of all those partying guests.But you, we, your guests and we really would prefer no fire or hospital trip, so here are a few safety and prevention tips:Grilling Safety
  • Grills are for outside, only. Never barbecue in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area. The carbon monoxide also may accumulate and kill you.
  • Use in well-ventilated area. Avoid fire hazards as well as potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning by setting up your grill in an open area that is away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and be aware of wind-blown sparks.
  • Keep grill stable. Be sure that all parts of the unit are firmly in place and that the grill can’t be tipped over.
  • If electrically-operated accessories are used (rotisseries, etc.), be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be placed away from walkways or anywhere people can trip over them.
  • Use barbecue utensils with long handles (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.
  • Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
  • Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
  • Never leave a grill unattended once lit.
  • Don’t allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill body remains hot for as long as an hour after being used.
  • Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result. 
Pool Party SafetyMake sure there’s a phone nearby. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, having a point of contact within arm’s reach could very well be the difference between life and death.
  • Designated a “guard.” When children are in the pool, make sure there’s always an adult supervising. If there’s more than one adult, they can alternate lookout shifts. Anyone who’s “on duty” should refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages.
  • If you’ll be playing any games during the pool party, hold them at a considerable distance from the water to prevent accidental falls.
  • Keep plenty of sunscreen, towels, and extra T-shirts on hand to protect tender skin from getting burned by UV rays.
  • Anyone with a swimming pool on the premises should be fully trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
  • Instruct swimmers to remain clear of any pool drains or filters that may pose hair-catching hazards.
  • Make sure that all standard rescue equipment, such as flotation devices and safety poles, are nearby during your summer party. Although these tools should be easily accessible, they shouldn’t be kept in a place where children could be encouraged to use them as toys.
  • When serving poolside meals or drinks at your summer party, use plastic glasses and tableware rather than glass, as the latter potentially could shatter and fall onto the pool deck or into the water.
  • Nothing boosts the energy of a pool party like summer music, but be sure that all CD players, stereos, and other electronics are kept at a safe distance from the water to prevent electrocution.
  • In the event of a thunderstorm, evacuate the pool and move the party indoors.
  • Restrict diving to designated areas with sufficient depth and proper diving boards. Never let anyone dive off the edge of the pool or into shallow areas.
And to be certain your current homeowners coverage limits are equal to your grilling ambitions, talk with us here at Vaughn Insurance Agency about any questions you might have preventing summer time claims situatations.This article was written by our Trusted Choice® partners.Our offices will be closed Memorial Day however our phones are answered by a licensed insurance professional, please contact us if you need claims or policy service.
original post 5/25/201206

What to Do After a Major Water Leak or Indoor Flood

indoor waterIt’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 a flood, there are things you can do immediately to salvage belongings and limit damage or loss.

1. Stop the Water

If water is coming from inside your home, from a burst pipe or water heater malfunction, shut off the main water valve immediately. It’s a good idea to make sure everyone in your home knows where the shutoff valve is located.

2. Turn Off the Utilities

In a serious water event, turning off the power or natural gas might be necessary to ensure the safety of yourself and your family. In the case of a minor water leak or drip, there probably isn’t a need to shut off the utilities.

3. Prevent Electrocution

Do not use any electrical appliances if your carpet or flooring is wet. Use a wet vacuum to remove water, but check the manufacturer’s instructions before starting.

4. Use Fans to Circulate Air

Encourage drying by strategically placing fans to effectively circulate air. This is especially important in the first 24-48 hours after an indoor flood.

5. Get Water Out Quickly

Fast and safe 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

Move wet belongings and furniture 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 and wood floors.

8. Do Not Lift Tacked Down Carpet

Carpets can shrink after they’ve become wet and left to dry out. If you remove the tacks from wet wall-to-wall carpet, it will probably shrink after it dries out and no longer be wall-to-wall carpet. Consult a carpet specialist for help.

