Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Too Risky Not to Have

The 2018 World Cup is fast approaching, with national sides making their final preparations ahead of this summer’s tournament.

We now know the groups after December’s draw. England have been put together with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G.

Gareth Southgate’s side were not among the top seeds, meaning they featured in pot two during the proceedings.

And with England’s route now mapped out, Southgate will be able to ramp up preparations for the 2018 tournament. 2018 World cup, football News ,Gaming ,Betscore ,Casino …..Sports.vin

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Protect Your Investment – Home Maintenance

Protecting Your Investment

If you know where every nickel of your new home’s down payment came from, shouldn’t you also know where every penny will go? Buying a home will probably be the biggest investment of your lifetime. And that’s why before you sign on the dotted line, you should give the house a thorough inspection. When inspecting a house, especially an older residence, you must try to determine the extent of deterioration, how much work you can personally handle, how much it will cost to have a professional do the work, and what problems you can live with. Most of all, safety should be your major concern.

The insurance companies  shars your concern for a safer house. Our engineering department has assembled a checklist of some items the home buyer should look for when inspecting a house. Some points are major and may require consultation with a licensed professional. Others can be taken care of by a person handy with a hammer and nail.  Please take a few moments to review the following inspection and maintenance tips:

 

 

Water damage/Plumbing

  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is located and know how to turn the water off.
  • Inspect all exposed pipes for leaks.
  • Inspect ceilings and walls for water spots, peeling paint, and loose ceiling tiles for hidden leaks.
  • Check all faucets for leaks or corrosion.
  • If exposed pipes in the basement exist, make sure warm air is circulated throughout. An insulating wrap is a good alternative to treat exposed pipes in unheated areas.
  • Bleed all pipes of air.
  • Shut off and drain outside water lines before winter in locations subject to freezing.
  • Inspect the rubber connecting hoses for dishwashers and washing machines. Replace every 3-5 years or sooner if evidence of rot appears.
  • Equip your showers, sinks, and tubs with drain screens to catch the debris, hair, and bits of soap that can cause clogs and back-ups.
  • Never flush items like diapers, Q-tips, sanitary napkins, or tampons down a toilet.

 

Roof

  • Have the roof inspected for damage such as lifting of shingles, missing shingles, holes, or wear. Be careful if you need to use a ladder or climb on the roof.
  • Flat or hot asphalt roofs should be resealed every three years and professionally checked every ten years.
  • Inspect around all roof penetrations (such as flashing and chimneys).
  • Inspect and clean all gutters and down spouts.
  • Repair damaged gutters and down spouts.
  • Have excessive snow or ice build-up removed.

 

Electrical

  • Inspect exposed wiring for wear or damage. Be careful not to touch wiring.
  • Inspect the fuse or circuit breaker box for excessive wear or damage. Look for tripped breakers.
  • Label with a pen or permanent marker each circuit breaker, noting which location it serves. If you have fuses, also note the amperage.
  • Make sure appropriate fuses are being used and all sockets are filled. Do not use pennies or foil to fill the sockets.
  • Eliminate all situations where more than one electrical unit is plugged into a single outlet.
  • Check electrical units for overheating.
  • Major appliances should be plugged into appropriate outlets.
  • Do not place floor coverings (e.g., carpeting) over electrical cords.

 

Heating

  • It’s tempting to use supplemental heating devices (such as electrical or kerosene heaters) during the winter. If they must be used, keep them away from flammable materials and surfaces that can ignite from prolonged dry heat. Do not store additional fuel in the same room.
  • Have furnace/air conditioners professionally cleaned and serviced annually (including the filter).
  • Inspect underground fuel tanks.
  • Hire a certified chimney sweep to inspect and clean creosote build-up in chimney.

 

General security

  • All exterior doors should have deadbolt locks.
  • Do not leave personal property (such as lawnmowers, bikes or grills) unsecured outdoors.
  • A heat and smoke detector should be on every floor. It’s recommended that detectors be powered by an electrical source with a battery back up.
  • Check heat and smoke detector batteries every 3 months. Test heat and smoke detectors when checking the battery.
  • A fire extinguisher should be located in the kitchen and near the furnace. Household members should be taught to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Motion sensitive outdoor lighting is suggested for added safety and security. If it’s affordable, central station burglar and fire alarms are another security alternative.
  • Neighborhood watch groups are also suggested.
  • Do not hide a spare key outside your premises.

 

Liability

  • Keep walkways, stairs and sidewalk free of obstacles.
  • Shovel snow as soon as possible and use salt/sand substances to reduce ice formation.
  • Keep stairs, porches, stoops and their rails in good repair.
  • Maintain and use outdoor lighting.

