Tips To Protect Your Vehicle During Pothole Season

Every year as spring rolls around and winter is in the rearview, New England drivers are faced with the havoc it wreaked on the roadways — potholes. After months of ice, freezing rain, fluctuating temperatures, and snowstorms, cracks start to develop and eventually turn into potholes under the weight of passing cars. As harmless as they may seem, driving over a single pothole can result in thousands of dollars in damages to your vehicle or leave you stranded on the side of the road. From popped tires to dented rims, dislodged wheels and even body damage to your car, it’s important to be extra mindful this time of year and take every precaution to avoid direct contact. 

Here are 5 tips to protect your vehicle this pothole season:

 

  • Inspect your tires

 

Tires provide the most important level of protection between your vehicle and a pothole. Before you leave, do a quick check of your tires for nails, worn-down tread, and deflation. Staying on top of these three indicators can help you avoid an unexpected flat tire. If you experience low tire pressure, your maintenance guide will tell you what the appropriate PSI (pounds per square inch) is for your vehicle.

 

  • Keep an eye on the road ahead of you

 

If you spot a pothole in advance, you may have time to safely avoid it. Remain alert and avoid distractions to best be prepared. If you do spot a pothole, check your mirrors and surrounding traffic before you swerve to avoid causing a collision or endangering a pedestrian or cyclist.

 

  • Drive slow

 

If you can’t avoid contact, slow down as much as possible. Hitting one of these at 20 miles per hour will inflict far less damage than if you hit one at 60 miles per hour, avoiding serious issues with your wheel and suspension systems.

 

  • Avoid puddles.

 

Where there’s a puddle, there’s likely a pothole underneath it and the water can make it difficult to know how big and deep the pothole is. Try to avoid them entirely if you can safely do so.

 

  • Conduct regular maintenance.

 

As always, the best way to prevent a problem is to take preventative measures. Performing regular maintenance on your vehicle can help identify potential issues and is your best bet for avoiding a costly claim. Stay up to date on routine procedures and be mindful of anything out of the ordinary, for example, hearing noises, noticing a slight veer to the left or right, or feeling a new vibration as you drive. These can all indicate vulnerabilities that can lead to costly problems if you hit a pothole.

We hope these tips help keep you and your vehicle safe this pothole season and beyond. If you have any related questions, please visit our website to find a local agent near you: https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm

 

20 Insurance Terms Everyone Should Know

When it comes to reading your insurance policy, do you find yourself scanning the pages with no clear understanding of what it all means? The jargon unique to the insurance industry can be confusing whether you’re new to coverage or have several policies to your name. We’re here to help. Our team at Quincy Mutual Group has put together a list of 20 common keywords we guarantee you’ll come across when reviewing your policy and what they mean.

1. Actual cash value (ACV) — The amount equal to the replacement cost minus depreciation of lost, stolen, or damaged property, vehicles, or items. Essentially, this is the actual cost you could sell it for, which is likely less than what it would cost to replace it.

Oftentimes, actual cash value coverage is a less-expensive insurance option.

2. Adjuster — An adjuster is an individual who investigates your claim. They determine if the loss is covered, estimate damage, and can process a reimbursement if applicable.

3. Agent — An insurance agent is someone who sells insurance policies for an insurance company or carrier (insurer). They will help guide you through the insurance process, understand your needs, and find the right policy for you.

4. Bodily injury — This refers to an injury a person sustains in an auto accident, on your property, etc. that you may be liable for if found at fault.

5. Carrier — A carrier is another word for the insurance company that provides you with your policy. An insurance agency may partner with a number of carriers to help offer the best insurance solutions to their customers.

6. Claim — A claim refers to any request for payment within the bounds of an insurance policy. For example, if you experience a home fire, you would file a claim, requesting that your insurance carrier investigate and issue payment for damages and loss. Similarly, a claimant refers to the person requesting the payment.

7. Coverage — Coverage is the protections or benefits your insurance policy provides. These are outlined in your policy or contract and can be found on your declarations page (see No.10).

8. Damage — Any loss, destruction, or harm to a person or property, such as a vehicle or home, or insured valuable.

9. Damages — Unlike damage, this refers to the actual money one individual or party is required legally to pay to another in the event of liability or loss.

