How to celebrate July 4 in New England


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Here in New England, everything about the upcoming July 4 weekend looks promising – the weather looks spectacular, gas prices are low and the region is chock full of events and celebrations. We’ve listed links to information on some of New England’s best July 4 celebrations below … and we send you on your way with the requisite reminders about firework safety and holiday driving safety. Not to be a Debbie Downer but the rods will be packed and July 4 ranks as “the deadliest single day of the year to be on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).”

But with those cautions in mind, here are some ideas for your weekend!

When guarding against summer burglaries, don’t forget your yard


There are more than two million home burglaries per year, according to the FBI, and the highest percentage of burglaries occurs during the summer months. It’s not hard to figure out why. It’s peak vacation season so a lot of homes are empty; plus, with warm weather, there’s an increase in the number of doors and windows left open, which make accessibility easier. According to Safeguard the World:

  • About 30 percent of all burglaries are through an open or unlocked window or door.
  • Windows are left unlocked at a much higher rate than doors.
  • An open window that is visible from the street may be the sole reason that a house is targeted.
  • An open window with only a locked window screen is particularly inviting to thieves. Access is quick, easy and silent.

See more statistics along with prevention tips.

One other seasonal vulnerability is highlighted in a recent survey conducted by one of our insurer partners. American Modern Insurance points out that in good weather, there are simply more unsecured “backyard valuables” lying around: bikes, sporting equipment, grilles, lawn furniture – all relatively easy targets for thieves. Copper coils from air conditioners and other metallic items can be sold for scrap metal.

“An American Modern survey of more than 500 adults living in the US, indicated that 31 percent do not take proactive steps to secure property and personal items located on the outside of the home. Additionally, the survey indicated that respondents were most likely to take steps to protect their electronics (42%), as well as jewelry and watches (23%) inside their homes, and less likely to do so with outdoor/recreational items (18%). The survey was conducted through Google in June 2016.”

In their press release, American Modern offers 10 tips, which we reproduce here:

1. Install strong door locks and deadbolts. Choose a lock that is proven to withstand drilling or picking.

2. Reinforce doorjambs and strike plates. Most often, structural failures occur when strike plates separate from doorframes.

3. Apply window security film. This prevents glass breakage and can deter a smash-and-grab.

4. Lock your windows. If your windows don’t already have locks, add them. Or, drill small holes into the upper and lower sashes at their overlap point and insert removable eyebolts.

5. Close and lock your shed and garage every night. Make sure your vehicles are under cover and secure before you head out of town. On a smaller scale, stolen tools and lawn equipment are also a lucrative theft item, so ensure these items are securely stored away. The garage can also serve as a common entry point for burglars.

6. When away from home, don’t advertise your absence. Put temporary holds on mail and newspaper delivery, or have a trusted neighbor collect them. Put lights on staggered timers. Also, avoid posting on social media about your travel plans, which can increase the risk of burglaries and break-ins while you are away from your property.

7. Keep valuables outside the bedroom. Thieves on the hunt for valuables will likely make the master bedroom their first stop to scout out jewelry or cash. Keep these items in a different room instead.

8. Put in motion-activated outdoor lighting. Make sure entry points are especially well-lit.

9. Organize a Neighborhood Watch. Meet your neighbors and deter theft!

10. Vehicles and items left in them. Most vehicle-related thefts take place in under 20 seconds. Never leave loose items on the seats or dash; lock them in the trunk or, better yet, take them inside with you. If you have a garage at home, use it. If you must park on the street, install a loud alarm system with a visible, blinking dash light.

Thinking about home renovation? Three words: Planning, planning, planning


Home renovation can increase the value of your home, protect your investment, and make your home a more enjoyable place to live. But if you’re thinking about renovating, it’s really important not to shortchange the planning process.

Consumer Reports has some good start-to-finish advice for you in a recent issue. In addition to the short video clip in this post, they offer advice in the article, Home Renovation Without Aggravation. They outline steps you should take in the planning phase through the work phase, with tips to to help combat shady contractor practices and avoid common and costly mistakes many homeowners make.

The feature also includes these useful articles:

One important consideration in any home renovation is maximizing your investment, particularly for resale value. Not all renovations are created equal, some yield a better return than others. We like the infographic and accompanying article from Fix.com: Six Renovations that Actually Increase the Value of Your Home.


Source: Fix.com Blog

Insurance quiz time! Test your knowledge


Think you know a lot about insurance? Let’s find out. InsureUOnline – a consumer insurance educational resource site – offers a series of quizzes that test your insurance smarts. Here are a few to get you started – click the images to access the quizzes.

Insurance for the “under 30” crowd

under-30

Insurance for domestic partners

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Insurance for young families

young-families

Insurance for seniors

seniors
You can find more quizzes, games and apps at InsureUonline or explore other topics. The site is sponsored by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) so it is a very reputable source of information about insurance.

5 steps to kid car seat safety


1. Know your state law: Child Passenger Safety Laws

2. Get the right seat for your child and your vehicle. Learn more about the four Car Seat Types. Make sure you use a car seat that fits your child’s current size and age. Use this chart to learn about Car Seat by Child’s Age and Size

3. Find a car seat. The Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that lets you do just that. Simply enter your child’s birth date, weight and height above, and you’ll be provided car seat type results that fit your child according to NHTSA’s best practices recommendations.

All car seats rated by NHTSA meet Federal Safety Standards & strict crash performance standards. While all rated seats are safe, they do differ in their ease of use in four basic categories:

  • Evaluation of Instructions
  • Vehicle Installation Features
  • Evaluation of Labels
  • Securing the Child

Learn more about car seat ease-of-use ratings. To help with finding the right seat, you can also use the Consumer Reports ratings & Buyers’ Guides

4. Learn how to install your car seat correctly. This page offers videos and advice for the different types of kid car seats.

5. Register your car seat so you will be sure to get any car seat recall notices that might be issued

Other resources:

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