If you own a dog, you should enroll it in Canine Good Citizenship classes offered by the American Kennel Club. The dog does not have to be a pedigree to attend.

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Insuring Your Home to Value

Market Value vs. Reconstruction Cost
Because the cost to rebuild is often much higher than what you paid for your home, we do not rely on market value to determine what level of coverage you need. There are many variables that affect reconstruction cost as well as market value, so the only way to ensure your home is protected is to provide accurate, up-to-date information to your agent. Market value is affected by the local housing market in your area, housing shortages, the number of new homes being built near you, and your location. Market values fluctuate constantly and are not a reliable source for replacement costs. For example, the average home sales price increased by 73.76% in Phoenixville, PA, while the average home sales price in Waldport, OR decreased by 35.4% during the same period.

Reconstruction cost is independent of market value, and is affected by things like the expense and availability of labor and materials, fuel costs, special characteristics within the home and even how easy it is to access the house site. Because of these factors, the reconstruction cost of your home may be much higher or lower than the current
market value.
The Reconstruction Valuation Process
When you buy your policy through your independent agent, he or she will take the time to collect information about your home’s characteristics, including any custom or vintage features, total living space, building materials and other important details that helps us understand what is being insured – and what might need to be rebuilt in the event of a loss. This information is used to calculate the cost to rebuild a home based on its unique characteristics. Your
agent then obtains a quote for your policy premium based on this information.
Reconstruction Appraisals – A Higher Level of Service
Certain homes may fall outside the “normal” valuation models, and in these cases, Insurance Companies contract  with
professional reconstruction appraisers who will come to your property to perform an exterior and, in some cases, an interior reconstruction appraisal. This additional level of service helps ensure that your agent has captured all of the pertinent information we’ll need to provide you with the right level of coverage. These appraisals are a critical part of insuring your home to its reconstruction value, especially when you have unique, custom or unusual home features that may not fall into a standard valuation calculator.
What to Expect
Once you purchase your homeowners policy, most carriers do an exterior inspection. Because this is an exterior inspection, you do not need to be home to meet the appraiser. If your home requires an interior inspection, you’ll be
contacted by phone to schedule a time that is convenient for both you and our appraisal company. You will need to be present for this visit, because the reconstruction appraiser will be examining the interior of your home. The appraiser will spend approximately 90 minutes in your home carefully examining construction features, finishes, square footage and other information that will provide an accurate reconstruction cost estimate.
After the Inspection
Once the Insurance company receives the inspection report, they’ll determine whether the initial coverage estimate is still accurate, or if it needs to be increased or decreased. If changes need to be made, the company will  contact your agent who can then go over the details with you, including how your premium may be affected.

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How to Prevent Kitchen Fires

Cooking – A Watched Pot Never Burns
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, with stove fires dominating this problem. Most cooking fires are caused by people’s behavior, not appliance failures. A majority of these fires happen when people leave food cooking unattended on the stovetop. Other common mistakes include leaving burners or ovens on after cooking, leaving combustibles such as potholders too close to heat sources, and wearing loose-fitting sleeves near hot burners.
Older adults are more likely to be injured in cooking fires than adults aged 18 to 64.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of cooking fires with these simple precautions.

Stove and Oven Safety
• Keep an eye on all food being heated.
• Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking and avoid reaching over burners or hot surfaces.
• When using an electric stove, use a burner that is the right size for the pan. Using a burner that is too large can cause the pan and its contents to heat too quickly, which can lead to boil-overs, scorching and burning.
• When using a gas stove, keep the flame entirely under the pan. A flame that surrounds the pan can easily ignite a loose-fitting sleeve.
• Keep potholders, wooden utensils and other combustible items away from hot burners or pilot lights.
• Create a kid-free zone of three feet around the stove, and supervise older children when they cook.
• Keep the stovetop, oven and range hood free of grease and spills that can catch fire.
Grease Fires
Take extra care when frying or deep frying food or when cooking with oils, lard, butter or other grease products.
If a grease fire occurs, remember to:
• Put a lid on the pan.
• Or toss baking soda on the flames.
• Leave the house and call 911 if you can’t put out the fire quickly and safely.
Using a fire extinguisher or water to put out a grease fire in a pan could cause the hot oil to splatter, spreading the
fire instead of extinguishing it.