9. Wash Your Clothes

Clean your clothing, linens and 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 Out for Debris and Pests

If water is flowing in your house there may be dislodged materials such as nails. Snakes and other vermin may seek shelter in your home after a storm or flood, so watch out.

12. File a Claim as Soon as Possible.

The sooner you file a claim to report damage, the sooner we can help you get your home and life back to normal.  See our Report a Claim Information page.

13. Don’t Throw Anything Out

Don’t throw out damaged belongings, especially expensive ones. A claims adjuster may need to inspect them. Also, make a thorough list of stuff that was water damaged as soon as you can. This will help us process your claim faster. It helps to document damage with photos and video.

14. Save Receipts

Save all receipts for any rental equipment, temporary repairs or payments to professional services.

Source: Safeco Insurance

Severe Cold Weather – Be Prepared

Based on an email from the National Weather Service – Paducah KY division, we are going to have extreme cold weather with temperature staying well below freezing affecting our area all of next week. Brutally arctic cold that has not been felt here since the mid-90’s. The system should arrive here Saturday night through Sunday morning and could also bring some rain changing to snow.  The brutal cold comes in Sunday night.thatscold

Looking back at 1995-1996, here are some of the problems associated with this extreme cold outbreak:

  • Scores of people were dealing with dead car batteries.
  • Numerous water lines burst, both in homes and even main town supplies.
  • Overworked furnaces resulted in outages.
  • Natural Gas shortages were reported due to dwindling supplies from prolonged cold and the freezing up of gas wells in some locales.
  • House fires resulted as some tried to thaw their pipes.
  • Ice jams on rivers, which caused barge traffic to back up and even caused the Mississippi river to rise further south downstream.

Okay, so what can you do to make sure you are prepared:

  • If your car battery is old, purchase a new one now.  Quick internet research says you should not turn on your headlights before starting, as the battery may need all the juice to start your car.
  • Leave your water running (not dripping) slightly at your sinks and open up cabinet doors to allow the heat from your home to reach the pipes.  Stock up on bottled water now.
  • Seal off any drafts you have around windows and doors to help hold the heat in your home.
  • If you have a natural-gas tank at your home,  and you’re running low, get it now.
  • If you have a pipe that freezes, try opening up the cabinet doors and use a blow dryer to slowly warm up the pipe.  If that doesn’t work, you may need a small heater to slowly warm the pipe.  If you have to use a small heater, be sure and follow safety instructions and keep it a safe distance from any flammable material.  Have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
  • Bring your outside pets in if at all possible.  If not, then make special arrangements to keep them warm by adding a light in their dog house & possibly some extra bedding material. You’ll also need to keep fresh unfrozen water for them to drink.

Resource material: http://1.usa.gov/KmuE2E

More Consumer Information
Winter Weather Claims for Safeco Insureds
What to do about water damage claims

Fireplace & Wood Burning Stove Safety

The smell is in the air.  As the temperature drops, people turn to supplemental heat to help warm their homes.  Before you burn, there are some safety tips that you should consider to reduce your chance of having a hostile fire at your home.

  • Burn only quality hardwoods (Oak, Hickory, or Maple) that have been cut and allowed to season for at least one year.  This drying process helps to reduce the creosote oil that can build up in your chimney and cause a fire.
  • Never burn paper, painted or treated wood.
  • Have your chimney or stove pipe cleaned annually before you need to use your supplemental heating device.  They should also check for damage that could result in additional smoke or fire hazards.
  • Follow guidelines to have all combustible materials (wall, ceiling, floor, rugs, etc.) the proper distance from the heat source.  A minimum distance is 36″, but some manufacturers suggest a greater distance, plus your home insurance may have requirements that may need to be met to qualify for coverage.
  • Teach all young household members & guest about fire safety and practice family fire drills to have a plan of actions should a hostile fire escape your fireplace or wood burning stove.
  • Never go back into a burning house for personal belongings.

Proper safety precautions and planning can make your experience enjoyable, along with saving you money on your heating cost this winter.

Be safe.  Be prepared.

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