3 Tips to Help You Prepare and Keep Your Home Safe This Winter

Fall is finally here and cold weather is on its way. November is a great month to prepare for the winter season. Properly maintaining your home and tools during the winter months not only helps you save on your utility bills but will also protect the investment that you made in your house.

Your homeowners insurance is there to protect you in your time of need, but even a small claim can result in a premium increase, which is another great reason to prepare your house for the coming winter months. Many of these steps are do-it-yourself, but some may require the expertise of a professional.

Here are a few things to look at protecting before the cold weather really sets in:

  • Tune Up the Heating System – A furnace inspection and tune-up should run between $80-$150. A technician will give your entire heating system an inspection and make sure it is clean and in proper working order. They will also check for carbon monoxide leaks. If a problem is found, have it repaired immediately; a faulty furnace can result in a house fire.
  • Inspect Your Roof – Your roof should be inspected at least once a year. Fall is one of the best times to do it. Inspect your roof from the ground with a pair of binoculars to check for any loose or missing shingles. Inspect flashing seals around any vents and the chimney. Before grabbing a ladder to climb on your roof, call a professional. A professional should inspect your roof once every 2-3 years or after a major storm to check for damage and possible leaks.
  • Shut Off Exterior Faucets – Leaving un-drained water in a pipe can freeze which will lead to a burst pipe when the ice expands. This can result in an expensive repair if the water gets into the walls. Disconnect all garden hoses and allow the water to drain out of the faucet. This is also the time of year to blow out your sprinkler system. If you have a compressor this is something you can do yourself, otherwise, call in a pro.

Properly preparing your house for winter can help prevent accidents and keep your family and your home safe. Call us today so we can help make sure you’ve got the home coverage you need to stay safe this winter.

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Staying Safe Shopping This Year

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life, you probably know that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has earned the reputation of being the busiest (and most dangerous) shopping day of the year.

That day is fast approaching this year and I wanted to give you some information to help you stay safe while shopping this holiday season.

Most auto accidents reported during the busy shopping season are car accidents in crowded parking lots.

On a normal day, 1 in 5 car accidents are in parking lots. You can imagine how the number rises during the busy holiday season.

While the majority of parking lot accidents tend to be low-speed collisions, they can still result in expensive damage and possibly push up your insurance rates.

If you’re planning on hitting the stores this shopping season, keep these tips in mind and use them to have a happy, safe shopping trip.

  • Look carefully when backing out of a parking spot. Check both ways before starting to exit the parking spot and drive slowly.
  • Pay close attention to other cars as well as pedestrians. Always yield to pedestrians in a parking lot, even if they are not in a crosswalk, no matter how frustrating.
  • Keep an eye out for cars driving diagonally across the parking lot.
  • If your car is equipped with a back-up camera, be sure to use it.
  • I saved the biggest, best tip of all for last… Shop Online! Avoid the crowds and potential accidents altogether by never leaving your home to get your shopping done.

Be Safe this shopping season! If you do need to make a claim, call the agency right away.

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Something We Should All Be Thankful For

It’s November now and that means we will all soon be gathering around the table with our families to eat a delicious meal and reflect on what we are thankful for this year.

One tradition that my family has is to go around the table and share what we are most thankful for on this special day. When it’s my turn I always talk about how my family is the most important thing in my life, and the blessing that I am most thankful for on both Thanksgiving and every other day of the year.

When it comes to my family, I want to make sure that they are cared for and protected if something were to happen to me, which is why I have a life insurance policy. In fact, every person in my family has a policy so that our family is fully protected. While most of us rarely think about life insurance, it can be a lifesaver for your family in the event of an unforeseen and tragic event.

The payout from a life insurance policy can help cover routine bills, pay off the mortgage or put your children through college, all expenses that may be a burden on your family, and so much more.

Research has shown that most Americans are underinsured. A recent study found that households protected by life insurance were at a 50-year low. Protect your family’s financial future. Call me today and I can easily put together an affordable plan to protect your family.

Whether you already have this valuable protection or not, give us a call this holiday season so we can review your needs and recommend a policy that you and your family can be thankful for.

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Tips to Stay Safe On Halloween

It’s the time of year for costumes, sweets, tricks, and treats. Halloween is here again! Put Halloween safety first with these common-sense tips.