10. Declarations page — Your declarations page includes the essential information regarding your insurance policy. It will include policyholder information, such as name, address, and policy number, as well as coverages, limits, premiums, deductibles, and dates of coverage.

11. Deductible — A deductible is the amount of money that you, the insured, are required to pay before the insurance company takes over. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible on your auto policy but are in an accident that results in $5,000 in damages, you would pay $1,000 and the policy would pay the remaining $4,000. Deductibles will vary across policies and your insurance agent can help determine what works best for you.

12. Endorsement — An amendment or addition to your existing policy to include extra coverage not already listed in your policy.

13. Estimate — The total amount of money required to repair or replace the covered property, vehicle, or item when damaged. This number is typically determined by the claims adjuster.

14. Insured — This refers to the person(s) that an insurance policy covers. For example, if you have a renters insurance policy, you are the insured in that contract. 

15. Liability — Any legal obligation or responsibility one party has for causing damage, injury, or loss to another party. For example, if someone slips and falls on an icy walkway at your home resulting in broken bones, you may be found liable for the bodily injury.

16. Limits — A limit refers to the maximum amount of protection your insurance company will pay for a specific coverage in any given claim. This amount is agreed upon before issuing the policy and can be found on your declaration page. For example, your insurer may have a limit of $50,000 per incident and anything beyond that will be the responsibility of the insured.

17. Loss — In the context of insurance, “loss” refers to damage caused to an insured piece of property. A “covered loss” refers to any damage or injury that an insurance policy specifically provides protection for. For example, a homeowners policy typically has hail damage slated as a “covered loss.” Flood damage, however, is typically not a “covered loss” even though the loss took place on an insured piece of property.

18. Policyholder — This is yet another term you might frequently hear or see that refers to the person or entity an insurance policy covers, like “insured,” and would appear on the declarations page. A policy can have multiple insureds, yet only one policyholder.

19. Premium — This is the amount the insured pays their insurance company in exchange for coverage. These can be monthly, quarterly, or annual payments that are required regardless of loss, damage, or accident.

20. Replacement cost coverage — Unlike the actual cash value, replacement cost refers to the cost of replacing property without subtracting depreciation due to normal use or wear and tear. For example, if you have boat insurance, replacement cost coverage would pay to replace that boat with an identical model, or a model of comparable quality.

We hope this guide helps you better understand your insurance policy. To find an agent near you who can help explore your insurance options, please visit our website.

Home Fire Prevention Guide

Your house is more than just a house, it’s a home where you’ve created lifelong memories with family and friends. While our homes are often a safe space, there are also a number of safety risks to be mindful of. Over the past five years, home fires have been the cause of 2,620 deaths and $6.9 billion in property damage, according to the NFPA. From electrical problems to cooking, heating, decor, and more, there are a number of causes of home fires but many of them are preventable. 

The holiday season is a peak time for one of these instances, with 51% of December home fires starting from candles, compared to those in January and November. To help keep you, your family, and your home safe, here are some prevention and safety tips to practice the holiday season and beyond.  

Key Home Fire Stats

To understand how important it is to keep preventative measures a priority, here are a few key home fire stats you may not be aware of from the National Fire Prevention Association:

  • The top three causes of home fires are cooking, heating equipment, and electrical malfunctions. 
  • It takes just 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a major blaze. 
  • An average of 70.3% of Americans has access to a fire extinguisher. 
  • Every year, there’s an average of 358,300 U.S. home-based fires.
  • Fire departments and fire services across the U.S. respond to a fire roughly every 24 seconds. 
  • Christmas tree fires cause $17.5 million in damages annually. 
  • Most fires that are started by candles as a heat source happen on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. 

General Safety Tips

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test them frequently to make sure they work and change the batteries every 6 months.
  • Create multiple escape plans and practice them with your family. Create a role for everyone and identify various exits. If you have a second or third level to your home, consider keeping a fire ladder in each bedroom. 
  • Keep grills and fryers at least 3 feet away from your house and trees or bushes.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything flammable. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Have a professional inspect and service chimneys, fireplaces, wood stoves and furnaces annually.
  • If someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration, and sound.
  • Store flammable chemicals and products properly and far away from electrical wires or sources of heat. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on every level of your home and teach everyone in your family how to use them. They should have an ABC rating, making them usable for all types of fires. 

