life insurance review

Whether you recently bought a life insurance policy or have had one for several years, now’s the time to review it. Make sure you have adequate coverage and know exactly what’s covered.

Understand the Summary

Your paper policy or online life insurance account will include a one-page summary that outlines the type, amount and coverage your policy offers. Look at it and make sure you understand each line. If you don’t, contact your insurance agent for an explanation.

Verify the Death Benefit or Cash Value

Because life circumstances change, verify that the death benefit is adequate. You might need to increase coverage, and now’s a good time to do that.

You’ll also want to verify the accuracy of the policy’s cash value. Also, understand how it’s calculated as you prepare for the future.

Check the Term

Let’s say you bought your 15-year term life insurance policy five years ago when your kids were young. Now, though, your family has grown or your health has changed, and you need a longer term. Use this review to make sure the policy’s term is long enough for your needs.

Read the Restrictions

Does your policy require a waiting period before benefits can be paid or must you undergo an annual health exam? Know the restrictions to reduce surprises, ensure you’re following the guidelines and not inadvertently doing something to void the policy.

Drop or Add Riders

Spousal benefits and a premium waiver if you become disabled are two of several life insurance riders. Update the riders on your policy and drop or add them as needed.

Change the Beneficiaries

Has your life insurance policy beneficiary changed? If so, update the policy to ensure the right person gets the money from your policy.

Reviewing your life insurance policy should be something you do at least once a year. This task ensures your policy is current and accurate. For help meeting your life insurance needs, give us a call today at 860-589-3434.

 

distracted driving

We’ve all seen it. You’re driving down the road see someone swerving back in forth in their lane. When you pass them, you notice that the driver is typing away on their phone.

Distracted driving is an epidemic that has gained a lot of popularity over the past decade, largely due to the increase in the amount of people texting. Yet, distracted driving qualifies as anything that prevents the driver from giving their full attention to operating a vehicle.

The Facts

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 16% of all fatal collisions are caused by distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also conducted a study and reported that nine people are killed, and more than 1,153 are injured every day because of distracted driving.

Here are the most common distractions:

  • Eating
  • Using your phone
  • Using a GPS or Navigation System

Texting, and checking emails are the most dangerous instances of distracted driving because they include the three biggest facets of being distracted. When you text or email while driving, you’re taking your eyes, hands, and mind off the road and steering wheel.

What can you do?

Put your phone down. You might want to consider placing it in your glove compartment for the duration of your drive. Now that you can’t see it light up or vibrate, you won’t be as tempted to check it. Remember that any text message or notification can wait until you reach your destination.

If you’re on a long and boring road trip, you might be even more tempted to check your phone. Remember that even when looking at your phone for just five seconds, if you’re traveling at 55 mph- is like driving the length of a football field with a blindfold on.

We’re Here for You

As always, Tracy-Driscoll is looking out for your safety. Give us a call today at 860-589-3434 to learn more about our auto insurance policies, and get the coverage that’s right for you!

 

swimming pool

To continue the theme of summer safety, Tracy-Driscoll is here to offer some safety tips for homeowners with pools. Now that the summer is in full swing, you may be making sure your pool is ready to go for an upcoming pool party.

Here are some simple steps to protect those who use, or go near your swimming pool:

  • Never leave children alone in or near the pool-keep them under active supervision at all times
  • Since children can wander out of the house and potentially fall into the pool, you may want to put a fence around the pool to separate your house from it
  • Use gates with latches that higher than your child’s reach, or self-closing latches
  • Keep life preservers next to the pool
  • Remove swimming toys from the pool when they are not being used

Important Safety Tips

  • Keep your pool clean. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of ear aches and rashes
  • Keep chemicals safely stored away from the pool area. Make sure to follow all storage and usage instructions recommended by the pool chemical manufacturer.
  • Inspect your pool’s liner. Rips and tears can appear undetected at the top of the lining. Check for signs of wear and tear where pipes and other items may have penetrated the liner. (e.g. skimmers, hoses, etc.)
  • Check your pool deck for safety hazards. (e.g. protruding nails, loose boards, etc.)
  • Make sure there is adequate life-saving equipment in the pool area, like life preservers, a rope with life-saving rings, a reaching pole, or rescue hook.

If you are having a big get together or pool party this summer, consider hiring a certified lifeguard for the event. A certified CPR lifeguard will help ensure pool safety. Call Tracy-Driscoll today at 860-589-3434 to find a home insurance policy that works for you!

 

Honestly, what’s worse than a hot and stuffy car? The heat and sun in the summer months can make driving around almost seem unbearable, with your car taking forever to cool down after you get in.

Luckily, there a number of ways to keep your car cooler on those hot and humid summer days. Tracy-Driscoll is here to provide you with some simple tips and tricks.

Windows

Did you know that your car’s windows act like a greenhouse, by holding in heat and sunlight? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), even if it’s only in the 60’s outside, your car’s interior temperature can increase to more than 110 degrees.

