Servicing DC, MD & VA

Capital One Data Breach

August 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Capital One Data Breach | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Capital One Data Breach Impacts More Than 100 Million Customers – Video

Personal information of more than 100 million Capital One customers was compromised in one of the largest data breaches involving a bank. Watch this video to learn more.

Avoiding Heat Illnesses

August 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Avoiding Heat Illnesses | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

 7 Tips For Avoiding Heat Illnesses This Summer

The hot summer months can cause your body temperatures to rise without warning, especially when combined with activities like sports or yardwork. And, while it’s tempting to spend as much time outside as you can during the summer, you need to take measures to avoid heat illnesses.

Here are some tips for staying safe when you’re out in the heat:

  1. Wear loose, light-colored clothing so your skin gets air exposure.
  3. Shield your head and face from direct sunlight by wearing a hat and sunglasses.
  5. Avoid spending time outdoors during the middle of the day, when temperatures are highest and the sun is directly overhead.
  7. Take regular breaks in a shaded area if you’re involved in a strenuous activity.
  9. Drink water frequently, even if you aren’t thirsty. Experts recommend drinking at least 8 ounces every 20 to 30 minutes to stay hydrated. Stick to water, fruit juice and sport drinks while avoiding caffeinated or alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate you.
  11. Monitor children and seniors carefully, since they can get dehydrated more easily.
  13. Call 911 if someone exhibits symptoms of heat stroke, such as flushed skin, rapid breathing, a throbbing headache or confusion.
View more InSights here.

Remodeling Your Home

August 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Remodeling Your Home | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

You’ve hired a reputable builder, collected paint swatches and selected the siding and now you’re finally ready to start that long-awaited remodeling project.

What Protection Does it Offer?

Whether your addition budget is large or small, you are adding both the value of your home and your exposure to risk. To ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you have the coverage you need, here’s what you need to know.

Working with General Contractors

The best way to minimize your renovation risk is to hire a reputable general contractor for the job. As part of the biding process, ask the general contractor to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of the policies. Specifically, check for coverage for the following:

  • Workers’ compensation: Verify that he or she has workers’ compensation coverage in the event that an employee or subcontractor gets hurt on the job.
  • General liability: Ask if the contractor has liability insurance, which covers losses due to negligence and errors or omission, which results in property damage. Also ask that you are added as an “additional insured.”
  • Builders risk: This policy is designed to cover damage to your home and materials, including those not installed yet. We can help you verify whether you should require this from your contractor, based on your renovation project.

Advice for Do-It-Yourselfers

If you decide to do it alone and manage a renovation yourself, you assume all the risks. A review of your homeowners coverage for liability and property is prudent, as you are assuming more risks and exposures than contemplated by homeowners insurance. 

Hiring subcontractors who can provide you with a “Certificate of Insurance” or copies of their policies showing their general liability and workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for your legal protection. Otherwise, you could be subject to workers’ compensation laws, should they become injured while working on your home. If a friend or relative helps out as a favor and gets injured, your homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of their injuries, up to your policy limits. For an extra layer of protection, it’s a good idea to also carry umbrella liability coverage, which kicks in to provide liability coverage above your homeowners limits.

Insuring the Real Value of Your Home

Experts estimate that 1 out of 4 remodeling projects adds at least 25 percent to the value of a home, yet often most homeowners forget to increase their coverage to protect their investment. Most homeowners insurance policies require 100 percent of the home’s replacement cost, so it’s important to raise your home’s policy limit before your project begins.

What to do After a Hit-and-run

August 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on What to do After a Hit-and-run | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

When you’re involved in a vehicle collision and the other driver takes off without exchanging insurance information, this is commonly referred to as a hit-and-run. These incidents can leave you feeling frustrated and wondering what to do next. This article will examine what information to collect and who to contact following a hit-and-run.

Liabilities of Renting Your Home

July 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Liabilities of Renting Your Home | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Protecting Your Personal Property

You may be considering renting out your home for extra income while you’re away for an extended period of time. Though this seems like an ideal solution for families with extra room to spare, it can pose liabilities. Take the following considerations to heart in order to protect your home.

