Windows need defogging and defrosting? Don't worry; we've got you covered.
Regardless of what season it is, summer, spring, autumn, winter, you've got to blast the heat if you want your window defogged. They're called defrosters for a reason, if a cold temperature setting were needed, they would be known as car frosters!
Have you noticed that defroster button on your dashboard? It looks like a window with three arrows pointing upward. Make sure you press that so that the heated air targets the foggy windows. Also, some cars have a separate button for the rear defrosters. If you have one of those, be sure to press that one as well.
They aren't going to defrost right away, especially if you just turned your car on. However, if your engine has been running for a bit, then the defrosters should work more quickly. If you find that you cannot see anything ahead of you and you're on the road, pull over for the two minutes that it will take for your windows to defrost. Better safe than sorry!
Most of the time when defrosters don't work, you're missing one of these three key things: heat, button, and time. If you have the terrific three, then it's possible that the system in your vehicle is broken, in which case you should get that repaired.
Learn more about car safety and auto insurance by browsing the rest of our website!
In July 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 to address problems with the existing national flood insurance program. The program had been subsidizing over 1 million flood insurance policies around the United States and was running multi billion dollar deficits, with the current deficit at approximately $28 billion.
The combination of regular losses exceeding premiums collected, the specter of rising seas, and pressure of continued coastal development is not sustainable. The changes in Biggert-Waters meant ending subsidies for approximately 450,000 policies in flood zones, particularly for secondary homes, businesses, and properties with repeat claims. In addition, reduced subsidies on about 700,000 policies will happen upon sale of a house or business.
Removal of these subsidies has had a devastating impact on the real estate market in many coastal areas. The reality of real estate ownership is that affordability is measured to a great deal in monthly payments made up of PITI: principal, interest, taxes and insurance. To illustrate imagine you are thinking about buying a beach house and you can afford a $300,000 mortgage at 5% over 30 years. The principal and interest payments for this would be approximately $1610 your budget for principal and interest. Insurance is separate, and we will leave out taxes for this discussion. If flood insurance costs on the property increase by $3000 per year, that's $250 per month. To compensate, the amount of principle that meets your monthly $1610 budget drops from 300,000 to approximately 250,000; this means the market value of this house has effectively just dropped by about $50,000. Many projected flood insurance costs are higher. A flood insurance cost increase of $6000 per year, or $500 per month, equates to a principal loan amount of $175,000, implying a decrease in market value of $125,000, over 42% in this same example. Clearly, removing subsidies that have existed since 1968 is extraordinarily painful for many people who have enjoyed these rates for decades.
The chief architect of Biggert Waters, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters recently appeared on CBS news indicating that these increases were ‘unintended consequences’ of the legislation. Political pressure to delay the effects of Biggert-Waters has built particularly from southern states including Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana where many properties with subsidies were being phased out. News reports in late October indicated that a bipartisan deal had been reached to delay the implementation of Biggert-Waters. Representative Waters did announce on October 28 that a bipartisan legislative agreement had been made to ensure that "changes are implemented affordably. In that announcement she indicated that it would take two years to complete an affordability study, and another two years for FEMA to implement changes. Leaders from both the Senate and the House of Representatives have indicated however, that legislation has not been filed, nor when it might be filed. We will continue to watch developments in this proposed legislation closely.
The proposed delay in changes will apply mostly to properties located in Zones A and V. Properties located in zones B, C, and X are still eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy at a cost of under $500 annually! If your property is expected to be rezoned in the A or V zone, we strongly recommend purchasing a Preferred Risk Policy now. Under current PRP Extension guidelines, you may keep this Preferred Risk Policy when your property changes to an A or V Zone in 2014. This is provided you maintain continuous coverage, do not have repetitive losses or the guidelines change. You should expect the Preferred Risk Policy will increase 20% annually each and every year after that.
There is a separate trend happening within flood insurance: mapping. New maps are expected to take effect here on the South Shore in June 2014. Mapping technology has advanced much faster than previous flood insurance maps were able to keep up with. The new maps will reflect more accurate digital technology, as well as recognize that new flood patterns emerge after every storm.