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Protect Your Home From Lightning and Power Surge

Dollar figures for lightning and surge losses vary widely, but the best figures available estimate at least $2 billion in electrical and electronic equipment damage yearly — making lightning and surge a leading cause of electrical equipment failure.  Surge damage occurs when the normal electrical circuit is suddenly exposed to a large dose of energy. Lightning is the most obvious surge source, but normal utility switching operations or downed power lines
can generate surge too. Inside a building, surge may come from fax machines, copiers, air conditioners, elevators, or motor pumps.  Inside or outside, only lightning strikes within one mile of a structure are likely to damage electronic or electrical equipment. A surge protection device (SPD) is the best way to prevent or reduce damage caused from electrical surges and should be installed strategically outside and throughout the home. SPD’s are designed to redirect high-current surges to the ground and bypass equipment to limit the voltage that is impressed. Two different zones of defense should be used to provide maximum protection:
The first zone is the electric meter, where the utility power comes into the home. A “whole house SPD” can be installed directly into the meter box to reduce externally generated surges, including indirect lightning strikes on the line. Installing a whole house SPD requires the service of a professional electrician, and many local utility departments will install and/or lease units monthly. A whole house SPD rating should be between 20,000 and 40,000 amps. It should use fire proof and explosion proof polycarbonate glass-fiber reinforced enclosure with a matching mounting
connector. 

The second zone of defense is inside the home because a SPD installed at the meter will not protect against internally generated surges. Appliances, such as microwaves, refrigerators, and garage door openers that have a power plug require a surge protection device that plugs into the wall. SPDs for appliances inside the home should not be rated less than 5,000 amps. Further, appliances that use two services, such as a television set with a cable wire and an electrical cord, may require a combination SPD that allows both a cable and a power connection. Computers, answering machines, satellite dish components and VCRs may also require combination protection.  Inside the home, SPD’s should be installed as close to the equipment as possible for maximum protection. Cable lengths should be as short and straight as possible to minimize the resistive path of the circuit to the ground. Also, the surge protectors should be equipped with indicators that show if the circuit is grounded and operating properly.  While nothing can prevent damage from a direct lightning strike, SPD’s can protect your valuable electronics and appliances from the most common source of damage— surge.

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Hurricane Season Brings Tornados. What to do…….

Put safety first.
Make personal safety your first priority. Listen to the local radio for up-to-date information. Stay out of damaged buildings. If you’re in an evacuated area, don’t return to your home until local authorities report that it’s safe. When you survey your home, check first for damage to gas, electric or sewage systems. Don’t use damaged systems until they’ve been checked by professionals. If gas is leaking, turn it off at the main shut-off valve, leave the building immediately and call a professional for service. Watch out for broken glass and sharp objects. If you must drive, use caution. Look out for downed wires and debris, and remember bridges and roads may be damaged.
Call to file your claim.
If you have tornado damage, report it to your insurance carrier as soon as possible. During this first call, you should be ready to provide at least a general description of your damage. A representative will talk you through your claim, recording the details. A claims professional will call you after you’ve reported your claim.  If you have serious damage, they will make every effort to get to you first.
Make temporary repairs.
If a tornado has caused damage to your property, it is your responsibility to take action to avoid further damage, once it is safe to do so. Heavy rains often accompany tornados and wind storms. The longer your home is exposed to water, the more damage you’ll see to your roof, ceiling, walls and floors— as well as any personal belongings you have inside. If you can, cover holes in the roof or broken windows with heavy-duty tarps or plywood to prevent additional water damage. Move wet items to drier ground. Wash and dry whatever you can. If you’re not sure it’s safe for you to do any of this the work, professionals can help. You’ll usually find them listed under “contractors” or “water damage restoration” in your phone directory.Make sure to save receipts from any temporary fixes as part of documenting your damage.