With this information, here are some ways to help keep your car cooler by reducing the amount of heat entering through your windows:

  • Sun Shades: Sun shades block direct rays coming into your vehicle, which will keep the interior temperature lower.
  • Park in the Shade: When possible, try parking your vehicle in the shade. If this isn’t possible, try parking your car so that the sun is only hitting your rear window, instead of your windshield. This should help keep your steering wheel and front seats cooler.
  • Cracked Windows: Since windows hold in warm air, leaving yours slightly open when parked will create a slight airflow.

Seats

In the summer, leather seats can get so hot that they cause burns. For those of you with leather seats, you can cover your hot seats with towels for an inexpensive solution.

Air Conditioning

To maximize your car’s cooling ability, turn the AC on full blast, as soon as you start the engine. You should also slightly open your windows until all the air inside the vehicle is cool. Doing so helps to improve the cooling efficiency, since as the hot air rises, it will be pushed out of your car’s windows as the cool air comes out the vents. Finally, make sure to turn on your car’s recirculating feature with your AC to maintain the coldest air.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your auto insurance policy, call us today at 860-589-3434 to speak with an insurance professional.

 

rental-agreement

Renting a house saves you big bucks on vacation since it’s usually cheaper per night than a hotel. Plus, you have amenities like a washer and dryer, kitchen, full bath and maybe even a large backyard. However, that doesn’t mean your vacation home is perfect. Like any home, it’s susceptible to thieves, weather damage or other problems.

Make Sure the Landlord Has Property Insurance

Before you rent a vacation home, you should always ask what type of insurance the homeowner has. It’s also always a good idea to make sure the owner has a homeowner’s policy with liability coverage.

Of course, you don’t plan to go on vacation to have a terrible time, but accidents, bad weather, and mistakes happen. Who will pay the bill if the home’s rotted stair railing fails, and sends you tumbling off the steps and into the ER? Can you afford to replace an antique vase you or one of your kids accidentally breaks? In most cases, the landlord’s insurance will cover these accidents.

By asking if the home is covered before you sign the rental agreement, you will ensure you’re not left covering the bill that should be the vacation homeowner’s responsibility.

Make Sure You Have Insurance

Most homeowner and renter’s insurance policies cover your belongings if they’re lost, stolen or damaged. This coverage applies whether you’re in your home, at school or on vacation.

Before you sign a lease agreement, make sure the home and your possessions are insured, by double checking your policy before you travel. Contact us today at 860-589-3434, to speak with an insurance professional to review your policy and determine if you need additional coverage.

 

 

Payson-Fourth-of-July

For millions of us, July 4th is the day that we celebrate our independence with cookouts, splashing in the pool, and watching fireworks to wind down the day. Whether you plan to celebrate in your backyard, at a park, or in the pool, take a moment to review our safety tips that we have come up with. Review these helpful safety tips with your family to ensure that this 4th of July is memorable, and safe.

Swimming Safety Tips

Here are some simple steps to protect those who use, or go near your swimming pool if you plan on using it this holiday:

  • Never leave children alone when they are in or near the pool-(keep them under active supervision at all times)
  • Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings
  • Keep life preservers next to the pool
  • Remove swimming toys from the pool when they are not being used

Grilling Safety Tips

There’s nothing better than grilling some burgers and hot dogs on Independence Day. Follow these tips before you fire up your grill:

  1. Never grill indoors
  2. Make sure your grill is clean and the grill trays are free from any grease or fat buildup
  3. Keep your grill a safe distance from flammable objects like porches and decks
  4. Keep pets and children at a safe distance from the grill
  5. Never leave your grill unattended

Firework Safety Tips

Fireworks are a great way to celebrate the holiday, but they can also be very dangerous. Did you know that during the weeks around July 4th on average, 200 people a day end up in the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries? If you plan lighting your own fireworks, follow these safety tips from the National council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Don’t allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Never use fireworks indoors
  • Always have water ready to douse before lighting
  • Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting

Tracy-Driscoll would like to wish you and your family an enjoyable, and safe 4th of July. As always, if you any questions or concerns about your insurance policies, give us a call at 860-589-3434.

 

car break in

Even if you don’t realize it, if you regularly drive your car, you probably lock it each time you park it somewhere without hesitation. Although this mindless act does help to deter thieves, hundreds of thousands of vehicles are still stolen each year. What’s even more shocking, is the fact that over 1.5 million vehicles have items stolen from them.

In honor of National Safety Month,  Tracy-Driscoll would like to provide you with some safety tips to help you protect yourself from vehicle theft.

Some Statistics to be Wary of

Did you know that every 44 seconds, a motor vehicle in the United States is stolen? What’s also concerning, is that $5, 972 dollars is the average amount lost when a vehicle is stolen. With July and August being the most common months for vehicle thefts, it’s important to know how to protect your car.

How to Keep Your Car and Possessions Safe

Aside from just locking your car doors and windows, here are a few simple tips to help keep your vehicle, and the items inside it safe:

  1. Never leave valuables, like electronics in plain sight in your car. If your vehicle has a large cargo area that people can see into, consider getting a cover.
  2. Park in busy, well-lit areas
  3. Never leave your vehicle running and unattended, even if it’s only for a few minutes
  4. Make sure your that your car alarm works, and install one if your car doesn’t have one
  5. Don’t hide a spare set of keys inside your vehicle

As always, we are here to answer any questions or concerns that you might have with your auto insurance policy. Call us today at 860-589-3434, to speak with a professional!

