Tips for Staying Safe this 4th of July

With one of the biggest holidays of summer quickly approaching, Al Bourdeau Insurance Agency would like to wish everyone a fun and safe holiday weekend!

As much fun as the 4th of July can be, it is also one of the most accident filled days of the year.

With activities such as fireworks, boating, swimming, bar-be-cue’s, camping, bonfires, and with the abnormal amount of people traveling the possibilities for accidents to occur is unlimited.

 

We at Al Bourdeau Insurance Agency wish nothing but safe travels and a happy holiday weekend to everyone around for the 4th of July holiday. Unfortunately, we realize that how likely it is for a terrible accident to occur on a busy holiday such as this.

We have created a list of tips for anyone participating in 4th of July activities to help ensure a safe and fun holiday.

 

FIREWORKS SAFETY

  • Remember to only buy fireworks from a reputable dealer.
  • Never use a firework that has been wet or tampered with.
  • If you light a firework that is a “dud” and it does not go off, do not touch, or go near the firework for at least 20 minutes.
  • After any firework that you light have gone off, make sure to soak the empty shell in water before disposing of it.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or hose on hand in case of a fire.

 

GRILLING SAFETY

  • If you are grilling, never leave a lit grill unattended.
  • Make sure that there are no children or pets around that could possibly get burned.
  • Make sure to always grill outdoors, in a safe, spacious area.
  • If using a charcoal grill, make sure charcoal is completely done burning and pour water on the coals before disposing of.
  • Always use proper grilling tools.
  • Use little lighter fluid, if any, while starting the grill.
  • Never spray lighter fluid on a lit grill, or charcoal grill with coals already burning.
  • Always keep water, or a hose nearby in case of a fire.

 

WATER SAFETY

  • Never leave your children unsupervised.
  • When a child is around water, make sure they are wearing a proper flotation device.
  • Do not swim or boat under the influence of alcohol.
  • Only swim where a lifeguard or someone supervising is present.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Make sure when boating that all passengers have a proper life jacket available.
  • Pay attention to everyone else. There is no shortage of drunken boaters on the 4th.

 

TRAVEL SAFETY

  • Make sure you have the proper supplies in your car if you happen to break down.
  • Carry an extra stash of money solely for emergency purposes while on the road.
  • Be an assertive driver. Most of the time it is the other people on the road that you need to watch out for.
  • Plan everything in advance: Maps, pit stops, food, bathroom breaks, etc.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or get in a car with someone under the influence of alcohol.
  • Never drive if you are noticeably tired. If you think you are going to fall asleep pull over and take a nap.

 

The last thing any of us want is for someone to get killed or injured in any way, shape, or form during this 4th of July. The best way to prevent a great weekend from turning into a tragic one is by using your head, always thinking safety first, and making sure to always look after yourself and the others around you.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Safety Suggestions, Courtesy of the Accident Fund

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Avoid Mower Hazards — Tips for Staying Safe this Summer

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Machinery and tools used by groundskeepers each come with their own dangers. While lawn mowers seem relatively safe, they can be lethal in the hands of an inexperienced or careless operator. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 200,000 people are injured in lawn mower-related accidents each year.
The following safety tips will help keep employees safe while mowing: Before starting the mower

  • Read the manual. User manuals explain proper procedures that must be followed to ensure operator safety. Proper training should also be provided for anyone who will be operating a mower.
  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Proper shoes, such as steel-toed boots, long pants and eyewear with impact-resistant lenses are a must. Earplugs and gloves are highly recommended. Dust masks may be used to prevent inhalation of dust and other air particles, but should not be used when working with chemicals, toxic gases or when there is an oxygen deficiency.
  • Clear the lawn before mowing. Objects can be thrown from a mower blade with significant force causing serious injury or death. Always clear your mowing path of sticks, rocks, toys, etc. Also, adjust your cutting height before starting the mower.
  • Check guards and shields. Be sure all protective devices are in place prior to starting the mower. Never remove the guards.
  • If the lawn is wet — wait!

Staying safe while mowing

  • Watch where you’re mowing. Never run mower over gravel, stones or hard, immovable objects, such as pipes, rocks or sidewalk edges.
  • Stay clear of the blade housing and the discharge chute. Never point discharge chute at others.
  • Do not fill the gas tank while the engine is running or hot. Always let the mower cool before adding fuel and be sure to do so outdoors.
  • Turn off the mower before making adjustments. Operators should never adjust or manipulate any part of the equipment while the mower is running.
  • Never allow extra riders on riding mowers. Extra riders can easily be thrown from or fall off the mower. They also distract the operator and can contribute to careless mistakes.
  • When leaving the seat, the operator should disengage the power take off, engage the brake, stop the engine and wait for all parts to stop moving before dismounting.
  • Do not use riding mowers on steep slopes. Operating a mower on uneven ground is the No. 1 cause of rollover accidents. Drive up and down slopes when operating a riding mower. Mow across the slope when using a walk-behind mower.