Prevention Tips for the Kitchen and Beyond

  • Keep an eye on your cooking — unattended cooking equipment is a leading cause of home fires. 
  • Keep cooking appliances clear of combustible materials such as rags, towels and packaging materials. 
  • Avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen — multiple people working simultaneously can lead to accidents.
  • Keep children away from all cooking areas.
  • If you use space heaters in the colder months, only turn them on when you’re in the room and keep away from blankets, clothing, and any other flammable materials.
  • If you use your fireplace, make sure all embers are extinguished before you go to bed or leave the house. 
  • Never leave burning candles or open flames unattended. If you do burn candles, always:
  • Use sturdy holders. Keep candles away from children and pets.
  • Extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the room.
  • Burn candles on even surfaces.
  • Keep candles away from upholstery or window coverings.

What to do in the event of a fire

We hope these prevention tips help avoid a home fire, but should you experience one, here’s what to do:

  • Get out and stay out. Find a safe place far away from your home while fire emergency responders contain the blaze. 
  • If you have kids, check on them and make sure they feel safe.
  • Have your pets checked by a veterinarian, lung damage and burns below their fur can often go unnoticed and cause severe implications. 
  • Call family and friends in the event you need a place to stay.
  • Contact your local insurance agent to alert them about the incident. 
  • Get a copy of the fire report as soon as it’s available. 
  • When safe, recover possessions and begin making notes on your home inventory for insurance purposes
  • Prioritize the mental wellbeing of your family. Fires can be incredibly stressful mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. In the aftermath of a fire, it’s important to take care of your family first and foremost.

We hope these tips will help you prevent a home fire. To find an agent near you who can help explore your insurance options, please visit our website.

How To Avoid These 5 Common Home Insurance Claims

Every year, 1 in 15 homeowners will file a home insurance claim. No matter where you live, it’s likely that at some point in your homeownership, one of these instances will happen to you. Some claims are inevitable, but there are a number of things you can do to help reduce your risk of having to file one. 

Here are the most common insurance claims and how you can prevent them:

Wind and Hail 

In New England, we’re prone to strong storms year-round. Wind can arise, seemingly out of nowhere, and uproot trees, cause downed branches, and even sweep the shingles right off your roof. Similarly, even a light hailstorm can cause property damage to your roof and windows.

If a storm is coming, store loose furniture in a safe place and make sure you have enough emergency supplies for at least 72 hours. If hurricane-like wind and rain are expected, you may want to consider boarding up your windows and doors. You can learn more about preparing for a hurricane here

Above all, be sure to monitor the weather. Being prepared is the best defense against significant damage.

Fire 

There are a number of reasons a fire can start inside and outside your home. From unattended candles and fireplaces to kitchen accidents, home decor, and backyard grills, hazards are around every corner. Even a natural disaster like lightning can send a house up in flames in mere seconds. 

To protect your home and more importantly, your family:

  • Always have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home. 
  • Make an emergency evacuation plan.
  • Never leave open flames unattended.
  • Keep all gas tanks and grills a minimum of 10 feet from your home or other structures on your property. 
  • Don’t use a gas stove or fireplace to heat your home.
  • Ensure electrical wires are out of reach of children and pets. 
  • If you think you smell gas in your home, immediately go outside and away from your home and call the gas company.

Water Damage 

Perhaps one of the most frustrating problems as a homeowner is water damage. It can happen often, especially if you’re in a flood zone or an area prone to significant rainfall, and it may not be covered under your current policy. From freezing pipes in the fall and winter to storms in the spring and summer, you can experience water damage at any time. 

To reduce your risk, make sure doors and windows are properly sealed and gutters are cleaned. Once a year, you may always want to have your roof inspected for loose shingles. 

If you do experience significant water damage, we offer a sump pump coverage amendment. Contact us to learn more about your options

Liability 

Home insurance protects your physical home and belongings, but did you know it also protects you from a lawsuit? For example, a guest visits your home and they slip and fall on a wet staircase, then sue you for damages. Having insurance will save thousands in court and legal fees.