  • Ask for references from potential renters, especially those that will stay for a while.
  • Draw up a rental agreement that defines the terms of the rental, including restrictions, liabilities and occupancy guidelines.
  • Request a security deposit that is to be refunded if there is no damage to your home.
  • Advise Hodge, Hart & Schleifer that you plan to rent out your home and ask about how this may affect your current coverage.
  • Consider hiring a property manager to look out for your home if you are renting for a long period of time.
  • Set aside a secure place in your home to store personal items, such as clothing and valuables.
  • Take pictures of all areas of your home before the rental takes place in case damage occurs while you are away.
  • Have your mail forwarded or held until you return.
  • Provide your contact information to both the renters and your neighbors in case of an emergency.

Safety First

Checking the references of potential renters is vital when determining if you will open your home to strangers. If you uncover any red flags while checking references, do not agree to rent your home, even if you are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your property.

Double Up on Fruits and Veggies

July 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Double Up on Fruits and Veggies | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps


Nine out of 10 Americans are trying (emphasis on trying, not doing) to munch more slimming, health-promoting, nutrient-packed produce. But a study reveals we’re actually backsliding, with fruit and vegetable consumption down seven percent compared to five years ago! That’s a diet disaster that could widen your waistline and raise your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, impotence, wrinkles and some cancers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends most adults get 1½ to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of veggies daily (we recommend 2 to 3 daily servings of fruit and 6 to 7 of veggies). But according to a CDC survey of 373,580 people, 76 percent of Americans skimp on fruit and a whopping 87 percent miss that low vegetable mark. Most got just one serving of fruit and about 1½ servings of veggies a day.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to close the produce gap — doubling your daily intake deliciously without emptying your wallet or spending time hunched over a cutting board. Our six super-simple solutions:

Buy your chips in the produce aisle. Whether you’re stocking up for March Madness, hosting a Downton Abbey viewing party or just love the crunch of a crisp chip with a soup or sandwich, go for pre-sliced carrots, zucchini and fresh peppers instead of a bag of potato chips, corn chips or commercial “veggie” chips. A handful of pre-sliced veggies equals one serving, with less calories, fat and sodium, and way more fiber, vitamins, minerals and health-protecting phytochemicals.

Stock up on frozen produce. Plain, frozen vegetables (without added salt or sauces) and fruit (without added sugars or syrups) in your freezer can turn the busiest weeknight dinner into a produce feast. Steam or microwave the frozen veggies. Frozen raspberries and mango chunks are delicious together in a cool, refreshing fruit salad. You can also toss frozen berries over green salad or whirl in your food processor with a splash of nonfat milk or dairy alternative for a super-healthy, fruity “ice cream.”

Keep produce in the pantry.Keeping canned produce on hand could help you eat 30 percent more fruit and 21 percent more vegetables, according to a University of California Davis study. Look for brands packed in cans free of BPA, a chemical found in food can linings that may increase risk for obesity, heart disease and reproductive problems. Check the website of our friends at the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) to find out what brands are BPA-free.

Double the veggies when you eat out. Even though Americans spend 42 percent of their food budgets on meals outside the home, most get just 10 percent of vegetables and 2 percent of fruit at restaurants. Easy fixes: Ask for twice as much lettuce and tomato on your next deli sandwich, order a veggie instead of fries and start your meal with a salad (ask for vinegar and olive oil on the side) instead of soup or the breadbasket. In fact, if you frequent a restaurant more than once a month, ask for cut up veggies instead of bread — most will accommodate you and serve you that on future visits. (Tip well if that happens.) At breakfast, ask for sliced tomatoes instead of hash browns.

Tote munchable produce. Did you know that 82 percent of the vegetables and 90 percent of the fruit you eat come from your fridge? Up that percentage by tossing baby carrots and an apple or orange into a zipper lock bag every morning along with a paper napkin; carry in your purse, briefcase or backpack for a quick snack. You’ve just added two produce servings a day!

Cook extra tonight. Steam an extra serving or two of garlic-spiced sweet peas (mouth watering yet?), broccoli or grilled asparagus spears. Tomorrow heat and serve over brown rice or red beans or sprinkle with a little olive oil and lemon as a cold side dish. What could be easier?