After mowing

  • Store gasoline outside or in a well-ventilated area away from any heat source.
  • Disconnect spark plug or power cord before working on your mower.
  • Regularly check and perform maintenance on your mower, including guards, tires, brakes, engine, etc.

Accident Fund is committed to providing our policyholders unrivaled WorkSafe Consulting Services and online safety materials.
If you’re an Accident Fund policyholder, log onto our website at www.accidentfund.com and check out our WorkSafe Toolbox and other available safety tools.

For more information on the article and Accident Fund, click on the link below

http://www.accidentfund.com/worksafe/solutions/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=June+WorkSafe+Solutions&utm_content=June+WorkSafe+Solutions+CID_cd61fd287d18f56784bcde58cc7c73ce&utm_source=NewsLink&utm_term=Read+More
 

Accident Fund Insurance Company of America Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Lansing, Mich., Accident Fund Insurance  Company of America is a licensed workers’ compensation insurer in 48 states and  the District of Columbia. Accident Fund is rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best  and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accident Fund Holdings, Inc., the 13th  largest workers’ compensation insurer in the United States. For more  information, visit Accident Fund’s website atwww.accidentfund.com.

Categories: Uncategorized

Home Thefts – theft from both vacant and occupied homes are chronic problems. Here are some practical tips for reduce the risk to your property.

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

I was reading two articles this morning. One was published in the Metro Times about a 71-year old woman who stayed at her niece’s for a week only to return to find her home scrapped and destroyed. It’s a heart breaking story. http://metrotimes.com/culture/broken-home-1.1288386

I was also reading a discussion from insurance professionals discussing the increased occurrence of illegal scrapping from construction sites and vacant buildings. The solutions discussed were not all applicable to the typical home owner or property owner.

One of the insurance professionals shared a link to an article with some excellent information that can you understand how to make your home a less interesting target. Having your home broken burglarized or vandalized is upsetting even if you have adequate insurance protection. Maybe you’ll find some useful ideas here to avoid becoming the next victim:   http://www.crimedoctor.com/home.htm

Bizarre- Allstate “study” suggests that zodiac signs show differences in accident rates. From an article in Insurance Networking News, individuals born under the sign of Virgo are 700% more likely to have an accident than those born under the sign of Scorpio. WHAT???

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

I can’t help but be appalled by this announcement from Allstate. I hope that the article from Insurance Networking News is just wrong. http://www.insurancenetworking.com/news/claims_zodiac_auto_insurance_underwriting_Ophiuchus_Allstate-27005-1.html

As an example, of what is being alleged:

  • “…Allstate decided to compare its claims data against the revised zodiac calendar, and came to a few conclusions.  Virgos, known to be critical, meticulous and reserved, are also more likely to get into a car accident, while Scorpios are least likely. Over the past year, Virgos were nearly 700% more likely to be in a car accident when compared to the determined and aware Scorpio, the best drivers in the study.”

Jaw-drops.

I still cannot find the study or even a mention of the study directly from Allstate, but these same comments were all over the news media last week.  

And now I find followup to the above referenced article where Allstate allegedly clarifies their findings. First, it says that Allstate has removed the study from their website.  Secondly, 

Yet the article linked above doesn’t even begin to suggest that they made an error in their analysis, or that the analysis was a joke. 

All I can say is that we love Virgo’s at Al Bourdeau Insurance Agency. We love Scorpio’s too. Now you see why it is really important to shop your insurance!

Categories: Bizarre, WOW!

Being a “member” can have a major downside. If you are a member of a homeowner association or a condominium association, you could find yourself on the hook for expenses for which you were totally unprepared. I’m talking about Loss Assessment. Your home/condo association might own and maintain shared spaces used by all members: a pool, a lake, a road, a recreation center. Losses connected with these shared spaces might be charged back to you. Make sure that your PERSONAL insurance policy is designed to protect you from such losses.

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Loss Assessment refers to the situation where a home or condo owner is billed for certain unexpected expenses incurred by their association. All condo owners are members of their condo association. Home owners are often members of a Home Owners Association. These associations are typically the entities that own and maintain shared spaces that are used by all members: a pool, a lake, a road, a recreation center. Let’s suppose that a playground owned by the association was severely damaged. One would hope that the Association would have an insurance policy in place to cover this loss. What if it doesn’t? What if the loss exceeds the limit of the policy? What if the loss is not covered by the policy? What if the association is sued for injuries on the playground equipment?