But flood maps aren't perfect. Often, the best thing a homeowner can do is to engage a qualified engineer to provide a certificate of elevation specific to their home. Our office is closely dialed in to the best engineers on the South Shore, so if you have not had an elevation certificate completed, call us for a list of qualified engineers at 800-649-3252.
When writing insurance policies and homeowner policies in particular, agents are now required to obtain much more detailed information than in the past.
Previously, agents have been expected to gather details about the home, such as year of construction, type of construction, style of home, and updates to the structure and internal systems. This information helps insurance to get a sense of the risk involved with writing a policy for the home.
While it is still very valuable to insurance agents to know the characteristics of a home before insuring it, especially involving any previous damage it might have incurred, they also must consider human factors when developing your insurance policy.
Claims history is a very useful tool for agents to understand your history as an insurance customer. Although this does not provide any more information about the structural soundness of the home to be insured, it helps to develop a risk profile of a customer, and how likely they are to place a claim in the future. In the case of home insurance, claims history will be provided for both the insured customer as well as the home itself, so if the home in question has recently been purchased, claims filed by a previous owner will be included in the history.
Insurance scores are a numerical value determined by certain characteristics of a customer. In many ways, they are comparable to the financial credit scores involved with money lending. However, insurance scores predict the risk associated with a customer, instead of credit, and the values of the two are not necessarily related to one another.
At this point in time, Massachusetts only requires insurance scores on homeowner policies whereas other states require this on auto policies as well.
If you have any questions about how these changes may affect you personally, please contact us and we will try to help you.
The end of Daylight Savings Time has come once again, and last weekend we all set our clocks back an hour. Although we get an extra hour of light in the morning, darkness will now be falling much earlier in the afternoon, and it can be difficult to adjust at first to the change.
Along with being a signal of the winter weather to come, changing the clocks this time of year should also be a reminder to all to change the batteries of smoke detectors throughout your home or workplace.
Here are some tips on checking your smoke detector.
After replacing the battery, use the ‘test’ button to make sure the alarm is audible. If the alarm doesn’t work, even with a fresh battery, the entire unit may need to be replaced.
Some smoke detectors may beep to signal that the battery needs to be replaced. However, if all smoke detectors in your home are beeping at the same time, a power outage or tripped circuit breaker may be to blame. Try to find the source of the problem before replacing the batteries.
It is also a good idea to clean your smoke detectors with compressed air every now and then, and doing this at the same time as you replace the battery could extend the life of your detector.
However, there is no reason to wait for problems with your smoke detector to change the battery. Smoke detectors have been proven time and time again to save lives in the event of a fire and for the cost (an average 9 Volt battery costs less than $3) it is very much worth it to change it BEFORE it starts beeping or just plain stops working.
Remember to change your smoke detector batteries as soon as you can, and next fall, start a tradition of changing your clocks and your batteries at the same time. It could save your life!
You may have a flood insurance policy issued by a national insurance carrier such as Hartford, Mapfre, Nationwide or Travelers. The insurance company’s name, address and logo appear on the flood policy coverage page. However, the private insurer company is only issuing and servicing the standard flood policy on behalf of the federal government. In the coming years, we expect there will be many discussions of privatization of flood insurance given the flood programs $18 billion deficit. At this time, all flood policies with up to $250,000 in building coverage are underwritten by the federal government. Amounts over $250,000 are considered excess flood policies and these policies are insured by private insurers instead of the federal government.
Insurance companies began participating in the Write Your Own (WYO) Program in 1983 as a cooperative undertaking between the insurance industry and FEMA. The WYO Program allows participating property and casualty insurance companies to write and service the Standard Flood Insurance Policy in their own names. The companies receive an expense allowance for policies written and claims processed while the Federal Government retains responsibility for underwriting losses. The WYO Program operates as part of the NFIP, and is subject to its rules and regulations. There are currently 85 insurance companies participating in the write your own program.