Review your insurance policy, so you know what’s covered.
Check your policy to see what’s covered and the deductible you’ve chosen. Reviewing your policy will help you prepare questions for your claims professional. Your insurance policy typically cover the cost to repair common tornado damage —including damage to roofs and walls, cars and your inventory or belongings. However, your deductible does apply — and you also may have a higher deductible for wind/hail damage that applies to tornados. If you can’t live in your home, your carrier will pay additional living expenses, as noted in
your policy, while damage is assessed and your home repaired or rebuilt. If, for some reason, your repairs take longer, you may be eligible for additional assistance from federal emergency programs.
Document your damage.
As soon as you can, start making a list of items that were damaged by the tornado. A good, thorough list will help us process your claim faster. Document the damage with
photos, video tapes, bills and receipts. In the meantime, don’t throw out damaged items — especially expensive ones. Your claims professional will advise you about any specific information we will need to from you to process your claim so you can get started on permanent repairs.
Schedule permanent repairs.
Most insurance carriers requires you to wait until your claims professional has assessed your damage before you begin making permanent repairs. However, we encourage you to schedule permanent repairs as soon as possible because contractors can be tough to schedule after a tornado strikes. Use a local, licensed, bonded and insured contractor, and check references.
Understand your responsibility for home improvements.
The companies will replace damaged items and materials of the same type and quality of the materials you’re replacing. For example, if you have a fiberglass roof, they will pay to
repair or replace damage with fiberglass materials — but they won’t pay to replace it with expensive slate tile. If damage is extensive, people sometimes decide to take the opportunity to upgrade their property with better or more expensive materials. Again, the companies will only pay for replacing materials of the same type and quality. If you want to pay the additional expense to upgrade, you’re certainly welcome to do that out of your personal budget. Any time you make improvements to your property, talk to your agent to make sure
you have enough insurance and to find out if you are eligible for discounts.

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What To Do After the Storm

Be careful to take certain precautions after the storm has passed. Damage to your home can have a dramatic emotional impact, and it’s best to have a plan before the storm strikes for how to reenter your home. Having a plan, and being aware of certain risks, will minimize the threat of harm to you or your family.  

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay turned to local news organizations, such as a radio or television station, for important announcements, bulletins, and instructions concerning the storm area, medical aid and other forms of assistance, such as food, water and shelter.  
  • Remember that you may not have immediate access to your home. Emergency rescue crews, power crews and other personnel may be attending to special needs. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.  
  • Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home/neighborhood.  
  • Avoid driving, as roads may be blocked.
  • Avoid sight-seeing or entering a storm ravaged area unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.  
  • Avoid downed power lines even if they look harmless.
  • Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.  
  • DO NOT use matches in a storm ravaged area until all gas lines are checked for leaks (keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand).  
  • Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.  
  • Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees and check plumbing.
  • Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be a hazard.  
  • Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home before any repairs are attempted.  
  • In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects or snakes, that may have “come with the storm”.  
  • Telephone lines will likely be busy in the area; use a phone only for emergencies.
  • Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations.
  • You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water or boil your tap water.

These are just a few ideas to be thinking about before and after a severe storm hits. Remember to keep your radio tuned to a station issuing emergency bulletins and updates with the latest information.

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Three Myths about Aging and Driving

Myth 1:
All older drivers are bad drivers.
The Truth:
As a group, older drivers are relatively  safe drivers.
With greater maturity, experience and good judgment, older drivers are most often safe drivers. While they do have more accidents per mile driven, especially after age 75, older drivers have fewer accidents overall – testimony to the
decision by many to limit their own driving.
It is true that older adults (including passengers and pedestrians) are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in accidents – but this is mainly because aging bodies are more vulnerable. An accident that a 30-year-old might walk away from with only minor injuries could result in death for an 80-year-old.
While we should all be concerned about the frequency of crash fatalities of older drivers, this should not be mistaken as proof that older drivers are dangerous. In fact, older drivers are more dangerous to themselves than to others.
This increased danger underscores how important it is for older adults to drive more carefully and cautiously; your stakes are higher – you have much more to lose if you’re in an accident.

Myth 2:
At a certain age, everyone will have to stop driving.
The Truth:
Age does not determine whether a person will have to stop driving. Safe driving is about health and ability – not age.
Two people who are the same age can have very different skills and abilities to drive safely. For example, the differences in skills between two 75-year-old drivers can be great – and much of that difference can be attributed to differences in fitness and health.
Few members of past generations, who had shorter lives and experienced greater health problems, even considered the possibility that they might be able to keep driving well into old age. Today, as we live longer and healthier lives, we want to stay mobile and involved – and continuing to drive becomes important to our ability to do that.
Studying the potential and the limitations of older drivers is relatively new in our society. As this science evolves, we are learning more and more about ways to keep drivers safe. For example, we now know that many people who have stopped driving (often after a health event) may be able to regain their ability to drive safely.

Myth 3:
When older drivers have difficulties with driving, they don’t want families involved.
The Truth:
If someone needs to talk to them about their driving, many older drivers would prefer to hear from a spouse or children.
If a spouse or other family member feels that an older driver is no longer safe, it’s time for a conversation. Limiting or stopping driving can be a very emotional topic for all involved. In research conducted by The Hartford and the
MIT AgeLab, older drivers expressed their preference for who should speak with them about their driving, if it becomes necessary. We found that:
• Married couples prefer to hear from a spouse or adult children. Outside the family, doctors are their top preference.
• Single older adults prefer to hear from doctors, closely followed by adult children.
• Most older adults put law-enforcement officials and other authorities low on the list.
For the conversation to be successful, it is also important that it be factual and well-planned.