 

 

ATV

If you own an all-terrain vehicle, chances are that the summer is one of your most active riding times of the year. The warm weather provides the best opportunities to enjoy your ATV. Of course, as fun as it is to ride and explore, your safety is important to us!

Did you know that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of riders are injured each year while operating their ATVs? Many of these accidents were the result of irresponsible driving and behaviors. Like other activities that involve high speeds and heavy machinery, riding an ATV can be dangerous. To help stay safe, please review the safety tips below.

Always Wear Protective Gear

When riding, you should always wear a helmet. In addition, wear goggles, gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and over-the-ankle boots to add protection.

Don’t Drive on Paved Roads

In Connecticut, ATVs aren’t street legal. For most states, the reason why all-terrain vehicles aren’t street legal is because most ATVs have a solid rear axle with no differential, making them difficult to control on paved roads.

Monitor Children Carefully on Adult ATVs

Did you know that about one-third of ATV-related deaths and emergency room injuries involve children, most of whom were driving or riding on adult ATV? For children under 16, operating or riding on an adult ATV makes them twice as likely to be injured, as compared to riding a youth ATV.

Take a Hands-On Safety Course

For new ATV owners, you may want to take a formal safety training course to learn how to operate and control your all-terrain vehicle in typical situations. To learn more, visit atvsafety.org or call 1-800-887-2887.

Now that you understand the basic safety tips to operating your ATV, we hope that your friends and family will review these tips before your next outing. Contact us today at 860-589-3434 to update or review your insurance coverage on your all-terrain vehicle.

 

boat

Every time you take your boat out on the water, it’s a new experience. No matter how many trips you may have under your belt, it’s a good idea to brush up on some boating safety tips before heading out.

This summer, be sure to consider these safety tips and practices to enjoy your time out on the water!

Before Setting Out

You’ll want to check that your boat is operating properly before heading out on the water. Take a moment to review this pre-departure checklist:

  • Share your intended plans  with a friend or relative. Include your destination and expected time of return
  • Check your boat’s fuel levels
  • Check your engine-for inboard engines, open the hatch to look for fuel or fluid (oil, coolant, etc.) leakage or excess water in the bilge, or the lowest section inside of a boat. For outboard engines, check the fuel system for leaks or heavy gas odor. Excessive fuel vapors from either engine type can be a sign of a serious problem.
  • Ensure all lights are functioning and in place
  • Test radio/communications devices
  • Check the local weather, sea reports, and boating forecasts for the chances of storms

What to Take Aboard

  • Your boat certificate and registration
  • Personal flotation devices (PFD’s)/Life Jackets for each passenger
  • A fully-stocked boating emergency/survival kit
  • A functioning fire extinguisher

Staying Safe on the Water

  • Do not exceed the maximum number of passengers allowed on board
  • Make sure passengers remain seated when the boat is motion
  • Shut off the engine when passengers are loading and unloading from water activities: (tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and swimming)

By following these boating safety tips, we hope that you and your friends and family will stay safe while out on the water this summer. As always, give us a call at 860-589-3434 if you have any questions about boat insurance to speak with a professional today!

 

 

grill

Throughout the U.S., grills are being fired up, reminding us that the summer is finally here. With the great weather, weekends will now be filled with grilling and spending time with family and friends. Of course, grilling and barbecuing can be quite fun and tasty, but there are certain precautions to take to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your home.

Each year, an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. Did you know that 70 million dollars in personal property is lost annually due to grilling related accidents?

During National Safety Month, we hope you take the time to review the safety precautions below before you fire up the grill, so that you can enjoy a safe and fun grilling season.

General Grill Safety Tips

  1. Never grill indoors
  2. Make sure your grill is clean and the grill trays and grates are free from any grease or fat buildup
  3. Keep your grill a safe distance away from your home and flammable objects like deck railings, under eaves, and overhanging branches
  4. Keep pets and children at a safe distance from the grill (At least 3 feet)
  5. Never leave your grill unattended when it is on or when you are cooking

Gas Grill Safety Tips

  1. Check your propane tank for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and check for bubbles
  2. The appearance of bubbles indicates a leak—so replace the tank or get it repaired immediately if you see bubbles
  3. Make sure your gas grill is clean, and that the flames are all the same color
  4. Never smoke near a gas grill
  5. If you smell gas while cooking, call the fire department immediately

Charcoal Grill Safety Tips

  1. If you use starter fluid, make sure you only use charcoal lighter fluid
  2. Never add the lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire
  3. Coals release carbon dioxide as they burn: make sure to grill in an open, ventilated area
  4. When you’re finished, make sure to let the coals cool completely, before disposing them in a metal container

We hope that with these grill safety tips, you are now ready to enjoy grilling this summer safely! If you have any questions, or would like to update your home insurance policy, make sure to call us today at 860-589-3434!

 
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