The primary goals of the WYO program are:
- Increase the NFIP policy base and the geographic distribution of policies;
- Improve service to NFIP policyholders through the infusion of insurance industry knowledge;
- Provide the insurance industry with direct operating experience with flood insurance.
Recently, Travelers Insurance announced that they are discontinuing their participation in the Write Your Own program. Travelers sold its flood policy renewal rights to American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, part of Assurant Inc. Customers with Travelers Flood policies will be renewed with American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC) for policies renewing October 15 and later. In some cases, agents will move these Travelers Flood policies to other Write Your Own carriers. Travelers stepped out of the flood program because it was a small, non-core part of their business. Exiting the program eliminated operational complexities associated with maintaining separate underwriting and claims processes required for participation. If you have a flood policy serviced by Travelers through our agency, you can expect to see a change in servicing carrier at your next renewal.
If you have any questions about how these changes could affect you personally, give us a call at Gordon Insurance, and we would be happy to help you in any way we can!
It's that time of year again! When people think of October, people think of jack-o-laterns, witches riding on brooms, spooky ghosts, and of course, Halloween.
Halloween's date may be October 31st, but Halloween is much more than a single day. It's an entire season of supernatural fun. And with this particular holiday season, certain safety precautions should be kept in mind.
If you set up Halloween lights or something of the sort (we have a glowing ghost for the outdoors) make sure you keep all your electric stuff safe. That means- make sure if you have outdoor lights they're meant for the outdoors (you wouldn't want a slight drizzle to short circuit anything and potentially start a fire) and make sure these wires do not overheat. This applies to lights as well as stereo systems.
If you're dealing with pumpkins and carving of any sort, make sure you follow pumpkin carving safety procedures. Click here to read our blog about the subject. Also, if you're going to put your jack-o-laterns on display, put them inside and visible through a window. This way you can avoid unwanted trespassers who are looking to smash some pumpkins, silly string some plants, and TP some tree branches. By putting the pumpkins inside, you are taking a step to avoid vandals on your property.
Kids go out trick-or-treating, and they go out wearing fabulous costumes that can stretch the imagination. But not all costumes are created equal. You want to look out for fire retardant costumes that have reflectors. You also want to make sure your kid will be fine with the temperature.
This is when all the fun takes place. But it's also one of the most risky parts of the night. Make sure you always go out with a flashlight, so you can see what's in front of you, and so what's in front of you can see you. Children should never go out alone, and even if they're in a small group, an adult should always be supervising. If kids near the older end of the spectrum insist on going without an adult, maybe to cover some more ground, make sure they go in a larger group and have cell phones. Plural. Make sure the adult responsible for all the children has all the children's numbers, so any child can be contacted at any time.
Before kids start mowing down on their sweets, double check what they have. There have been scary stories of homemade treats such as candy apples have razors and/or toxins inside them. Do not eat any candy in which the wrappers have already been taken off. Better safe than sorry.
Stay safe, and have a fantastic October and Halloween season!
If you have any other questions or concerns about insurance, safety, or risk management, do not hesitate to contact our office by clicking the button below.
Not to rush the end of the summer season, but now that the cold weather is approaching and this winter is forecasted to be a rough one. The Farmer's Almanac predicts a "Shivery Winter" for 2013–2014, with below average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation. So, it’s a good time to check your windows for leaks and replace the caulking if necessary. Here are a few ideas that can save money and improve the efficiency of your home:
- Check for Window Leaks: Carefully place a lit candle and hold it near the inside of your window. If the flame flickers or bends, you likely have a draft or a leak.
- Caulking Check: Examine the caulking around your windows -- inside and out -- to see if it is dried out, cracked or if there are missing pieces. Re-caulking in the summer can keep your house warmer in the colder months! Typically, one tube of caulking should cover a standard sized window. Be sure to follow instructions and you'll go a long way to keeping your house warmer!
