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Baldwin / Welsh & Parker

Baldwin / Welsh & Parker

Tuesday, 24 October 2017 22:04

10 Smart Ways to Keep Halloween Fun & Safe

Before Halloween festivities begin, review these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA to help keep the festivities safe and fun for your family:

Getting a homeowners quote can only take a few minutes when you have all of your information at hand. Knowing the details of your house, including what kind of safety features you have installed, may help you qualify for money-saving discounts and help ensure that you choose the coverage that meets your needs.

There can be more questions involved in getting a homeowners quote than a car insurance quote, so it can be helpful to gather your paperwork and be ready to answer specific questions about your home in advance. Here’s a checklist to help you get started.

  1. Who lives at your house? You may be asked for contact information about you and anyone else who lives at your house, how long you’ve lived there, your marital status, whether you run a business from the home and whether you own a dog or any pets. 
  2. What’s your insurance history? It’s good to be ready with details about your existing coverage, if your home is already covered by homeowners insurance. Do you have a mortgage on the home? Are there any prior insurance claims? How much would it cost you to rebuild your home?  
  3. What’s your house like? You’ll likely be asked a series of questions, including the year your house was built, the type and age of the roof, the style of the home, its exterior finish and whether or not you have a garage. You’ll also probably want to know the square footage of your home and may be asked for details on the number of bathrooms or fireplaces. This information helps determine the cost to rebuild your home and may help with determining the amount of coverage that fits your needs. 
  4. What improvements have you made? If you have made upgrades to your home since you bought it, such as replacing the roof, installing a central air system, finishing your basement, remodeling a kitchen or other updates that increase the value of your home, your existing homeowners policy may not reflect the current value and replacement cost of your home.  
  5. What kind of safety devices do you have? If you have certain safety devices, including smart or connected home technology, a security system or fire sprinklers, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance.

Having all of this information ready to go can make it easier for you to get a quote and can help you get coverage to protect you and your family that fits your needs. Contact us to help your with your homeowners insurance quote.

 

Source: Travelers Insurance

The “seasonal 7” is the average number of pounds people gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Consider these tips during the coming weeks:

  1. Try a little bit – If tempted by a tasty confection, only try a small portion. Keep healthy snacks handy to nibble on. 
  2. Eat throughout the day – In anticipation of an evening party, thinking “I won’t eat during the day, so I can fill up tonight” will lead to overeating. Instead, eat breakfast and lunch as always, then munch on something healthy before the party.
  3. Take a seat – You’re more likely to eat only what’s in front of you if a sit-down dinner is served instead of a buffet at a party. 
  4. Enjoy the conversation – Get-togethers are about socializing, so don’t make food the only reason to go. Talking more and eating less can help you control your weight. 
  5. Have fun – That’s what the holidays are about! Balance delectable treats with healthy foods, like fruit salad or raw vegetables.
  6. Choose wisely – Don’t let being worn out from activities such as shopping make you forget good eating habits. Choose healthy dishes if you’re ordering out.
  7. Meet Jim – Actually, it’s Gym. Fitness Center. Exercise Room. Call it what you like, but it can be among your best friends any time of year. Consult your physician before beginning a diet and exercise regimen.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) online for tips on healthy eating. And, of course, we hope you enjoy the holidays!

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 17:25

Generator Safety

EMERGENCY GENERATOR SAFETY

Did You Know?

The capacity of a generator is calculated in watts. For instance, you may own a 2,000-watt generator. Therefore, if you have an appliance that requires 120 volts and uses 10 amps, the appliance will require 1,200 watts of power. By doing this calculation, you can determine what appliances can safely run on your generator.

Use these safety tips when operating your generator:

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 15:20

7 Tips to Avoid Contractor Scams

After a disaster strikes, be on alert for related scams and fraud. Scam artists may pose as FEMA or other government officials, aid workers, or employees from charitable organizations or insurance companies in order to get your personal information or take your money.

How clever is your password? If it’s on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 15:29

6 Tips: Shopping for a Safe Vehicle

September is the month when car sales and purchase incentives start to improve for car buyers. If you plan to buy a vehicle, review and download this guide to ensure that the car you buy is safe.

 

Did You Know?

Every new car must meet certain federal safety standards, but that doesn’t mean that all cars are equally safe. Many automakers offer safety features beyond the required federal minimums. Find out more about what safety features make a vehicle safe.

 

6 Tips To Know Before Shopping For A Safe Vehicle

Consider the following safety features:

  1. Crashworthiness: These features reduce the risk of death or serious injury when a crash occurs. Crashworthiness ratings can be found at: www.iihs.org.

  2. Vehicle structural design: A good structural design has a strong occupant compartment, known as the safety cage, as well as front and rear ends designed to buckle and bend in a crash to absorb the force of the crash.

Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, was recently the victim of a massive cyber attack—an attack that may have compromised the personal information of 143 million people.
The breach itself occurred between mid-May and July 2017 when cyber criminals gained access to sensitive data by exploiting a weak point in website software. As a result of the attack, sensitive information like Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses and driver's license numbers were compromised. In addition, Equifax said 209,000 credit card numbers were stolen, including information from international customers in Canada and the United Kingdom.