To help prevent accidents, make sure safety is always a priority before you have guests at your home. If you have a pool or trampoline, ensure that kids are never unattended. Also, keep walkways and staircases clear of debris. You can learn more about hosting safety tips on our blog here.

Theft and Loss

Damage and loss unfortunately happen, but there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk. 

First, even having a security sign in your yard can deter potential intruders. Keep walkways and doorways well lit at night so there are few hiding places and make sure to lock all doors and windows. Having an alarm system can always help protect your home and valuables when you’re in the house or away. To learn more about how to protect your home while you’re away on vacation, read our blog.

We hope these tips help you protect your family and your home. If you have more questions, we work with over 500 independent agents who are ready to help. Visit our website to find a local agent near you: bit.ly/QuincyFindAgent

How to build a car emergency kit

In the United States, there are an estimated 6 million car accidents each year. This means there are 6 million times drivers are at risk for being in an emergency situation that could leave them stranded or in need of medical attention. Of those accidents, nearly 391,000 people are injured annually as a result of distracted driving. These accidents could be avoided if drivers follow state and national guidelines.  With this number on the rise, are you prepared in the event of an accident?

Planning ahead can help you remain calm in the event of an accident or if you find yourself having car trouble on the side of the road. If you have a car emergency kit, you’re a step ahead and might just be able to prevent any further complications or injuries. 

Why you need a car emergency it?

An accident can happen at any time or your car can break down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road for extended periods of time. If you have an emergency kit, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones while you wait for emergency responders to assist you. Having even a few of these essentials on hand can help you have peace of mind should the unexpected happen.

What to include

In addition to emergency essentials like jumper cables and a basic car toolkit, there are a few items you should keep in your car at all times. Not sure where to start? Here are some of the key items you should include. 

  • First aid kit — this should have the basics for medical emergencies including but not limited to backup medications, bandages and gauze, splints, sterile pads, and gloves.
  • Portable charger — if your car battery dies, this will help you keep your cellphone working as long as possible to call for help.
  • Bottled water — you should keep several bottles in your car whenever you travel far distances.
  • Cash — if you’re traveling a far distance, you should always have cash on hand in the event of an emergency. 
  • Blankets — if you break down or experience an accident in cold weather, a blanket will help keep you and your passengers warm to prevent hypothermia.
  • Flashlight — this should be one that you can manually charge should the batteries run out.
  • Non-perishable snacks — some of the best items to keep in your emergency kit for nourishment are granola bars and nuts.
  • Reflectors — emergency hazard triangles to place near the rear of your car to alert oncoming traffic of your disabled vehicle.
  • Map — if you get lost, a map can help guide you to safer roads if you should lose cell phone service.
  • Windshield wiper fluid and ice scrapers — if you get caught in a storm without these items, you won’t have visibility should you find a way to drive to safety.
  • Shovel — in the winter, a shovel is essential to help you dig yourself out if you’re trapped in a snowbank or out of the mud in the warmer months.

We hope these tips help you stay safe on the road should the unexpected happen. If you have any related questions, please visit our website to find a local agent near you: https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm 

 

6 Essential Times To Review Your Insurance Policy

 

When life changes, so should your insurance. In addition to your annual renewal, there are several events that might require an amendment to your current policy. Making a major purchase, expanding your family, and even completing some DIY projects around your home are all important moments where your current coverage may not be enough. An insurance review can provide peace of mind in knowing that your family and your assets are protected should the unexpected happen. 

No matter where life takes you, here are six essential times we recommend you review your policy in addition to your annual review. 