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Roof Features That Give Discounts

You have several choices when choosing a roof covering for your home. Most homes in the U.S. have asphalt shingles for roof coverings. Other choices include clay or concrete tile, metal panels, and slate. But which performs better during a hurricane? The answer may surprise you. All of these types of roof coverings can perform well if they are attached properly.
Whatever roof covering you choose to install, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as a minimum
requirement. Also remember that fasteners should be long enough to penetrate the sheathing (plywood) or penetrate 3/4-inch into wood or plank decks.
Recommended Installation For:
Shingles
– Hand nailing is best for accuracy and 6 nails per shingle are preferred especially in high wind areas. It is also wise to apply a dab of roof cement under each tab.
Clay or concrete tile – Nose, butt, or side clips should be used in high wind or seismic areas. These are commonly
referred to as wind clips or storm anchors. Two screws per tile give the highest wind uplift resistance and will help the tile resist shifting.
Metal panels – Clips or cleats are preferred over exposed fasteners because they aren’t exposed to weather. They also allow the metal to expand and contract reducing the opportunity for it to buckle. Fasteners should be corrosion resistant and penetrate the sheathing.
Slate – Slate should be attached with flat head copper-wire slating nails. In high wind areas a dab of roof cement or polyurethane sealant should be applied under the exposed part and the slate then installed using 4 nails per slate.
It’s Hip to Be Hipped
Did you know that the shape of your roof can have a lot to do with how it stands up against high winds? Hipped roof systems are more likely to stay put in a hurricane than gabled roof systems. Why? Unlike gabled roofs, a hipped roof slopes upward from all sides of the building. The aerodynamic properties and construction techniques inherent in hipped roofs help them perform better in windstorms than gabled roofs. A gabled roof has two slopes that come together to form a ridge or a peak at the top – each end looks like the letter “A.” Homes with gabled roofs are more likely to suffer greater damage, such as collapse of the end wall from high winds because they are often not braced properly during construction.

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Car Maintenance

Whether your car is a week old or 10 years old, you can’t have safety without proper maintenance. Follow the maintenance guidelines included in your car’s manual and you should be in good shape. Long before you need to begin thinking about major vehicle checkups, you’ll want to pay attention to the little things that can make a world of
difference to your safety.
Windshields: Dirt on windshields and windows acts as a filter, reducing and scattering light while intensifying glare.
– Keep windows and windshields clean, inside and out.
– Keep wiper blades clean, and replace them when they start to streak or smear your windshield. Buy winter wiper blades if you live in an area with ice and snow.
– Do not add tinting to windshields or windows, as this can reduce visibility. (Light tinting is OK, and a tinted band
across the top of the windshield reduces glare without impairing vision.)
Tires: What’s the biggest issue concerning the safety of your tires? No, it’s not lack of tread (although proper tread is certainly important). The most important consideration is proper inflation. And as a bonus, properly inflated tires will improve your gas mileage.
The recommended pounds per square inch for your vehicle’s tires is based on the car’s design load limit, and can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. The only way to know for sure that your tires are properly inflated is to check them with an accurate tire pressure gauge; it’s nearly impossible to tell if tires are
properly inflated just by looking or kicking!
You should check your tire pressure seasonally, before a long trip or whenever you have concerns about tire pressure.
– Tire pressure – Follow the inflation guidelines given in your car’s manual – not the number on the tire. Any tire can be used on more than one type of vehicle, and the number on the tire refers to the maximum permissible inflation pressure for that tire on any vehicle. Check your manual for the right tire pressure for your car.
– Tire wear – Remember to check your tires monthly for wear, as a problem can develop quickly. An easy way to determine if a tire has sufficient tread is to insert a penny, with Lincoln’s head straight down into the tread. If the tread doesn’t cover the top of his head, it’s time to go tire shopping!
Brakes: The importance of brakes goes without saying. It’s normal for brakes to wear. Have your mechanic check on them every 6,000 miles or so. However, have your brakes checked immediately if:
– You hear any grinding or screeching sounds
– The brake pedal feels less firm than it once did
– The steering wheel vibrates when you apply the brakes
These are just a few highlights about vehicle maintenance. Be sure to check your owner’s manual. There are also numerous books and Web sites available on car maintenance to give you guidance on keeping your car in top condition.

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