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Maintenance Tips For Spring

April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Maintenance Tips For Spring | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

10 Home Maintenance Tips For Spring

10 Home Maintenance Tips For SpringAfter a long, dark winter, spring’s bright sun and warm winds are, well, a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year’s flower beds. Dwight Barnett, a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors, shared this checklist to help you target the areas

  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.

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Water and Flood Damage

April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Water and Flood Damage | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Water and Flood Damage:
What Is and Is Not Covered

Water can damage your home in many ways. Do you know what is covered and what isn’t? This video explains the different types of coverage from burst pipes to torrential floods. Spokespersons: Jeanne M. Salvatore, Insurance Information Institute; Ed Connor, National Flood Insurance Program.

Autism Awareness Month

April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Autism Awareness Month | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

PrintApril is designated as National Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. These observances are intended to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 88 children in the United States have ASD, and the diagnosis is far more common among boys than girls. Despite autism being so common, many people do not know exactly what autism is.

According to the CDC, ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that cause social, communication and behavioral challenges. “Spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms and levels of impairment that those

diagnosed with ASDs can have. The National Institute of Mental Health lists five autistic spectrum disorders: autistic disorder (classic autism), Asperger’s disorder (Asperger syndrome), pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Rett’s disorder (Rett syndrome) and childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD).

Research has yet to pinpoint the cause of ASDs, but studies suggest that both genes and environment are likely contributing factors.

Genes. Although family history does not seem to affect or predict an ASD diagnosis, once one sibling is diagnosed with an ASD, other siblings have 35 times the usual risk of

also developing an ASD.

Environment. The environment includes anything surrounding your body that can affect your health, including water, air, food, medications and other materials you may come in contact with. Environmental influences on ASDs are still being researched, but various factors may each play a small role in ASD development.

There has been some concern that childhood vaccines cause ASDs. Although there may be other unknown causes of ASDs, the CDC states that there is no causal relationship between childhood vaccines and ASDs. Several regulatory bodies, including the CDC, continue to monitor vaccines for safety and effectiveness.

Early detection and diagnosis of an ASD is essential for providing the most effective treatment. Make sure an ASD screening is part of your child’s wellness checkups.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Saving Money on Presciptions

April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Saving Money on Presciptions | Posted in Misc

Saving Money on Presciptions
You are likely familiar with the terms “generic” and “brand name” prescription drugs. But do you know what a drug formulary is? Like a generic drug, it can also save you money. The following will help you understand all three terms.

Drug Formularies

If you belong to a health maintenance organization (HMO) or your employer offers its own health insurance plan, chances are it uses a prescription drug formulary to maximize the effectiveness of its pharmacy benefits program.

A formulary is essentially a preferred drug list for a particular health plan. The drugs on the formulary have been evaluated and researched for safety and effectiveness, and are often the most cost-effective versions of commonly prescribed medications. By using a single set of prescribed medications for most routine treatments, health plans are able to provide high quality care and keep costs as low as possible.

Formularies are not static lists; they change as new drugs and research become available. Usually, doctors and pharmacists review medical and pharmaceutical literature when deciding which drugs to place on a formulary. Some insurers allow variation from their formulary in specific instances, while others charge members a much higher copayment for medications that do not appear on the formulary.

Here is some basic information about a drug formulary:

  • It is a comprehensive list of drugs expected to meet the needs of most patients.
  • It is used as a way to provide cost-effective prescription drugs to members.
  • It consists of both brand and generic drugs that have been approved by the health plan’s panel of physicians and pharmacists.
  • It enhances the quality of medical care by identifying the best medicines from among the thousands available. It is also a tool to address skyrocketing prescription drug costs.
  • Formulary drugs are chosen for their safety, effectiveness, quality and cost.

Generic vs. Brand Name

Some people think that generic versions of their prescription drugs are inferior, but the FDA requires that generic drugs meet the same standards as their brand name counterparts.

The difference between the two involves the research, development and marketing investment that went into the original brand name product. When “generic equivalents” become available, they have the same active ingredients and chemical purity as the brand-name drugs they imitate. Other ingredients such as tablet fillers, binders, coatings or flavors may differ. Because their development costs are less, generic drugs are often priced substantially lower.

When you receive a prescription from your doctor, ask if a generic equivalent is available. Many health plans charge a lower copay for patients who choose generics.

Spring Letter From Our President

April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Spring Letter From Our President | Posted in Misc


Home & Auto Insurance Discounts

April 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Home & Auto Insurance Discounts | Posted in Discount & Coverage Claims

What About Discounts?

bankVarious insurance companies not only have a variety of coverage types and exclusions, but they also provide various discounts that can help you save on your premiums. We can work with you to find out what discounts are available, and how those discounts would affect the quotes you receive. Some of the more common discounts available include:

  • Safety discounts for having fire or burglar alarms installed in the home
  • A senior discount for being above a certain age
  • A discount for having great credit
  • “Claims-free” discount for not filing a claim over a number of years
  • Discount for being the first or original owner of the home
  • Multi-policy discount for having home and auto insurance with the same company
  • Continuous Insurance
  • Good Payer
  • Early Quote Discount
  • Hybrid/Electric Vehicle
  • Multi-Car
  • New Car
  • Anti-theft/ Anti-lock
  • Safe Driver
  • Driver Training
  • Good Student
  • Home Ownership
  • Paid in Full
  • Student away at School

We will help you decide which discounts with which company gives you the best policy for the best price.