The bottom line is this. Such associations can easily incur costs not covered by the Association’s insurance policy. When this happens, the Association will typically assess its members to cover the cost. Maybe the Association carries a $500,000 liability policy, and is sued for $750,000. That’s $250,000 not covered by insurance. If there are 50 condos/homes in the association, each could be billed for $5,000 to pay their portion of the expense. 

If you, the home/condo owner is assessed for losses, then where are you going to find that money to pay the assessment? You savings account? Your child’s college fund? A better place to look is in your personal homeowner or condominium owner insurance policy.

Most homeowner and condominium owner insurance policies have a small built-in amount to cover loss assessment, and it would normally appear as a line item on your insurance policy declaration page. The built-in amount varies from company to company, often between $1,000 and $2,500.

How much do you think you should have? That’s not a question we can answer but you should consider what kinds of community resources are maintained by your association, how dangerous those resources might be, and you might even want to ask what is covered by your association’s insurance policy.

But consider this. I just peeked at the cost of $50,000 of Loss Assessment coverage on one of our homeowner policies. The cost of $50,000 of protection was $13. That’s a tremendous protection for very little money. 

Read a little more about some other examples of the value of this neat little coverage in the article below!

The Value of Loss Assessment Coverage

By Joel W. Meskin, Esq

http://njcooperator.com/articles/271/1/The-Value-of-Loss-Assessment-Coverage/Page1.html

Categories: Know Your Policy

It appears that on 12/16/2010 a new law went into effect that allows for you to take a driver improvement class to have a moving violation kept off your driving record! It doesn’t look like you can erase old tickets, but a new (minor) violation might be fixable. Read more on the blog for some of the details from the new law and a link so you can read it yourself!

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s what appears to be the crux of the law:

  • Sec. 320d.    ….    the secretary of state shall not enter the points corresponding to a moving violation committed by an individual …  on the individual’s driving record or make information concerning that violation available to any insurance company if the individual attends and successfully completes a basic driver improvement course ….  within 60 days ….

Now those dot-dot-dots up there create all kinds of “exceptions” and “conditions” to when this can all happen. For one, the violation has to be minor, like 3 pts or less.  You have to have a relatively clean driving record.  It was the only ticket received for that incident. You’ve never done the driver improvement course before. Etc. When you add it all up all the conditions, it might look like your chances of benefiting from the law are small or that it’s too complicated.

Well here’s some food for thought.

First, the law seems to require that Secretary of State to advise you that you are eligible to get the ticket erased. So it doesn’t look like you have to worry about all these conditions.

Second, the insurance cost associated with getting a ticket can be STEEP. If you do have the chance to erase one, it is going to be worth it. Tickets add cost to you insurance for 3-5 years!

Lastly, young drivers tend to be the worst drivers and are therefore the most expensive to insure. If you are or have a young driver, and that young driver is ticketed, cross your fingers that you get a chance to erase it under this law.

I’m not sure how much of an impact this law will have in the end, but knowing about it might prompt you to act when this bad news comes to you.  And in the end, a little extra drivers education can only help. It’s really about safety when it all comes down to it.

Read the actual law at the link below:

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2009-2010/publicact/pdf/2010-PA-0289.pdf

Categories: Money Saving Tips

Some helpful tips to protect against identity theft

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

During the holidays, it is easy to drop your guard and find yourself a victim of the ever increasing risk of Identify Fraud. Don’t wait to become a victim. There are actions you can take that can lessen the risk of being defrauded. You can further protect yourself by purchasing Identify Fraud Insurance, a type of insurance policy that pays to help you put your life back together after  being defrauded.

Below are some simple tips that can help lower your chances of being a victim!

  1. Shred any papers that have your name, address and account numbers on them, especially credit card, debit card and bank account information.
  2. Don’t leave credit cards or checkbooks lying around. Some experts say we are most likely to be victimized by friends and relatives. 
  3. Don’t put outgoing bills in your mailbox and never put the flag up for collection. This is a signal for thieves who can drive by and steal from your mailbox.
  4. Secure your home internet connection with encryption, especially if you do a lot of online shopping. 
  5. Don’t click on links in emails that come to you unsolicited from retailers. Most of these are phishes, or fraudulent emails, which will take you to a fake website where crooks can steal any information you enter.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Categories: Fraud, Preventing a Loss