- Check Attic Insulation: Energy Star offers great advice about determining how much insulation is appropriate for your home. In general, No matter what kind of insulation you currently have in your attic, one quick way to determine if you need more is to look across the span of your attic. If your insulation is just level with or below your floor joists (i.e., you can easily see your joists), you should add more. If you cannot see any of the floor joists because the insulation is well above them, you probably have enough and adding more may not be cost-effective.
- Assess Your Home's Efficiency: See how your home measures up! Take the EPA's Home Energy Yardstick test -- just answering a few basic questions about your home and you'll gain insights into how much of your home's energy use is related to heating and cooling versus other everyday uses like appliances, lighting, and hot water; links to guidance on how to increase your home's score, improve comfort, and lower utility bills; and an estimate of your home's annual carbon emissions.
Hopefully, these tips will boost your home's efficiency and keep you a little warmer when the snow flies!
Keeping your home warm during the winter can help to prolong the life of your house's vital systems, not to mention lowering heating bills, which often skyrocket during the cold season. At Andrew G. Gordon Insurance, we make it a priority to help protect your livelihood, and our home policies provide wide coverage for both your home and possessions.
Breast Cancer - it is something that brings a chill to so many people. Just about everybody knows somebody whose life has been affected by it. I have a friend of mine, a wonderful lady fighting for her life….again. She beat it six years ago and is giving it all she has to beat it again.
So, this brought me to the realization that I had to do something, anything I could to help fight this terrible disease. I found out that a friend of mine started a branch of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer out of Plymouth in 2007 when they joined the annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The first event that our little group did was a Pub Crawl; hence the name “Tipsy Tatas.”
The Tipsy Tatas has done a Pub Crawl every September since 2009 in Downtown Plymouth. This summer we organized our Second Annual Golf Outing. Between the two functions this year we have raised nearly $10,000 to help in the fight against Breast Cancer.
If you would like to help or make any donations, please feel free to email us or like us on Facebook at Tipsy Tatas.
We do have more raffle items that can be purchased through our Facebook page: The drawing for these items will be done at the walk in October.
Just always remember that every little bit does help. You may not feel that what you can do is enough, but doing nothing sometimes is just not an option!
The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. They provide a wide range of support services to those fighting cancer and their caregivers and family members. For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery program has helped people (female and male) cope with their breast cancer experience. This experience begins when someone is faced with the possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis and continues throughout the entire period that breast cancer remains a personal concern.
According to ACS, there are steps you can take to help lower your risk of developing breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point during her life. While you can’t change some risk factors -- genetics and aging, for example -- there are things you can do that may lower your breast cancer risk. Here are 4 ways to help protect your breast health.
- Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk. This is especially true after menopause and for women who gain weight as adults. If you’re already at a healthy weight, stay there. If you’re carrying extra pounds, try to shed some. There’s evidence that losing weight may lower breast cancer risk.
- Exercise regularly. Many studies have found that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. As little as 75 to 150 minutes of brisk walking each week has been shown to lower risk. Ramping up your exercise routine even more may lower your breast cancer risk even further.
- Limit alcohol. Women who have 2 or more alcoholic drinks a day have about 1½ times the risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink at all.
- Avoid or limit menopausal hormone therapy. Taking hormones such as estrogen and progesterone had long been used for night sweats, hot flashes, and other troublesome symptoms of menopause. But in 2002, researchers found that postmenopausal women who took a combination of estrogen and progestin were more likely to develop breast cancer. Breast cancer risk appears to return to normal within 5 years after stopping the combination of hormones.
Remember: stay healthy, stay happy. To learn about life insurnace, click the buttons below.
Having a flat tire is never a fun experience, but there are many things you can do both to prevent a flat from happening and also to safely approach changing a tire. Here are a few of my favorite tips:
Before Your Next Flat
- Consider purchasing a reputable road-side assistance program.
- Familiarize yourself with the car owner’s manual on the proper procedure & warnings for changing a flat.
- Remove the jack and wrench, assemble and practice operating it. If it is rusty, lubricate it.