  • Carve safely—Are your children begging to carve pumpkins? Make Halloween safety a family affair.
  • Decorate with markers or paint. Let young children draw faces on pumpkins with washable markers or child-friendly paint. Leave any carving to an adult.
  • Use candles with care. Place candlelit pumpkins on a sturdy surface away from curtains and other flammable objects. Never leave candlelit pumpkins unattended. Better yet, light pumpkins with flashlights or battery-operated flameless candles instead.
  • Get clever with costumes—From princesses to superheroes, choosing costumes wisely is an important part of Halloween safety.
  • The brighter the better. Whether you buy a costume or make one yourself, choose bright colors and flame-retardant materials. If your child will be trick-or-treating outdoors after dark, attach reflective tape to his or her costume.
  • Skip the large face masks. A mask can obstruct your child’s vision, especially if it slips out of place. Use kid-friendly makeup instead.
  • Trick-or-treat with care—The promise of Halloween candy may leave stars in your child’s eyes, but Halloween safety still rules
  • Stay close to home. Don’t allow your child to go door to door in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
  • Inspect the treats carefully. Don’t let your child snack while he or she is trick-or-treating. Discard anything that’s not sealed, has torn packaging, or looks questionable. When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
  • Stay safe and sweet on the home front—If you’ll be handing out treats, make sure you’re ready for trick-or-treaters.
  • Turn the lights on. Replace any burned-out bulbs to ensure good visibility at the walkway and front door.
  • Control your pets. Take no chances that your pet might be frightened and chase or bite a child at your door.

Use these safety tips to ensure that your Halloween doesn’t become a real “fright” night!

We hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween.

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Recipe of the Month: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of my favorite Halloween traditions is roasting pumpkin seeds. Creating the perfect recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds can be a bit tricky, but I think I’ve finally got the right one.

These are a delicious (and nutritious) seasonal favorite!


  1. Clean the seeds. Once all of the strands have been cleaned off, give them a GOOD rinse with water in a colander.
  2. Boil the seeds for 10 minutes in salt water. Bring the seeds to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, then drain the seeds using a colander and dry them lightly with a paper towel.
  3. Spread seeds on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Massage the oil into seeds and add a generous sprinkle of fine-grain sea salt.
  4. Roast the seeds at 325F for 10 minutes and then remove them from the oven and stir. Roast the seeds for another 8-10 minutes. Test a couple of them, they are done when the shell is crispy and easy to bite through.
  5.  Enjoy the best pumpkin seeds you have ever tasted.

Have a safe, happy Halloween!

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Practice Fire Safety & Prevention

October is Fire Safety and Prevention Month so I thought it was a great chance to review a few fire safety tips with you. Make sure your home doesn’t join this statistic by following the following tips:

  • Smoke Detectors – While it almost goes without saying, every home should have a smoke detector in every room. Smoke detectors can be picked up at any hardware store and are fairly inexpensive.

  • Create an Escape Route and Practice – In the event of a fire, getting your family out safely is the top priority. Create an escape route from each room in the house and practice it regularly. 

  • Don’t Overload Your Electrical – Never overload extension cords or the circuits in your house. Keep wires and cords away from rugs and other high-traffic areas. Make sure all plugs are fitted snugly in the outlet. A poor-fitting plug can overheat and ignite a fire quickly.

  • Keep Your Dryer Vent Clean – Clothes dryers are a common ignition source for house fires. Keep the lint trap clean and make sure your exhaust duct is clear. The exhaust duct should be made of metal tubing, not plastic. It is a good idea to clean behind the dryer at least twice a year.

  • Install a Sprinkler System – A quality sprinkler system will not only greatly increase your chances of surviving a house fire, it will also lower your insurance premiums and push up your property value. Sprinkler systems have dropped in price in recent years and are much more affordable than in the past.

  • Alternative Heat Sources – Whether you are using a fireplace or a space heater, pay close attention when using an alternative source of heat. A portable heater should be kept at least three feet away from anything flammable, including curtains and furniture. When using a fireplace be sure to use fire screens and have the chimney cleaned regularly.

If you have any questions about your current policy, give us a call at the office at any time.

Yours and your family’s safety is Our Agency’s #1 Priority

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5 Tips To Prevent Deer Collisions

You may have noticed in the recent weeks that deer sightings are becoming more prevalent.