Home Matters: Lightning Safety

June 10th, 2019 | Comments Off on Home Matters: Lightning Safety | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

6 Lettuce-Free Recipes

June 10th, 2019 | Comments Off on 6 Lettuce-Free Recipes | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

That Will Make You Love Salad

By Taylor Lupo

Your salad should be more than a bowl of leafy greens. In fact, a healthy and filling salad doesn’t have to include lettuce at all.

Let’s face it, the salad mix-ins, like crumbled cheese, sliced fruit and nuts, are often the best part of the meal. Toss together your favorite fruits, veggies, whole grains (and more) to create tasty, satisfying and 100 percent lettuce-free meals.

1 / 7 Tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa and avocado

Worried about missing out on necessary nutrients? Don’t be! Tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa and avocado are loaded with the essentials.

Greek goddess salad


Get a taste of the Mediterranean in the comfort of your own home. This tangy salad combines a few ingredients with whole lot of flavor. Plus, it’s low in calories!

Start with a whole cucumber, which contains just 45 calories, for a crunchy base. One cup of chopped tomatoes contains 30 calories, and…SHOW MORE

Tomato and avocado salad


Enjoy the flavors of a classic deli sandwich, layered with bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato, with a fraction of the sodium, fat and calories.

Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, which promote a healthy immune system and potassium, necessary for proper nerve and muscle function. Avocado…SHOW MORE

Watermelon and feta summer salad


Who said salads had to be savory? This light and refreshing recipe can be enjoyed at snack time or topped with a few grilled shrimp and eaten as a complete meal.

The star of this salad is juicy, pink watermelon, which contains just 50 calories per cup. The fruit is loaded with hydration, and…SHOW MORE

Crunchy beet salad


This salad comes together with almost no effort—and tastes great!

Feel free to boil your own beets, but the canned kind work just as well. Just give them a good rinse to get rid of any excess sodium. A cup of beets contains only 60 calories, but also delivers fiber, a bit of protein and potassium,…SHOW MORE

Colorful vegetable and quinoa salad


Shake up your salad routine by filling your bowl with a filling and flavorful base of 100 percent whole grains, like quinoa.

Measure out one cooked cup of quinoa, loaded with protein, fiber and manganese. Next, chop up and toss in your favorite veggies and beans.

Red onions, black beans and bell…SHOW MORE

Fiesta bean salad


Beans contain protein, fiber and iron, without all of the fat red meat contains. Toss your favorite legumes with a bit of diced onion, a splash of olive oil and spices.

A half-cup serving of black, garbanzo and red kidney beans offer about seven grams of protein and more than 10 percent of the…SHOW MORE

Trampoline Liabilities

April 5th, 2019 | Comments Off on Trampoline Liabilities | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Did You Know?

Trampolines can provide hours of entertainment and fun for the whole family—especially young children. However, there are a number of liability risks trampoline owners need to consider to keep loved ones safe.

Use these tips to protect your personal property:

  • Always supervise all users on the trampoline, regardless of their ages or experience levels.
  • Only allow one person on at a time.
  • Do not allow children under the age of six to use a trampoline.
  • Do not place a ladder near a trampoline because it welcomes younger children to climb up and start jumping.
  • Do not allow jumpers to do somersaults or flips, as they could land on their necks or heads incorrectly.
  • Do not allow jumpers to use the trampoline as a way to jump onto other objects.
  • Securely attach safety padding to cover the hooks, springs and frame.
  • Setup the trampoline on level ground away from trees and other obstacles.
  • Install safety netting around a trampoline to provide fall protection.
  • Inspect the trampoline before each use to make sure that the springs are
    secure and that the bed does not have any tears or holes.

Safety First

Trampolines are considered attractive nuisances—items that are attractive and enticing to children. If kids are walking by your home and spot the trampoline in your backyard, they may be enticed to head on back and start jumping. In the event that they suffer an injury on your property, you are ultimately liable.

To protect yourself, consider fencing in your yard and never allow unsupervised individuals to jump when you are not present.