- Store a couple of parking blocks in your trunk. Also store a roadside emergency kit in your trunk – most include a flashlight, tire sealant, tire inflator, reflective road markers, etc. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at any auto accessory store.
- Periodically check your tires to make sure they are properly inflated, INCLUDING YOUR SPARE! Spare tires are not usually in sight and often neglected, causing them to be flat and unusable.
During a Flat
- Put your emergency flashers on.
- Gradually slow down and pull over to the road as far as possible. Never stop suddenly. Check your surroundings and if you feel unsafe for any reason, do not hesitate to call Emergency 911.
- Make sure the ground is level and secure. Jacks should never be placed where the ground is soft and subject to sinking.
- Use parking blocks. Block the front & back of the tire that is diagonally opposite to the flat.
- Place any safety markers behind the car and on the road.
- Follow your car’s procedures and warnings for changing a tire.
After a Flat
- Have your tire repaired or replaced. Most spares are only meant for temporary use. Have all other tires evaluated at the same time, including your spare.
Did You Know?
The earliest tires were bands of iron (later steel), placed on wooden wheels, used on carts and wagons. The tire would be heated in a forge fire, placed over the wheel and quenched, causing the metal to contract and fit tightly on the wheel. Some say that the first practical pneumatic tire was made by Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop while working as a veterinarian in Belfast in 1887. He created the tire for his sons bicycle, in an effort to prevent the headaches his son had while riding on rough roads. Today, over 1 billion tires are produced annually in over 400 tire factories in the United States.
By avoiding flat tires and preparing for the inevitable, you can help yourself to avoid some of the more serious dangers of driving an automobile. At Gordon Insurance, your safety and security in your vehicle is important to us, so please give us a call if you have any questions about protecting the investment you have made in your vehicle.
As October 31st draws ever nearer, nothing helps get a home or workplace into the autumnal spirit quite like a well-carved pumpkin.
Keep it Fresh!
Like all other fruits and vegetables, pumpkins will rot as time passes. Rotting organic matter, especially in such a large form as a pumpkin, can produce noxious odors and attract unwanted pests to your porch or lawn. Luckily, a few simple tricks using common kitchen materials may help to extend the life of your jack-o-lantern and keep the fall spirit strong even after Halloween has ended. When you have finished hollowing and carving your pumpkin, submerge it completely in a large container of water with one teaspoon of bleach per gallon. The bleach can help to kill bacteria inside and on the surface of the pumpkin and help to keep it fresh longer. After about 8 hours have passed, flip the pumpkin over to let the bleach drain out. Once completely dry, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brushing this solution onto your pumpkin at regular intervals can help maintain the color and strength of the pumpkin skin for weeks!
- Use the right tools. Consumer Reports tested pumpkin-carving kits a few years ago and observed that one advantage of the specialty tools—readily found online and in convenience stores—was that they can saw through rinds, poke holes, and scoop out innards without being razor-sharp. The instruments were also generally small, which made them easier to control than knives and easier to use when making intricate cuts.
- Carve before taking off the top of the pumpkin. If you carve first, you won't be tempted to put your hand inside the pumpkin, which is when many accidents occur.
- Take precautions. That means carving in a clean, dry, and well-lit area, keeping your hands and tools clean and dry, and taking your time.
- Don’t let kids carve. The Pediatrics study found that most Halloween accidents happen to kids ages 10 to 14. So don’t let children 14 and younger do the actual carving. Instead, have them draw the pattern with a marker and clean out the pulp and seeds with their hands or a spoon—but make sure an adult does the actual cutting. It’s important to supervise older teens, too.
Did you know?
Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening") is also known as All Hallows' Eve. It is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31.
The difficulties associated with maintaining the quality of a jack-o-lantern are examples of manageable risks, which by careful planning can be avoided to some degree. Likewise, the risks involved with pumpkin carving safety are also manageable, by taking certain precautions at all times. To learn more about managing the risks in your life, give us a call, or contact us online.