 

  • A change in your career or lifestyle. Are you traveling more or less for work or leisure? Did you have a significant change in your income or retire? These are key moments when you should review your policy and make sure your coverage is aligned with your new lifestyle. 
  • Life-changing family events. Marriage, divorce, a new baby, adoption, loss of a loved one, and sending a child off to college are common life moments where you may forget to check your insurance policy. Even bringing aging parents into your household can require updated coverage. Don’t wait until your annual review if you experience any of these throughout the year. 
  • Additions to your home. If you’ve added a pool to your backyard, completed a renovation on your home, or even finished a DIY project around the house, you should make sure your current home insurance policy is enough to cover it. Depending on the project, you may even need additional liability coverage if there is an increased risk of injury.
  • A new pet. Bringing a new pet into the family is common for many households — especially over the past year. If you do bring a four-legged friend home, make sure to review your policy and ensure you’re covered. 
  • New drivers in the family or new uses of your vehicles. For those with a new driver in the house, you will need to add them to your policy. Similarly, if you’re using your vehicle to be a delivery driver or for another new service, make sure you connect with your local agent and update your policy to reflect these changes.
  • Starting a new business. From selling crafts online to offering consulting services out of your home, and everything in between, you need to review your policy. Your standard home insurance policy likely does not cover any loss related to business, so you’ll need to adjust your coverage should you start one. 

 

In addition to these common life changes, there are a number of times you might want to check in with your insurance agent to review your policy. For example, installing a new security system, a rise in the threat of natural disasters in your area, and even adding a trampoline to your yard may all have an effect on your coverage. To be on the safe side, we recommend you check in with your agent throughout the year to make sure you’re protected through all of life’s changes. 

We’re proud to partner with more than 500 local, independent agents who are dedicated to helping you find a policy tailored to your needs and happy to help you review your policy. Visit our website to find one today. https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm

 

6 Reasons to Insure With an Independent Agent

At Quincy Mutual Group, we believe “to insure is human”, and when you need an insurance policy, you’re really seeking protection for what matters most. Whether it’s for a business you’ve built from the ground up, a house that you’ve made a home, or even a valuable piece of art that has been passed down through generations of your family, we understand how important these policies can be. 

Today, there are endless coverage options available at your fingertips. Though it may be tempting to sign up for an insurance policy online, there are a number of disadvantages to this approach over working with a local, independent insurance agent. If you’re shopping around for a new policy or just want to explore your options, here are just a few of the reasons to consider insuring with a local agent. 

Personalized service

You’re not just a number to an independent insurance agent. They take the time to get to know you and your needs to help you find the best coverage. Over time, they’ll become more familiar with you, your family, your business, and can anticipate changes you may need to make to your policy and can update you on new opportunities for coverage or reduced rates. Lee Gaudette of Gaudette Insurance, one of our independent agent partners, says it best, The main advantage of working with an independent insurance agency is that your agent is on your side. The agent’s first allegiance is to your interests. In every other method of buying insurance, such as going direct, every person you interact with owes their first allegiance to the insurance company.  In addition, independent agents represent multiple insurance carriers and are best able to match your particular needs to the products of different insurers which results in the best combination of coverage and cost.”

Choice of insurers

As Lee Gaudette quoted above, working with multiple carriers is a tremendous bonus when you work with an independent agent. Your agent can obtain quotes from more than one source, ultimately helping find the best rate available for your needs. Insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all product and what makes sense for one customer may not be the right fit for another. An independent agent will compare policies and give you unbiased advice on which one is best for you. 

They’re industry experts

One of the biggest advantages of working with a local independent agent is that they’re licensed experts in insurance. Not only do many of these agencies have a longstanding history, but they are legally obligated to act in your best interest. Insurance can be a complex topic, especially when it comes to understanding all the terms, and your agent will be able to explain your coverage in a way that makes sense to you. They have made a career out of assessing risk and finding appropriate policies to manage it — let them be the ones to help you protect yourself and your business. 

Claims assistance

If you need to file an insurance claim, you’re probably already having a bad day, but an independent agent can help alleviate some of the stress after a loss or an accident. You can report it immediately to your agent who will then notify the insurer. They will personally walk you through the claims process and advocate for you should you need support. They’re familiar with you and with the claims process, so the customer service you receive from a local agent is far superior to any support you would receive online. On customer service, Gregory Fitzgerald of one of our agent partners, Lore Insurance, says, “while Lore Insurance focuses on our client’s insurance needs, we are dedicated to offering excellent customer service from claims assistance to offering multiple insurance premium financing options to fit each client’s needs.”

