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Making 2019’s Resolutions Last

January 3rd, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

In One Year and Out the Other—Making 2019’s Resolutions Last

New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to motivate yourself and make positive life changes. However, sticking to resolutions like new diets or spending habits can take some serious dedication. Here are a few tips to help your resolutions last all the way until 2020:

  • Start resolutions early. When setting a resolution for 2019—such as losing a certain amount of weight or saving a specific amount of money—don’t wait until it’s too late to get started. Instead, focus on what you can do now and on a regular basis.
     
  • Make your resolutions as specific as you can. While a simple resolution like exercising more may seem like a good idea, it’s easier to follow through if you have clear goals. Make a schedule for when, where and how you’ll accomplish a specific resolution.
     
  • Go one step at a time. Resolutions should last for the entire year, not just for a week or a month. Don’t try to overexert yourself early in the year by doing too much too quickly—instead be sure to stay consistent and take your resolutions one step at a time.
     
  • Find a friend or family member to work on your resolution with. Completing your goals with a partner can help you stick to your schedule. Plus, a little friendly competition can help you stay motivated!
     
  • Know when to take a break. Although it’s important to work on your goals regularly, remember to pace yourself and take a break every now and then. That way, you’ll be able to come back to your resolutions with a relaxed and refreshed mindset.

View more INSIGHTS here.

Snowmelt Protection Tips

December 7th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Use these four tips to help reduce your home’s risk of snowmelt damage:

  1. Clear snow from your home’s foundation. Shovel snow away from your home, including stairwells, window wells, downspouts and doors to help prevent water from seeping in through cracks.
     
  2. Maintain your roof and gutters. Any heavy snow that has accumulated on your roof should be cleared away to avoid water damage. Keep your gutters clear of debris to avoid ice dams – melted snow that refreezes at night, causing gutter clogs.
     
    1. Ensure proper drainage. Make sure your downspout drains away from your home, and keep any street storm sewer drains clear of snow to prevent buildup and freezing.
       
    2. Check your sump pump. Test to see that your sump pump is in good working order in case your home experiences flooding. If you notice any small leaks, take care of them before they become a bigger hazard.
View more Home Matters tips here.

Holes in Standard Home Policies

December 7th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Holes in Standard Homeowners Policies

Sewage Backup
Sewage backup in one of the several hazards that people widely assume is covered by their homeowners insurance. Standard policies do not cover damage from sewage and water backups. To get this protection, you need to buy special coverage.

Check with your agent to see if you have this coverage. If you don’t you should

consider adding a rider for approx. $50 a year that would pays up to $10,000 for sewage backup damage. It will also cover damage from sump pump malfunction.

Flooding
Most people who live near a river or coastline know that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, and they purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. But Flooding can be a problem even if you don’t live near water.

Consider adding Flood Insurance. It is sold at government set prices, depending on your proximity to a flood zone. For more information on the cost of flood insurance and how to buy it, see the NFIP’s Web Site ( www.fema.gov/nfip), or call 888-225-5356.

Home Office
If you have a home office, don’t assume that your equipment is protected by the personal possession coverage in your homeowners policy. Homeowners and renters policies typically cap the coverage for business personal property at $2,500. The coverage drops even more if you take any of the property out of the house. It only pays $250 if your laptop is stolen on a business trip.

Also, a typical policy provides no liability coverage for business related claims.  For instance if your delivery person slips on you front stoop while delivering a business package and ends up suing, your homeowners may leave you high and dry.

Consider adding a rider for approx $200 a year that would set the business personal property and liability coverage to the same amounts as stated in your homeowners policy.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

November 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

One of the messiest and most costly homeowner repairs is fixing a burst, frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. Luckily, there are several ways to protect your home:

  • Keep the heat in your house at a minimum of 50° F.
     
  • Allow faucets to drip slightly, which can alleviate pressure in the piping system.
     
  • Keep interior doors open. This allows heat from the rest of your house to spread, keeping your pipes warm.
     
  • Seal any cracks and holes found near your pipes. This can help keep cold air out of your home.
     

  • Add extra insulation to your pipes. Experts recommend fitting your pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves.

Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. If you fail to take the proper precautions, your pipes can easily fail during a cold winter, which can be incredibly costly to repair.

Time Management Tips

November 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

One way to reduce workplace stress is through time management. Proper time management allows you to complete pressing tasks efficiently and allocate enough resources to complete future projects as well.

Workplace stress is a common aspect of employment, particularly if you often find yourself with a heavy workload. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate stress, it’s critical to manage it effectively. One way to reduce workplace stress is through time management. Proper time management methods allow you to complete pressing tasks efficiently and allocate enough resources to finish future projects as well.

The following time management tips can help you reduce workplace stress caused by heavy workloads:

  • Complete the most important tasks first.
  • Learn how to say no to projects that aren’t time sensitive or fall outside of your responsibilities.
  • Get plenty of rest so you are productive during the workday.
  • Eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand.
  • Get an early start on upcoming projects whenever possible.
  • Stay organized.
  • Budget time between tasks to address any issues and to prepare for upcoming projects.

If workplace stress persists, it may be a good idea to speak with your supervisor. They will be able to provide ways to help limit your workload and able to provide ways to help limit your workload and improve your situation.

10 Health and Safety Tips for Laptop Usage
The use of laptop computers simplifies work, improving workplace mobility, quality and productivity overall. However, overuse of laptops can increase your chance of injury. Read on to learn more.

Hot Weather Safety Tips For Your Pet

July 10th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:

  • Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
     
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
     
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
     
  • Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
     
  • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
     
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
     
  • Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
     
  • Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
     
  • When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
     
  • Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
     
  • Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
     
  • Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home. Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape by downloading the ASPCA Mobile App. You’ll receive a personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.

For other ways to help, download and share our hot weather safety infographic to alert others of the dangers your pets may face during the summer.

It's hot out! Don't leave your pet in the car!

 

Most Commonly Stolen Passwords

April 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

How clever is your password? If it’s on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2017, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.

To create a more secure password, make sure you are not relying only on numbers, and try to avoid simple keyboard patterns. You may also want to avoid easy-to-find information such as birthdays, favorite sports teams and addresses.  Attempt to create a password that is eight or more characters long, and avoid using the same password for multiple access points.

1 123456
2 password
3 12345678
4 qwerty
5 12345
6 123456789
7 letmein
8 1234567
9 football
10 iloveyou
11 admin
12 welcome
13 monkey
14 login
15 abc123
16 starwars
17 123123
18 dragon
19 passw0rd
20 master
21 hello
22 freedom
23 whatever
24 qazwsx
25 trustno1

Snapchat “SNAP MAP” Safety

February 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim

January 4th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning, causing costly damage to your home, vehicles and personal belongings. When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.

In order to get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:

  • Call your insurer as soon as an incident occurs. The quicker you get the process moving, the better. After you’ve contacted your insurer, you can ask an adjuster to come and inspect the damage.
     
  • Document your losses before the adjuster comes. Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster. Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.
     
  • Take photographs of the accident scene, and don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurer.

Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurers and what the conversations entailed. This will help you track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allow you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.

Read our inSIGHTS Newsletter – January 2018 Issue here.