The recent attack on Equifax is the third major cyber security threat the organization has experienced since 2015 and one of the largest risks to personally sensitive information in recent years. The attack is so severe, in fact, it’s likely that anyone with a credit report was affected.

If you are concerned that you may have been impacted by the breach, Equifax has set up a website to help individuals determine if any of their personal information may have been stolen. Complete the following steps:

  1. Go to the “Check Potential Impact” page.
  2. Provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

From there, a dialogue box will pop up and indicate whether or not your information was lost in the hack. All U.S. customers will also be given the opportunity to sign up for TrustedID Premier, which is an Equifax service that includes identity theft insurance, credit reports, and a service that crawls the internet and alerts you if your Social Security number is posted somewhere online. This service will be free for one year for those who sign up by Nov. 21st.

If you have been impacted by the breach, experts recommend engaging in a credit freeze. This effectively locks down your Social Security number on your credit report and prevents criminals from opening up new lines of credit under your name. For more information on credit freezes, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

It should be noted that it may not be obvious that you are a customer of Equifax, as the company gets its data from credit card companies, banks and lenders that report on credit activity. As such, it’s important to follow the appropriate steps and check to see if your information was compromised.
Additionally, you should review your online bank and credit card statements on a weekly basis. This will help you monitor any suspicious activity. Contact law enforcement officials if you believe criminals have used your stolen information in some way. 

Baldwin/Welsh & Parker Insurance Agencies, Inc. will continue to monitor the Equifax cyber incident, providing any major updates as necessary.

 

See Related Article: 6 Equifax hack rumors fact-checked

Monday, 11 September 2017 15:30

Glossary of Weather Terms

We are in the middle of hurrican season, which is June 1st - November 30th, and there's 24/7 weather coverage during which weather experts toss around a variety of terms. Have you ever wondered what they all mean? For example, during Hurricane Irma, the two terms that got a lot of air time were "the best track" and "the European model." If you wondered what all these terms mean, here's a list of storm terms and their meanings.

  • The best track is a smoothed representation of a storm’s location and intensity over its lifetime. The best track contains the storm system’s latitude, longitude, maximum sustained surface winds, and minimum sea-level pressure at six-hour intervals, based on a post-storm assessment of all available data.
  • The European model is considered by meteorologists to be the most accurate model for predicting hurricanes in the mid-latitudes. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which runs the model, developed a its method for integrating real-time meteorological data into their algorithm (so it starts with more accurate initial conditions), and invested in very advanced computer hardware. Both the European and the American models are predictive mathematical models, so they don’t necessarily reflect the hurricane path issued by the National Hurricane Center.
  • The eyewall is the band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye of the storm. The most severe weather of the hurricane occurs in the eyewall: Towering thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and high winds.
  • The Fujiwhara effect occurs when two tropical cyclones orbit around one another.
  • A hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph.
  • The hurricane categories are a naming convention system. Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on the intensities of their sustained winds, which is known as the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
    Category 1:Winds speeds of 74-95 mph; very dangerous winds will produce some damage
    Category 2:Wind speeds of 96-110 mph; extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage
    Category 3: Wind speeds of 111-129 mph; devastating damage will occur
    Category 4: Wind speeds of 130-156 mph; catastrophic damage will occur
    Category 5: Wind speeds greater than 156 mph; catastrophic damage will occur and most areas will be uninhabitable
  • A hurricane warning is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical storm.
  • A hurricane watch is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical storm.
  • Latent heat is the heat required to convert a solid into a liquid or vapor without a change in temperature. When water vapor condenses to form clouds, latent heat (energy) is released, which helps storms intensify by warming the surrounding air and causing instability.
  • A major hurricane has winds greater than 110 mph.
  • Maximum sustained winds is the standard measure of a tropical cyclone’s intensity. It refers to the highest one-minute average wind speed (at an elevation of 10 meters with an unobstructed exposure) associated with that weather system at a particular point in time.
  • A monsoon is not a storm, but a large-scale, seasonal wind shift over a region accompanied by large amplitude seasonal changes in precipitation (whether heavy rains or draught).
  • The radius of maximum winds is the distance from the center of a tropical cyclone to the location of the cyclone’s maximum winds. In well-developed hurricanes, the radius of maximum winds is typically at the inner edge of the eyewall.
  • A storm surge is the rise in sea levels following a hurricane or major storm, where the height is the difference between the observed sea level and the level the water would be without a cyclone. Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal high tide from the observed storm tide.
  • A storm tide is the actual level of sea water resulting from the normal tide combined with the storm surge.
  • A tropical cyclone is a general term for warm weather storm systems that occur over tropical waters, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons. A cyclone has a well-defined center, and rotates counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • A tropical depression is a tropical cyclone with a maximum sustained wind speed of less than 39 mph.
  • A tropical storm is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained wind speeds between 39 mph and 73 mph.
  • A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Pacific Ocean between 180° and 100°E, with winds of 74 mph or greater. Typhoons are the same weather phenomena as hurricanes; the only difference between them is the location where the storm occurs.

Now, the next time you hear one of these terms on a weather update, you'll have a better understanding of what it means.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 01:31

Are You Prepared For Flash Floods?

Flash floods can occur within minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways, such as rivers or streams, overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry floodwater away from urban areas.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.

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