They’re local

When you call your local agent and they say they’re right down the road, they mean it. They live and work in the same geographic area as you. If there’s a snowstorm coming or water main break near your home, they’ll know and are able to better assist you in the event you need to file a claim or have questions about your coverage.  Additionally, they can help you identify risks that might affect the type of policy you need, for example, if your home is located in a flood zone. 

They’re with you for all life’s changes

Even when your insurance changes, your agent doesn’t have to. Because they work with a number of carriers, you don’t need to worry about finding a new agency when your coverage needs change. For example, if you already have auto insurance with your local agent and you buy a home, the same agent can help you find a home owner’s policy. You can carry the relationship you’ve already built with them throughout your life. 

We’re proud to partner with more than 500 local, independent agents who are dedicated to helping you find a policy tailored to your needs and happy to help you review your policy. Visit our website to find one today.  https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm

 

12 Questions To Ask Your Local Agent When Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

Many insurance policies renew in the New Year, making it the perfect time to sit down and review your policy with your local agent. Most individuals allow their policy to renew year over year without checking to make sure their current plan appropriately covers any changes they’ve recently had. This January, set aside some time to review your policy with an expert — your independent agent. They’ll be able to help guide you to the right policy and may even be able to find some areas to save you money. 

At Quincy Mutual, we know the unexpected happens and we want you and your family to feel protected all year long and confident in your insurance policy. Before you sit down to review your plan, here are a few questions you may want to consider discussing with your agent: 

  1. What are your deductibles and is it an option for you to change them and adjust your premium?
  2. Did you have a life change recently? Getting married, having a baby, buying a home, or getting a new job may have created a lifestyle change for you. Do these changes affect your coverage needs or the possibility for you to bundle your policies?
  3. Does your auto insurance reflect the correct information such as safety features and miles on your vehicle?
  4. Have you moved into a newly rented apartment and now require a renters policy?
  5. If you’ve made a high-value purchase, does your homeowners policy cover the cost of damage or loss? A good way to make sure you have adequate coverage is to conduct an annual home inventory. You can learn more about how to do that in our blog: Tips to Create a Home Inventory
  6. In 2020, we all worked out of our homes much more, did you start a business or create a DIY home-work space that needs insurance?
  7. Some safety features, such as an alarm system, can earn you deductibles. Check with your agent to see if you have one that might qualify. 
  8. What other discounts might you qualify for?
  9. What type of liability coverage do you have and is it enough to protect you if someone files a lawsuit against you? You may want to explore your options for umbrella insurance if you are at higher risk for a lawsuit. 
  10. Are you driving your car far less these days? If so, you may be eligible for a discount or may want to consider a higher deductible to lower your premium. 
  11. Do you have different insurance policies with different insurance companies? Bundling your insurance policies with one company may result in additional discounts. Explore the options with each to see where you can get the best coverage option. 
  12. Some insurance companies offer credits if you live close to a fire station, have an alarm system, or take driver safety training — check to see if yours does. 

If reviewing your insurance policy isn’t already at the top of your list of things to get done in the New Year, it should be. Not only will you have peace of mind knowing you’re fully covered, but you may also end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run in the event of a loss. Asking the right questions is the first step in making sure your policy is the best fit for your needs. 

At Quincy Mutual, we partner with over 500 local agents who are happy to help you review your policy. Visit our website to find one today.

Common Winter Home Hazards and How to Prevent Them

These days, you and your family are probably spending much of your time at home, so making it a safe environment for everyone should be a top priority. In the winter months, a number of hazards can creep up without warning, leading to financial burdens and may even pose a danger to your health and wellbeing. 

Fortunately, there are some quick fixes you can do and a few maintenance check-ins to help reduce your risk of experiencing a problem in the coming months. Here are some common winter hazards and how to avoid them.

Falls

Inside and outside your home, falls can lead to a hospital visit and/or expensive legal fees if you’re hit with a lawsuit. Wet surfaces, uneven staircases, and items left on the floor can all lead to a broken bone or head injury. To help reduce your risk, make sure to do the following:

  • Secure staircases — This includes installing solid handrails, fixing loose boards, having adequate lighting at night, and keeping salt or sand on hand in the event of snowstorms. If you have small children, you should also have safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. 
  • Keep hallways and walkways clean — Always clean up toys and items left on the floor in the way of foot traffic. In the winter, be especially careful to shovel walkways and salt any icy patches. 
  • Cover surfaces prone to pooling water  — If you frequently track water inside from your shoes, make sure to have a mat in front of the door to avoid slipping. 

Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 379,600 residential fires in the United States per year. Many of these fires could have been prevented through safe practices and preparedness. Take these steps to help reduce your risk of loss or injury from a fire:

  • Install fire alarms on all levels of your home.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen and any room with a fireplace. 
  • Blow out all candles before you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Unplug appliances you’re not using. 
  • Turn off holiday lights before leaving the house or going to sleep. 
  • Have your fireplace cleaned before using it for the winter and only run it if you’re in the room.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable objects and never leave them running unattended. 

Along the same lines as fire prevention, you should also be mindful of carbon monoxide risks in the winter. Even low exposure can result in headaches and dizziness. It’s virtually undetectable by sight or smell so having a working carbon monoxide detector is your best solution to keeping your family safe. 

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are one of the most common problems homeowners face in the winter and can also be one of the most costly. Before the frigid temps hit, be sure to:

  • Drain and remove outdoor hoses.
  • Insulate areas in direct contact with attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Identify areas of your home that have exposed water pipes. 
  • Make sure your thermostat doesn’t dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Have someone look in on your house if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. 

You can learn more about how to prevent and treat frozen pipes here.

Ice Dams

Not only is ice a hazard on your walkways, it also puts you at risk for ice dams. These will damage the interior of your home and cause major water damage in your attic and on your ceilings. A few things you can do to help reduce your risk is to make sure your gutters are cleaned before the first snowfall and install roof heating cables if your home is prone to ice dams. 

We hope these tips help keep your family and your home safe all winter long. To review your current insurance policy or speak to an agent about your options for extended coverage, please visit our website. https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm 

Bright Insurance Agent Spotlight

This month, we’re pleased to introduce you to our newest #AgentSpotlight, Bright Insurance Agency, who have been providing industry expertise and peace of mind to you and your neighbors for over 85 years.

The Milford-based agency was founded in 1931 by Karl Bright and today, is a team of over twenty-five trained insurance professionals who pride themselves on offering personalized coverage options while being mindful of your budget and your specific needs. In 2013 under Agency President Steve Ellis, Bright Insurance acquired Jensen Sheehan Insurance Agency in Holliston. Because both agencies have a long history and reputations of being active in their communities they have each maintained their original names and consider themselves to be sister agencies. 

What sets Bright Insurance apart from other agencies is their focus on the individual clients. Their agents take a personal approach to customer service and many have been there for 10+ years, building long-standing relationships with their insureds. Each customer is assigned to a particular customer service representative so that they receive personal service with someone who, over time, will become familiar with your account and your individual needs.

In addition to the personal care they receive and the knowledgeable staff, customers stay with Bright Insurance because of the convenience of registry services for their clients, an in-house claims representative, and their Saturday winter hours. On this commitment to personal touch, President Steve Ellis says, “we understand that being a local agent isn’t about writing insurance policies. It’s about knowing your neighbor and being there. Obviously, there are a lot of choices out there today but we pride ourselves on our customer service and that’s how we stand out. We build relationships with our customers.”

Bright Insurance is very active in the community and prides themselves on not only living in but supporting the communities in which their insureds reside. President Steve Ellis previously served on the Board of Trustees for the Milford Regional Hospital and is still active in many hospital fundraisers. Alongside Vice President Krishna Swanson, Steve is also a member of the Milford Rotary. Joe Soares is President of the non-profit Celebrate Milford which runs a large annual event. Also, Greg Ross is the President of the local BNI Granite Network and Sandra Biagetti is the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Chamber of Commerce and is on the Hopedale Zoning board of appeals. 

Sister agency, Jensen Sheehan is active in the Holliston community as well, participating in the annual Celebrate Holliston events and supporting the local Holliston Newcomers group on many of their events throughout the years. Both agencies make it a priority to be a familiar face around the community and in short, are “your hometown agency.” We’re proud to partner with agencies like Bright Insurance who are committed to supporting the communities in which they serve. You can learn more about their history and their coverage options on their website.