Since we are unable to train deer to stay off the roads ☹ here are 5 tips to help you prevent and decrease
the danger of being involved in a deer-related auto accident:

  1. Deer generally travel together. If you see one, there are likely more close by.
  2. Look for deer-crossing signs. Pay attention while driving, and if you see a deer-crossing sign, slow down.
  3. Know what time it is. Deer are most active in the evening and following dusk, from around 6-9 PM.
  4. Another light tip… use the high or “bright” setting whenever possible while driving at night to help illuminate the roadway and assist you in seeing deer approaching.
  5. If you come up on a deer stopped in the road, DO NOT swerve to avoid the collision. Doing so could result in your complete loss of control of the vehicle and cause a more severe accident.

If you do have a collision, seek emergency help immediately and then contact our office and allow us to help you with any claims.

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Recipe of the Month: Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

I love Oreos and Fudge! I discovered an easy recipe that has combined both of those amazing treats together! And…. it’s so delicious that I had to share it with you!


  • 1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
  • 1 tub (8oz) COOL WHIP Topping, thawed, divided
  • 1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 8 OREO Cookies, chopped
  • 12 rectangular vanilla ice cream sandwiches


  1. Whisk fudge topping and 1 cup COOL WHIP in a medium bowl until blended. Add dry pudding mix; beat 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies.
  2. Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on a 24-inch-long sheet of Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil; top with half the COOL WHIP mixture. Repeat layers. Cover with remaining ice cream sandwiches.
  3. Frost the top and sides of the dessert with the remaining COOL WHIP.
  4. Fold foil up to make a packet.
  5. Freeze for 4 hours or until firm.


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Change Is In The Air

September is one of my favorite months. Maybe it’s the fighting spirit inside me, but I like to root for this ‘underdog’ month. Think about it…September is the month right before all of the major holidays start, and I think September doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

The heat of summer staves off and we welcome fall. After the hot summer we’ve had, I’m ready for there to be a bit of a chill in the air. If you’re a fan like me, you’ve likely been counting down the days until football season, which is finally here!

There is one pretty neat thing that happens in September that you might not know about. You might remember from grade school that each equinox and solstice we experience is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and orbit around the sun. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. Additionally, we have a solstice twice a year – summer and winter – when the sun reaches its highest and lowest points in the sky. When we experience the September Equinox on September 22nd, Earth’s two hemispheres will be receiving the sun’s rays equally. How’s that for a science lesson from an unlikely source?

I hope that you enjoyed a fun-filled summer with your family and are enjoying all that the changing of seasons brings.

Wishing you all the best this fall!

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Tips For Picking Your New Neighborhood

Our agency’s #1 priority is making sure that you and your family are both informed and insured. Our main purpose is to help you protect all that matters most, especially your family and your home.

Being in insurance, I get a lot of questions from friends, family, and clients who are looking to buy a new home about the many factors that go into choosing your next (and sometimes even first!) home, both relating to insurance and much more.

Here are a few common things that I like to make sure folks pay attention to when choosing their next home:

  • Public Services – Is the street that your dream home is sitting on clean and well-maintained? Are there sidewalks? Do you want/need public transportation, and if so, is it available nearby? Where’s the closest hospital and fire station? These are just a few things to consider and factor into your decision-making process based on their importance to you. This is something that you really need to pay attention to. If the bathroom or kitchen in your new home needs to be remodeled, no big deal, you can do that. You can’t build a new hospital around the corner.
  • School System – Even if you don’t currently have children, you might one day, and where they would go to school may be a strong factor in choosing your home. Being in a good school district can increase demand for your property, as well as give you a higher resale value if you choose to move again. Talk to your realtor, friends, family, and even those who already live in the neighborhood to get a good idea of what school area you prefer.

  • Crime Rates – It’s important to make sure that no matter where you choose to move, you’re in a safe neighborhood. Besides talking to your realtor and other industry professionals, like me, to get advice, you can take advantage of multiple free resources, like www.crimereports.com which provides you with free minute by minute updated crime maps and crime reports for your local area. 

  • Noise & Traffic – If these are important factors to you, you certainly want to do a bit of research. Pay attention to where your new home is located, if it’s in a busy or slower area. Also be sure to check out the neighborhood at different times of the day, as well as noting traffic patterns you see. Talk to people who already live in the area if at all possible, as they can give you a realistic opinion.

I hope these tips help you in making a decision about your new home. Of course, you’ll need homeowner’s insurance too, so don’t forget to call or come by the office so we can make sure you’ve got the coverage you need to protect your new home.

Happy house hunting!

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